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Topic: Crying, scared, blind-sided 50 year old.

Forum: Just Diagnosed — Discuss next steps, options, and resources.

Posted on: Sep 17, 2021 08:32AM

ritac97 wrote:

3 weeks ago I was healthy. I had recent blood work that showed all my numbers were excellent. And then one morning I woke up with pain in my left breast. I thought I slept on it wrong somehow and waited until the following day to check it. That's when I found a lump. It was going into the weekend but I managed to get an appointment with an OB-GYN Monday morning. He checked the lump and immediately referred me to get a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. They didn't have any appointments available for over 2 weeks but I finally had the tests done 3 days ago. I knew by comments from the people doing the tests that it wasn't good. One mentioned "a lot of excess flesh" in the breast with pain. Another said she wanted to be honest "the ultrasound didn't look good". I was too shook up to ask any questions so I just went home and cried.

I got 2 more referrals for a biopsy and MRI but both couldn't schedule me right away. I have the MRI in a week and the biopsy in 2 weeks. I'm actively trying to get an earlier biopsy appointment. Yesterday I gathered up the courage to call radiology and get more details. I was told on a scale of 1 to 5, I was a 5 meaning cancer likely. I was also told it appeared to have spread to the lymph nodes and that it measured 3.4 cm on the largest side.

Ever since I can't stop crying. I am terrified. I feel like I've just received a death sentence. I just turned 50 years old last month. I didn't think cancer ran in my family because all the relatives on my mother's side never had cancer but I came to find out that my father's sister (my aunt) who we are estranged from, had both breasts removed due to cancer and that my second cousins on his side also had it.

People keep assuring me that everything is okay and that breast cancer treatment has come a long way but mostly that is for early detection. I am usually good about getting annual mammograms but this year I was so overwhelmed with other things that I missed the Feb 2021 appt. I wasn't very concerned because I've read that every 2 years after age 50 is recommended by a lot of doctors.

It appears my best case scenario at this point is stage 3. I won't know for sure until I have the MRI next week. I'm so scared I can't sleep. And when I do, I have nightmares. My grandmother on my mom's side lived into her 90s. I always thought I took after her as I resemble her. Now I am faced with not making it out of my 50s. I would appreciate just talking to people who have been through this. Maybe ones with stage 3 or 4 diagnoses because they can help me prepare for what's to come. Thank you.

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Sep 18, 2021 02:12PM ThreeTree wrote:

ritac97 - Rita, if you are looking into a lot of food changes; organic veggies, salmon, etc., you might really want to check out the Food for Breast Cancer site. It is legitimate and reliable. It is run by a person who got breast cancer, and yes, by her own admission she is not a medical person or a dietician, but she does have a math/science background and backs up her recommendations with studies that are of course available there to read. By the way, she says that organic chicken and turkey are OK, along with the salmon of course.

https://foodforbreastcancer.com/

I refer to this site quite often and it has been real helpful to me. She errs on the conservative side if there is any doubt about anything, so that too is a plus. There is a wealth of information there and I'm always finding something new and interesting. I think her basic premise is that while no one food or food alone will cure your cancer, if you stick to a variety of foods that have known cancer fighting properties, you might be able to at least help yourself in some ways. Just one more tool in the toolbox. She has posted lists of various foods that are both good and bad to eat, and also somewhat tailored to different types of cancer and treatments. I would highly recommend that you check out this website.

I've checked a lot of what she recommends against other sources and things usually all match up and agree, so I think it is a pretty reliable source to look at.

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Sep 19, 2021 04:23AM ritac97 wrote:

Hi all. My day started off good yesterday and then I signed onto the internet and there front and center on Yahoo was an article about breast cancer (courtesy of their tracking cookies). I clicked it of course and it immediately put me into a tail spin. I have an appointment with my PCP on Tuesday so I'm hoping to get some antidepressants to help. I have quite a few relatives on them and they seem to be doing fine. I should have been on them myself due to the situation with my parents but at that point it was more anxiety that needed treatment. Not sleeping well which isn't new for me due to stress over parents health and care so I figure I will respond to the posts that I didn't get to yesterday.

Sunshine99 I agree with you to avoid google at this point. I wasn't seeking out answers yesterday but the Yahoo homepage put something up front and center for me. to read. I believe it was an article referring to new treatments for breast cancer. But as I read it, I became more and more depressed. Why would they write something like that? They know that the people most likely to read it are those with cancer or those with loved ones who have cancer. So I've opted to stop reading anything cancer related and deleted the cookies from my computer in an effort to stop Yahoo from trying to figure out what's going on in my life.

I've heard the adage of positive thinking also. Don't have to worry about me on that one. I've always been a realist and for at least the past several years now struggled to see anything positive about my situation, and this was before the BC. I am here with 3 aging disabled parents, all who depend on me for everything they need help with. It's been a huge source of stress on me over the years. But they'll need to look elsewhere from now on. It will be interesting to see who, if anyone, steps forward to lend a hand.

Cowgirl13 I am eating healthy now but I'm still not sleeping well. I get maybe 5 hours a night. That's how it's been for years since my mother had a stroke and both my parents moved to live down the street from me. I think I read that poor sleeping habits does something to women's hormones. Not much I can do about it because I fall asleep quickly but then wake up at 1 or 2 a.m. and lay there thinking of things. It's very difficult for me to fall back to sleep once that happens. I'll talk to my PCP about getting on something to help me sleep better. Maybe the meds for depression and anxiety will help with that. I'm not strong right now. Everyone in my family knows that I've been broken ever since I've had to be the caregiver for my parents. It all came to a head in June and I was just starting to take some time to recover and focus on myself when this happened.

I'm not a soda drinker but I did drink water and black tea a lot. I've heard before that we should consume half our body weight in water each day. My husband has been pushing that for years. But when you weigh in the high 200s, that can be even more of a challenge. Plus I would need even more during the hot summer due to perspiration. But I went out and bought 2 massive jugs to carry around and they help. I think each holds 60 ounces of water. I keep one in the refrigerator while drinking the other. That way it stays cold. I'm in Las Vegas and it's been a blistering summer. It's easy to get dehydrated here.

