Topic: Highly Probable. Dark Humor. Can My Cat Handle This?

Forum: Not Diagnosed But Worried — For those who are experiencing symptoms or received concerning test results, but haven't been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Posted on: Apr 20, 2022 06:36PM

Posted on: Apr 20, 2022 06:36PM

jh40 wrote:

40 years old here. Went to the gynecologist for my first routine since the start of Covid on 4/14. (I had Covid/pneumonia Feb '20 and I was not messing around with the indoors. I figured my ovaries and my breasts could wait it out.)

My excellent doctor found a lump at 12:00 in my right. Immediately scheduled a mammogram/ultrasound.

I manage to make it to the hospital for the imaging a couple days later. After being in hysterics for the entire procedure, sobbing, crying, making everyone's job hard to do, the Director of Radiology who reviewed my images got on the personal cell phone of the ultrasound tech and our convo was:

"In my experience, the mammogram and the ultrasound do not look good."

"Okay, so what are the chances here that this is not cancer? 50/50? 60/40? 70/30? Cancer's favor of course."

"It is highly probable that it is cancer."

"Is there a chance it's not?"

"Small."

"Well. How big is it?"

"1.1cm."

"Are my lymph nodes swollen?"

"No."

"Okay. Well. I guess that's good."

"In my experience though, I believe you'll do well."

"Thanks for talking to me."

"You're welcome."

"Doctor, if you ever want to switch careers, you have a terrific radio host voice."

(She laughs.)

"I'm normally funnier than this but you've caught me at a bad time."

My brain defaults to humor as a coping mechanism once I've entered the darkest reaches.

I'm not really expecting anything other than cancer at this point. I don't really feel like the Director of Radiology would stick her neck out like that for me unless she was certain.

Now. Here's where I get nuts. I'm from a scientific background and I figured I could sort through non-filtered Google and come up with my statistical likelihood of cancer subtype, survival rate, treatment options, the whole works, in an effort to feel like I've got this...which is what the people who I've told have told me. Turns out younger women seem to have tougher times. More aggressive subtypes. I didn't think I was particularly young anymore but it turns out in Cancerland I guess I still am.

I've also been a fairly intense hypochondriac my whole life. My first girlfriend died of ovarian cancer at 27 years old. That left me pretty terrified of cancer. As the years passed and I thought it more practical to focus on my heart. Mom had 2 strokes before 50 and a heart attack that resulted in 11 stents before 60. Pop's got high cholesterol and is on the statin/beta blocker combo. I figured my genetics were gunning for my heart; the family tree was ripe with that fruit. There was nothing cancerous. In any organ. On both sides of the family.

But now here I am. Highly likely to have breast cancer at 40.

I've lurked on a couple of forums over the past few days and seen a lot of tough stories. I'm picturing the surgeon opening me up expecting a nice, breezy operation that she can wrap up in time for lunch, only to find a can of cancerous worms jumping up from under my nipple and around the bend like Tremors. Maybe even a few giant tumors growing into my chest wall. 150 positive lymph nodes. The works.

Like I said, I go to the dark reaches.

After a few days of mental self-torture I hear from my gynecologist once she has my imaging and report in front of her and she tells me:

"I've seen a lot of cancer. This is not going to kill you."

I break down and cry. I want to believe her. So badly.

I want to believe I'll be able to be strong. Find the inner warrior. Make it through the worst and come out on the other side my very best. Live a long life and put it all behind me. It just seems more like I'll end up being thought of when my friends hear the Billy Joel song playing on the juke at the bar. And I'm not even that good!

And what the hell is my cat supposed to do? She expects the playtime before bed. She doesn't like it when I lay around. She's high maintenance. I have my doubts about her ability to adapt.

My biopsy is Monday, 4/25.

If you've got this far, thanks for reading.

Surgery 6/16/2022 Mastectomy (Right): Simple Targeted Therapy 8/1/2022 translation missing: en.treatments.targeted_therapy.targeted_therapy_medicine.short_options.trazimera Chemotherapy 8/15/2022 Taxol (paclitaxel) Dx IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2+, IHC
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Apr 25, 2022 12:00PM jh40 wrote:

Also there were some comedic outtakes during the biopsy:

While everyone was watching the doctor get the vacuum hose all hooked up to me, I started asking the staff by name if they were doing ok. “Lots of long faces in here...” They all laughed and said they were ok.

“Hey Doc, how many samples are you taking?”

“I’ll be taking 5.”

“Sure you don’t want the whole thing? I certainly don’t need it.”

And when I almost passed out:

“Sorry for all the drama everyone. Can someone keep my partner ABREAST of the situation in here?”

