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Topic: Tell me what to do

Forum: DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ) — Just diagnosed, in treatment, or finished treatment for DCIS.

Posted on: Feb 21, 2021 01:45PM - edited 18 hours ago by Feefifofum

Feefifofum wrote:


I was diagnosed with DCIS in one of my breasts in June 2019 and refused treatment.

Before you judge me or have my comment removed, let me give you a background.

I will be 47 years old in October 2021. I came to America in 2009, as a married woman. My marriage ended, leaving me all alone in this country, in 2011. I did manage to make work friends before I lost them [I have always been what is commonly called "a loner". I am impatient with people. I am never committed enough. I grew up being picked on and unloved so never saw myself lovable, etc]. I do have a job, not a very well-paying one, but stable. And been in a relationship with a wonderful man since 2013. A wonderful man who claims to love me and would do anything and everything for me except be there for me when I need him. This is not something he said. It is a feeling I got after I saw how he behaved the two times I got sick. After he grumbled and looked displeased, and downright insensitive. He loves doing things for others because he is a praise junkie. But he doesn't like to "take care" of people. Maybe because he does that for a living, he is a registered nurse. Or because he is the last of 7 kids. Or because he is selfish. Or white. Or American. I can't decide which. But he is truly good otherwise. Not perfect. But again, who among us is?

Still, he wasn't the reason why I refused treatment, although he grunted in agreement when I told him I wasn't having my breast lopped off like they were an ingrown nail [and never talked about it since]. I refused treatment because my surgeon started talking about "taking the other one off, too, just in case", giving me implants "that look like real breasts", and seem totally uninterested to know how I saw my body [the only property I have in this world] when I went to see her - hoping to have a "lumpectomy" and not removing my breasts. Certainly not both breasts: the cancerous one and the ticking-time-bomb next to it.

It wasn't only her, of course. I could easily find some other physician who would listen. Who would be moved by my tears. And my loneliness. And my disappointment [in God, in society, in my body]. My job, although not well-paying, has a good insurance coverage.

I said no because I am all alone in this country. My whole family is back in Africa. Because the treatments she suggested from removal onwards, felt like the kind of things only people who love life that much would undergo through. I never did! I kept myself alive because I have a mother who sacrificed so much for us and to whom I am the apple-of-the eye. My three siblings are all damaged, "no good", lost causes so I am her [only] pride and joy. The first one to graduate from university, to marry "big" [An American at that], to move to America [land of everybody's dream], and not come back divorced and humiliated.

I know it all sounds transactional but I would do anything for my mother except keep myself alive at the cost of going through everything they said I would go through at the Breast Clinic. Living one more day with a broken… toxic body that could betray me any time… in a country where people who would drag you to the curb when you can no longer support youeself or when your insurance failed to cover you? That isn't something I am willing to do, even for her.

Or so I thought, back then, in 2019, when there was no pain in my body. When I felt I could go on for a few years more, "thinking about it", debating the pros and cons, hoping for a miracle. Glad I did not go through with it, that I wasn't on chemo when covid hit. How I would have been dead by now, due to the nature of my job – where I meet lots of people [ill people] every day.

Now, this morning, after I started feeling a mild nudging in the right breast [where the cancer is growing, I can feel it] I wondered if maybe keeping myself alive won't be worth it? There would be no love/lover for me? I wasn't able to find someone to love me until I was 32, despite being perfectly healthy, having a bright mind, a decent face and a "rocking body" [where words like "spectacular breasts" were thrown about]. Why on earth would I hope to be loved after I had my breasts removed and my hair has fallen out [which they have started to, due to either lack of sleep, depression, or iron deficiency]?! [Did I mention that? I am extremely anemic and have a heart-murmur; which I have been promised would be a big problem when I get old].

Keeping myself alive would be good to my mother. To my siblings, who can't afford to lose the one person they all look up to. And to myself, perhaps. For there may come a day in which I am grateful that I am live. I am, after all, in America. Land of opportunities. I could write that book. Take that trip. Find something that would make me love life.

Or I can... have a baby. Yes. I can give my mother a grandchild [she is the only out of 5 siblings who does not have a grandkid; despite working the hardest among them to keep her kids happy and alive]. I can get pregnant from some random guy, give her a baby, make her a happy woman, and leave something behind when death comes to collect its dues—in two years or so [I have a feeling I can live with this thing until 50, at least].


What do you think? Would it be as in human as it sounds, having a baby at 47 [or 48?], if I could manage to get pregnant? Never wanted one myself, the reason why my marriage came to an end, and maybe why I got breast cancer as no one has it in my family. But, although my mom would never trade me for a grandkid, I feel it is the best consolation she can have for the loss of a daughter. The most un-selfish, meaningful way to say "thank you" for what she did for us. The one achievement from a person who tried to do her best but seems to fail at every turn.

I will wait for your feedback.

I am sorry if I offended anyone with the words/arguments I used.

Please do not remove my questions. I really don't have anyone else to talk to and no one in my family yet knows.

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Feb 21, 2021 02:16PM - edited Feb 21, 2021 02:24PM by exbrnxgrl


Where to begin? I am not a medical professional but it sounds as if you might benefit from therapy. You mentioned that you have good insurance coverage so please check out therapy services.

