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 Introduce Yourself
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Tricia Keegan

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Re:Introduce Yourself - Thursday, October 07, 2010 12:01 PM
Hi Sheryl,

I'm so sorry you had to join us, but glad you've managed to find some helpful info on the site.   It really helps to read others experience if only to prepare us for whats ahead, or what is normal or not.  Of course we all react differently to some things, but you'll find us all here to be very welcoming and supportive when you need us:)

Good luck with the onc appt and please keep us posted!!
Tricia Keegan...From Ireland Dx July '05 IDC 3/9 nodes pos..triple positive..a/c x 4..Taxol/herceptin x 12
Herceptin 1yr ..rads x35 oophorectomy Aug '06
Currently taking Arimidex /Zometa 1 x yearly
Carepage- survivortricia
SherylKMM

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Re:Introduce Yourself - Thursday, October 07, 2010 9:06 PM
Thanks so much for the warm welcome Tricia.
I did meet with the oncologist today and he said that my tumor wouldn't respond well to chemo.  So, I'll be doing radiation and tamoxifen.  But, now I'm a bit confused about tamoxifen.  I thought that was a really old-fashioned approach and that there were other choices out there.  I will look on your forum topics to see what discussions I can find. I thought for sure that he would have new and fresh approaches to this.  He is only 38 and at the top of his field.  I thought he'd be close to the recent research and literature and --well--I guess I trust him.  I'm pre-menopausal, and he did say that if I got through menopause during the 5 years that he'd switch me to a different drug (one that started with an "A", but I didn't catch it).   sigh
Diagnosed:  August 2010 through routine mammo 
1 cm, 5 lymph nodes removed
E+, P+, Her2-
Onco-type score 17
48 years old, single mother of a 10-year old
No family history; no risk factors
Yes, I'm shocked

Bigger shock: this tiny tumor metastasized in Fall 2015 while on aramidex to advanced stage IV in liver, pleural linings of both lungs, spleen, and ascites in abdomen.  
Tricia Keegan

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Re:Introduce Yourself - Friday, October 08, 2010 4:26 AM
Hi Sheryl,

Tamox is given for pre menopausal women so your onc is giving you the best treatment, you can read more on the hormone therapy forums.

The aromatase inhibitors are called Arimidex, Aromasin, or femara and only given when post menopausal although some women have a shot to shut down their ovaries and prefer one of these to tamox.

I take arimidex as had an ooph to put me into menopause after chemo, it's great you don't need to face that:)  xx
Tricia Keegan...From Ireland Dx July '05 IDC 3/9 nodes pos..triple positive..a/c x 4..Taxol/herceptin x 12
Herceptin 1yr ..rads x35 oophorectomy Aug '06
Currently taking Arimidex /Zometa 1 x yearly
Carepage- survivortricia
SherylKMM

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Re:Introduce Yourself - Friday, October 08, 2010 2:01 PM
Thanks Tricia,
I guess I am just pretty nervous about it all and am having trouble trusting.  (Maybe this will be a good life lesson for me to learn to trust better!)  I did see several articles that suggest that taking Tamoxifen for 2 years and then switching to one of the drugs that you mentioned is more effective.  I am assuming that I will be heading into menopause during this 5 year period--I'll be 49 in January.  I had considered having my ovaries removed b/c I've had trouble with endometriosis and fibroids in the past.  I will look under the hormone therapy forums for info.  Thanks for the tip.

By the way, it gives me incredible comfort hearing you speak from experience.  Thanks for doing what you do on this site.  I hope you are doing well!
Hugs!
Diagnosed:  August 2010 through routine mammo 
1 cm, 5 lymph nodes removed
E+, P+, Her2-
Onco-type score 17
48 years old, single mother of a 10-year old
No family history; no risk factors
Yes, I'm shocked

Bigger shock: this tiny tumor metastasized in Fall 2015 while on aramidex to advanced stage IV in liver, pleural linings of both lungs, spleen, and ascites in abdomen.  
Tricia Keegan

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Re:Introduce Yourself - Friday, October 08, 2010 3:37 PM
You're welcome Sheryl and thanks:)

I mainly had the ooph because I'm highly triple positive, the her2 gene makes for a very aggressive cancer but thankfully I'm still doing fine years later so reckon all that chemo/rads etc paid off:)

You right on the study too, a good place for reliable info is www.breastcancer.org

I also think it's good to educate ourselves and ask questions on various treatments as it's important to feel your own tx is being handled the way you want it to be, I did the same and still question my onc on various meds lol...