Thank you for sharing your story. 12 years is fantastic. Not sure why type of cancer I have yet. All I know is "there's a lot of excess flesh", it's been hurting for 3 weeks now since I originally woke up with it sore, it measures 3.4 cm on the largest side, the ultrasound "didn't look good", and at least one node was enlarged and irregular. I have a lot of people praying for me. If I could just get past this overwhelming debilitating fear that I am experiencing. I'm not usually someone who turns to drugs (legal or otherwise) to fix things but in this case, I'm hoping the doctor gives me something so powerful that I wouldn't care if I just heard that a meteor was going to take out the planet.




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Sep 19, 2021 07:52AM - edited Sep 19, 2021 08:15AM by scaredme

Don't blame yourself for one minute! I had none of the risk factors at all and still ended up with a Stage 3 diagnosis! Honestly, I have a low BMI, no family history, breast fed both of my children, I don't drink, walk 3 miles a day, was 48 at diagnosis, have never smoked and eat a very healthy diet. I also have been proactive with mammograms and medical care until Covid delayed my last mammo 6 months and I found the lump myself. Honestly, I think this tumor has been there for years and the mammograms just never picked it up (They were following calcifications in the same exact spot for years before putting me back on a regular schedule). Unfortunately, Cancer does not discriminate!

That said, the last year has been very difficult but I'm doing well now once year out from diagnosis. I figure that I have given this beast a very inhospitable environment to live in and am comforted that I have done my best. I am still hoping that they are wrong in your case and it is not Cancer, but believe me, you will find the strength to fight this if you have to!! I agree with the others that you shouldn't try to stage yourself. The only thing that can stage you is the surgery to remove the tumor and lymph nodes.

Hugs to you.


Dx 8/11/2020, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 8/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/1/2020 Lumpectomy Surgery 10/29/2020 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 12/4/2020 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 3/25/2021 Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 3/29/2021 Femara (letrozole)
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Sep 19, 2021 01:21PM AlwaysMeC wrote:

Hi ritac97. All the responses here have covered just about everything I would have wanted to say as well. I just want to chime in and say that pain isn't really a good indicator of how your outcome might be. I complained about pain in the exact spot where I was diagnosed two and a half years before the biopsy. In fact, I saw six doctors about it, and like HomeMom, believed my gynecologist who said it was a fibroadenoma. Even the radiologist at the women's radiology center said it was likely to be tendon pain. Had I kept pushing, it would have been a very early stage 3-4mm lump that was super painful to me. Unfortunately, doctors are human too, and sometimes their training and experiences cause them to be more concerned about lessening anxiety than actually diagnosing the problem. My conclusion was that I had compassionate doctors who were really bad at their jobs because of biases they already had.

The pain could just be a normal thing, and part of your body letting you know something is wrong here, not necessarily something is very bad.

Dx 4/2/2021, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (FISH)
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Sep 20, 2021 10:13AM ritac97 wrote:

I apologize for taking so long to respond to the latest posts. I've been on a roller coaster of emotion and still trying to come to terms with the shock of a BC diagnosis. Went to church yesterday for the first time in over a year and found it to be very comforting. I wish I could live inside the church because it's about the only place I find peace. Came home and received a call from a relative. I've been avoiding the phone because it just makes me sad talking to people who love me and are in tears. I don't have any friends or extended family nearby. It's just my husband, me and 3 aging, disabled parents that we've been looking after (they all moved to live near us so we could help them). I did exercise today which I plan to do from now on. I'm going to try to get my body as healthy as possible for the trials to come. Right now I am 250 lbs and have been inactive for a long time. I'm eating dark green leafy salad, black beans, salmon, nuts, blueberries, yogurt, cottage cheese, olive oil dressing. Truth be told, I don't have much of an appetite. But I have to eat to stay healthy so I can fight this.

Whether I have 1 year left or 20, I am using this as a turning point in my life to get right with God and prepare for the eventual day of my death. I should have been doing that all along but life kept springing things on me and rather than bringing me closer to God, they just distracted me to the point that I just wanted to hide away and escape into video games or TV whenever I could. Anything was better than reality. I feel so helpless against the disease that is spreading inside of me. I just want it gone. It gets painful sometimes and I wonder what it's doing. Is it moving further into my lymph nodes? Did the mammogram and ultrasound pressing on it cause the cancer cells to spread further or worse, cause the encased tumor to pop? If my finger hurts, or my leg, or my back, or my neck...I'm suddenly wondering if cancer spread there rather than simple explanations. Anyway, let me respond to the people who I haven't answered yet.

ThreeTree Thank you for sharing that link. I bookmarked it and will check it out later. It's nice to have something that I can control rather than sitting here waiting. Yesterday I bought a large supply of chicken breasts. They claim on the package "no antibiotics" and "no ADDED hormones" and were a lower sodium than other labels. I'm not sure what to think of it. I had been eating chicken breasts and turkey before the BC but now I'm not sure I should eat them at all. I have started eating salmon which claims to be wild caught but then when I checked the package after returning home, I found it to be a product of China (I like to avoid all food from China). I'll finish the salmon I bought but I will buy something else next time. I think I will need to buy only organic chicken and turkey to feel truly comfortable at this point. I can't tell whether I'm overreacting by being so paranoid about my food. I mean, I haven't officially been diagnosed yet. But it helps to be doing something proactively. FYI, this morning I saw an article online regarding chicken and the factory farming methods are causing a disease which increases the fat level of the meat tremendously. I think the chickens are forced to grow so fast the fat enters the muscles. Walmart was one of the companies with the worst cases. I bought my chicken at Sam's Club (Walmart company).

scaredme It sounds like you did everything right and I'm sure your good health helped tremendously during treatment. I just don't get why cancer just randomly attacks like it does. I would love to share your story and those similar with the women in my family. I'm sure a lot of them are looking at my weight and stress and inactivity for reason behind the BC. I'm hoping my experience prompts them to take the risk seriously. At least on my mother's side of the family, there doesn't appear to be cancer. But as your story and others have shown, this isn't a guarantee. The not-knowing is excruciating. I mean, I don't want bad news but it seems like it will be another month or more before I can even get treatment started and I wonder about it getting worse over that time. From your profile it looks like you started receiving treatment 2 weeks after diagnosis. My biopsy isn't until Sept 29. I've been told, it will be 10 to 14 days for results. That will put me in mid Oct and then treatment at the end of October. That's a full 2 months after I first had breast pain! I'm curious about something you said though. You said the only thing that can "stage" me is surgery to remove the tumor and lymph nodes. I figured staging would come after the MRI and biopsy. Is that not how it happens?

