I'm off the ledge...

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New Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 3/30/2006 12:36 PM (GMT -7)   
....thanks, everyone, for talking me off the ledge yesterday.  With each new bit of information I receive...especially when it's bad, I go through a whole processing period.  I just found out I have to go off the pill, which really stinks.  I get debilitating hormonal migraines, and my OB/GYN had just prescribed Seasonale so at least I would only get them 4 times a year instead of 13 times a year, and I didn't even get a chance to start the darned pack!
Also, in some of the responses, I got a glimpse into "who you are", so I thought I'd share a little about myself.  I'm 39, will be celebrating my 15-year wedding anniversary this year, and we have three children....Gabrielle, 7, Alex, 7, and Jake 7 (yes, they're triplets).  When we told the kids, my daughter said "you can't die, mommy....we're only 7".   We have absolutely NO cancer in my family at all.  My kids' only knowledge of it is my uncle, who was related by marriage, not blood, died of lung cancer the month before I got pregnant.  Alex is named after him.  So when they heard mommy had cancer, they immediately thought I was going to die.  I told them that not everyone with cancer dies, and Jake said "yeah, like Lance Armstrong".  So now our family motto is "mommy's going to be like Lance Armstrong".

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2003
Total Posts : 1373
   Posted 3/30/2006 12:46 PM (GMT -7)   
Your kids sound so precious.  I really scared my 4-year old.  He didn't think I was going to die, but knew something was wrong.  His friend's mom died of cancer at the time that I was getting treatment, too.  That was really scary for him.  I like the Lance Armstrong comparison.  It's really true that there are so many survivors now.
I will tell you one of my first thoughts when I found out.  I'm a complainer by nature, and I thought to myself "oh, great, now I'll have to be one of those "survivors" and do walks I hate exercize!!! and wear pink and all that stuff, like I'm on some kind of mission".  Funny thing, there was a gathering of the sisters on the board in Louisville when I was just about done with treatment.  I went, and it was amazing..... I missed the victory lap at the walk that had been planned for that weekend, Erin her DH, and I think Candy and her DH and I got a little lost.  I still watched survivors gather, and it was really powerful.....
and I didn't have to exercize!!!
ANYWAY, the reaction was a denial-reaction, and lazy, which are both charachteristic of me and how I get through stuff.  I'm really glad you're posting about processes.  Those are my favorite things to read about on this site.
Your children sound darling. 
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." -Confucius


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 3/30/2006 12:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Pam, thanks for sharing! I am 37, was a week shy of 31 when diagnosed. I'm in Michigan. We're all ages and stages and locales here...and the cool thing about the 'net is that it just does not matter, we're all BC survivors, regardless of age/ race/ etc.
While we all become "reluctant" experts at BC, try to remember we are not doctors...I tried to look at my own chest xray and was horrified at what I saw. I was sick about it practically.....I was sure it was full of tumors, but really, it was my blood vessels I was looking at. LOL. Last time I tried to pull out my MD!
Yes, the hormonal implications do stink...no more Pill. It will be a challenge for your medical team, but hopefully they can come up with an alternate plan.
As for the ledge....I learned that it is one step forward, 2 steps back sometimes. I think the thing to know is that you will probably have some ups and downs and it is ok. Some people get nervous and upset at their own feelings when they 'regress' but it is normal....just that we tend to get taken by surprise when we step sideways or back. This is a process...and your whole sense of normal will get redefined. It takes time. In the mean time, surround yourself with things that make you happy and take it easy....
We're always here...

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1294
   Posted 3/30/2006 1:00 PM (GMT -7)   
Pam, Thanks for sharing. TRIPLETS!!!! How fun is that?

I was 55 when I was dx'd with a phyloddes tumor and I am almost a 3 yr. survivor. I am married to DH for 36 years, two children, two grandchildren, a dog and a great bunch of breast friends. I, just 1 year ago, was confirmed into the Catholic church which has made me a softer person.

I take care of my grandchildren, garden, read, bird, and concentrate on my grammer and spelling. I am not afraid to express myself (I only hope I do it lovingly.) and I am a fierce loyal friend. I know, to much information. I tend to talk to much. I am so glad that you found this site. The ladies here want to be your friend and give you all the support you want and need. I hope you stay with us.

Blessings and peace,

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: if one falls down, his friend can help him up.  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 857
   Posted 3/30/2006 4:06 PM (GMT -7)   
Pam- you may want to think about getting some books to help your kids deal with what it means for mommy to 'have cancer'.... i can't remember what specific books i used, but i remember reading them with the kids, and feeling that they felt better about it emotionally. and remember, the more 'matter of fact' you are about it, the easier they will handle it... when my hair fell out, i just said 'yup, i'm taking this funny medicine that makes my hair fall out! imagine that!' you get the idea. i read someone here (can't remember who) let her kids color her bare head like an easter egg w/washable markers .... now there's a thought! ;-)
what state are you in? i am 39 too.... and was dx at 34.
"It's been worth everything I've been through,
 To do what I do"

                       To Do What I Do   -Alan Jackson, 2004

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 349
   Posted 3/30/2006 4:19 PM (GMT -7)   
Glad you're back from the ledge -- just proves that you are learning how to cope. Keep up the research and stay in touch.


PS Diagnosed at 58, one married daughter, no pets. Strong history of BC in family. Final act of cancer defiance-- bleaching my short, short, grayed chemo hair to a white, white "do" 5 weeks ago. Having my first "touch-up" on Saturday.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 688
   Posted 3/30/2006 8:46 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Pam

I'm so glad that you came back in off of the ledge, trust me we have all been there.

I will tell you about myself: I'm 46 was diagnosed last July and just finished my last radiation treatment today. So far I have had a lumpectomy, sentinal node disection and a port a cath put in ( I would recomend it if you are having chemo) I had 5 months of chemo and 7 weeks of rads and now that it is done I can look back on it and say it really was not that bad. I have 2 grown children 3 step kids 2 dogs and a cat.

I know you will get lots of great advice from all of the ladies here. I found this site not long after I was diagnosed and it was a Godsend, or should I say the ladies were. If you have a question there will be at least one lady who has been through it.

Keep us posted on your journey, we care!



Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 730
   Posted 3/31/2006 6:46 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi Pam! Isn't it surprising that the "ledge" is a little wider than we thought? I am proud of you for realizing and dealing w/ your emotions at this point in your journey.

Triplets! God bless you. I am raising my 3 granddaughters (ages 11, 5 and 2) and at age 56 (well, 55 for another 4 weeks..lol) and it is exhausting. I can't imagine triplets.

When I was first diagnosed, my dd and 2 granddaughters were living w/ me. My eldest granddaughter was 6 at the time. I tried to be as honest as I could when I first found out w/out scaring her. I included her, as much as possible, and she was my strength. If I was down, she was there w/ a hug or a silly joke. When I had my head shaved, I took off the ball cap and showed her. Her comment was, "well, nana, it doesn't look to bad. Just wear your hat when my friends come over!" I even took her to my chemo a couple of times. The staff was great. She saw that we laughed and joked. The nurses even had a water fight w/ her. Your kids are strong and will help you.

Hang in there. You will have lots of highs and lows. