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Topic: Long term survivors, have you changed your lifestyle

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

Posted on: Nov 14, 2020 06:18PM - edited Nov 15, 2020 06:26PM by linava

linava wrote:

To all the long term survivors , 5+ years. Have you changed your lifestyle since diagnosis, if so what changes have you made? I am only a few years out from my dx, which was pretty bad. Mine was IDC, stage 3C, 2.5 cm grade 2 tumor with ER/PR+ Her 2- and I had 12/13 nodes test positive with extranodal extension and I worry about a recurrence. When I see the stories of long term survivors, it gives me hope. Knowing if someone made changes and what those changes were would provide me and others with valuable information to enable us to become long term survivors as well. We benefit from the advice and knowledge from others and together can be strong.

9/14/2018, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 12/13 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/18/2018 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 11/7/2018 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Doxil (doxorubicin), Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 5/7/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 7/21/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Nov 14, 2020 06:45PM ElaineTherese wrote:


I was diagnosed six years ago (you can see my diagnosis in my signature). I was also Stage III, and I also worry about recurrence. I've been doing ovulation suppression (Zoladex) + an aromatase inhibitor (Aromasin) for over five years. I try to exercise regularly, but it's been more difficult recently because my kids are home from school so much, thanks to Covid-19, and they can't be left alone unattended (twins with autism). I've been trying to eat more veggies, and that's gotten easier as my daughter (21 y.o.) isn't around much anymore. So, I haven't done anything extreme. I've just tried to take small steps to healthier living. ((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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Nov 14, 2020 07:48PM MinusTwo wrote:

I'm at 7+ years and really no changes. I'm walking every day now, but that's only because the gyms & swimming pools closed with the virus. I never really ate fried foods or fast foods either so no change there. I only eat red meat about once a month - but that's not a change either. I haven't given up my daily gin & tonic or a glass of red wine. I haven't given up chocolate.

I will say, I am ER/PR negative so haven't had to contend with Tamox or Als. But I was HER2+. Still - I was in the best possible shape of my life when I got BC in the first place. Luck of the draw. That's what I have to count on for the future.

2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Nov 14, 2020 10:43PM - edited Nov 14, 2020 10:43PM by Francesca30

Hi Linava,

Thanks for asking this question . We have similar stats and this thread is very helpful☺️ I worry about my diet and the correct supplements to take too, but can't seem to stop eating sweets (although a lot less than before) and my re wine on weekends. I'm only several months out from diagnosis.

Surgery 3/13/2019 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left Dx 3/14/2019, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 13/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 4/3/2019 TAC Radiation Therapy 8/13/2019 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 8/13/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 11/17/2019 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 11/29/2019 Femara (letrozole) Surgery 7/30/2020 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant
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Nov 15, 2020 12:50AM lifelover wrote:


I'm almost to my 10 year since diagnosis milestone!

The best thing I've done for myself is work less, which has been difficult for me because I love to keep busy. So, I think reducing my stress level has helped a lot.

Second best thing I've done is keep my weight low. I did join slimming world and lost over 35 pounds. But now I eat normally but I try to do everything in moderation. Lots of healthy, whole foods that I cook myself and I take it very easy with sweets or processed foods. A little alcohol. I don't smoke.

Exercise. Keep moving. I like walking.

Enjoy life Winking

Micropapillary IDC, extensive lymphovascular invasion. Dx 2/9/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 3/7 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 4/4/2011 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Nipple reconstruction, TUG flap; Reconstruction (right): Nipple reconstruction, TUG flap Chemotherapy 5/21/2011 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Ellence (epirubicin), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 9/30/2011
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Nov 18, 2020 01:36PM sbelizabeth wrote:

I have changed almost nothing. I get a lot of exercise, but I did that before diagnosis. I drink wine in moderation (2-3 glasses a week) and eat pretty much everything, again, in moderation. Red meat maybe a couple of times a month. Lots of fruits and veggies, because I feel better and can keep my weight down more easily. I shun processed soy. No soy supplements or soy milk, but a little soy sauce from time to time is ok.

I'm careful to not miss a dose of letrozole. Yes, it has made me feel stiff and achy from time to time, and it's probably the cause of my recurrent UTIs after lengthy bike rides. Nonetheless, I'm willing to put up with the side effects to keep any rogue cancer cells asleep that might be lurking in my bones or brain or lungs.

