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Topic: Better days...

Forum: Life After Breast Cancer —

Managing life after a breast cancer diagnosis, including rediscovering intimacy, coping with fear of recurrence, reconnecting relationships, sharing hobbies and interests, and finding inspiration in daily life.

Posted on: Sep 19, 2020 10:33AM

LiveLoveLaugh2020 wrote:

I can't believe a year has flown by already. I still remember the day that I got the "dreaded call" (which I received at work) and where if felt as if my life turned upside down. Just a little history...I was diagnosed with DCIS in my early 30's last August. It took a little while for the initial shock to wear off. Those first few days and weeks were full of dread, worry, anxiety, and no sleep. I couldn't believe the diagnosis and couldn't help but question why me? Now this is after having dealt with a few major medical issues prior, and I couldn't believe I was dealing with this now too.

I went back and forth for weeks. I was originally set on a lumpectomy and radiation and the "get it done asap" mentality. But after taking the time to think, research, and many sleepless nights I decided a double mastectomy would be best for me. I did not want any radiation nor did I want Tamoxifen or anything of the sort. This will be one of the hardest parts of this journey that you will have to face. You will get many opinions and recommendations but you truly have to go with your heart and what you will be most comfortable living with. Don't make decisions based on what others think you should do or have done. This is your life and there will always be the "what ifs" regardless of the decisions we have made. Each decision is very personal, follow your heart!

I had a Bilateral Nipple Sparing MX September 2019 and those days that followed were some pretty tough days to be honest. No one really warns you about everything that you should expect. I woke up from surgery to find out I would have to have another follow up surgery (something I never expected). This in it self was a shock. The first few days of pain and those dreaded drains were horrible. I had surgery a week later and had my drains for a total of 3 agonizing weeks! It was such a relief to get those things out. I questioned myself during those first days and thought did I make the right decision? This whole process is more of an emotional roller coaster than physical at times. I was so emotionally drained and not prepared. I don't think anyone realizes what an emotional effect this has on them until they have been through it themselves, but how can one truly be prepared?

I have to say I had a rough couple of months after MX, feeling so alone and no one to talk to who truly knew what I had been through. I have a wonderful supportive family and they have been there for me every step of the way which I am very thankful for but I still felt so alone because no one truly knew what I was going through because they themselves had not (which I never wish on anyone) been in my shoes. I finally reached out to a therapist and started medication which helped a little. I am telling you this because if you are in this situation and you need help please don"t be afraid to reach out! This diagnosis is terrible for anyone to deal with, let alone at such a young age.

Things got better after those first few months. I was one of the lucky ones who had terrible discomfort and pain with the expanders the entire time, which I had in for four months. Waking up from exchange surgery was such a relief! instant relief! The implants felt so comfortable and apart of me. The worst part was the fat grafting sites. I was bruised and sore for weeks but I would do it again.

Now a year down the road (which feels so surreal, I can't believe a year has flown by) I am happy and in a much better place. I still have my days here and there (which I think we will always have) but I am happy with my surgery and the decisions I have made. I will say I have pre pec implants with FG and they look great and feel great and natural. The only down side is the rippling I am having! But I am a very thin person and was warned of this and may look into a second round of FG.

I don't usually post but I just wanted to post for all of the newcomers and those who will unfortunately follow. Please know the beginning is the hardest part and there are so many unknowns. But it truly does get better! You may feel like it never will but here I am a year down the road and I can't believe it. I'm in a good place now and am very thankful.

I wish you guys all the best during your BC journey's and I'm here for anyone who has questions or needs someone to talk to.

Feel free to PM me anytime.


DCIS Dx @ 34 - Bil NSM 09/2019 - Bil implant exchange with FG 01/2020.
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Sep 28, 2020 12:31PM OnTarget wrote:

LLL2020, what a great writeup of your journey so far!

I think your advice for people to do what they think is best is spot on. I know that I looked inside myself for my BMX and chemo decisions and being uber aggressive was the right approach for me!

I'm sorry you had such a tough time right after your BMX, but it is good that you sought help and found a way to feel better.

It does get better, and it is amazing to be 1 year out and to look back on that terrifying time. It feels so far away for me, almost surreal. I wonder if that is the brain's defensive mechanism at work?

Anyway, I'm glad you are doing well!!

Diagnosed at 42, Oncotype score 16, ITC in one node- considered node negative. Lost right implant to infection March 2020. Waiting to start reconstruction all over again. Dx 4/8/2019, ILC, Left, 3cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 4/23/2019, ILC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/15/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Hormonal Therapy 6/13/2019 Zoladex (goserelin) Chemotherapy 8/5/2019 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 11/6/2019 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Sep 29, 2020 07:25AM LiveLoveLaugh2020 wrote:

Thank you OnTarget, same to you as well! I'm sorry that you've had some setbacks (praying all goes well with Ethel) but love the positive attitude you have. Glad we can both look back on things and be in a better place. This whole process is so surreal! It's nice that we have this site to support one another though. Wishing you and everyone the best!

DCIS Dx @ 34 - Bil NSM 09/2019 - Bil implant exchange with FG 01/2020.

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