Introduce Yourself

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beans
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Re:Introduce Yourself - Thursday, August 04, 2011 2:53 AM
Hi:  I typed in a search tonight that led me here.  I typed the words, "I am afraid of having a mastectomy."  I am not sure I am posting correctly so please forgive me if this is out of place.  My name is Susan and I am 54 years old.  I went in for a regular checkup in June, 2011 and they found some suspicious places on the screening.  Within a few days I was having ultrasound and another test.  In a few more days I was having a biopsy.  They found 2 places, stage 1 and stage 2 cancer. Then I had an MRI.  Then I met with the surgeon.  She recommended genetic testing.  The tests came back and I don't have to have the 2nd breast removed even though they don't think that would be a bad idea since there is strong family history of breast cancer.  I had the presurgery workup today.  The mastectomy is August 15th.  I have mostly been strong and brave.  Today though, I just feel so very sad and so alone ...and terribly weak for feeling this way. 
 
  I have a great husband and lots of support.  I am blessed and fortunate in so many ways. It just feels overwhelmingly real  to me now that surgery is set.  Life will never be the same.  I am afraid of the surgery.  I am afraid of being put under.  I am afaid of the shock of waking up and seeing my chest.  I am afraid the cancer has spread even though they do not think it has.  I am worried about the pain I feel in my chest and arm since the biopsy.  I have pain in my boob where they did the biopsy and in my paranoia, I am afraid the cancer is growing and that I will lose an arm ....  I am not doing reconstruction.  I met with a plastic surgeon and all of the talk about stretchers, implants and surgery seemed too much to me.
 
  I am sure tomorow I will  feel better and some of this fear and paranoid thinking will disappear but tonight, I just feel horrible.  We are going away for a few days prior to surgery so I don't know if I will be able to check back in very often before surgery but I am grateful for your presence and for having a safe place to break down.  Thank you.  I send my best wishes and prayers to all women here.  Please say a prayer for me that I find courage and that I handle this gracefully.  I have been touched by the brave women who  have posted here.   If I get through this surgery, I am going to have a wake for my boob! Why is this all so horribly scary???  I don't think I am afraid of death exactly...but something about all of this is frightening. Am I alone in feeling this way?  What is it that is so scary? I welcome your thoughts, Susan

Tricia Keegan
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Re:Introduce Yourself - Thursday, August 04, 2011 4:57 AM
Hi Susan and welcome, although I'm so very sorry you had to find us here, you're not alone and we all felt as you do in those early weeks and facing surgery. I was scared of being put under too and maybe not waking up and I think all the little fears we have are intensified on hearing we have this disease.   Have you checked out the recon/surgery forum?  there's lots of advice there from ladies who have been through this so try to take a look in, I did'nt have a mast but like most of us here, can surely relate to your fear.  

Try to enjoy your trip away and I hope you'll come and keep us posted when you get back, sending ((((hugs)))) and know you're strong enough to get through this and we're all holding your hand:)
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

diane squirlz
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Re:Introduce Yourself - Thursday, August 04, 2011 9:37 AM
welcome, beans, to the 'club' no one wishes to be a part of.  but it sure is nice to have women to talk with that have either been there or are walking the same path with us.  i'm 'fresh meat' here myself and have found a ton of information that helps me cope...and knowing there are women here who understand helps tremendously. 
 
the unknown is scarey as hell.  all the horror stories we've read and heard throughout our lives...our own imaginations....our mortality ~ the perfect place for fear to fester and grow.
 
do your best to relax and enjoy your time away ~ we'll be here when you get back.  my prayers to you...you WILL find the courage to not only face this, but conquer it.
Dx'd IDC 5/14/11  age 47 
ER/PR+  HER2/neu -   BRCA -       
Double Mastectomy w/ reconstruction 7/8/11 (hbot x 10)\Right Lymphectomy 7/15/11    2 of 25 nodes +
Stage IIB 
Sx 8/17/11 infection, right (hbot x 12)
Chemo:  A/C followed Taxol (8/15-12/12/11) 
More surgery approx 3/1/12 
Radiation afterwards, tamo

