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Topic: Can't Help Feeling Like I Did Something Wrong

Forum: Second or Third Breast Cancer — For those confronting a new primary diagnosis or undergoing treatment.

Posted on: Jul 17, 2021 05:08AM - edited Jul 17, 2021 05:09AM by jamiebeth

jamiebeth wrote:

I was diagnosed a week and a half ago with a second primary, which "luckily" is DCIS. My first primary--IDC--was ten years ago. I was told by the breast surgeon who did my lumpectomy in 2011, as well as my current radiologist that it's a new primary rather than a recurrence. I'm not sure how they can tell. Regardless, I feel like crap emotionally. I can't stop second-guessing myself. Did I eat too much soy? Did I gain too much weight? What did I do to cause this? I'm also scared that my body made two cancers already and I'm only 51. What's next? Why is my body doing this? I had pretty thorough genetic testing in 2011 and all of my tests came back negative for mutations. I plan to be tested again just in case.

Does anyone else with a new primary feel like they either did something wrong or their body is betraying them?

Dx 12/15/2010, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/5/2011 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 3/12/2011 Balloon-catheter: Breast Dx 7/7/2021, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER+/PR+ Surgery 9/2/2021 Mastectomy: Left
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Jul 17, 2021 05:10AM star2017 wrote:

Yes. I apologized to my loved ones when we discovered the metastasis. I just kept crying and apologizing bc I felt I had done something wrong and would be putting then through this whole struggle again. Of course they were all supportive and told me not to think that way, but I couldn't help it.

Dx@37, pregnant, BRCA2+ Dx 9/2017, DCIS/IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 4/8 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/16/2017 Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 11/28/2017 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 4/17/2018 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Radiation Therapy 5/21/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 10/24/2018 Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 6/18/2019 Arimidex (anastrozole) Dx 5/2021, IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, ER+/PR+, HER2- Targeted Therapy Verzenio Radiation Therapy External: Bone Hormonal Therapy Faslodex (fulvestrant)
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Jul 17, 2021 07:55AM DebAL wrote:

JamieB, I'm sure others feel that way regardless if it's a first, second etc Dx. You are asking yourself questions that many of us have at one point or another. Once we have cancer once there is always a chance it will return no matter what we do. We all do what we can by treatment choices, lifestyle modifications etc to minimize recurrence risk. As you work through this new diagnosis I hope you find yourself with less self blame as time passes.

Dx 1/22/2018, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 2/12/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 2/12/2018 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 4/2/2018 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 6/14/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 8/9/2018 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting, Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant Surgery 12/20/2018 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Surgery
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Jul 17, 2021 08:02AM - edited Jul 17, 2021 08:03AM by ShetlandPony

It's. Not. Your. Fault. Newly diagnosed, I was going through the list of possible “reasons" and the doctor looked me in the eye and said simply, “It's not your fault." Look in the mirror and repeat: “Its not my fault."

2011 Stage I ITCs sn, premenopausal, Oncotype 16. 2014 Stage IV mets breast,liver. TaxolNEAD. Ibrance+letrozole 2yrs. Fas+afinitor nope. XelodaNEAD 2yrs. Eribulin,Doxil nope. SUMMIT FaslodexHerceptinNeratinib for Her2mut NEAD Dx 2011, ILC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 2014, ILC, 2cm, Stage IV, metastasized to liver/other, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast Surgery Lumpectomy
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Jul 17, 2021 11:03AM AliceBastable wrote:

The only "fault" that can be connected to breast cancer is that you are a female. No different than men who get testicular or prostate cancer is because they are male. P.S. even men get breast cancer, so it's more like we're HUMAN. Oh, but other animals can get it - I guess it's because we're ALIVE. But I'll bet men haven't been programmed to lay guilt trips on themselves and say "Oh my god, I bet that Twinkie I ate in 2004 is why my balls are rotting!" Look at my signature line. If I felt guilty over cancer, I'd have to lay down on the highway and let a semi squash me. Hell, no, ain't gonna happen.

