Tuesday, December 06, 2011 8:05 PM
Hello. My name is Lynn. I was diagnosed with breast cancer a week after my 48th birthday, which was the beginning of September. I had a few small tumors in my right breast. I had biopsies done and all were cancer. After I got past the initial shock and obtained a second opinion, I decided to have both breasts removed. That disfigurement in itself is hard enough to take. What to do from here is even harder. They found a very minute amount of cancer in 1 of 4 lymphnodes. The surgeon thinks she got it all, but says she can't be sure. I have no family history of this and I am still in shock and extremely terrified. In fact, my life has become thoughts of terror and death always lurking in the background.
At first, the oncologyst recommended chemo. There's no way I'm gonna do that. I'm just as terrified of that as I am of the cancer. Now they're recommending tamoxifin (sp?). I had a partial hysterectomy a while back, so I won't get uterin cancer from it, but I've been smoking for 32 years and my risk for stroke and/or heart attack is already there. I know this drug increases that risk. The CTCA told me that based on the estrogen levels of the tumor (the largest was 1.5 cm I believe), my chance of recurrence, doing nothing, is 15 to 20 percent. With tamoxifin, it goes down to 8%. I might be nuts, but I think that having an 80-85% chance of nothing recurring is pretty good odds and I don't know that it's worth the gamble of taking the drug. I'd have more of a chance of developing cancer than I have of it coming back, according to the statistics I've been reading.
I'm having a real problem making a decision I can live with about this. I am working on quitting smoking, but I'm not gonna lie, it's harder now than it would have been had I tried to do this before now. If I take the tamoxifin and have a stroke, the effects of that are irreversible. On top of that, there is still a chance of recurring cancer even if I do take it. Taking the drug, I now have even more to worry about.
There are no guarantees one way or the other, no matter what I do. The medical profession is struggling with this as much as their patients are from what I can see. They only have one way to treat cancer at this point and that's by poisoning the cancer, which also poisons the patient. Doctors have no choice but to use very few cure-all on everybody, because that's all the knowledge they have availalbe to them. However, every person is biologically unique and everyone is going to react differently to whichever treatment they take and the stakes are high. It feels to me like I'm playing Russian roulette with my life. Which is the least of the evils? Which way do I go?
For right now, I'm concentrating on the smoking issue and also my diet. I know there are foods and supplements which kill cancer cells, but there again, is that going to be enough? The worst part about this entire situation is that no matter which way it goes, I'll never know if I made the wrong choice until/if something awful happens. They told me if the cancer comes back, it will take my life. I'll always question whether or not taking the drug (or not taking it) made any bit of difference because it probably doesn't for some people. Nobody knows who's going to survive this and who's not and it is absolutely terrifying beyond belief. I feel like I'm in the middle of bad nightmare that I'm never going to wake up from. Cancer has already taken my life in it's own way. I'm disfigured, I'm scared every day, I don't sleep well anymore and my stress level is out of control. I take the generic form of Welbutrin for nerves as well as smoking, but reality is that nothing can shut it off or make it go away. I'm sure everybody who gets this or any other deadly disease goes through this brutal terror.
Treatment works for some people, it doesn't for others and nobody has any way to know which category they fall into. Does anybody take their chances with diet, exercise, meditation, etc. and survive? I don't know about anybody else, but I revert back to square one every time I see a doctor....I start doing better, then I go see my surgeon for a follow up, as well as consultation for treatment options, and I turn back into an inconsolable, frightened child, just like I was when I first found out I had the disease. This is no way to live.