Not long after treatment ended I entered a research study involving metformin. It's been shown to have a anti-recurrence effect, so my MO has kept me on it since then. It's probably helped prevent metabolic syndrome for me as well, since I have a lengthy family history of type II diabetes and obesity.

An exercise program I'm involved in has a slogan--"movement is medicine." There isn't much that ails us that increased movement won't help.

pinkribbonandwheels.wordpress.... Dx 10/20/2011, IDC/IBC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 6/28 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 12/15/2011 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 4/18/2012 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 5/21/2012 Breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 7/19/2012 Femara (letrozole) Surgery 4/15/2013 Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap
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Nov 19, 2020 01:00AM Pessa wrote:

sbelizabeth: What dose of metformin is being given for this study? Thanks

Dx 2/20/2010, IDC, <1cm, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 5/5/2010 AC Surgery 10/22/2010 Lumpectomy: Right; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy 11/20/2010 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Nov 19, 2020 07:13AM amanda6 wrote:

lm almost 11 years out from stage 3a...I think I had a pretty healthy lifestyle before cancer, a little healthier since. I might have a glass of wine 2-3 Times/ year, don't eat sugar or white flour, though I do eat dark chocolate every day :), use an elliptical or walk about 30 min/ day. I was diagnosed with radiation induced heart disease 7 years after my left sided cancer & have had open heart surgery for a diseased heart valve, so I tend to worry more about the heart stuff than cancer recurrence.

Dx 2/2010, Left, 2cm, Stage IIIA, 4/10 nodes, ER+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 8/30/2010 Breast, Lymph nodes Chemotherapy Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole) Surgery Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal
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Nov 19, 2020 11:04PM sugarplum wrote:

Hi Linava - chiming in here. As you can see from my stats, we are similar - I also had extracapsular extension and dermal involvement. And like amanda6, I also developed heart disease as a delayed result of treatment (got a defibrillator implant a couple of years ago). I too am an exercise devotee - did my first workout on April 1, 1985 and haven't looked back since. For most of my adult life I've existed on cereal, frozen diet dinners, and Ben & Jerry's! Can't seem to go off the sugar, but with constant surveillance have managed to keep my weight relatively stable at 110 lbs. Still taking my daily Arimidex along with a mushroom supplement to boost my immune system, plus extra calcium/Vitamin D.

I wish you all the extra years that I've been lucky enough to have - and more!


Keep calm and carry on.... Dx 4/28/2006, IDC, Right, Stage IIIC, Grade 3, 10/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 6/6/2006 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 7/5/2006 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 11/30/2006 Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 12/17/2006 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 1/10/2007 Whole-breast: Breast
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Nov 21, 2020 07:53AM - edited Nov 25, 2020 06:11PM by TectonicShift

I'm nine years out with IIIc. I eat many more vegetables than I used to. I eat a lot of kale and broccoli sprouts and spinach. I eat less dough and "white stuff" than I used to but still too much. But I try to eat something healthy like a salad before I eat any bread or pasta. I eat the green stuff first to keep the blood sugar from spiking.

I look at glycemic index charts and try to mostly stick to foods that are low or medium. And if I eat something with a high glycemic index I try combine it with something that is low.

After a lifetime of being a night owl, I now try to go to bed at around 10 pm and get good sleep in a dark room. If there's any ambient light I use a sleep mask. I also sometimes supplement with melatonin.

I exercise more too. I walk at the very least but I haven't done so consistently over the past nine years. More like sporadically. I keep little dumbbells by the couch and I use them even if I'm watching TV.

And maybe most importantly, I avoid toxic people as much as possible. I have cut certain people out of my life. I'm trying to protect myself at a cellular level. My advice would be if you feel someone is behaving abusively towards you or around you, whether it be physically, mentally, emotionally, or psychically, change your life and stay away from him or her. But that's regardless of whether or not you've ever had cancer.

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Nov 21, 2020 10:38AM NancyD wrote:

Nope, haven't changed it much. I get less exercise and drink alcohol about the same. I never ate many process foods, but don't say no to a bag of Cheetos every now and again. I take my AI meds and say my prayers. Some day you might see me start posting on the Stage IV section, but know that I made it there my own way — having lived my life happily and without regrets.