Endometrial cancer 2010, basal cell multiples, breast cancer 2018, kidney cancer 2018. Boring. Hope it stays that way. Dx 5/2018, ILC, Left, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/11/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 8/8/2018 Radiation Therapy 10/29/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Jul 17, 2021 01:44PM Serendipity09 wrote:

I am currently in the same boat. I had my exchange to implants a week ago yesterday. During the surgery the PS excised and had a biopsy performed on a "blemish". At my post-op visit 3 days ago, I was told that it's cancer. I don't know if it's new or a reoccurrence. I'm an emotional wreck! I started questioning everything I might have done wrong; did I not eat healthy enough?; did I not exercise enough?, etc. It's taken it's toll on me and I know deep down that it was not my fault, but that little voice keeps wanting to whisper to me otherwise. I'm exhausted from beating myself up over it and I haven't even had my scans yet. By the time Wednesday comes I'll be a basket case balled up in a corner. EFF THAT!

AliceBastable - Lol, I like the way you think! Going to [try hard] to get into that mindset.

Dx 3/2020, IDC, Right, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Chemotherapy 4/1/2020 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 9/17/2020 Lymph node removal; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 11/3/2020 Xeloda (capecitabine) Dx 7/2021, Right, 2cm, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 7/9/2021 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Chemotherapy Carboplatin (Paraplatin)
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Jul 17, 2021 03:47PM Esther01 wrote:

I understand! I felt exactly the same way... at first. No longer. Turns out there are many mechanisms unknown to us that caused the cancer. There is no humanly possible way to know what you don't know. Even the best mainstream doctors can be clueless. We need to be kinder and gentler on ourselves. We're only human.

My wonderful integrative doctor believes it was NOT my genetic mutation or my dense breasts or not having children that caused my cancer. She says it was my blood type! Can't control that, of course. Type A's in general do not digest well because we don't have enough digestive enzymes to break down the nutrients in our food and clear away cellular debris. We get"dusty" inside and it creates an environment for unhealthy cells to grow and thrive.

I now take digestive enzymes with every single meal. I use Orthodigestzyme.

Please don't blame yourself for the body you were born with, or the medical knowledge we could not be expected to know. Even the finest mainstream doctors don't know this stuff. Fortunately, my integrative doctor helped me understand, cancer is not our fault! You did nothing wrong but to be human.

Be kind to yourself, give yourself a loving hug. Pamper yourself. Allow others to love on you. You'll get through this!

Love and blessings,

Esther

Grateful to Jesus, that His love finally broke through to me. "With one touch, You just rolled away the stone that held my heart," - Lyrics by Keith Green, " 7 weeks of Radiation including supraclavicular nodes. Dx 12/2020, IDC, Stage IIB, 5/11 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 12/19/2020 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 6/8/2021 Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Reconstruction (left) Radiation Therapy 8/3/2021 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Jul 17, 2021 04:33PM MKestrel wrote:

Quote my first surgeon...cancer cells are cells that lose their brakes and keep growing. We don't really know why ...so ...we hack it out with knives and call it science!! That was his reply after I made some snarky comment that most cancer treatment seems to use a shotgun. Lol. I love him, and he did his best. There is so much we don't know and it is normal for an intelligent person to try to figure out where it went wrong. It is also normal to be angry and sad about it. I keep trying to remember that it's not our fault. I keep feeling like I failed, the treatment failed, etc. I asked oncologist if Walmart tamoxifen was made of sidewalk chalk?! I ranted I should have had more scans. (I still think so). I told my family don't worry, it's early stage, I'm listening to my doctor, evidence based treatment and sticking to the plan, I'll be fine. I also ate healthier, lost 40 pounds and figured it was beat. Well guess what, 3 years later mets to spine in a huge train wreck with a scary surgery after I almost ended up paralyzed and now I have to try to explain to everyone that I'm not beating it at all.

Cancer is a terrible, unpredictable, not completely understood disease without an absolute cure. It's not your fault.

I would rather be hiking Dx 12/14/2017, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Dx 3/7/2021, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Targeted Therapy 9/22/2021 Verzenio Targeted Therapy Ibrance (palbociclib) Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole), Zoladex (goserelin)
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Jul 17, 2021 05:54PM jamiebeth wrote:

Thanks, everyone, for your thoughtful replies. It's just not fair to any of us. I'm trying to change my mindset, but it's challenging, so I'll start here: It's not my fault!

Dx 12/15/2010, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/5/2011 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 3/12/2011 Balloon-catheter: Breast Dx 7/7/2021, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER+/PR+ Surgery 9/2/2021 Mastectomy: Left
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Jul 17, 2021 06:34PM - edited Jul 17, 2021 06:38PM by ShetlandPony

That's right, jamiebeth. Can we hear that again a little louder please? (Insert colorful adjective if desired, as in "It's not my *blanking* fault!"

