Just found out I have breast cancer

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coco2
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 4/13/2005 7:57 PM (GMT -7)   
Just found this board & it really looks very friendly & helpful. With all the ailments I have though, I could post on a lot of them...I already have diabetes, R. Arthritis, heart problems (had triple bypass, have a stent) & various other illnesses, now last week after my annual mammagram, then biopsy was told I had breast cancer.I am 66 & told my Husband he should donate my body when I'm gone to science so they could fnd out why one body could have so many things go wrong with it. The surgeon now is just waiting on the heart Dr. to operate. He recomends the breast be removed, but says it is my choice to try chemo/radiation. I would love someone elses opinion who has "been there, done that". Thanks for any help in makeing up my mind....Jan

MiaB
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 205
   Posted 4/13/2005 8:36 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi and Welcome Jan,
 I'm sorry to hear about your diagnosis of BC but glad you found us here.  This group will provide you with a wealth of information and support in what you have ahead of you.  First let me tell you a little about the forum; check out the roll call at the top of the listing of threads, it gives you background info, ages and such of the members.  Also, the gang here has a PCE (Pink Cloud Express) that is used to 'round up all the members' and spiritually be with one another in our time of need.  Since we can't actually be with everyone in person we are there in spirit and usually we wear pink feather boa's for fun and silliness.
 
Now onto your diagnosis.  Were you told the size and type of your tumor?  That may have some bearing on the type of surgery or treatment you receive.  Everyone is different in the way they decide what is best for them.  Personally I wanted my "alien breast" removed as soon as I heard the diagnosis.  In two days I changed my mind and had just a partial mast. thinking the rest could be removed later if there were unclear margins of tissue removed.  Now I'm having just radiation treatments and will be on the standard 5 years of tamoxifen.  But I've heard lots of women here talk about having bi-lateral (both) breasts removed and having immediate reconstruction done.  I knew nothing abuot that prior to surgery and wish now I had, and think I would have strongly considered it.  But we're all different in what works for us.
 
Have you gotten any books to read on the subject?  One I would recommend is Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book.  It is very informative in all aspects of breast health with a high concentration on breast cancer.  She outlines each type of BC and all treatment options.  I found that getting information therapeutic in that in kept me busy and also made me feel in control.  The loss of control is one of the hardest things to deal with in many illnesses, as I'm sure you know from all that you've had to deal with.  You will need a solid team to manage your different illnesses together, do you have a good network or clinic nearby where you can have the cardiologist, oncologist, surgeon and arthritis specialist all work togehter? 
 
I'm very tired now and need to sign off but want you to know that I'm sure many others will come around and post their experiences and advice soon.  We just hate having new members here, where is the cure we need to stop the growth of our group? 
 
Please let us know where you are, there may be other members close by who can give you first hand advice on good care near you.  And it is so nice to have a "breast friend" (that's what we call each other) nearby.
 
With loving hugs and prayers for you Jan,
Mia
 
Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.


-Vesta M. Kelly


debbiR
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 730
   Posted 4/13/2005 9:04 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi Jan! I see that Mia has given you some great advice. I am sorry that you now have a new illness to add to all that you already have. Many of us here are diabetic as well as have other health issues along with the bc. So, please don't feel alone. I am glad to hear that your different medical specialists are working together. Did I read your post right that your cardiologist is going to do the surgery for the mastectomy? Or is he just going to be in the OR assisting? You might want to talk to them about a port. This can be used to draw your blood, give meds, etc. during treatment. Mine was put in place during the surgery.I know that you are overwhelmed right now. Just take a deep breath and keep that wonderful sense of humor I detected in regards to what you told your husband.