I was 46 when dx so as my children were adults I knew the ooph was not a big deal for me, and in fact it was the easiest surgery I ever had although there are arguments for, and against,.

Good luck and keep asking those questions, it'll help you in the long run:)
(Btw, if you need to post a question for more replies/opinions the sound off forum is the busiest rather than here, or the relevant forums regarding rads/hormone treatment etc.....:)
Tricia Keegan...From Ireland Dx July '05 IDC 3/9 nodes pos..triple positive..a/c x 4..Taxol/herceptin x 12
Herceptin 1yr ..rads x35 oophorectomy Aug '06
Currently taking Arimidex /Zometa 1 x yearly
Carepage- survivortricia
DebG

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Re:Introduce Yourself - Saturday, October 09, 2010 12:57 PM
Hello,
 
I had my yearly mammogram done last week, and 2 abnormal spots showed up. A biopsy confirmed cancer. One is Ductal Insitu, and the other is Infiltrating Ductal (grade 3) I have an appt to talk with a surgeon on Oct 12th, and have a MRI Oct 13th. I understand the different grades of cancer, so needless to say, I am worried about being a grade 3. Can a biopsy determine what stage as well? Or do I have to wait until I have surgery? I am 55 yrs old, have 2 grown great kids and 2 beautiful grandkids. I recently re-married almost 2 yrs ago to a very wonderful man who has been very supportive about all this. I come from a large family. Altho I know I can't control what has happened, it still bothers me greatly to see how my cancer is affecting my entire family....their sadness, fears, tears, etc. They're all supportive and caring, but I still see what this has done to them. I have always been the care-taker in my family, and now I feel helpless on how to make them feel better. I'm scared. At times I cry and at other times I feel strong about winning this battle, still at other times it feels all so unreal. I have always believed in prayer, and have been praying for strength and for my cancer to be contained in my breast. I don't know how I would be without God and my family. I am grateful that the Breast Center I went to for my biopsies recommended this site. Thank you for listening.            Deb
Tricia Keegan

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Re:Introduce Yourself - Saturday, October 09, 2010 2:53 PM
Hello Deb,

Firstly, well done on being so pro active in having this diagnosed, please don't worry too much about the grade, as there are many other determining factors on treatment/prognosis etc and really, it's all just stats and stats change:)

There are many stage 3 er's doing great here, even with positive nodes so take heart.  Fyi the grade is usually determined after surgery when they have a full path report but a good surgeon can usually make a good guess.  
I was 2b, but as her2+ with positive nodes it made for an aggressive cancer that needed aggressive treatment which I had.  Thankfully I'm doing well still five years on.

I hope you check out the other forums and jump in where you can, or ask any questions you may have.  We're all here to offer support if needed and I've made some great friends here as I'm sure you will too:)
Tricia Keegan...From Ireland Dx July '05 IDC 3/9 nodes pos..triple positive..a/c x 4..Taxol/herceptin x 12
Herceptin 1yr ..rads x35 oophorectomy Aug '06
Currently taking Arimidex /Zometa 1 x yearly
Carepage- survivortricia
Alison Irwin

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Re:Introduce Yourself - Saturday, October 09, 2010 11:10 PM
Hi Deb!
 
Glad to meet you, sorry you had to join our group.  I'm so glad you have a wonderful family around to support you thru all of this.  Yes, it is hard switching from being a caretaker to having other's help take care of you.  But the good news is, most of the time (even if you have to have chemo & radiation) you will still be able to live a fairly normal life and take care of your family.
 
My tumor was a Grade 3 and here I am 4 years later, still alive and kicking with no sign of cancer.  I wouldn't worry too much about the grade.  After your surgery, then they will be able to tell you more about your Stage.  I was a Stage 2b, but very close to a Stage 3.  Remember, statistics are just statistics.  While it does help to learn about breast cancer, remember you are a person and not a statistic.  Even the 5 year survivor statistics are 5 year old statistics!  Every year the treatments are getting better & better and survivor rates are increasing.
 
I always try to tell all newly diagnosed survivors to take a deep breath and try to remain calm.  The first thing we all think when we hear the word cancer is that we are going to die.  The odds are really in your favor, there are some great treatment options and the reality is most of us will survive breast cancer.  That doesn't mean it's not serious, but everybody here knows how scary those first few weeks can be.
 