AlwaysMeC I know I need to review what doctors are treating me. When i had pain, I just asked for whatever doctor could see me the soonest and then he referred me to other doctors. I always asked for the earliest appointments regardless of location or doctor. But I may need do some research before this goes much further and find a team who I can trust. I think it's terrible for doctors to assume lesser reasons are behind pain and lumps when BC is the leading cause of death for women in the US. There simply isn't any excuse for that. If there's a lump or pain, it should be biopsied, end of story. I understand what you mean about doctors who put compassion before reality. Just in the little time I've been dealing with this, I've noticed doctors and nurses going out of their way to sugar coat the news. It's not necessary. There's no way to avoid the feelings one gets when told they have (or probably have) BC.

I'm just happy to have this website and be able to talk to you all so I know what to expect. Thank you for taking the time to share your story. I always leave this message board feeling better than when I came in.

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Sep 20, 2021 10:37AM Sunshine99 wrote:

rita, do you keep a journal? I don't, and although I tried when I was first diagnosed with BC, I just didn't like the way my thoughts came out on paper. I wonder if you would find that helpful. You could track your symptoms, conversations, thoughts, feelings, etc. Again, I DON'T journal, but you seem to write well. Believe me, I'm not one of those people who say, "Oh, you absolutely MUST do such-and-such!" but it was just a thought that crossed my mind. If I'm off base, just tell me to go jump in the lake - or whatever expression makes you happy.

Happy

Wishing you a peaceful day,

Carol

Cancer has progressed to my bones. I pray that it never enters my soul. Dx 11/2/2007, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIA, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 3/26/2020, ILC/IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Hormonal Therapy 4/22/2020 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 5/5/2020 External: Bone Radiation Therapy 5/12/2020 External: Bone Targeted Therapy 6/10/2020 Ibrance (palbociclib)
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Sep 20, 2021 10:58AM - edited Sep 20, 2021 11:39AM by ThreeTree

ritac97 - I totally understand how getting healthier food can make you feel like you are in some kind of control. I did the same thing. I think that right after the surgeon who did the biopsy told me he was certain it was cancer, even before results were available, I stopped at the store on my way home and bought some green tea. I realized that I felt like I had to at least do something. I had been a green tea drinker off and on, but now I am a regular and steady one. I had been eating in a fairly healthy way prior to the diagnosis, but I have found that I could continue to tweak things and make my diet even more healthy that it was.

Yes, waiting for those final results will be very stressful. Relax and do what you can until you get them. Are you at a place that has MyChart? They have to post them immediately now, as soon as they are completed, so you would have access through MyChart, rather than waiting for a dr's appt.

I can really relate to how you got into things that "took you away from reality". I went through a divorce about 16 or 17 years ago, and then both of my parents started to really decline and eventually died over the next several years. (My in-laws had died leading up to the divorce - I think he was waiting to leave until they died, among other things. (A whole 'nother story, sorry.) During that time after the divorce, and watching my parents decline, I too found myself doing things that took me away from the stress of reality. For me it was getting super big into the internet and looking up just about anything I could think of; music, and that glass of wine or two in the evening after work. I have wondered if that wine and the stress, and then my inactivity at the time (usually in front of the computer or driving or sitting at a desk as part of my job) didn't contribute to my cancer.

In my case though, my father's mother had gotten breast cancer in her mid 60's like me, and my younger sister got it when she was 42. She had a much smaller tumor though, and 20 years later, she is still fine. She only had a lumpectomy and chemo and refused Tamoxifen. I also have a first cousin once removed on my father's side (that same side) who got breast cancer at about the same age as my sister, so I do think I have some family issue, but have never been tested. That cousin died because she declined any treatment at all. It was way back in the 1980's and I don't know a lot about it, only that she did not want any conventional medical treatment.

Like others have said here, I think it is really a crap shoot and I don't know that any one thing in particular caused my cancer. Even though I do beat myself up at times, I don't think that we should. We've lived our lives to the best of our abilities and what happens happens. At that point we can only look at the available options out there and go with them. I do think being pro active with food and exercise can help us at least mentally, if not physically.

Also, I've been meaning to ask: Is there some way that you can get help with your older family members? Taking care of three of them all by yourself is too much for anybody! Do they have insurance or assets of some kind that might help you hire from a home health agency? You mentioned that you were going back to church. Do you think there would be any church volunteers who could come by and help to give you a break? If you do indeed have cancer and will be needing treatment, you are not going to be able to take care of the senior members of your family like you have been. Again, that's too much even for a young healthy person. Check with your church and some area social service places, and see if you can't get some help with that!


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Sep 20, 2021 11:34AM scaredme wrote:

Just to give you a quick answer to your question about staging.. They will give you a preliminary stage after the MRI and Biopsy, but that will be adjusted after they do the lumpectomy/sentinel lymph node dissection. In my case, they ended up upstaging me due to the extent of my lymph node involvement which they actually did not know until my subsequent Axial node biopsy. The biopsy will tell you if you are Hormone Receptive and/or HER positive or Triple Negative. It will also tell you the grade of the Cancer (though mine was also upgraded after my lumpectomy).

