Hi Kathy. Welcome--although I'm sorry you need to be here. I read your message and I'll tell you what struck me: If you had the courage to leave your abuser after 25 years, then you have more than enough courage to face cancer. It must be extremely frustrating (not to mention infuriating) that he is so charming now that you're not under this control. Stay strong, and when he turns on the charm, remind yourself that he was charming before you married him!
I'm sorry I can't answer your question about chemo or surgery first. As for help with your medical expenses, you've found Komen, which is great. I don't know if you'd qualify for aid through the state of Oregon. Have you seen this website: http://www.oregonhelps.org/programs/detail/61/
There are women on the boards who know more than I do about resources for medical care, etc. It would be a good idea to pose that question on the Sound Off board, where more people will see it.
I don't have much to offer in the way of practical advice. I was diagnosed 23 years ago, and I'm not up to date on today's treatments. But I can offer you hope. I was diagnosed at age 37 with 22 positive lymph nodes and was told that I was in a "poor prognostic group." Here I am, alive and well 23 years later. This disease is beatable. I know it's hard to be away from close friends and family, especially at a time like this. You might consider joining a breast cancer support group so that you can connect with other women who know what you're going through. Most medical centers offer them free of charge. Also, many of the women on this site have met up with others in their area, and it's such a great source of support and friendship. We have some wonderful women on this site who live in the Pacific Northwest, but I don't know how close they are to you. You can put out a call on the Sound Off board for others in your area. You never know--you could end up making some great friends.
For now, I just want to send my support and my best wishes and big hug.
Rena age 66 California Central Coast
Dx 1986 IDC ER/PR negative 22 positive lymph nodes
CMFVP chemo weekly for one year, 7 weeks radiation
October 2007: New chassis and spark plugs!