Chloe, I am so sorry for your news....

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Tavish
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 1/30/2006 1:52 PM (GMT -7)   
Glad that you have us along your side as you start this incredible journey. First, take a breath. Your mind is racing no doubt, and it will race for some time. The next few weeks will be a whirlwind of information, tests, appointments and decisions. My advice is to get as much information as you can to make the best decision for you....and take a person and tape recorder with you to all appointments for a while.
 
One thing you will learn is that they will use statistics and generalities to estimate the course of events, but no one can tell for sure what your case will be. I know of people with tiny tumors that had spread or returned and others with big giant tumors that had no node involvement and no further sign of trouble.
They will do tests to assign a stage to you, your stage will tell them the normal protocol. A stage 1 or 2 is considered early, it means it has not spread outside the nodes. If that size is right, at best, yours will be a stage II, like mine was. I think that 2.0 cm is the cut off for stage I, and mine was 2.5. Stage II goes up to 5 cm....so mine was at the smaller end of a good size...as is yours.
 
My diagnosis was over 6 years ago and I have been lucky enough to remain cancer free....survival rates are excellent these days!
 
The lumpectomy is pretty easy physically....and they will dissect the tumor to see just what it is and get more information on how it behaves. They will probaly want to do some scans to see your lungs, bones an liver and also remove some lymph nodes. All that will tell them how to proceed with treatment, but don't be surprised of chemo is mentioned. 
 
Chemo is very doable these days, antinausea meds are great! I worked through most of chemo and had no adverse side effects, as many people experience.
 
Everyone's experience is so unique, that no one can tell you what will be yours...we can only tell you ours and you go from there. But know you are going to fight like heck and we'll be on your side....
 
Where are you located? We are all over, maybe one of us is close to you...
Hang in there~
Lori
 


coopfesta
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2003
Total Posts : 1373
   Posted 1/30/2006 2:53 PM (GMT -7)   
Chloe:
 
I, too am sorry you're joining the club no one wants to join.  I had a 2.5 cm tumor, and no node involvement.  I have been cancer free for 2 1/2 years.  I did chemo and radiation (we call it rads).  I worked while on chemo, but didn't while on rads, only because I live in rural catskills and couldn't get to one and the other without driving 160 miles a day and wasn't willing to do that.  Otherwize, I've heard it's really easy if you get rads in the early morning to work those days as well.
 
I've seen it as a process, not a death sentence.  I remember my family's reaction to my father's and my DSIL's mother's diagnoses of cancer, and it was seen as a death sentence.  Mine was survivable.  It will be for many years.  I hope the same for you.  Tenacity helps tremendously.  When you don't have it, some of these gals will be able to have it for you.  You are not alone.
 
Well, now that you've been diagnosed, unfortunately I suspect there will be someone else along very soon who will be at the same stage of the process you are at.  I had two partners here at the board and we went through surgery, chemo and rads together.  One emailed me every day!  It was so helpful.  There was also another wave of who arrived at the board about a year ago, and they went through it together too.  I hope you find solace in these posts. 
 
Let us know how you fare and what the docs say.  Bring someone and a tape recorder.  But Dr. Love's Breast Book, too.
 
I also know of a cool support organization that assigns you a person to send you nice cards and thoughtful things when you're on chemo, chemoangels.com.
 