I am sorry that things are moving so slowly for you. I was able to get in for my biopsy 24 hours after that fateful Diagnostic Mammogram and ultrasound and got my results 2 days later. I am wondering if things are slow now because they are finding many people having biopsies after Covid? For what it is worth, I opted to do a DMX and my surgeon was fine to wait another 7 weeks after my first surgery to do that along with my axial node biopsy.


Dx 8/11/2020, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 8/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/1/2020 Lumpectomy Surgery 10/29/2020 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 12/4/2020 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 3/25/2021 Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 3/29/2021 Femara (letrozole)
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Sep 20, 2021 01:28PM ritac97 wrote:

Sunshine99 No, I don't keep a journal. I had a diary for a short time when I was a child but that was it. Not sure what happened. I use to read a lot when I was younger too but now it's like I have ADD or something because I can't focus. My husband has YEARS of journals. I should follow his example and start writing down my thoughts. It certainly is a good idea. At least part of my story will be documented online on this website. And I would never tell you to go jump in a lake lol.

ThreeTree Thanks for mentioning green tea. I forgot I bought some yesterday and am drinking it now :) I tried to find an organic brand but all I ended up with was Bigalow decaffinated. They kept asking me what sort of caffeine I ingest daily. I told them I drank black tea, occasionally decaf coffee and sometimes ate chocolate. I've stopped the black tea completely after reading something about it mimicking estrogen. The green tea is good so I'll stick to that from now on. Not sure I should be consuming cottage cheese because the milk they used to make it could have hormones but it tastes good on my salad so for now I'm letting that slide.

I've never heard of MyChart before. I'll have to look into that. It would be nice to get the results a.s.a.p. rather than waiting for the certified snail mail to arrive. That's how they informed me of my mammogram results several days after I knew about the BC.

BTW, your ex sounds like a real jerk! My husband's father moved in with us for a couple years prior to my mom's stroke. I remember pleading with my parents to take better care of themselves after my FIL passed away because of how difficult it was on my husband and I. All the anxiety I felt over them was for naught because it didn't do one thing to stop my mom from having a catastrophic stroke or my dad from mishandling the situation for years after. Your story is very similar to mine regarding the prolonged exposure to stress. I think a lot of people turned to the internet to de-stress. Not sure if it helped or hurt because it kept us sedentary and exposed us to unlimited negative stories from around the world 24/7.

I'm going to be laughed at for suggesting this, but about 6 months ago I discovered a video game that I became completely obsessed with. Up to that point, I played hidden object games in my free time. I found them to be both entertaining and relaxing. But I wanted something new so i started researching and found one that some claim to be the best game ever made. It's called Red Dead Redemption 2. It's created by the same people who made Grand Theft Auto so it's not for children but the graphics are absolutely stunning. It was hard learning it at first because I wasn't use to that sort of game play but once you get the hang of it, it's easy. Now all I do when I play is ride horses, go fishing, hunt animals (yes I felt guilty over this at first and still find myself not shooting them when i don't have to), and take in the beautiful landscapes. It takes place in the 1800s so it's a western theme but it's very realistic and takes me far, far away from the miseries of the world. The only downside is the long periods of inactivity that is required to play it. So I'm making sure I exercise in the morning now and walk around as much as possible. But I also question whether the stress and inactivity played a role in my BC. Maybe not everyone's experience but it's hard to ignore that it happened after my worst period of time for both.

Regarding the familial history link, they really should do a better job with their risk assessment questionnaires and ask about women on the father's side. It would be rare for the father to get breast cancer even if he's carrying the gene but he's very likely to pass it on to his daughters. I realize the genetic component is only a small part of BC diagnoses but it's hard to dismiss it when it's staring you right in the face. Your story is very similar to mine in that I had second cousins who died relatively young from it and then my aunt got it in her 70s. I think beating ourselves up and having regrets is just a part of the grieving process. You had some questions...

You asked...Is there some way that you can get help with your older family members? Taking care of three of them all by yourself is too much for anybody! Do they have insurance or assets of some kind that might help you hire from a home health agency?

No one has stepped up to this point. My MIL is pretty much set because we got her into a great assisted living facility and she is thriving (I wish I could live there!). My parents are another story. They have been the source of 95% of my stress for several years now. My mom isn't in a position to make any decisions so it basically up to my 81 year old father. Legally he is responsible for calling the shots. All I can do is try to persuade him. They have a live in caregiver now who I'm not happy with but I don't have it in me to fight anymore. Were I in control, things would be a lot different. And now I don't want that control because any incentive I had to throw myself into the lion's den and save my parents just went out the window with the (likely) BC diagnosis.

You said...You mentioned that you were going back to church. Do you think there would be any church volunteers who could come by and help to give you a break? If you do indeed have cancer and will be needing treatment, you are not going to be able to take care of the senior members of your family like you have been. Again, that's too much even for a young healthy person. Check with your church and some area social service places, and see if you can't get some help with that!

I was only their physical caregiver for part of the time during the past several years. My mom is bed bound which means changing diapers, tube feeding, etc. I mostly did it as a backup position when their live in caregiver took time off or quit. But someone has to manage it all The hiring and firing, the doctors appointments, the medications, the groceries, the medical supplies, dentist, etc. It's been a lot to handle. The pandemic made things worse because my mom caught Covid from a caregiver and I was having to drive over to take care of her at all hours of the day and night. No one wanted the job because she was positive for Covid. And there was pressure on me from all sides to make sure she was safe and cared for. It's just been a nightmare and I just don't have anything left to commit to them. Not sure what the future holds but I have to focus on my own health. It's someone else's turn!

scaredme Thank you for explaining that about the staging. I wasn't sure how it worked. I can understand why they might upstage you after surgery but why would the cancer grade change? It seems so complicated. I always assumed BC was a single disease. Hormone Receptive and/or HER positive or Triple Negative? WTH? I'm not sure I want to learn what those mean yet. I'll wait and hear what they say and then gather the courage to find out what they're talking about. It's scary stuff. You guys seem so grounded. I sometimes feel like I want to jump out of my skin. Tomorrow is my PCP appointment so I'm hoping she'll give me something for anxiety and/or depression, at least for the short term. I normally don't like taking unnecessary medication but I could use a little help right now.