(People sometimes try to find out what we did to cause this because then they can believe they are safe because they don't do that thing.)

2011 Stage I ITCs sn, premenopausal, Oncotype 16. 2014 Stage IV mets breast,liver. TaxolNEAD. Ibrance+letrozole 2yrs. Fas+afinitor nope. XelodaNEAD 2yrs. Eribulin,Doxil nope. SUMMIT FaslodexHerceptinNeratinib for Her2mut NEAD Dx 2011, ILC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 2014, ILC, 2cm, Stage IV, metastasized to liver/other, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast Surgery Lumpectomy
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Jul 18, 2021 05:20PM gb2115 wrote:

Or people telling you what you did wrong. Everytime someone tells me that sugar, stress, and laundry detergent is bad for cancer, even though I believe these people are nuts, it's hard to not feel accused for no good reason, like it's my fault the cancer came back to promptly ruin my life.

Dx IDC in Oct 2016, stage 2A, 1.2 cm ER/PR+ Her2-, Grade 2, 1/3 nodes, Lumpectomy + rads + tam. Age 38. 5/21 Dx IDC. 1.3 cm ER/PR+, Her2 -. Gr 2. 2/3 nodes positive. AC/T. Age 42
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Jul 18, 2021 05:42PM exbrnxgrl wrote:

Laundry detergent? I have never heard that one! Wouldn’t they think that a lot more people would have cancer if that were true? Or maybe not as many people are washing their clothes as I thought 😉 😂

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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Jul 19, 2021 03:20PM Elderberry wrote:

jamiebeth: In case you couldn't hear me yelling at the screen "You did nothing wrong"

Laundry detergent? That is a new one on me. Under arm deodorant, underwire bras, cheese, soy beans, gluten...the list goes on and on and on.

Star2017, MKestral: I sometimes think being de novo was a weird blessing even though it was Stage IV. I never had the shock, pain, awful treatments - then think "Yay, I am done. All that horror is over." only to have the horror come right back, even darker.

Let us all hold hands (virtually of course) across the ether and scream "IT'S NOT MY FAULT"

De Novo - this isn't a "brave battle" - it is a "furious struggle" Dx 3/6/2019, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IV, metastasized to liver, HER2+ Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy Taxol (paclitaxel) Targeted Therapy Perjeta (pertuzumab)
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Jul 19, 2021 03:37PM ARmom4 wrote:

I do the same thing. I wonder what could I have done differently and what I should do going forward. It's a real struggle for me.

It's not your fault!

and

It's not my fault!

Diagnosed age 35. ATM gene mutation.Severe reaction to Taxol and Taxotere. Just Tamoxifen now Dx 1/3/2020, DCIS/IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (DUAL) Surgery 2/10/2020 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Targeted Therapy 3/26/2020 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 3/26/2020 Taxol (paclitaxel) Chemotherapy 4/16/2020 Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 5/28/2020 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 6/30/2020 Prophylactic ovary removal Surgery 3/2/2021 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 6/7/2021 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Jul 19, 2021 03:47PM - edited Jul 19, 2021 03:53PM by exbrnxgrl

ARmom,

Since it's not known why people develop bc (save for genetic mutations which are the exception) there is simply no way to blame yourself! If it was simply a matter of doing x,y, z or not doing x,y,z then very few people would be dx'ed with bc. There is simply no reason to blame yourself for a disease whose cause is poorly understood . Take care

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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Jul 19, 2021 03:48PM moth wrote:

I don't think I did anything wrong. I think it's just a crapshot. I did very many things 'right' - things known to reduce risk or recurrence. Still drew the short straw. It's just shitty luck. This is the biggest lesson to absorb I guess- we don't control everything & shitty things happen

as far as the betrayal - I have called my breasts traitorous bitches a few times but at the end of the day, they couldn't help it either and they did their other job very well so /shrug/

I do think it's all very unfair.

