Feb 11, 2021 02:58PM prepmom wrote:
Hi Shanarose - what a beautiful username! I'm sorry that you find yourself here. I don't know if I can be helpful but I will share my experience & decision making process with you. Remember, we are all so different in so many ways and my decisions may not be the best for you.
I'm now 52, but at 50 I was diagnosed with DCIS in my left breast. This was found after years of many 'call backs' and 3 benign biopsies. Very high density breasts. Like you, I am an Ashkenazi Jew and my mother was diagnosed with BC at the age of 48 (I'm so grateful to say that she is doing great!).
After the initial diagnosis, I saw a BS at a highly regarded BC Center and she ordered an MRI. The MRI required 2 additional biopsies, one on the left side and one on the right. The right side came back as benign, but the left was LCIS. The quadrant that the DCIS and LCIS was found was particularly 'busy' with ADH as well. Upon further review of the MRI by the BS and her radiologist, as well as a meeting of their tumor board, we went from 0 to 60 very quickly. They were certain that the cancer was in the skin, possibly in the chest wall, and they were expecting to find invasive cancer hiding as well. They told me that a bilateral mastectomy was necessary and there was no way to spare the skin. My DCIS went from lumpectomy / radiation to BMX with no reconstruction (not a candidate for a flap) and radiation at the chest wall. They even suggested doing a very large excisional biopsy and if they found invasive cancer, starting chemo immediately to shrink the tumor. What?????
Needless to say, I sought a second opinion at a NCI designated hospital. They strongly disagreed with the first opinion and were even willing to try to get good margins with a lumpectomy. However, the BS there (who is now my surgeon, who I love) told me that based on the DCIS diagnosis and family history, the surveillance would be intense.
The panic at the first opinion, all of the call-backs, biopsies, etc made it an easy decision for me. Notice I said easy decision, but not process. I decided that I couldn't go through this again, if at all possible. But that said, it was not as easy as many friends stated "I'd just get rid of them". When you're actually there it can be so much harder. My surgery and reconstruction went well. I'm fairly happy with how I look, but I do still have some discomfort. Not most people's experience, but it is mine. That said, I'd still do it again.
I think that you're in a good spot where you can take your time & do your research. Most importantly, come to the decision that is best for you with the information you know right now. I really hope this is helpful. Choices are wonderful, but they're also so hard.
I wish you the very best.