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Sep 20, 2021 01:44PM exbrnxgrl wrote:

ritac,

When one has testing for genetic mutations they do ask about all family history, both maternal and paternal, several generations back! This is why those who are being tested need to work with a genetics counselor.

Unfortunately, genetic testing and counseling are expensive. It would be great if anyone who wanted genetic testing/counseling could simply request it but the reality of it yielding little actionable info for the majority of folks makes it difficult to justify the expense. I know that money should not be the driver of health care but it is in many instances.

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)
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Sep 20, 2021 04:36PM - edited Sep 20, 2021 04:37PM by chiefswife

ritac, if you're considering getting the surgery where they make you new boobs using your own body fat, you will need your excess weight. So look into the Diep before setting out to lose weight, you might want to move forward doing this. I did and it's not so bad. I'm sorry about your situation.


I was also age 50 when diagnosed, today I am 62.

2nd Dx 2015 IDC, right side Dx 5/14/2010, ILC/IDC, Right, 4cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Sep 20, 2021 05:32PM - edited Sep 20, 2021 05:53PM by scaredme

I hate to throw too much information at you, but here's some information for starters. You biopsy will tell you which type you have:

The vast majority (70-80%) of breast cancers are hormone positive. It just means that the cancer cells have progesterone or estrogen receptors on them that cause them to grow. These cancers are treated with anti-hormonal drugs after surgery/radiation/chemo (Femera or Tamoxifen for example)

HER2-positive breast cancer is a breast cancer that tests positive for a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). This protein promotes the growth of cancer cells. HER2+ makes about 10-20% of breast cancers. In this type, the cancer cells have extra copies of the gene that makes the HER2 protein. HER2-positive breast cancers tend to be more aggressive than other types of breast cancer and typically will require chemo before surgery. It is possible to be both HER2 positive and hormone positive (Triple positive). There are targeted therapies (Herceptin for example) for HER+ breast Cancers that will shut down this protein, thus slowing the growth and killing these cells.

Triple negative breast cancer just means that the cancer is not Progesterone/Estrogen/HER2 positive. This type of Cancer tends to be more aggressive and typically receives chemo before surgery. As far as I know, there is no treatment after surgery/chemo or radiation to prevent it from coming back.

Also, for the record, I was also freaking out at your point. I've had a whole year to digest this and learn about it. It has been quite the journey for me. It gets a lot easier when you have a plan in place. The waiting is the absolute worst!



Dx 8/11/2020, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 8/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/1/2020 Lumpectomy Surgery 10/29/2020 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 12/4/2020 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 3/25/2021 Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 3/29/2021 Femara (letrozole)
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Sep 20, 2021 06:05PM beach2beach wrote:

You have gotten some great advice on here already. At 51 I was diagnosed. My sister(older) had been diagnosed at age 48 with IBC,,automatic IIIC back then she had chemo, surgery, radiation, herceptin. 12 years later...she is still here. No other history. My mom, nope, grandmas nope. Genetic mutations, nope. Why my sister and I? who knows..I was waiting for it to happen I guess. My breast cancer, small ILC, 9mm and stage 1. Mine was caught early. Did a double and take tamoxifen. My sister and I were complete opposites.

My point is,....there is not expiration date stamped on the bottom of your foot. It's hard not to google, the bad jumps right out at you. Waiting is horrible, but it really is true that once you know what you have and you start a game plan,,,you get some control back. You'll keep on living. Hanging in there.

Dx 7/28/2017, LCIS/DCIS/ILC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 8/8/2017 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Hormonal Therapy 9/12/2017 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Sep 20, 2021 08:26PM - edited Sep 20, 2021 11:08PM by AliceBastable

It usually takes years for a cancer to get to the point where it's found on imaging, so any recent stress or inactivity would have no bearing on it. Trying to find a cause why cancer develops, beyond just being alive, is futile. Don't you think scientists have spent years on this question already?

Endometrial cancer 2010, basal cell multiples, breast cancer 2018, kidney cancer 2018. Boring. Hope it stays that way. Dx 5/2018, ILC, Left, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/11/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 8/8/2018 Radiation Therapy 10/29/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Sep 20, 2021 09:14PM ThreeTree wrote:

ritac97 - MyChart is one of a number of "patient portals" that the different health care systems use. There are different ones, but they're all about the same. Check with your medical center, because it can be real helpful. You can message providers, pay your bill, and see test results as soon as they are completed. You can manage your appointments with it too. For me it beats having to call all these offices and wait for appointments to get info, etc. Some patient portals have a few different features than others, but they make a lot of this so much easier.

Re my former spouse, since he is my kids' father, I try to keep the negative feelings I have about him to a minimum and don't express them too often or too harshly, but I have to say that reading your comment about him being a real jerk, gave me a good deal of pleasure! Even after all these years, the things they did can still be pretty fresh in your mind.

Thanks too for the explanation about your caregiving situation. I had initially gotten the idea that all 3 of them were living with you and that you were the 'round the clock caregiver. It's true though, that even with someone in assisted living and the others with a caregiver, managing all those appointments, etc. can still be a real job and then some! I agree that you have to focus on your own health right now, so it would still be nice if you could get some extra help with all of that.


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Sep 20, 2021 10:25PM - edited Sep 20, 2021 10:27PM by krr67

Lost my first reply...

Do not be scared.i had mastectomy at 67. Now have MBC and stage 1 lung cancer , in addition I had a pacemaker implanted March 2020. I had total of 45 radiation sessions. I will go out kicking screaming and fighting. I am also on n letrozole.