Ann B.
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Re:Introduce Yourself - Thursday, August 04, 2011 12:36 PM
Hi Beans--Welcome and sorry that you have to join us.  What you are feeling is normal.  It is normal to be scared and anxioous.  When I think back to the period before my mastectomy, I, too, was scared and kept wondering what it was going to feel like to be lopsided--was I going to be off balance and tilt to the left (I'm not kidding).  Some women find it very hard to look at the mastectomy site and you need to go as slow or as fast as you want and need.  Most hospitals have bc groups and you might want to join one of these.  There are web sites, if you are so inclined, that have photos of what a mastectomy looks like.  I did not have reconstruction but I use a prosthesis.  This is a very personal choice and only you can make the choice that's correct for you.  I wish you the best of luck and hope you keep coming back and let us know how things are going.
 
                                                                                                      Ann B.
Ann B.
12/89--Lumptectomy of left breast for 2 sites of DCIS followed by radiation and 5 years of tamoxifen. ER/PR +
12/2002--Mastectomy of Left breast for recurrence. Nodes negative. ER/PR+ Her2-. Arimidex.

JulieS
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Re:Introduce Yourself - Thursday, August 04, 2011 1:51 PM
Hi Beans,
I too was so afraid of being put under....I was worried about nausea when I woke up, would I pee when I was under? How bad would I hurt?  What would my breast look like ? (had a lumpectomy)  I was really, really scared.  I was lucky though I had a sister in law that has had several surgeries and also works in the medical profession and she was so helpful to me. 

I think it is normal to be scared, and we all have been there.  No matter our DX we all get afraid when we don't know what the future holds.
We are always here and normally someone here has a suggestion, answer or at least been in the same boat so do come back and vent, rant or just get a virtual hug.  Enjoy your time away!
Hope and strength,
Julie
Bothell, WA
dx 5/07 IDC
lumpectomy 6/14/07 1.5cm
er/pr + Nodes negative
finished rads 9/13
Tamoxfen 9/07- 8/09
Arimidex 8/09-

marianwolf
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Re:Introduce Yourself - Thursday, August 04, 2011 2:09 PM
Beans,

I want to join in welcoming you to this support site.  I'm new but have been given experience, strength and hope from the ladies here.  I too have been frightened, a little crazy, been sad/angry/hurt.  Oh my!  My emotions have run the gamut and for that, this place has been my life line.   Listen to the support, hang out a lot if you can.  You are bound to begin life long friendships here and THAT is beautiful.

Best wishes,
Marian

Marian 

DX June 20, 2011
IDC, E+P-, HER2-, Ki67 49%
Lumpectomy 7/26/11 & 8/23/11   
Lymph nodes clear!   
BRCA 1-/2-
Stage 1, Grade III 
Oncotype: 36%
Taxotere/Cytoxn 1 2 3 4 12/12/11
33 Rads completed 3/16/12
Start Arimidex 3/17/12    

[link=http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/

jlg373
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Re:Introduce Yourself - Thursday, August 04, 2011 7:48 PM
Hello Dear Susan,
 
I found this website the same way you did and late at night just like you.  Everyone was asleep and I was having a meltdown wondering what was going to happen just like we all do right after diagnosis. 
 
We landed at the right place Susan with all the women who have experienced what we have or will have who can direct us to the best resource area to answer our questions.  Knowledge helps ease the nerves as I found out by reading everything i could get my hands on about Breast Cancer.  You have already started by landing here congratulations!
 
On the home page of Susan G. Komen it has the difference of Mastectomy vs Partial Mastectomy or Lumpectomy and their results as far as cancer re-occuring.  Is your surgery a "done deal"  sounds like it is.  Keep us posted ok? 
 