As for the past, well, it can't be undone. If you had pure DCIS, it seems unusual that a doctor would suggest a bilateral mastectomy. If you had pure DCIS, chemo would never have been recommended. So, time to move forward. Make a therapy appointment and an appointment with your doctor to see what's going on with your breast. You need to take care of yourself, period. Whatever you are thinking about with respect to a baby or your mother will be completely pointless unless you are physically and emotionally healthy. Additionally, having a baby to please someone else is a bad idea. Children don't ask to be brought into this world and if you don't want children, which is fine, don't do it! Children are not “thank you" gifts.

As to being loved and having a partner, the reality is that doesn't always happen for us. I was married for 23 years to a cruel, narcissistic man. I have not been in a serious relationship with anyone in well over 10 years. I have my life, my work and family and I have put myself in charge of my happiness. If I meet someone eventually, great! If not, I still want to have a full and happy life but I can't depend on someone else to make that happen. I have also been stage IV for almost 10 years.

I apologize if I sound harsh as I can hear the pain and loneliness in your words but I am rather pragmatic. Start small, make inquiries about mental health care and follow up breast care. As you accomplish small goals you may feel stronger and ready to move on to the next goal. It may not be easy but understand that you are the driver and your life is as valuable as any other life. Doing nothing or trying to please your mom will probably not result in anything positive. Please put yourself first

PS: What part of Africa are you from? I used to be a flight attendant and we flew to several African countries

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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Feb 21, 2021 03:18PM - edited Feb 21, 2021 03:19PM by Nola70115

feefifofum -

Your post is beautifully written. If you did write a book it would be a gift to the world. I wish I lived near you so I could be a support to you. Nobody should be alone through this. You might contact Susan Komen or the American Cancer Society in your area and see what services they offer. If you decide to pursue treatment there are probably supports out there to help.

I am also 47, and I have a 2 year old child. I can't say that I recommend having a baby that you don't expect to see grow up. It's heartbreaking to look at him and wonder if I will be around long enough for him to remember me when he is grown. You can't be sure your mother will live forever to care for a child either. The fear of what will happen to my children is the worst part of this whole thing.

If you are still with the man who would not support you, maybe give him the chance to change? Would he go to therapy with you? It sounds like you haven't asked for his help but assume you would not get it. But it also sounds like you have a low opinion of yourself for reasons that go back further than he does. Maybe he would think you are worth it more than you do yourself. Or if not, there's probably someone else out there who would.

Breast cancer isn't the fastest growing cancer out there. If you had DCIS two years ago it could still be very treatable. I think you gave up on yourself too soon. Please consider it

Age 40 at first diagnosis, 47 now. I've got an autistic teenager and a toddler to live for. See my 2014 blog at Dx 4/15/2014, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 5/15/2014 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Chemotherapy 6/20/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 9/1/2014 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Dx 2/8/2021, IDC, Left, <1cm, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Dx 2/22/2021, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to liver
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Feb 21, 2021 05:19PM - edited Feb 21, 2021 09:46PM by Moderators

Dear Feefiforfum - Welcome to and thank you for your very honest account of your life situation, and the decisions you've made thus far. You've received excellent advice from the other members already. We understand that you say you feel the cancer growing. Our suggestion would be to talk with your doctor (or a new doctor) and consider getting imaging tests that would provide you with updated health information. Fully understanding what is going on with the cancer, and your body, will allow you to continue to make educated decisions. Did you have genetic testing done at the time of your diagnosis? Although your situation may have changed since your initial diagnosis, it would be important to understand why your doctor recommended a double mastectomy and chemotherapy for the DCIS. Here is some information about Treatment for DCIS, in case you would like to read our expert-reviewed editorial content: Also, although you didn't get treatment for the DCIS so far, this article could be of interest. It is not meant to alarm you, only to help you better understand DCIS: Six Factors Linked to Invasive Breast Cancer Recurrence After DCIS.

As mentioned by others, talking with a mental health professional could be of great value to help guide you through these very difficult health and personal decisions you're facing. Do you have health insurance that would help to cover your costs? We're all here for you, and hope that you can get the important information and professional support you need to best guide your decisions.

Good luck, and please come back to let us know how you're doing. We're thinking of you!


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Feb 21, 2021 05:57PM Rain88 wrote:

Feefifofum - No one can tell you what to do, it is your decision alone. Whatever your life circumstaces or your past, ultimately you need to answer to yourself if in the end you want cancer to be your demise. You said it yourself, you made it to America, which I am sure was not easy, so why not continue to see what else you can do with your life? It might feel lonely and not worthy to go on living, but this is simply not true. I am sending you lots of hugs and heartfelt wishes.

Dx 7/2019, IDC: Mucinous, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 11/27/2019 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery Lumpectomy: Right
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Feb 22, 2021 05:03PM flashlight wrote:

Hi, I have worked as a nurse with many that have come here from Africa. I have learned a lot about your culture. I didn't realize your mom could spend the night at your house, but not your father. Your mother is the matriarch of your family back in Africa. Does she visit? You must remember you have started another life in another country. You are now 48 and no longer a child, but an adult who has been doing a good job of taking care of herself up to a couple years ago. Only you and you alone can decide what path you want to take. You are worth it and need to believe that.

Dx 11/15/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Dx DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Surgery Lumpectomy: Left

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