MyChart is good and I always Google the results. Unfortunately it can be bad. I found out I was malignant right before the doctor called.


Be tough, be strong. Some days are much better than others. I wish you the best. I have gone 9 months now and had great cat scans last time. Take care, Krr.

p.s.I am now 75. Each day is a blessing.

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Sep 22, 2021 04:38PM ritac97 wrote:

Hi all,

Today is my MRI so I will be getting news from that soon. Sorry for the delay in responding to the last people who posted. Still having ups and downs but yesterday I saw my doctor and she gave me a pep talk and prescribed me antidepressants. They take weeks to become effective but at least it's a start. She told me she hasn't lost a cancer patient in 10 years and that medical advancements have been substantial which is what a lot of you have been saying. She also felt my tumor and exclaimed that it was the size of a golf ball (that didn't make me feel better). Still trying to be optimistic about the MRI and hoping for the best. Family has been supportive which is nice (well some of them have). I'll respond to the recent postings now.

exbrnxgrl They should do a better job of stressing the genetic importance of it. My doctor said it is linked to 30% of cancers. That is higher than what I've read elsewhere but I know if I was aware that my aunt (father's sister) had it, I would have been more proactive. That is akin to my mother having it.

chiefswife That's a thought but right now I have enough fat to supply boobs to 20 or more women so I'm not real concerned about losing some of my excess weight. It's something I've been putting off due to stress/depression and I think at the very least it will boost my mood and make me more able to handle the trials to come.

scaredme It seems so complicated. Only time will tell what I have. Next week is the biopsy. I'm both anxious to see the results and not. Part of me likes the not-knowing because once I know it becomes real. I'm still praying for a miracle, such as all these doctors are wrong and it's going to turn out to be a funky looking cyst.

AliceBastable It makes me wonder if they missed it on last year's mammogram. I had it in February. How long would it take for it to reach 3.4 cm? Unless of course it's the fast growing kind. I remember a few years ago I considered getting the more detailed mammograms instead. They offered them to me. I don't remember why I didn't. I think I thought I was such low risk, what was the need. No one that I knew of in my family had ever had breast cancer and then there was the component of extra radiation involved. I won't dwell on such regrets though. I need to be looking forward and focus on survival and living life to the fullest.

ThreeTree My PCP has a website where she posts my records, notes and I can email her. I believe the insurance company has it's own as well. If I don't see the results up there when they say I can expect them, I'll contact them directly. But the email feature has been great. My doctor usually responds the same day. Don't want to abuse the privilege though.

I'd be dead right now if I had all three parents living with me. But my husband and I have physically (diapers, hygiene, feeding, etc) taken care of 2 of them at separate points in time. Since Dec 2020 it's mostly been the other things. The stress of it all lingers. June this year was a bad month. Not sure what will happen in the future with it all because I need to focus on myself. Someone better step up!

krr67 Sorry to hear about your situation but I'm glad you are getting good results now. I'm trying to be strong. There are so many courageous women on here that I feel bad for being so weak that I can't face it like you all are. I will try to use you all as an example.

I'm off to get my MRI. Thanks to all. Be safe, be healthy and be blessed.



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Sep 22, 2021 05:15PM exbrnxgrl wrote:

ritac97,

30% may be the figure for genetic mutations for all cancers, but the percentage associated with breast cancer is about half of that if not a bit less. This is from the American Cancer Society:

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/risk-and-prevention/breast-cancer-risk-factors-you-cannot-change.html

Please remember that cancer is a big tent and each type of cancer is different and receives treatment for that type of cancer. The biggest risk factor in getting bc? Having breast tissue. As to genetic testing, I think the counseling part is very important but it still may not justify testing for those who don’t meet the testing criteria, given that the chances of a mutation being found is still low. Take care.

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)
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Sep 23, 2021 04:53AM scaredme wrote:

Best of luck to you today! One step closer to getting a plan in pace.

Dx 8/11/2020, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 8/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/1/2020 Lumpectomy Surgery 10/29/2020 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 12/4/2020 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 3/25/2021 Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 3/29/2021 Femara (letrozole)
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Sep 23, 2021 08:25AM Beesie wrote:

"if I was aware that my aunt (father's sister) had it, I would have been more proactive. That is akin to my mother having it."

That's not correct.

If you mother had breast cancer, and if it was caused by a genetic mutation - and there's only a 15% chance of that - then there is a 50% chance that you might have inherited the mutation and therefore be higher risk.

If you have an aunt who had breast cancer, and if it was caused by a genetic mutation, this means that she inherited the genetic mutation from one of her parents, i.e. one of your paternal grandparents. If one of your paternal grandparents had a genetic mutation, there is a 50% chance that each of their children might inherit this mutation; in other words, there's a 50% chance your father would have inherited this mutation. If he did, there is then a 50% chance that you would inherit it from him.

So your risk of carrying a genetic mutation, IF your aunt carries a genetic mutation, is 25% (50% of 50%), i.e. half as likely as your risk if your mother (or a full sibling) carries a genetic mutation.

This is why genetic testing should be done by a genetic counsellor, who goes through your family history and explains all this.

Remember that breast cancer is common - 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed - while breast cancer causing genetic mutations are less common. As others have said, the highest risk factor for developing breast cancer is being a woman. The second highest risk factor for developing breast cancer is getting older. As we get older, some of our genes stop working properly and fail. It's part of the aging process. If it happens to be the breast cancer genes that fail through aging and wear & tear, then you develop breast cancer.