My situation happened like yours after I had a mammogram that showed a suspious mass on right breast in March!  I kid you not, ever since I acted on that, it has been biopsies of all lymph nodes, breast MRI, ultrasound, sterotactic biopsies, Surgery with Sentinel Node Biopsy, now radiation with 3 days left in that therapy.   I hope your surgery goes well and all of the "Angels" here at Komen will be here to answer your questions and send hugs and lots of Love.
 
God Bless You,
 
Janice G.
 
 
Diag 4/28/11 ILC Multifocal Stage 11A Grade 2
 Er/Pr + Her 2 -  Ultrasound Biopsy
Sterotatic Biopsy on lft brst clear
Bilateral Axillary node biopsies all clear readings
Bilateral Brst MRI/w dye/lft clear readings 
Quadectomy  &  SNB 5/18/11- Clear Margins
21 days Canadian Radiation therapy starting in July 
Hormone Therapy/ Arimidex

beans
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Re:Introduce Yourself - Friday, August 05, 2011 12:48 AM
I am truly overwhelmed by the kindness all of you have shown me.  I don't know how to thank you.  I am so sorry anyone has ever gone through this but hearing from others who have been through this makes it easier somehow.  Thank you for taking the time to give me support, encouragement and understanding.  It is a blessing to me.  We are taking off tomorrow so  this will be my last post before surgery which will be the 15th.  I will let you know how it goes as soon as I can.  Love and hope to all, Susan

sjmom
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Re:Introduce Yourself - Friday, August 05, 2011 5:48 AM
My name is Lisa and I'm 40 and I have a  12 and 3 month old daughters. Found a lump when I was 7 months pregnant and just found out yesterday that I have invasive ductal carcinoma. I AM NUMB!!! Don't know if I'm making the right decision about just having a lumpectomy and radiation. Trying to stay positive and keeping faith!!

Tricia Keegan
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Re:Introduce Yourself - Friday, August 05, 2011 7:37 AM
Hi Lisa,

I'm sorry you face this and it's a decision we've all questioned on hearing we have this disease, there are quite a few threads discussing it on the recon/surgery forums which may help you.  You can also do a search for more info and past threads concerning this on the search bar at the top right of the screen.

I had a lumpectomy with rads too, mainly due to the fact that this gives the same long term survival as a mast (although the risk of local recurrance is slightly higher)  I had three positive nodes too but still doing well six years on.   What works for one person may not for you of course so the best thing to do is read up and get all the facts and decide whats right for YOU!:)
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

Pat Patterson
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Re:Introduce Yourself - Friday, August 05, 2011 9:45 AM
Susan and Lisa, my thoughts and prayers are with you both. 
DX 5/13/08 Clearwater, FL HER2 +
IDC Stage IIIA changed 12/2/08 to IIB Grade 3
Taxotere, Carbo & Herceptin  6/11/08
Part Mas 11/5/08 SNB neg & addl node neg - CLEAN MARGINS!
Arimidex 11/25/08  35 Rads 12/15/08

JulieS
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Re:Introduce Yourself - Friday, August 05, 2011 11:51 AM
Lisa,
Welcome!  I am sure you are numb!  Getting that information is shocking to hear.   I too had a lumpectomy and radiation although am a few (ok, many!) years older than you.  It is what I would recommend for one of my daughters. 
Do your research, take someone with you to your dr appointments, write down your questions for the dr and take that list with you.  Know you have the right to get a 2nd opinion and it is ok to do so.
You need to like and trust all of your drs.  You will have a surgeon,  radiation oncologist, and maybe a medical oncologist.
Also come back with any and all questions you may have.  Another website that is good for information is www.breastcancer.org   
Sending you calming hugs.....
Hope and strength,
Julie S
Bothell, WA
dx 5/07 IDC
lumpectomy 6/14/07 1.5cm
er/pr + Nodes negative
finished rads 9/13
Tamoxfen 9/07- 8/09
Arimidex 8/09-

