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Tavish
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 9/8/2005 7:19 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi there...I just read your post on the roll call, what an interesting background! I am in Detroit, your neighbor to the South! I did not realize you were in Canada...
 
As for the family history, they say less than 10% of breast cancers are hereditory, and they say that BC under age 40 can be a sign. Have you checked out FORCE? There is a wealth of information there, about risk for inherited cancers from the BRCA mutation. It sounds like it could be a good idea for you to seek genetic counseling to evaluate your risk and possibly test, so you know how to fight best. 
 
To answer some of your questions...
Herceptin has nothing to do with ER/PR status. SOme cancers overproduce a protein (?) called her 2 neu. An overexpression means that the cancer may respond to a drug called herceptin. Recently it was approved for use to prevent recurrance in early cancers, when I did chemo (2000) it was mainly used for stage IV.  It is not considered a hormonal drug like Tamoxifen, they are unrelated.
 
A MUGA test is easy...it is measuring something with your heart, to make sure it can tolerate the chemo. The test is painless and you may even fall asleep on the table.  
 
Knowledge is power!  Consider taking a tape recorder too, when you see the doctors, it is impossible to get it all at once.
 
And keep asking those questions!
Lori 
 


chantry31
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 188
   Posted 9/9/2005 10:55 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Lori for your info, but what is FORCE? is it a website? (I'll probably google it when done here) My husband has been coming with me to most of my appointments, and has been a great help. I feel deep in my bones that I have the cancer gene, but I will be getting tested for it, to determine if I should have additional surgeries (masect, ooph, etc...). My biggest concern is that I've given it to my daughter. One more question, if you are ER- does that neccessarily mean you are PR- too? The next time I see my onco will probably be when I do chemo for the first time (hopefully Sept 19). I honestly dont know what I'd have done without this website!! It's been such a great help!
Thanks again!!
Chantry
There are no wrong turnings, only paths we did not know we were meant to take - Guy Gavriel Kay


chantry31
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 188
   Posted 9/9/2005 11:02 AM (GMT -7)   
P.S. I live near Kitchener-Waterloo, in a little town called Heidelberg (near St. Jacobs). Fortunately, in Kitchener there is a new cancer centre called the Grand River Regional Cancer Centre, so I only have a 20 minute drive to the hospital! And, since I've just had a baby, I'm on maternity leave. Origionally I was supposed to go back to work (high school teacher) in April, and then my DH would take April, May and June for paternity leave. But now we are re-thinking the whole back to school plan. Its been so serendipitous (sp??) that
1. I got my family history when I did, and knew to push for a biopsy
2. I was able to have my daughter
3. I am on leave and don't have to worry about work too
4. The hospital is only a hop skip and a jump away.

Anyways, hope you have a great weekend!
There are no wrong turnings, only paths we did not know we were meant to take - Guy Gavriel Kay


Tavish
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 9/9/2005 12:57 PM (GMT -7)   
FORCE= Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered. It was started by Sue, one of our members, and she has made it her life work. It is a non-profit organization, and google is probably the best way to find it. It might be facingourrisk.org, but I am not sure.

I think a person can be ER- and PR+ or vice versa, but I am not sure.

Serendipitious (sp?) for sure! I used the same word (proudly) when I was diagnosed and it was open enrollment time at work, so I could switch out of my HMO in order to get out of network coverage if necessary (never used it though).

And as for testing positive, take one step at a time before you worry about having passed it to your daughter...you may also want to make a list of questions to take with you, so you can be sure to get them all answered...
Lori


Frayda
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2003
Total Posts : 248
   Posted 9/10/2005 7:30 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Chantry! Welcome to our board! I also come from a very stong family history of bc and have made choices based on the history. I've found that the genetic testing doesn't necessarily help; my mother, sister and three maternal aunts all had bc but neither me, my mom or sister tested positive for BRCA 1 or 2! The assumption was that there is another gene in my family and we should proceed as if my bc is hereditary and follow the same protocols. I opted for bilateral mastectomy w/ reconstruction and down the road I had a bilateral oopherectomy (ovaries & fallopian tubes). Turned out my mom had ovarian ca, too! If you have any specific questions I'll be happy to share. You are on the right track being your own advocate! Good luck! Frayda

chantry31
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 188
   Posted 9/11/2005 5:57 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Lori and Frayda. I did go find the FORCE website, and also looked on the young women with cancer site. Unfortunately I didnt have a lot of time, so I will be heading back to both of them. This past weekend was very trying. I should have been a boyscout (or is it girl guide?) because I love to be prepared for things. (I had about 10 packages of pampers before DD was born!) But I just feel that the upcoming chemo is such an unknown!
i'm so worried about being able to care for my baby. I've also been trying to contend with the "what ifs". Being diagnosed at such a (relatively)young age, I'm worried about it coming back - and I havent even got rid of it yet! I'm trying to take it one day at a time, and enjoy the week I have before I start, but the mental strength it takes to get through this is incredible.
I'm praying that the anticipation is worse than the treatment - I think I'm already beginning to lose my hair - just from the stress!
But again, just knowing that all of you are out there, and that you have all gotten through it is so emmensely (??? now you know why I'm a math teacher, not english!!!) calming. Thanks so much.

