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Topic: Worried about future

Forum: Stage III Breast Cancer — You are not alone. Meet others who have Stage III breast cancer.

Posted on: Jan 12, 2020 07:06PM - edited Jan 12, 2020 07:06PM by bananas07

bananas07 wrote:

Hello everyone. This is my first time posting. I was originally diagnosed with Stage I IDC 1cm w/DCIS, er/pr+, her2-, but after my bilateral mastectomy in December it changed to Stage III. It was a shock to everyone as there was no sign of lymph node involvement beforehand. Luckily my PET and CT scans were all clear. I will have my 2nd chemo tx this Thursday. The 1st tx went well and I had little side effects from it. Hoping that continues.

I just can't quit thinking how I feel like I've been robbed of a future. I'm 31 and decided to go back to school last January. I was finally feeling like things were going right. The oncologist is pretty optimistic about my outlook which is helpful. I just really thought I'd make it to old age and now that just doesn't seem likely anymore. I'm trying to have a positive attitude but this has just all been such a shocking and stressful time. Prior to this, I had always been so healthy and active. Even my genetic testing came back negative.

I'm also tired of people telling me how brave I am. I have no choice but to be. I just want to live a long life!

Dx 12/2/2019, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, 11/12 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH)
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Jan 12, 2020 09:11PM blah333 wrote:

That is tough.... I have also felt robbed at times. I am a little older than you (37 now) was 35 when I had my DCIS/bilateral mastectomy and it was hard, I feel like my prime was cut short and I got catapulted into middle age. In the fall I started taking some classes and I am definitely one of the older students in the program but not the oldest. Seeing kids born in 1996, 1999 with their whole adult lives head of them and thinking they are going to have a nice long career in this field, it feels like they still have a future and I don't. Most meaningful things in life do take a bit of time, I wish I got started sooner. With recurrence scares I keep thinking my life will be cut short. I wish I had moved a bit faster. It's hard to plan or think of a course of action if you now have no concept of how much time you have left. Prior to all of this I never expected a long life but I felt like assuming I'd make it to 60 was a safe assumption. Not so sure now.

It is particularly alienating when other people your age are accomplishing things and hitting milestones like marriage, buying a house, having kids, and you are dealing with your treatment. I've had a hard time lately comparing myself to others, to the majority of people I know or see around that haven't had any major healthy issues and are running around enjoying life, oblivious. Most of your peers won't have a frame of reference for it, other than their moms or someone else's mom. Stage III does sound serious or daunting, at least compared to 0, 1, and 2. People will tell you to take it one day at a time or not to worry, but it's hard. I haven't figured that one out yet. Friends of mine said they stay away from googling things, I can't resist. I deal with problems by throwing myself at them and it's hard to distract myself when something is hanging over my head. Some people (who have never had anything happen to them) try to tell me that everything has a silver lining, haven't found it yet for breast cancer. But maybe the upside is when we are middle age, parents are dying and at the age when most people first face their mortality or know they are in the autumn/winter of their lives, we will be like "eh, whatever... I already dealt with all that and thought about death a ton in my 30s! no time for that now"

I think having a sense of humor about all of this also helps. But I have no idea how you get one. I've become more dead serious since all of this. One of my friends in Stage II treatment at the moment does find absurdity and laugh about some of this, I can appreciate hearing her chuckle when she tells me things but I don't have it in me to be like that at the moment. Hang in there.

Age 35 at diagnosis Dx 9/2017, DCIS, Left, 6cm+, Stage 0, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 12/1/2017 Mastectomy: Left, Right
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Jan 13, 2020 07:01AM Moderators wrote:

Hello, bananas, and welcome to! We're glad to hear that your first chemo went well, and hope that the rest of sessions continue like that!

If you want, there is also a forum for those who are Young with breast cancer, where you can meet more members who have been diagnosed at a young age and can answer your questions, support you, and share their journeys with you. Please feel free to join in there too and share your story.

We hope this helps! Thanks for joining and posting and we look forward to hearing more from you soon!

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Jan 13, 2020 03:02PM Salamandra wrote:

It is so hard to go through experiences so out of step with your peers, and I'm sorry you're dealing with this so young.

For me, it wasn't so much breast cancer but other prior experiences that gave me feelings that I think I can empathize with yours. I go through a stable of different coping mechanisms/things I tell myself. Sometimes one thing helps, sometimes another.

I definitely recommend taking advantage of any mental health support you have available. A therapist who can give you a place to check in with and vent your feelings can make a big difference. If you're in a large enough city, I bet you can find a therapist with some focus on young people dealing with chronic/serious illness, who could bring some really good experience to helping you and maybe also help you find some community or feel less different.

For what it's worth, I'll say that feelings really do come and go. I had a (good) therapist once share with me that actually people are really bad at predicting how we'll feel in the future, and that a lot of unnecessary pain comes from making unhelpful and inaccurate predictions. I think it's really important to honor all your feelings in the moment, however negative, and also try not to project your current feelings forward.

Sending hugs.

Dx at 39. 1.8cm. Oncotype 9. Dx 9/19/2018, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 10/17/2018 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Hormonal Therapy 11/1/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy 12/3/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 12/18/2019 Fareston (toremifene)

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