Take care,
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." -Confucius

Ellen


chantry31
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 188
   Posted 1/30/2006 6:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Chloe, i am so sorry that you have to be here. I just want to add my support, and give you a few questions to consider...
In my situation, I didnt know until the lumpectomy that my lump was cancerous. If I had known before hand, I would have given much more thought to having a mastectomy instead of just the lumpectomy - due to alot of family history of bc. I also would have asked the surgeon if he could do a Sentinel Node Biopsy, rather than an auxilliary node biopsy, as you are more at risk of lymphedema with the auxilliary (I now have mild lymphdema - swelling of the arm). I'm in Canada where the sentinel biopsy is not as prevalent, but if I had searched, I might have found a surgeon willing to do it.I'm not sure if in the States anyone still does the auxilliary or not.
There are many types of cancer - Dr. Love's Breast Book does a great job of explaining the different types. But for the most part, "staging" is determined by tumor size, Lymph node involvement (has the cancer spread to the lymph nodes in the armpit), and the "grade" of cancer (is it fast/slow growing). Tumors can also be ER (Estrogen Recptor) positive or negative, PR (progesterone receptor) positive or negative, and HER2Neu positive or negative.
I have one more treatment left (I had AC & T), and although it wasnt a walk in the park, it wasnt as bad as I had thought it would be. The worst thing about the surgery (for me) were the drains that are attached for a couple of days. If you have the auxilliary node removal, make sure you ask your surgeon for exercises to do after your surgery to regain full motion of your arm.
I hope that everything goes well for you on thursday. We will board the Pink Cloud Express (PCE) and be there with you in the OR so that you do not go through this alone. We are here for you!!!

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


MNlady13
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2044
   Posted 1/30/2006 8:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Chloe, I know your mind is in a whirl since you were diagnosed. I read your posts. Boy, have you got some great doctors! They got  right on this and did not let you sit around and wait for a series of appointments. That is so good because it means you get into treatment sooner rather than later. I had a lumpectomy in 1996 for a very small tumor. I had neg. nodes, did radiation and took tamoxifen for 5 years. This April 11 will be my 10 year anniversary. Isn't that remarkable? I have seen my DD graduate from college, get married, have her first child and the second one is due in March. Life can be so good inspite of cancer. Be of good faith. You can get through this. 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.


Brnadebt
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 688
   Posted 1/30/2006 9:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Chloe

Im so sorry for the news that you have had, but just remember this is something you can and will get through. I was just diagnosed in July and have spent alot of time on this forum. You will never find this kind of support anywhere else, these women have been a godsend to me.

I also did alot of studying I did not want to have anything come up that I had not heard of or did not understand. Read everything you can get your hands on, but be careful of some other forums they can be very negative. With this one you can get all the information good or bad but done in a positive way. Having a positive attitude does help.

I had a 4 cm tumor but had a lupectomy I also had one out of 3 lymph nodes positive. My Dr did not recomend a mast because she thought the tumor was smaller. I think if I had it to do again I would have done the mast. (we have alot of cancer in my family) I did 5 months of chemo and am getting ready to start radiation.I would never tell you that chemo is easy but it is doable.

Please know that we will all be there for you. We will be standing as close as we can to you on Thursday :)
Hugs:)
Bernadette


debbiR
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 730
   Posted 1/31/2006 8:32 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi Chloe! Wow, I, like the rest of the gals, am so sorry to hear your news. I am glad that you found us so that you can have lots of support during this journey. The gals have given you lots of good info. I know that you are scared right now. We have all been there and the waiting and the unknown are the worst part of your journey.

Here are a couple of things that I found helped me:

1. Write down any and all questions that you want answered and take them w/ you to your appt.

2.  Take someone (or a couple of people) w/ you to your appt. that you trust and are comfortable with. They will not only give you support but be able to write down the answers to your questions as well as remember what all was said by your  dr.

3.  Take a tape recorder w/ you. You will receive a lot of information and trust me, you won't remember half of what you are told.

4.  Ask about a mastectomy vs. lumpectomy.

Breast cancer is NOT a death sentence. It is a managable disease now. There are lots of new treatments available as well as meds to help you get thru treatments should you need them.

We are here for you. Try and stay busy. Do fun things. Laugh lots. But most important, STAY POSITIVE.