Dx 9/15/2005 Right, 7cm+, DCIS-Mi, Stage IA, Gr 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR- ** Dx 01/16/2019 Left, 8mm, IDC, Stage IA, Gr 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (FISH) ** Surgery 11/30/2005 MX Right, 03/06/2019 MX Left ** Hormonal Therapy 05/2019 Letrozole
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Sep 23, 2021 07:21PM msphil wrote:

sweetie take deep breath listen to my story was planning our 2nd marriages man I prayed for and one morning in shower felt the lump. I worked in O R as instrument tech and city clinic own office in peds medical records. Went to work and schedule needle biopsy and saw my nurse friends face as she looked across to the doctor. I knew then called my fiance and had my first cry one of many I met the man of my prayers and dreams now this cant be happening. Appointments moved fast and I got my phone call doctor asked was i alone at the time I was fiance was still at work I knew then dropped phone after he said I had breast cancer. Had 2nd opinion and then it started. Diagnosed with IDC stage2 0/3 nodes 3 mo chemo before and after L mast we got married then 7wks rads and 5 yrs on tamoxifen. With faith my fiance family friends Positive thoughts lots of Hope this yr Imma a 27yr Survivor Praise God. Look to my journey for Inspiration and I was only 42 at diagnosis. Hold on. msphil

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Sep 24, 2021 05:43PM ritac97 wrote:

Hi everyone, I apologize but I'm too shaken up to respond the my most recent posts. I will try to get back to them tomorrow. I received the results of my MRI today and it was terrible news. My tumor apparently has doubled in size from what they said it was initially. They told me it was 2.5 cm x 3.4 cm x 2.3 cm but the MRI said this...

Suspicious enhancing mass along the upper outer left breast
corresponding to the area of concern. Dimensions approximately 4 x 6.3
x 4.4 cm (trv x ap x cc). Heterogeneous enhancement kinetics. Mostly
rapid washout kinetics centrally. Peripheral progressive enhancement. Malignancy
until proven otherwise. Recommend ultrasound-guided biopsy.
No mass or suspicious enhancement elsewhere to imply multicentric
disease. The left breast consists of scattered fibroglandular elements.
No parenchymal, background enhancement. Mildly prominent lymph node in
the left axilla corresponding to the recent ultrasound finding.
Recommend ultrasound-guided sampling as well.

The tumor doubling in size in just a couple weeks can only mean I have the aggressive type of fast growing cancer. :( I don't even know what to think. I'm still in shock. I emailed my doctor but wanted to share the info with you all as well. My biopsy isn't until Wednesday.


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Sep 24, 2021 06:11PM exbrnxgrl wrote:

Rita,

I know this is worrisome but I’m going to say that it is unlikely that your tumor has doubled in size. Was the initial size dx as a result of a mammogram or an ultrasound ? If so, you should understand that different imaging modalities “see” things differently so the sizes are just estimates based on what the imaging sees. The ultimate measure of tumor size is taken at the time of surgical removal (unless one does neo-adjuvant chemo).

My point is that you have made a huge leap into the deep end by deciding you have an aggressive fast growing cancer based on imaging alone. It’s been 10 years but if I’m remembering correctly, my estimated tumor size, based on diagnostic mammo, was 2.5 cm. When it was removed during surgery it was actually 4 cm. No, it did not grow wildly it was just that imaging cannot always see the whole tumor. And by the way, it was a grade 1, so actually rather lazy! Overall, breast cancer is not fast growing.

Please Rita, I know it is really difficult to do but don’t get ahead of yourself or jump to conclusions on things that you don’t have a full picture of yet. You are simply creating unnecessary stress for yourself by trying to do your doctor’s job. Let him be the one to determine everything about your bc. After all, that’s what he trained many years to do! Take care.

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)
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Sep 24, 2021 06:20PM ElaineTherese wrote:

I'm with exbrnxgrl on this one. Different scans will see different things. My lump was 3.9 cm on an ultrasound. However, the MRI said it was 5 cm, plus had a lovely satellite. It was what it was.

By the way, I did have an aggressive type of fast growing cancer (HER2+), and I'm still here and healthy seven years later. ((Hugs))

DX IDC June 28, 2014, 5 cm., 1 node tested positive (fine needle biopsy); 0/20 after neoadjuvant chemo + ALND; Grade 3; ER+ PR+ HER2+ Neoadjuvant chemotherapy starting 7/23/14 ACX 4, Taxol X 12, Perjeta X 4; Herceptin: one year Chemotherapy 7/22/2014 AC Targeted Therapy 9/16/2014 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy 9/16/2014 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 9/16/2014 Taxol (paclitaxel) Surgery 1/11/2015 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary Hormonal Therapy 2/24/2015 Aromasin (exemestane), Zoladex (goserelin) Radiation Therapy 3/8/2015 Breast, Lymph nodes
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Sep 24, 2021 06:25PM moth wrote:

just ditto'ing what exbrnxgrl said. What imaging sees is an estimate & different imaging can vary widely in accuracy. Do not carastrophize & get ahead of yourself. Just let the process unfold & deal with things as they become clear.

Hang in there

I take weekends off

Initial dx at 50. Seriously?? “Sometimes the future changes quickly and completely and we’re left with only the choice of what to do next." blog: Never Tell Me the Odds

Dx 12/2017, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 12/12/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 2/13/2018 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 8/13/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Dx 2/2020, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to liver/lungs, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 3/18/2020 Taxol (paclitaxel) Immunotherapy 3/18/2020 Tecentriq (atezolizumab) Chemotherapy 11/25/2020 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 12/8/2020 External Dx 12/9/2020, IDC, Right, Stage IV, metastasized to lungs, Grade 3, ER+/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Hormonal Therapy 12/15/2020 Femara (letrozole) Dx 1/28/2021, IDC, Left, Stage IV, metastasized to bone Radiation Therapy 3/2/2021 External: Bone
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Sep 24, 2021 06:30PM - edited Sep 24, 2021 06:37PM by exbrnxgrl

rita,

Since you are concerned about aggressiveness, low growth fraction cancers like bc grow more slowly than some other types of cancers you may be thinking of.
Compared with many types of cancer, breast cancer has a "low growth fraction," meaning that the proportion of cancer cells that are in an active cell cycle is low. Some tumors, such as some leukemias and lymphomas, have much higher growth fractions.
Please do yourself a huge favor and let your mo decide if your possible bc is aggressive or fast growing. Unless you are a qualified medical professional, I have no idea how you can reach that conclusion.