Waiting is truly the hardest part.  I think I about went crazy waiting for doctors and test results.  But once you start meeting with them and get a plan worked out on how to battle your cancer, you will feel much better. 
 
Let your family know about all the survivors on this message board.  While we have lost a few of our friends to this disease, there are many, many more of us that are surviving and living very full lives after breast cancer.
 
Prayer is so very important for helping you get thru the difficult times.  But also, don't forget laughter.  Sometimes when things get too serious, it helps to just laugh.  See if you can take your family to see a funny movie and just spend some time laughing...it will be good for you and them. 
 
You have some emotionally tough days ahead, just remember to take them one at a time and you will get thru this just fine.
 
Hugs to you!
 
Alison, 45. Woodland, WA.
DX 08/14/06, Left Mast, Nodes13-/1+, 4-AC/1-Taxol/3-Taxotere, Rads, BRCA neg.,Tram flap. Medullary carcinoma, triple negative.
SherylKMM

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Re:Introduce Yourself - Sunday, October 10, 2010 11:23 AM
Hi Deb,
What Alison says is so true.  And, by the way, Alison, you helped me too with your post.  I tried to attach survival meaning to numbers and grades.  Then I found this board and realized that no label is ever predictive in any way.

The waiting IS the hardest part.  I just finished my last "waiting" for a while this past Thursday.  Now I have a plan of attack and I do feel much better.  Of course it's still scary, but I have a plan. The worst part of all was the diagnosis and the surgery--wondering how far, if at all, it had spread, and having to tell my family.  I have a 10 year old son (I started motherhood in my late 30s) so I was full of stress, dread, and anxiety about how I was to care for my child through this, and then also in the long term. 

Just take one step at a time.  Everyone's steps are a bit different.  So, just take one thing at a time and try to BREATHE while you wait to see where you are now.  Don't worry about future steps--that will drive you crazy.  I think everyone on this forum has experienced this.
Hang in there!
Hugs to all of you--but still gentle hugs for me, being just post surgery.
Diagnosed:  August 2010 through routine mammo 
1 cm, 5 lymph nodes removed
E+, P+, Her2-
Onco-type score 17
48 years old, single mother of a 10-year old
No family history; no risk factors
Yes, I'm shocked

Bigger shock: this tiny tumor metastasized in Fall 2015 while on aramidex to advanced stage IV in liver, pleural linings of both lungs, spleen, and ascites in abdomen.  
Alison Irwin

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Re:Introduce Yourself - Monday, October 11, 2010 1:15 AM
Sheryl,

My son ws 8 and my daughter 14 when I was diagnosed.  It was much more difficult to tell my daughter, because she understood.  My son just seemed to take it all in stride.

For what it's worth, I was able to keep working thru all of my treatment.  I took a few days off after my mastectomy.  I had AC chemo on Friday afternoons and went back to worn on Wednesday.  Taxol/Taxotere was easier for me and I only took Monday's off.  I did radiation on my lunch break.  I believe I took 9 days off after my tram flap.  So all in all, I was able to continue working full time and take care of my family.  Of course now that I look back, I wonder how in the world I ever managed.LOL.  It's really amazing what you can do when you have to.  I think the one thing that I was really surprised at was just how much I was able to do during treatment.  Chemo really isn't like what they show on tv.  Usually you have a couple of bad days after chemo and then the rest of the days you spend feeling better & better each day.  Unfortunately, I was still able to cook, clean and do laundry!lol.

My husband really did step up to the plate also and on days when I was a bit tired and went to bed early or was sick from chemo he took care of things.  They all knew I was feeling better when I would start yelling at them for stacking the tupperware in the cabinet wrong.  Seriously, you'd think after all the lessons I gave them in stacking the little bowls inside the big ones, they would get it.  But no, I would recuperate from chemo only to have a barrage of plastic bowls tumbling onto my bald head each time!

Breast cancer treatment is do-able.  There is nothing easy about it and it's as much mental as it is physical.  But yes, having that plan in place does make it easier.  You know what you have to do and it takes away a bit of that fear of the unknown. 

Gentle hugs,
Alison, 45. Woodland, WA.
DX 08/14/06, Left Mast, Nodes13-/1+, 4-AC/1-Taxol/3-Taxotere, Rads, BRCA neg.,Tram flap. Medullary carcinoma, triple negative.
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