Hugs and prayers...Deb


 


chloe727
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 1/31/2006 9:15 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi, thanks to all of you for your words of encouragement.  Last night was probably one of the toughest/days of my life.  I spent from 3:00pm till 9:00pm going over everything with all my family.  Telling my boys who are 21 and 20 was the worst, I was positive in my approach but you could still see the pain, fear etc.. in their eyes.  It was almost to much for me to bare.  My DH was wonderful and offered me that additonal support when telling everybody.  First of many steps is done.  I have been reading alot of posts regarding lumpectomy vs mast and it seems most people inretrospect wish they had done the Mast.  Can somebody explain this to me so I completely understand.  I am to meet my surgeon on Thursday and what to be as informed as possible so I ask the right questions and make the right decisions.  I have been very lucky here in London, Ontario because my medical attention has been amazing todate but I think preparation and information overload will be the key for me.  If anybody could answer my question I would really appreciate it.  Thanks again to everybody

babyseeester
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 826
   Posted 1/31/2006 11:05 AM (GMT -7)   
Chloe,
 
I, too, am sorry you have to be here, but it is a great place for support.  I don't know if I can really tell you about lumpectomy vs. mast, but I'll try.
 
I had a very large tumor, 6cm, but because I am large breasted, the surgeon thought a lumpectomy would be doable.  Well, once they got in there, they discovered that the cancer was not just in one place.  Since we didn't have any previous conversation about what if's, I required a mastectomy 3 weeks later.  Had we discussed the possibilities, he could have gone ahead with the mast and saved me a surgery.  I had only 1 lymph node involved, which is amazing considering the size of my tumor.  I did 5 months of chemo and 2 months of rads.  Just a week and 1/2 ago I had a tram flap breast reconstruction and am healing at home.
 
The most important thing is to be completely informed.  I remember just being in a daze and didn't know what questions to ask.  I hadn't found these ladies yet at the very beginning.  Once I did, it was so much better. 
 
The one thing I wish I had known about before any surgery was the skin sparing mast, where they just remove the insides and keep the skin to do the reconstruction on the spot.  That will leave the least scarring.
 
You have gotten a lot of great advice here and we will be here to help you through everything.  You can do this!
L & H,
Kathy


chantry31
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 188
   Posted 1/31/2006 1:09 PM (GMT -7)   
Chloe, I am right up the road from you, just outside of Waterloo!! If you'd like to email me and chat, my address is thedenos@rogers.com
I have heard many great things about the London Cancer Centre, as before the Grand River Cancer centre opened, most people from my region had to go to either Toronto or London. Although we are at different points in our lives (I have an 8month old daughter), if you'd like to talk, drop me a line!!

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


wackygal
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 857
   Posted 2/1/2006 7:00 PM (GMT -7)   

Chloe-

I am just adding my hugs for you along with those already given by all the wonderful ladies on this board.  They have given you some really good advice, so I won't bore you with repetition... but I will say that I am one of the 'big tumor' gals... mine was 4.5cm and I was a Stage IIB with 5 of 49 nodes positive.  That was almost 5 years ago... in fact I will be celebrating 5 years at the end of this month, and so far (knock on wood) cancer free.  So please know that even though you are going thru this feeling like 'if I only knew exactly HOW BAD mine was' that you'll never really truly get an exact answer to that question, but even without a crystal ball prediction of your future, it can still be bright.  You have started a journey that no one wants to be on, but along the way you will find new friends that you'll have an immensly strong bond to, and strength that you never knew you had.  Welcome to the group, and just try to take it one day at a time right now.

hugs

Stefanie


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"It's been worth everything I've been through,
 To do what I do"