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)
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Sep 25, 2021 03:27AM - edited Sep 25, 2021 03:28AM by scaredme

Same advise here. Don't get ahead of yourself. My tumor originally measured 2.7 cm on ultrasound and was over 4 cm when they removed it 3 weeks later. They can't always get a clear picture with ultrasound! I also had lymph node involvement and am still here (and doing well) a year later.Let your Oncologist do what they do best.

Dx 8/11/2020, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 8/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/1/2020 Lumpectomy Surgery 10/29/2020 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 12/4/2020 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 3/25/2021 Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 3/29/2021 Femara (letrozole)
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Sep 25, 2021 04:40AM Rah2464 wrote:

I will pipe in with a different experience - my tumor imaged 2.5 cm on the MRI, final size at surgery was 1.3cm. The irritation and inflammation can sometimes distort estimates of size. Every little thing about going through this diagnosis is overwhelming and frightening. I hope our experiences with differences in imaging modalities helps take the edge off. Final pathology upon removal of the affected area is just the only way to know what is truly happening but it is the unknown that is so difficult to deal with. Hugs

Dx 5/23/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 6/26/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 7/26/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Sep 25, 2021 04:55AM ritac97 wrote:

Hi everyone. Having trouble sleeping so I decided to get back to responding to posts on here. Biopsy coming up on Wednesday. Finding out that my cancer tumor is larger than they thought has rattled me but I'm hanging in there.

exbrnxgrl Thank you for explaining that. I keep trying to answer the question "why me?" but it looks like there is no answer other than I was unlucky. There are a lot of things I could have done differently but it may not have protected me from getting cancer. I do regret not getting my mammogram in February but it's done. I'll do my best to focus on the future rather than dwell on what got me here. Still in shock over it all.

scaredme Thanks for the "best of luck". Next stop, biopsy.

Beesie The genetic part sounds like just one piece of the puzzle. I was the poster child for BC given all my risk factors. Obese, genetic history, poor eating habits, inactivity, high stress, large breasts. But I also realize that many people who are fit and eat right are diagnosed so go figure. The size of my tumor is alarming though. I mean how does it get that big when I had a mammogram in Feb 2020? It's over 2.5 inches long! It just makes me wonder if they missed it. The MRI doesn't show that it spread other than to one lymph node but I realize the full story won't be revealed until they remove it surgically. I hope the process moves faster once the biopsy is completed. It's a terrible feeling having something that large and dangerous growing inside. I'm reminded of it every time I shift positions and feel pain.

msphil Wow, 27 year survivor is amazing! I didn't think it was even possible. I'm not sure I could even attain a stage 2 diagnosis at this point because my tumor is so large (over 6 cm) but I guess it depends on the biopsy. Thanks for sharing your story though. Gives me hope that I can lives beyond my 50s.

exbrnxgrl The initial size was from a diagnostic mammogram AND ultrasound. They told me 2.5 cm x 3.4 cm x 2.3 cm. That was on Sept 14. Sept 22 via the MRI they are telling me 4 cm x 6.3 cm x 4.4 cm. That's nearly twice the size! Not news I wanted to hear but at least they are only seeing one affected node and no apparent spread yet. I know the biopsy is more apt to give me a clearer picture on what I'm dealing with. I wish they could have scheduled me sooner. Slow growing or not, you would think they would move quicker when someone shows up with a (highly likely cancerous) lump of that size. But I only have a few more days. Of course, then I have to wait for the results too.

ElaineTherese I still don't understand all the positive, negative, grading, staging, etc on this. It just seems so complicated. How can one type of cancer have so many different markers?

moth Doing my best not to panic. Did I mention that I was diagnosed with chronic anxiety and depression BEFORE this? I should have gotten myself on medication years ago but didn't like the side effects. My doctor put me on Paroxetine a few days ago. Seems to be working okay. It's still early but I've read it is faster acting than some others. They usually take weeks to be at full effect but I think this one acts quicker. At least I'm no longer crying. Just feel anxious all the time but that is usual for me. I'm hoping that subsides as I take this longer.

exbrnxgrl You're right of course. The not-knowing has been really difficult. It's hard for me to not think the worst. I don't like feeling helpless and out of control. I'm a planner and I can't plan if I don't know if I have 3 years to live or 30. And this whole thing seems to be going at a snail's pace. It's going on one month since I woke up with breast pain. Just get the thing out of me!

scaredme You are fortunate that your doctors/insurance moved quickly with you. That had to bring you some relief. It sounds like you went from ultrasound to removal in 3 weeks. I'm still trying to get mine biopsied a month later. Health care system sucks in my state. Who knows what size my tumor will be when they finally remove it. Still need to research doctor to oversee my treatment. When I found the lump, I asked for earliest appointment of any OB-GYN and have been going through that network ever since. I don't even know the names of my doctors right now. That should be at the top of my "to do" list is to find doctors that I am comfortable with. But I won't move on that until after I get the biopsy results.

Thanks everyone for your support. Sorry for the melt-down fest but I'm getting through it. You all have been a great source of strength for me. This is the scariest thing I've ever dealt with in my life. Wasn't expecting it at 50. Thought I was relatively healthy and had time before worrying about such things. Life is like that I guess. Trying to grow from the experience and will learn to accept things as they come. I do have difficulty staying optimistic due to a difficult life history but will do my best with it. Will continue to hurry up and wait.




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Sep 25, 2021 07:25AM Ausykaren wrote:

Hi Ritac97,

I’m here too. I had a pretty crappy diagnosis that was never seen on mammograms. I was even told that my right breast was just more dense. Silly me never thought to question it until I could feel swollen lymph nodes under my arm.

I was very scared like you. Give yourself some time. I struggled for a long time but it will get better once you have a plan of action I agree to get on some meds to help you relax.

Take care and I’m free to chat anytime.


Dx 2/2017, IDC, Right, 4cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 3, 11/19 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-

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