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Jan 15, 2008 12:09AM
Like the first posting here, my story starts with my husband asking, "What's this?" It was a lump the size of a BB at the very top of my right armpit--almost my upper arm. This was in May 2007. Went to internist, referred for mammogram/ultrasound. Had had annual mamms faithfully for about 20 years (I'm almost 60). Ultrasound showed small lumps in upper & lower armpit. In the middle of all this, my mom (95) died and I had to spend 10 days dealing with that, clearing out her ap't and so on with my sisters.
Then came home to meet with my surgeon (Dr. Gorey, what a great name for a surgeon!) for a biopsy. She had already seen the films and knew what was up. She said, this is highly suspicious and I see no need to put you through a biopsy. What are you doing tomorrow morning? Uh--having surgery? Yes. She had already scheduled me in.
Lumpectomy (June 15) showed 12 tumors in fatty tissue, 1 to 7 mm. She took 21 lymph nodes, 4 were positive. (Pretty much have to take lymph nodes when you have lumps under your arm.) No clean margins (gulp). ILC, stage IIB, ER+,PR+,HER-, so that was all good news. I was scheduled for chemo but first had an MRI (radiologist told me to insist on one, but ins. co. approved it right away). MRI showed a tumor in each breast, 1.5 and 2 cm. These did not change my stage because they were small. They were biopsied and were also ILC. Neither one showed up on mammograms or ultrasound--tell your friends. Also a lot of my friends had never heard to check underarms for lumps.
July through Oct. had chemo: 4 AC, 4 T, dose-dense. My oncologist, a great young doctor (you can tell she's young when I tell you her name is Tiffany) says ILC is mirror-image disease about 1/3 of the time. She also told me that ILC is usually not seen with mammograms or ultrasound until it is 5 cm or larger (2 inches!). So I was lucky to get the lumps in the armpit. ILC is sneaky; it usually grows along the tissues in the breast and doesn't make a lump.
Dec. 4, bilateral mastectomy with tissue expanders. Best news: path report showed that cancer was completely gone, even in the armpit that had no clean margins before! Sentinel node biopsy on left side was negative. That was about a month and ten days ago. I am off pain meds, starting to feel like I'm getting better, but the expanders are really uncomfortable and I'm reconsidering the whole reconstruction issue.
One thing about surgery recovery--there were a couple of times in the first few weeks when I felt really good and went out and did too much, and then it took a week or 10 days to get back to feeling that good again. Don't push it. Rest. Read good books and listen to soothing music and take your time. Best wishes to all of you!
6/14/2007, ILC, 1cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 4/21 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-