                       To Do What I Do   -Alan Jackson, 2004


Kattbird
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 243
   Posted 2/9/2006 5:25 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi Chloe, sorry you have to be here but you have joined a great group. There are a lot more ladies here with more experience than me. I too had a lump that was about 2.9 x 2.7 x 2.1 cm. My surgeon said I could have a mast or lumpectomy. She said a lot of women just want it out. She took out 3 nodes but they were negative. After reading about following surgeries with mastectomies I didn't want to have any more surgeries after having the lump removed. I just wanted it all over with. I just finished chemo on 12/29 and on my way to recovery. I started Tamoxifin a week ago. I personally didn't handle any of this well. To me, everything was just an inconvenience and still is. I know everything is for my own good. You can get thru it and as someone else said, it's not a death sentence. When my surgeon told me it was cancer, I heard nothing else. The next time I went back to talk about it I wrote down questions and took a tape recorder. I really didn't have anyone to take with me. My mom was out of the country and I didn't want her to know in case it was nothing. My boyfriend is stupid when it comes to things like this so he wouldn't have been much help, so I faced it alone. He did take me to the hospital for my surgeries. To this day, I still don't believe I have cancer.

I came to this board and read a lot of other people's experiences and comments and asked questions when I couldn't find answers. Everyone here has been helpful and will be helpful. Don't be afraid to ask anything or feel like it's a dumb question or feeling etc...

Lot's of hugs to you  {{{HUGS}}}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


coopfesta
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2003
Total Posts : 1373
   Posted 2/10/2006 10:51 AM (GMT -7)   
Chloe:
 
I was just looking over Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book and what she has to say about the lumpectomy/mastectomy matter.  I remember considering a mastectomy for about a few minutes.  I was vain and insecure and thought my breasts were part of my identity at the time.  I also could not imagine my DH finding me attractive without a breast.  I hope I don't regret that decision.  As it stands now, my incision is a dent on that breast, and it is not favored by my DH.  I don't mind as much as I thought I would, though.  I also have a hardness around the incision that makes me think I'd never be able to feel a lump around there (not that I ever felt the lump that was there in the first place, DH found it).
 
In short, I probably could have had a mast, but my level of anxiety about still having the breast isn't as bad as I briefly feared it would be.
 
Just read one of your posts about having the mast two days ago.  Let me read more.  I hope you're ok.
 
 
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." -Confucius

Ellen

Post Edited (coopfesta) : 2/10/2006 10:58:19 AM (GMT-7)


chloe727
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 2/10/2006 11:14 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi everybody, had my mast and sent node on wednesday, it was a long day for both me and my family.  Got back to day surgery after recovery asked the nurses to give me some gingerale a cookie let me pee and get me the hell out of there, they laughed and called me a gritty old broad (although I am only 46).  I am feeling well today, still a little sore, but I am trying to keep semi active, even went for a short walk today.  I am quite an active person so it is bit difficult to learn to adjust to winding down some what.  I have not talked to the surgeon but was told that they removed the tumour and took 1 node.  That is what I have the question on, would they have taken more if there was more or did they take the one node and do a path on it and didn't have to remove more.  I know I will find this out at my followup appointment but I was just curious on this one point.  Thanks again to everybody for your kind words and prayers.

Lmmackey
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 316
   Posted 2/10/2006 1:20 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Chloe,

Good to hear from you so soon! You're like me - I had a double mast. and went home the same day. Too active to stay in hospital! As far as your question about the sentinel node and only taking one, with both of my sentinel procedures (cancer side and non-cancer side happened at different times), only one node was taken because it had all of the uptake from the injection. Additionally, during the surgery, the nede was taken to the lab and tested for cancer and it came back negative so the surgeons felt no need to take further nodes. One node is a good thing!

Take it easy and keep resting. Your drains will slow down for you if you rest and you'll get them out sooner. More activity increases drainage. Take care and know we're thinking about you!

L&H,
Laure'
The finger of God touches your life when you make a friend.
----Mary Dawson Hughes---


babyseeester
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 826
   Posted 2/10/2006 3:09 PM (GMT -7)   
Chloe,
 
You sound so good!  I'm glad you got through it OK.  Don't over do it with activity.  You have to let your body rest. 
 
As for the 1 node, they may have done a quick path on it and found nothing.  I had 4 removed with only 1 involved.  However, it wasn't the sentinal node. 
 
Wishing you a speedy recovery with no more bumps in the road.
L & H,
Kathy

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