Life is good. It's not perfect. but it's good. Dx 2/22/2008, IDC, Left, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 4/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 3/22/2008 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 7/11/2008 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right Hormonal Therapy 9/1/2008 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 9/5/2008 Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 1/28/2010 Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap
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Nov 21, 2020 05:59PM - edited Nov 21, 2020 06:00PM by muska

I haven't made any significant changes, I was leading a relatively healthy lifestyle before diagnosis. Maybe I eat a bit more vegetables and fruits, but I continue to enjoy a glass of red wine at dinner almost daily.

I don't think most of us got this disease because of unhealthy lifestyles and I don't think lifestyle changes alone can hold it at bay for those who had it already.

Dx at 54 Dx 5/9/2013, DCIS/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 7/11 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Dx 6/13/2013, LCIS, Both breasts Surgery 6/13/2013 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 7/25/2013 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 2/20/2014 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Hormonal Therapy 3/12/2014 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 3/23/2014 Breast, Lymph nodes, Bone
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Nov 25, 2020 05:11PM Kathleen26 wrote:

I'm almost 11 years out from diagnosis. I haven't made any significant changes. Still enjoy a cocktail every day, still eat whatever meat I want. I'm not a huge sweets eater--maybe either a cookie or a piece of candy once a day is enough for me, and I never was big on prepared foods. I've always eaten a lot of vegetables because I have a large garden, and I like to cook. I wish I had time for more exercise, but work takes up a lot of my waking time.

I'm of the opinion that recurrence is more a matter of luck of the draw than anything else. I've just known too many people that made big changes and they still had recurrences. So my attitude is try to enjoy the things in life that I enjoy and don't worry about cancer unless or until it comes back. It took me a few years to get to that point.

BRCA2+ Surgery 4/10/1990 Lumpectomy: Left; Prophylactic ovary removal Radiation Therapy 5/10/1990 Whole-breast: Breast Surgery 1/5/1996 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Free TRAM flap Dx 4/6/2010, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 8/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Chemotherapy 5/20/2010 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 9/2/2010 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic ovary removal Radiation Therapy 11/8/2010 Whole-breast: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy 12/15/2010 Arimidex (anastrozole) Hormonal Therapy 5/15/2012 Aromasin (exemestane) Hormonal Therapy 9/14/2012 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Nov 25, 2020 06:59PM moth wrote:

this thread is making me sad and mad. It's like it's victim blaming. There is no guarantee .

There is no prevention, only risk reduction.

You can do everything right and still have a terminal recurrence. Or you can tons of things wrong and die decades later of essentially 'natural causes/age.

I'm glad I did everything right because this way I have no regrets. But I think for a while I fell into the oh very seductive trap of thinking my healthy lifestyle would protect me. It didn't.

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: nevertellmetheodds2017.tumblr.... 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 2/14/2018 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 3/19/2020 Tecentriq (atezolizumab) Chemotherapy 11/26/2020 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Dx 12/10/2020, IDC, Right, Stage IV, metastasized to lungs, Grade 3, ER+/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Radiation Therapy 12/10/2020 External Hormonal Therapy 12/16/2020 Femara (letrozole)
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Nov 26, 2020 09:13PM 7of9 wrote:


Similar diagnosis only a few years ahead of you. A few more salads, I switched to truvia from equal. Probably exercise the same, got my weight down about 10 lbs but probably luck of the draw and good riddance to ovaries. I have a drink about 1x a week. Trying for less....but I used to drink less before and look what that got me!

Stress has been creeping back in. My new boss is a tyrant but I'm hoping to get out or change jobs in a yr or two as my son gets older if she doesn't lighten up the he!! up. Covid and economy...ugh, but you have to find joy everywhere you can. No inlaws for the holidays. Hurray! Tee hee.

If you're going through hell, keep on going. You might get out before the devil even knows you're there. Dx 1/18/2012, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/31/2012 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 10/31/2012 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 12/23/2015, IDC, Left, 2cm, Grade 2, 10/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 1/18/2016 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary Surgery 1/18/2016 Prophylactic ovary removal Radiation Therapy 2/10/2016 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Chemotherapy 3/31/2016 Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)

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