H & P...Deb


 


coco2
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 4/14/2005 6:22 AM (GMT -7)   
MiaB & debbiR, thanks for your replys. I went over to the diabetes, heart disease, & arthritis board & having had these so long understood most of the meds, treatments, pains, etc.....almost feel like an "expert" over these things, but on the breast cancer board I am not understanding a thing (but hoping I will be here long enough to learn). Reading this board is like Greek nto me.I remember very little of what the Dr. said (I was too busy crying). I remember him saying something about what course Nancy Reagan took...my Husband was with me & the Dr. talked mostly to him. Speaking of my Husband, I am MOST Blessed to have him...we will be married 40 years May 19, the last 15 years I have been in a wheelchair & he has done everything,,,works full time, shops, cooks, keeps the house & yard up. Now that the RA has gotten so bad, he rolls & combs my hair, buttons my clothes...there is not a thing he has ever refused to do & has NEVER complained. We lived in La. when I had the bypass & he had to travel some in his job, so he got another job with no travel but it was in another state so we had to move away from our family,so he has no help with me. Did I say I have a Great Husband, I thank God for him every day. Is a "port" the same thing as an IV? If is is, that is the first thing they do to me is hook me up to one of those, & that is to me one of the most dreaded things about going to the hospital...they have a horrible time with me, they say my veins "roll", "collapse" & my veins are so small (I'm 108 lbs). I am going to try to check the book you reccomended out at the library, I usually don't want to know what the Dr. is going to do with me, but with this thing I think a little knowledge wouldn't hurt.

gma
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2921
   Posted 4/14/2005 6:38 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Jan, am 66 also, was diagnosed at 58. I am the oldest one here, so I am glad to have company. LOL. I had a mastectomy with no chemo or radiation. I did not have heart problems and still don't. However, I have since been diagnosed with diabetes. Many of us here do have diabetes. Many of us are not so thin. What I am trying to say is that we understand multiple health problems. Heart problems can be tricky. Chemo is sometimes hard on the heart, I would think surgery would be best if your heart will allow surgery. I think radiation can also be a problem especially if on the left side. Goodness, you didn't need all this, did you? We are here to help with questions and say a prayer or hold your hand in cyberspace. Sometimes just knowing someone understands and cares helps a lot. Where are you located? It is possible someone could be near you. I live in TX now, but was from OH and WV area. If you look at the roll call thread, third down from the top, you will see information about most of us and even some pictures. Keep us informed and we will help all we can. Hugs Mary K. (MK)


coco2
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 4/18/2005 2:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi gma, hey I wonder if we are close on birthdates...I had a neighbor that she & I were born 9 days apart. Mine is Nov. 5, 1938..Are we close? I live in Mobile, Al now...moved here from Louisiana. debbieR, my sentence was confusing....the surgeon is waiting on my heart Dr. to give his consent to operate. My heart Dr. was out of town last week so the "on call" Dr. faxed the consent paper over to the surgeon but something happened in the meantime & they called back & said no they do not consent until I take a chemical stress test ....which I take every year in June anyway....so I'm still waiting to take that test. Tomorrow hopefully. I got all the news at a bad time...first my surgeon was out for a week & the next week my heart Dr. was out. I have enjoyed my reprieve, but now I'm ready to "get on with it".....Jan

MNlady13
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2044
   Posted 4/18/2005 3:10 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Coco, sorry to be logging in late to your message. Please, please, please do not give up on yourself. There are many treatments for breast cancer that were not there even a few years ago. We have long-term surviviors here (one at 20 years and me at 9 years, for example). We may not have the other medical complications that you do, but the doctors can work around a lot of challenges. Sounds like you have a great husband. Early congatulations on that 40th wedding anniversary. DH and I will celebrate 40 years in June, so we are right behind you. I plan to be around to celebrate 50, and I hope you are too. Mia has given you a good rundown on the board. It won't take long before you become a breast cancer "expert" too. Just keep reading and asking questions. There are lots of good internet resources out there. And, my dear friends here have a wealth of knowledge. Don't hesitate to ask. Hugs, Lauri
"Go confidently into the direction of your dreams. Live the life you always imagined" Thoreau
 
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.


gma
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2921
   Posted 4/19/2005 6:27 AM (GMT -7)   
Sorry Jan, I have had company and not been very attentive to the board this last week. Yes, we are close in age, altho I am still oldest by about 20 days. LOL I live near Fort Worth TX now but am originally from the OH-WV area. My husband was in the Navy and we moved around a lot in the 60s. Are you close to Calera AL? I bought some angels from a guy there on eBay and told him about the breast cancer board here, so he sent me some more to share. He seems like a very nice man, saying he supports breast cancer causes because of his wife, daughter and grand daughters. Every now and then he sends me something. All from a little eBay purchase. LOL.

