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Jul 28, 2009 09:54AM
Welcome Ainm and Viv. I am sorry we have all had to find each other this way. Wouldn't it have been nice to meet in a support group for women who had had negative biopsies! But here we are, making the best of it and doing darn good. Through the years when I have had acquaintances (never a close friend so far) get cancer I just had no idea what they were going through. I know (hope!) I said the right things but now I realize how shallow my words were. What a hard way to learn a valuable lesson. :(
I am nervous because I only had a lumpectomy, no chemo, and 36 radiation TXs. Negative nodes but did have some lymphovascular invasion. My surgeon was the one who laid out my treatment plan and he said chemo was not necessary and discouraged mastectomy... made me feel like I was over reacting to my situation. The medical oncologist endorsed his opinion as did the radiation oncologist. So that's what I have gone with. Maybe my age (62) makes recurrence less of a threat. I sure hope. My Oncotype score was 25 (18%) based on tamoxifen for 5 yrs but taking an AI, which I am, is said to half that risk.
You are absolutely right Ainm. It is never over! It annoys me when friends say "well, you are cancer-free now." I try to smile but am sure it comes across as a grim grin. I don't feel cancer free at all! But I do feel differently about my hormonal therapy. I absolutely look forward to taking my pill every AM! I feel like it is something real and tangible in my fight... something I am doing every morning. I even look forward to going to the drug store to refill my RX which costs $339.00 for 30 pills!!! I've been on Arimidex for 6 weeks now, starting the day my radiation ended. So far, some insomnia, some joint-bone pain, hot flashes... but tolerable. I walk two miles a day and am trying to ride my bike 2 miles a day but knees are complaining. I think the exercise is my only defense to the SEs... that and naprosyn.
I saw my medical oncologist yesterday for the first time since before surgery and radiation. She says I will see her every three months. Each visit will include blood work (CBC and tumor markers) to look for warning signs. Also periodic mammograms, maybe once or twice a year. No scans unless something bad shows up in blood work or I have new signs or symptoms. It is SOOOOOOO hard to let go of DOING SOMETHING! It would make me feel better if they said I would have a full PET scan every six months but all that radiation would probably give you cancer! :)
It is so good to have you all to compare notes with. I have not run the whole gauntlet like most of you, ie. mastectomy or chemo, and admire your strength and resilience. Keep us all filled in on what happens next.
"Nobody told me there'd be days like this ~ Strange days, Indeed. " John Lennon................... Treatment: Lumpectomy, 36 Radiation, Arimidex, now Tamoxifen
3/3/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-