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 Introduce Yourself
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Re:Introduce Yourself - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 6:16 PM
Hi everyone, my name is Denise, and this is the first time I've ever joined a forum outside of school work. Four months after turning 50, I was diagnosed with breast cancer with a routine mammogram. No family history. After the biopsy, they thought it was DCIS, non-invasive. After my first surgery (a lumpectomy), the pathology on the tumor found it was in fact invasive. I had my second surgery 12 days ago, taking a little more healthy tissue around the tumor site, excising a hematoma that I apparently got from returning to work and doing too much too soon, and a sentinel node biopsy in which they removed 4 lymph nodes. Thank goodness the lymph nodes were clean. I'm still pretty sore from the sentinel node biopsy, but grateful that as of right now I don't have to do chemo. Next up is radiation 5 days/week for 6 weeks. I've been reading the posts about radiation therapy and the skin burns and fatigue. I nervous about both! I want to prevent the skin burning and need advice on how best to keep up my energy as I am working two jobs - I am an RN on a surgical floor (full time) and I also work in an outpatient radiology clinic (on call, usually 20 hours/week). Thanks in advance for any advice you all can give me! Denise

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Re:Introduce Yourself - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 11:51 PM
Denise...Congrats on the good node news...I remember the relief I felt when my nodes were clean and I didn't need chemo. Everyone reacts differently to the radiation. I burned quite badly, but my radiation oncologist warned me of that upfront because of how she had to angle the rads.****My sister had radiation twice and got through it very well. I started getting tired about 3-4 weeks in....would just hit a wall every afternoon.***I was lucky since I was retired when going through treatment.****I would hope that since your jobs are in the medical field that they will be open to you taking care of yourself when you need to.****but you won't know what you need until you get might just sail through it!****Do everything your team suggests to care for you skin., and also make sure to continue any exercise routine you have...exercise has been proven to help us get through all treatments.****Joyce
Portland, OR. DX: 6/09/05 IDC lb Age: 54 PR/HR+ Her- Lumpectomy/SNB 6/22/05 Nodes Neg! 33X Rads Comp 10/12/05 Tamoxifen: '05-'10 PT for lymphydema in breast '06 BRCA Neg 7/08! Tamoxifen induced uterine issues '07-'11 Total LA hysterectomy 12/11

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Re:Introduce Yourself - Sunday, August 02, 2015 8:54 PM
Hi Denise. I'm happy for your good news, too. As Joyce said, everyone is different. I had radiation when I was young--37--and although I burned some, especially toward the end, I used the topical preparations that the doctor recommended, and my skin healed well. In fact, I'm sure they have much better things to use now than they did back then. You might have to experiment with different ones to find which work best for you.  I think the hardest part for me was the fact that it was every day, but it was never so disabling that I couldn't drive myself to my treatments. Afterwards, I'd come home and run around after my two-year-old, so even though it can be tiring, you should be able to continue your usual activities for the most part. I wish you well.
Rena age 66 California Central Coast
29-year survivor
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!

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Re:Introduce Yourself - Tuesday, August 18, 2015 8:46 AM
My name is Cathy and I am 56 years old. I just retired this past January. I had an abnormal mammogram that showed calcification spots several weeks ago and was referred to a vascular surgeon. I met with him last week. Tomorrow I am scheduled for a mammogram assisted needle biopsy. Coincidence or not, within the past few weeks I have noticed swelling and stretch marks in my right breast and armpit. Originally I wasn't too worried since this is pretty common in menapausal women, but now with the swelling I'm not sure. Both my Mom and Sister had breast cancer so the odds are against me. I already have a follow up appointment scheduled to get the results. I'm hoping for the best. Worst part right now is that my husband and I have a big 3 week overseas vacation planned for November that I really don't want to delay or cancel. I'm hoping whatever the diagnosis is, that either surgery can be done in the two months before we are scheduled to depart, or treatment can be delayed until we return from our trip. The swelling so quickly does concern me that this could be a really aggressive cancer. 

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Re:Introduce Yourself - Wednesday, August 26, 2015 3:09 PM
Today is my 74th birthday and I am spending it with my radiation team. No energy to do anything else.