I take weekends off

Initial dx at 50. Seriously?? “Sometimes the future changes quickly and completely and we’re left with only the choice of what to do next." blog: Never Tell Me the Odds

Dx 12/2017, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 12/12/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 2/14/2018 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 8/13/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Dx 2/2020, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to liver/lungs, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 3/18/2020 Taxol (paclitaxel) Immunotherapy 3/19/2020 Tecentriq (atezolizumab) Chemotherapy 11/26/2020 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Dx 12/9/2020, IDC, Right, Stage IV, metastasized to lungs, Grade 3, ER+/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Radiation Therapy 12/9/2020 External Hormonal Therapy 12/16/2020 Femara (letrozole) Dx 1/28/2021, IDC, Left, Stage IV, metastasized to bone Radiation Therapy 3/3/2021 External: Bone
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Jul 20, 2021 09:11PM - edited Jul 21, 2021 09:48AM by DivineMrsM

You know what pisses me off? The rock stars who, for decades, take all those drugs, drink all that alcohol, screw all those groupies, live on the road with no sleep, abusing their bodies to no end. And yet they're still out there playing gigs, livin' it up in their 60s and 70s! Steven Tyler of Aerosmith said with the money he spent on the cocaine he snorted, he could have bought a small island in the Pacific Ocean.

And here we are thinking, should I have enjoyed that piece of cake at at Grandma's birthday party? Maybe if I'd have run five miles a day instead of three I wouldn't be dealing with bc.

Well, that's stinkin' thinkin'. It is important that you begin to practice self-kindness towards yourself. If someone you love was dealing with cancer, would you say to them, “Ya musta done something wrong!" Hell no. You would not say that to another person. So why say it to yourself? It is a big fat effing lie. You did not do anything wrong.

I can understand the bewilderment wondering how this happened in your body. You probably will never know. Please banish self-incriminating thoughts from your mind. It is a process to retrain your thoughts, but take steps to move past the self-blame. There are better ways to spend your energy. Search for them.

found lump 12-22-10—ilc—er+/pr+/her2—stage iv bone mets—chemo~lumpectomy~radiation~arimidex—March 2019-ibrance/aromasin* —Sept 2019-verzenio* —March 2020-xeloda*
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Jul 20, 2021 11:57PM SF-Cakes wrote:

It's not your fault. I've had someone suggest to me that I have cancer because I didn't take really good care of myself after my husband's cancer diagnosis...I apparently didn't "engage in enough self-care" and huh, look what happened. I guess they thought I was supposed to let him take a cab to his months and months and months of chemo while I went to get a massage at a day spa...I guess I wasn't supposed to stay up all night with him for a week when he had an episode of delirium and he was terrified... because he was my priority and I put him first, well, now I have cancer.

So, that person is obviously an idiot. And to suggest that to me when I was already scared and of course wondering what I could have done wrong (oh my god, was it orgasms? Don't they release estrogen, was I feeding my cancer with pleasure? Seriously, this is where my mind went)... it's not my fault. It's not your fault. Love and hugs to you.

Dx 6/2020, ILC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 2/4 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 7/1/2020 Mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 8/4/2020 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 11/3/2020 Chest wall Dx 1/2021, ILC, Left, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, ER+/PR-, HER2- Radiation Therapy 2/10/2021 External: Bone Hormonal Therapy Femara (letrozole) Targeted Therapy Ibrance (palbociclib)
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Jul 21, 2021 06:17AM DebAL wrote:

SF Cakes, I'm sorry about your husband dealing with cancer too. And the last part of your post was hysterical. People can be such idiots.

Dx 1/22/2018, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 2/12/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 2/12/2018 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 4/2/2018 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 6/14/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 8/9/2018 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting, Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant Surgery 12/20/2018 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Surgery
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Jul 21, 2021 08:41AM Beaverntx wrote:

Re the laundry detergent: there is at least one laundry detergent that is lavender scented, lavender is an estrogenic plant. So who came up with the strange connection? Some folks don't get 4 when adding 2 and 2!

Diagnosed at age 77-- Oncotype 17, dealing with this bump in the road of life!!🎆 Dx 1/24/2018, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Dx 1/30/2018, DCIS, Right, <1cm, Stage 0 Surgery 1/30/2018 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Radiation Therapy 3/11/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Surgery 6/15/2018 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jul 21, 2021 05:48PM jamiebeth wrote:

Thanks again, everyone, for responding. It's just so overwhelming right now. I'm sure you all know what I mean.

Dx 12/15/2010, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/5/2011 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 3/12/2011 Balloon-catheter: Breast Dx 7/7/2021, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER+/PR+ Surgery 9/2/2021 Mastectomy: Left

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