Archer
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Need Some Opinions - Thursday, August 11, 2011 8:31 AM
Good Morning, hi, my name is Trish. I'm looking for some opinions.....I had my first mammogram on Monday, they called back for additional views on Wednesday. The radiologist determined I had calcifications and the next step should be a stereotactic biopsy.  He did tell me that the calicfications did not appear abnormal, nor even in the pre-cancerous stage. They appeared normal, like salt crystals, but to be sure a biopsy would confirm their benign state. I'm 42, no family history of cancer of any type on either side of my family.  I am going to have a a radiologist friend look at my films, but I'm wondering if a biopsy is too much for something that the radiologist is calling "normal."
<message edited by Archer on Thursday, August 11, 2011 10:41 AM>

Tricia Keegan
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Re:Need Some Opinions - Thursday, August 11, 2011 1:00 PM
Hi Trish from another Trish!:)

If you post your question on the sound off forum more people will see it and you'll get a lot more replies as it busier than here.

My opinion is that the rad tech who read your films could be mistaken of course, but for me personally I would'nt take even the slightest chance with this disease and would want the peace of mind a biopsy can bring. Sometimes a Dr will take a watch and wait response to this but I think having the biopsy to exclude anything sinister is a good thing and at least you won't be left wondering.
Good luck and 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

JulieS
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Re:Need Some Opinions - Thursday, August 11, 2011 1:58 PM
Hi Trish,
I am with Tricia,  a bx is not that difficult and I would want to know for sure  what is there is B9.    It is always best to know rather than have it be something bad that is continuing to grow.
Of course, you are talking to a group of bc survivors and we all wish we had known earlier that it was bc growing in our breast.  If you do decide to wait....have another mammo in 6 months just to be sure.
Hope and strength,
Julie S
Bothell, WA
dx 5/07 IDC
lumpectomy 6/14/07 1.5cm
er/pr + Nodes negative
finished rads 9/13
Tamoxfen 9/07- 8/09
Arimidex 8/09-

Tricia Keegan
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Re:Need Some Opinions - Thursday, August 11, 2011 5:05 PM
I'd agree with Julie on that too Trish!
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

Txcristen
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Re:Introduce Yourself - Thursday, August 11, 2011 11:48 PM
I am new to the site but have been reading posts all day!  I had my first mammogram screening last summer after my 40th birthday and calcifications were found on the left side.  Had a needle biopsy and was told it was NOT cancer, all clear, and to follow up in 6 months.  This past March I went in for a left breast mammogram and the spots were still there.  Had an excision biopsy for a larger sample in May and cancer cells were found, DCIS.  I'm 41 years old.  Re-excision in June proved clear margins.  Finished radiation this week! So happy to be done with those morning appts.
 
Now I'm looking at Tamoxifen.  And I don't like what I've read.  I will meet with the medical onco next week with many questions.  I am an athlete and have even done 3 triathlons since my diagnosis.  The last one was in week 5 of radiation.  Even so, I put on 8 lbs in the 6 weeks of radiation and I can feel it with my training.  I'm not back to my pre-surgery training levels but I MUST lose those pounds to continue to compete in triathlons and half marathons I have coming up this Fall. 
 
All this nausea and headaches and hot flashes talk is scaring the hell out of me and making me want to skip the hormones.  How can I be on this medication and continue my active lifestyle?  I'd love to hear from any athletes dealing with hormone therapy!
Cristen, 46
(DCIS Stage 0 dx 5/6/11 @age 40)
7/10@ 1st mammo: Calcs
8/10 Needle biopsy: Negative
4/14/11 Follow-up mammo: More calcs
5/8/11 Excisional bx Lft breast~DIAGNOSIS DCIS
6/2/11 Second lumpectomy w/ clear margins
ER/PR+ and BRAC 1 & 2 NEG
Rads DONE 8/10/11, Tamoxifen 9/12/11-Jan 2016[/ali