Chantry
There are no wrong turnings, only paths we did not know we were meant to take - Guy Gavriel Kay


Tavish
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 9/11/2005 8:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Chantry, I can tell you that you are so very normal in everything you say and feel....I am not a self-proclaimed expert, but being a veteran, we become "reluctant" experts....and I have been posting for over 5 1/2 years, I can vouch for the normalcy of what you are fearing. In my experience, the anticipation IS much worse, and the fear of the unknown is hard to handle. I too wanted to be so prepared, I wanted to prepare for every possible scenario....just in case. Turns out really you can't predict much. Prepare for it, but don't expect it. PLAN on being able to care for your baby during chemo (positive attitude) but line up some help just in case.

As for the what-if's, we can all relate. It will get easier over time, but it takes time. Trust me...besides having to cope with the shock of cancer, learning to live with it can be harder. Frankly, I think most of us were not told to expect that, and it took me by surprise. Learning to find a new normal takes time...during treatment is one thing and then again afterwards....it can feel like one step forward and one step back, but knowing what to expect can help it to seem normal...

Hang in there! And we're here whenever you need us!
L&H,
Lori


gma
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2921
   Posted 9/12/2005 12:52 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Chantry I have been absent for a couple of days, so I have not yet welcomed you to the board. I see that Lori and Frayda have been here to give you information. I can't add much more as their advice was great. You asked about your daughter and breast cancer, two years after I was diagnosed my 39 yr old daughter was, too. Fortunately we have early and not aggressive cancers and are doing fine, I am nearly nine years and she is 6 1/2 from diagnosis. When she had her mastectomy and chemo she had a 3 yr old and a 6 year old. She worked at home from her computer not even telling the people she worked for that she had been though surgery. She complained about being extremely tired, but had little problem with nausea, etc. Everyone is different, but I hope and pray you have an easy time and can enjoy your baby while you are going through treatment. I love new babies.

Hugs MK


chantry31
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 188
   Posted 9/12/2005 6:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Lori & MK.
I just found out today that my chemo has been rescheduled for Wed. of this week. I was supposed to go this coming Monday - now I only have 2 days to work myself up into a tizzy!!
Finding a new normal is very difficult! I used to be just "me", then became a "wife", then "mother", and now "cancer patient". All these different facets, and the two last ones have been one on top of the other. It's been difficult to remember who the "me" is any more. This past weekend was extremely stressful, but we are learning to get through this day by day.
One more positive though - we've hired a "nanny" to help me out on occasional days. She was here today, and things seemed to work out ok (more of this being prepared that I was talking about). So I'm hoping that she will work out.
Anyways, thanks for the info, the support, and lending me your ears and letting me vent.

Chantry
There are no wrong turnings, only paths we did not know we were meant to take - Guy Gavriel Kay


Tavish
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 9/12/2005 6:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Chantry, I know just what you mean about the identity issues...and I was just me! But I said the same thing, about refusing to be a cancer patient, or at least refusing to lose my identity to it...and the hair loss made that hard. THat is why I wore a wig and did everything I could....I just did not want to have cancer take any more from me. When I was in college I worked at a children's hospital for a semester. I learned then that they were not cancer patients, and they were not "the tumor in room 305". They were children with cancer....children first....and I tried not to think of myself as a breast cancer patient, but as a woman with breast cancer.

Try not to lose who you are...you are a woman, a wife and a mother, who just happens to have a little extra challenge thrown your way.

You'll do great!
L&H,
Lori


Post Edited (Tavish) : 9/13/2005 7:53:40 AM (GMT-6)


JUJU8872
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 349
   Posted 9/13/2005 6:07 AM (GMT -7)   
Chantry, Stay strong for yourself and your new baby. You are feeling overwhelmed right now, but be positive that this will not be bad and it probably won't. I had very little illness with chemo. Just remember to get your meds right and take them regardless of whether you feel bad or not the first few days after treatment.

JUJU

chantry31
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 188
   Posted 9/13/2005 3:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the words of encouragement - they are needed! I go tomorrow for my first session. The countdown begins!!
 
Chantry
There are no wrong turnings, only paths we did not know we were meant to take - Guy Gavriel Kay

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