Let us know what is going on soon as you know and we will be there with the PCE.

Hugs MK


Tavish
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 4/19/2005 7:53 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Coco-
I am just catching up after being out....please feel free to ask questions if you still feel things are greek. It is amazing what we lay people have to learn! Also, I suggest taking a tape recorder to your appointments....that way you can cry and then listen later to all what they had to say. It is overwhelming, please don't make any decisions uninformed or under emotion. Take the time you need to learn and educate yourself about options or choices you may have.

Sorry you are facing this, but we'll help you where we can!
Lori


barkyboys
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1564
   Posted 4/19/2005 2:05 PM (GMT -7)   
Jan...lots of us feel that way about our bodies...although I'm thinking mine is so messed up, it probably wouldn't be much use.  My daughter took an anatomy class where they play with the cadavers...I could see them throwing mine up there on the slab and then trying to figure out where my "R.A." muscles are.  (Actually, if they would promise they would do that with some first timers, I might consider doing it!) 
 
Anyway...sorry to hear you've had to join our sisterhood, but this is a good place to be if you have to be a member. 
 
Best of luck to you...
BEV

janismarie
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 44
   Posted 4/19/2005 8:11 PM (GMT -7)   
Jan....so sorry to hear of your new diagnosis.  You could not have picked a better place to come to learn so much or have better friends.  I only found out about this place in March and have been overwhelmed with everyone's knowledge and kindness.  I was just like you, only I wasn't crying when the Dr. told me, I was just dumbfounded and didn't remember anything he said.  I think they should make a rule that they tell you, let you go in a room and try and pull yourself together and think of questions you need to ask.  I thought breast cancer was breast cancer and that was it. WRONG........there are so many different kinds and stages.....The garden type is ductal, which makes up about 80% of all breast cancer.......I had lobular, which occurs in about 10%......then there are all other types.  I had my biopsy in February and they found some bad cells that were not cancer, but were going to turn into cancer and so I had a lumpectomy on March 9th.  Almost by accident they found the lubular cancer that was invasive (gone into the tissue).  Just last Wednesday I had another lumpectomy and a sentinal node biopy to check my lymph nodes.  They got all the cancer and the nodes were clear.  I was very lucky.  Today was the first day I have been out and am going to work tomorrow.  I am 58 and had a massive heart attack almost 10 years ago and have a stent.
I am doing fine and will be having radiation treatments and taking a cancer drug for 5 years.  I live alone and every day I thank the Lord that I was given this chance to live more days.  I know you have so many different things wrong with you, but I guess my point is to meet this head on and tell yourself you are going to do what you have to do....that this is just another interruption in your life.  You sound like a strong woman.  I want to hear from you and remember to ask every question you can think of, from your Doctor and your friends here.  Everyone helps each other.  God Bless You and know that I am putting you in my prayers. 
Love,
Janis

coco2
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 4/20/2005 9:08 AM (GMT -7)   
MNlady13, Congratulations on your upcoming 40th Anniversary too, & on your long term survivior status!
tavish, Luckily or unluckily I have time to learn more info about breast cancer because of having to wait on my heart Dr. We have found out now that he wants 2 tests done..a chemical stress test & hubby is trying to find out today what other test he wants.
barkyboys, sorry your body is messed up too. When someone wants to know what illnesses I have, hubby will say she has them all & if there is one she doesn't have ...she can get it for you tomorrow..lol.....
janismarie, yes this is a geat caring board. You have a lot to contend with & I Pray you will continue to do well.
Jan

Tavish
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 4/20/2005 10:43 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi Jan-

Most docs order some routine tests after a cancer diagnosis, as they want to rule out metastasis.  It may vary somewhat, but he may do a chest xray, bone scan and liver enzyme tests. Some also do PET or MRI scans too. Once they have the information, they will formulate a plan of attack. If chemo is likely, they may do a MUGA scan, which measures something in the heart (exactly what, I am not sure, but it is commonly done before chemo).

Keep us posted....Lori


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