Surgery 6/16/2022 Mastectomy (Right): Simple Targeted Therapy 8/1/2022 translation missing: en.treatments.targeted_therapy.targeted_therapy_medicine.short_options.trazimera Chemotherapy 8/15/2022 Taxol (paclitaxel) Dx IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2+, IHC
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Apr 25, 2022 12:18PM sarahmaude wrote:

jh40, I think it's amazing what they can tell with the ultrasound guided biopsy. They were very close to what I ended up with in mine. What amazed me is how much the surgeons depend on the imaging and radiology. With my lumpectomy, they used mammography to place wires (wire localization). They marked for locations that essentially laid out what the surgeon removed. I was glad that my BSO went back after they initial marked area was removed for more tissue. Essentially a reexcision at the same time as the main surgery. Without that, I would have had one close margin. With her going for extra, I had great margins.

Also agree that the location of the tumor will come into play. Your surgeon should have MRI results to help her with answers to your question. My tumor was close to the skin, so I lost some, and she did a great job moving my nipple to hide the loss. My lumpectomy side's nipple is slightly higher than my healthy side.

Hormonal Therapy 2/17/2022 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 3/31/2022 Lumpectomy (Left) Chemotherapy 5/4/2022 Taxotere (docetaxel), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide) Dx IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, ER+/PR-, HER2- Radiation Therapy Left breast
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Apr 25, 2022 12:23PM cathy67 wrote:

jh40,

It is good that you spent biopsy well, moving forward. It is good that the doctor told you so much info, I am in Canada, they did not tell me right there, then waiting is dreadful with lots of weird thoughts, and waste of time.

The biopsy will tell how your tissue is, the hormone receptor,.. I think that is standard, you can study it during this week, ready to discuss with your doctor to settle down treatment plan.

I am calling my cancer centre to get appt after biopsy, their line is busy, did you get yours?

Take a break today. Pray for you.

Cathy

Oncotype 6, Dx 08/06/2019, IDC, Right, 2.1 cm, Grade2, 1/1 nodes,ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/9/2019 Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Right); Lymph node removal Hormonal Therapy 11/20/2019 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/26/2019 Whole breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Apr 25, 2022 12:39PM jh40 wrote:

cathy67- thank you so much. I’m praying a lot. I’m praying that it has not spread to my lymphs and that it’s not TNBC. I’m praying for a good prognosis. Really scared of the results though.

This radiologist was not the same one who looked at my first images. He was new. I was sad that he said it looked high grade but maybe it hasn’t spread and was caught early enough

Surgery 6/16/2022 Mastectomy (Right): Simple Targeted Therapy 8/1/2022 translation missing: en.treatments.targeted_therapy.targeted_therapy_medicine.short_options.trazimera Chemotherapy 8/15/2022 Taxol (paclitaxel) Dx IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2+, IHC
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Apr 25, 2022 12:43PM - edited Apr 25, 2022 01:45PM by jh40

sarahmaude - the radiologist placed the marker in the mass today. I also found that fascinating that you don't just open someone up and the cancer is obvious, that they rely on images so heavily.

Even though I can feel the lump in my breast (12:00 position) they tell me it's pretty deep in there. I find that odd as well since I can feel it, yknow? Seems it would be closer to the surface.

Surgery 6/16/2022 Mastectomy (Right): Simple Targeted Therapy 8/1/2022 translation missing: en.treatments.targeted_therapy.targeted_therapy_medicine.short_options.trazimera Chemotherapy 8/15/2022 Taxol (paclitaxel) Dx IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2+, IHC
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Apr 26, 2022 04:23PM melbo wrote:

what I think is pretty standard is they will call fairly soon with the yes/no cancer news, then you will find out a few days later what the cancer profile is. I had my biopsy on July 14th, got the “yes it’s cancer” news on the 16th, but didn’t learn about the profile until I saw the surgeon in the 21st. I was still mostly okay from the 16th to the 21st because I kept telling myself that maybe a little surgery and some radiation and that would be it. I was pretty shocked when the surgeon told me I would need chemo. But as I said earlier — while it did suck (a lot) it was also not as bad as I imagined. I was never hospitalized and most of my side effects were in the annoying, but tolerable column.

Diagnosed right before my 42nd birthday. One husband, two dogs, one cat and no kids. Dx 7/16/2020, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 1/7 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 8/7/2020 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy 8/7/2020 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Chemotherapy 8/7/2020 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 12/20/2020 Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph node removal; Reconstruction (Left); Reconstruction (Right) Radiation Therapy 1/31/2021 Whole breast: Breast, Lymph nodes

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