I have just started down this road. I had breast cancer in both breasts at the same time. I was diagnoised in May and had a lumpectomy in June.Now I am in radiation. I will have radiation for a 9 weeks. I have 3 1/2  more weeks to go. I am beyond tired. Over the weekend I simply did not get out of bed. I really wasn't hungry and I did not eat anything other than some cold cereal. One breast is really sore with some radiation burns and blisters. The other breast is beet red and very tender. I can't wear a bra.

What is HER2 positive and what does it mean. I have Stage 1 B. I have had linear 
accerator, boost by a mamography type equipment and starting tomorrow a external beam radiation. 

I am traveling this road alone. No caregiver to lean on. I have become used to dealing with life's problems on my own, but this has knocked me down. When I finish my radiation treatment I will start on arimdix for 5 years. Any advice is appreciated.


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Re:Introduce Yourself - Wednesday, August 26, 2015 3:13 PM

I forgot to give you my name. I am Barbara

Tricia Keegan

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Re:Introduce Yourself - Wednesday, August 26, 2015 5:41 PM
Hi Barbara,

Radiation left me very fatigued too although not as much as chemo thankfully!  I'm sorry your skin burned, has your rad onc suggested a cream to use?? if not ask for one and also use 100% aloe vera which will help the burns too. If you check out out our rads forum you'll see many other tips to help you, also the hormone therapy forum too. I took Arimidex for eight years and was glad to have it, not everyone have side effects so give it a go and see you get on. If bone loss is an issue they can give you Zometa to help counteract this.

Are you her2 positive??  I was, it generally means a more aggressive cancer and used to be bad news but thankfully the targeted therapy called Herceptin has changed this now, so we have more meds to help us beat this and a better prognosis, check out and and feel free to pm me!
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

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Re:Introduce Yourself - Thursday, August 27, 2015 6:32 PM
Hi Everyone, my name is Joyce, 65 yrs., and I've recently been diagnosed with Stage 2A breast cancer, HER2 equivocal, p/e positive.  I have 2 situations I'm currently dealing with: (1) I'm supposed to start chemo treatment next Friday, but my lymph node site is still's been since 7/20 that I've had the node removed.  I don't think they will start chemo if it is still draining, but I'm concerned that it's now about 6 weeks since the surgery.  I've read that the longer you wait to start chemo, the lower the chances of survival.  Scary!  and (2) has anyone had an "equivocal" HER2 diagnosis?  They say that means it isn't definite, but based on other markers I have, they want to treat it with Herceptin for a year anyway, just to be sure they have no regrets.  I could go on and on, but just wanted to introduce myself and join in the discussions.  Good luck to all! 

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Re:Introduce Yourself - Thursday, August 27, 2015 9:58 PM
Hi Joyce, I was also HER2 Equivocal like you. My Med Onc decided that he would base my need for chemo on my OnctypeDX score. He felt that due to my age (51 at the time), and the 2-equivocal score, that I should have chemo despite the fact that I was only a stage 1. My oncotype score came back as a 25 which is in the higher end of the middle. 17 and under no chemo, 31 and over always chemo. He therefore chose to go with the chemo. I did not however get treated with Herceptin. I am confident in the choices he made and am glad it is behind me now. I am a firm believer in fighting this disease with everything possible. That way I will never have any regrets. I wish you luck and please know that you will get through chemo. Try to laugh every day even if it is at the irony of the situation (my head was shiny like the Mr Clean guy)! Remember cancer is not your whole life, it's just a temporary side trip. Sending positive thoughts, Lisa
Lisa, Age 51 @ DX Lumpectomy 8/30/12 
-1.5cm Stage 1a IDC Grade 2, DCIS Grade 3 
-ER/PR Poss, HER2 Equivocal 2(Borderline), FISH Neg, 
-Node Neg, OncotypeDX 25
- T/C x 6 (done 1/28/13)
-33 Rads (done 4/18/13)
-Tamoxifen (4/19/13 for 10 yrs)

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Re:Introduce Yourself - Friday, August 28, 2015 12:03 PM
Thank you for your very kind words, Lisa! I'm glad you got through this well. I will take your words to heart and try with all I have to fight this disease with the best possible attitude. Yes, it is a temporary side trip and there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even though it's a long one! :-) I'll be looking forward to checking in and posting after my first treatment. In the meantime, I'll be wig shopping to cover my shiny head and will have sunglasses to hand out to those who can't stand the glare!
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