Oh, Michelle...soooo sorry to hear this news. You are not alone, that is for sure. My tumor was grade III and was 2.5 cm, nodes were negative. I am over 5 years out. Most of us younger gals tend to be grade III.
The next few weeks will be a whirlwind of activity for you. There will be lots to learn and lots of tests and appointments. You will probably meet with a surgeon, radiation oncologist and medical oncologist. There will be tests to stage your cancer, to look at whether it has spread to other organs or bones. Then with all that information, they will develop a plan. The plan is empowering, it puts you in charge!
Good chance your treatment will include chemotherapy, but we cannot say for sure. Chemo stinks but it is doable! I was lucky enough to work full time through my treatment, so quality of life is possible.
My advice- read and learn what you can (take it in small doses). Bring a friend or relative to your appointments and a tape recorder too, it is impossible to get all the information the first time through. Take charge where you can, as there are definitely some things we can't control. Get a second opinion if you have any questions at all. And try not to be scared by statistics.....while survival rates are very high, it can be scary to read sometimes. And lastly, know that no one should tell you what you should do, we are just offering advice based on our past experiences. No one can tell you for sure what will happen.....
Remember, I am not too far from you and was treated at U of M (I responded to you in the other thread). I live near Beaumont....
Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one's friend springs from his earnest counsel.
Michelle- I am so sorry you are here, but you've joined a wonderful group of ladies...I was dx 2/01, age 34, with Stage IIB 4.5cm tumor, invasive ductal, er-/pr-, 5 of 49 nodes positive. had bilateral mastectomies, no recon (i was too traumatized at the time to think about recon, now i just dont want to go thru it). had 3 rounds a/c, 3 rounds fec, 4 rounds of taxotere & herceptin weekly infusions for a year, plus 33 rounds rads. whew, it took a year to complete. but i just hit my 4-year anniversary a month ago, and i feel fine... going thru some lymphedema treatments right now for my left arm , which is a real pain in the a**! uncomfortable to wear the wrap on and off for a month, but it's doing its job and reducing my arm nicely. so i just have to deal with it. you are just starting your journey... it's so hard, but remember to take deep breaths, cry when you have to, and try try try to think positively. i know it's difficult. remember, there are lots of survivors that return to life as normal and don't post here, but they're out there... just think how many millions of women survive this... and just decide to be one of them. that's all it takes. the rest... the hair loss, the fatigue, the chemo, can all be overcome.
I was dx in May, 01, with metastatic ductal carcinoma, pagets disease 2 tumors, 1.5 and one 3.2 cm. I had a modified radical mastectomy, 19 of 21 lymph nodes positive, but clear margins. I had 4 a/c followed by 12 weekly treatments of taxol and 30 rads. I am still here as are many other women who have had the same diagnosis as you. I opted not for reconstruction.
Once I was diagnosed, I didn't think about the size of the tumors or the number of lymph nodes involved or the stage. I honestly just decided that I was going to do whatever it took to beat this disease and looked forward. I have a very warped sense of humor and luckily my dd's and best friends do also. This helped me sooooo much during the rough times. Yes, you will lose your hair and your tastebuds but you can and will beat this!
Write down all of the questions that you want answered before you meet again with your surgeon and onco.
As everyone has said, don't be afraid to cry or scream. (I did this in the shower and car) Remember, you are not alone in this. All of these wonderful ladies know what you are experiencing, how you are feeling and will be beside you thru this journey.
Post Edited (debbiR) : 3/20/2005 8:23:38 PM (GMT-7)