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Aug 13, 2016 12:23PM
Welcome to the discussion boards, Elaine! I faced a situation somewhat similar to yours, though I did not lose a sister to BC. About 3 years ago I had a lumpectomy with a hyperplasia diagnosis. Last year as I was actually going through another major issue (I had surgery last October for a benign brain tumor), my mammo showed some changes. I got the needle biopsy but was unable to proceed with the breast surgeon until December. She recommended a lumpectomy and the diagnosis came back DCIS.
My immediate response was "when do we cut these things off?" I didn't think of myself as overreacting. I was honestly wondering why not. I don't intend to have any children I will nurse at my age (just turned 52). I am not defined by my breasts. It's who I am, not what I have, that matters. My husband was in complete support of any decision. My surgeon, however, thought it was an over reaction and recommended a relump and rads. I got a 2nd opinion. Loved that doc because she spoke openly with be about OPTIONS. While she told me that the relump and rads was a reasonable course of action, I did have mastectomy as a personal choice. She made me feel empowered and respected.
After much prayer, inner turmoil, and discussion with my hubby I opted for the less invasive choice. I felt decent about the radiation, and the oncologist assured me that if the side effects of Tamoxifen were too much I could stop. But there was always that nagging wonder about if that was right for me.
Then the relump...the doctor still didn't think the margins were clean enough. I read the path report very closely on my own and just didn't like some of what I saw. It seemed different from the first one. More necrosis. Larger areas of DCIS. I was DONE! I found a plastic surgeon based out of the hospital where the 2nd opinion surgeon practiced and I forged ahead with the doctor who had valued what I thought. This was not about appearance, it was about my life.
The pathology from my BMX (I did both so that the reconstructed breasts could match better and for peace of mind) was a surprise. Despite never seeing it on films or in pathology, they found an area of Stage 1. If I had gone the less invasive route we may not have found this and not been able to treat it. Or we may have, and I would have then had more surgery.
When the surgeon told me about this pathology, she confirmed I had made the right decision. But even if it had been "just DCIS", I would have had no regrets.
I know that it is scary to think about what they might find. But for me, knowing and dealing with it are much better than not knowing and this disease perhaps progressing. I do not have connections with my father's side of the family. So I don't truly know all my family history. That was a factor for me.
I despise having had to make a choice. But I'm confident that whatever the pathology had shown this was the right choice for me. I haven't looked back since the day I said "I'm getting a mastectomy", and I don't think I ever will.
Wishing you the best with your inner search to find what is right for you. Remember that it is YOUR choice. Trust your judgement, intuition, and love for yourself. Don't let a doctor or any other human being guilt or pressure you into any decision. Make the one that brings you peace.
Sorry for rambling on. I will be praying for you.
7/12/2016 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
7/13/2016, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
8/11/2016 Taxol (paclitaxel)
8/11/2016 Herceptin (trastuzumab)