Anne K
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Re:Introduce Yourself - Friday, August 12, 2011 12:05 AM
My name is Anne and I was diagnosed with DCIS (high grade comedo) on 7/26/11.  My journey began with an abnormal mammo on 7/6 and 7/16, both showing suspicious microcalcifications.  I underwent a guided biopsy that revealed the DCIS.  Needless to say the words "you have cancer" have put me into a tailspin emotionally.  Since the diagnosis it has been a hurry up and wait game, with the latest being an MRI yesterday.  The good news today was that the MRI showed normal size and shaped lymph nodes.  Ironically the nurse told me that the DCIS was not visible on the MRI....I am not sure how to take this but considering this all good news.  I am now waiting to meet again with my doctor regarding what surgery we will do (lumpectomy vs mastectomy with reconstruction) and I am having a difficult time making this decision.  As an ER nurse for 12 years my experience and knowledge with cancer patients has been limited to the very sick and dying.   My father also passed away 5 years ago from bladder cancer.  I think these personal experiences with cancer have shaped my attitude that "I just want it all out" and have me leaning towards a mastectomy.  Since my diagnosis I have read everything I can get my hands on to better educate myself.  I am still awaiting the BRCA results, which if positive will make my decision easier.  My greatest concern is that at 42 years old even the slightest chance of recurrence after a lumpectomy means reconstruction would be very unlikely (per my doctor).  I keep praying that an answer will come to me. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my story, I fear my poor husband has heard this one to many times!

Anne
Age: 42
Diagnosed 7/26/11 with DCIS, high grade comedo of left breast following biopsy
Awaiting PR, ER, BRCA results (8/11/11)


Tricia Keegan
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Re:Introduce Yourself - Friday, August 12, 2011 7:51 AM
Hi Cristen and Anne and welcome,

Cristen I'm not an athlete so really can't help much although I've been taking arimdiex for five years now and do intend taking it for another two years, initially I had some side effects but these lessoned over the years and I've had no weight gain at all.  If you check out the hormone therapy forum you'll get more info from some of those members taking Tamoxifen.

Anne, this was a big decision for all us and it's far from easy, I went the lumpectomy route and for me it was the right one as I'm still well six years later.  As you may know  the actual survival stats are the same for each of these surgeries but of course there is a slightly higher risk of recurrance with a lumpectomy and rads.  I really do wish you well with your decision and future treatments and look forward to chatting to you more here so please keep us posted.  If you look at the recon/surgery forum you'll see the same question asked by others so it may help you decide:)
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

Jean Southward
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Re:Introduce Yourself - Friday, August 12, 2011 8:08 AM
Welcome!  Trish I would encourage you to go for the biopsy as well.  I had 6 b9 lumpectomies before my 7th proved cancerous.  If I could have gotten someone to listen to me years back about this 7th one, I would have not had it spread to my lymphnodes.  (always told that it was just scar tissue.  Hmmm.  Guess they were wrong)  So I am more inclined to get it out, get it tested and get peace of mind.
 
Anne, while any treatment can cause weight gain as well as a natural change of life can the positives outweigh the negatives.  I may not be a triatholon contender but I have maintained a very active life style.  I exercise and golf (alot) and although I have had the opposite issue this last year of getting too thin, my first year and 1/2 on Arimidex I maintained my normal weight. Some of these side effects are not the same for all of us. Each of us reacts a bit differently.  But weight gain would be my least concern.  I would rather be fluffy and know that I am doing everything I can to thwart of the evil beast!  That is not to say that many aren't frustrated with their added pounds but I just look at it as a tradeoff for the bigger picture.  Good luck to you!!
Jean S

Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without words and never stops...at all.

Emily Dickinson

IDC Stage IIB Grade 3 BC DX on 2-10-09
HER2+++
ER/PR+ 90% 
2 of 6 Node Positive
Double Mastectomy 2-23-09
Completed Chemo TC 7-10
Herceptin until 3-20-10
Arimidex for 5 years Started 8-09 

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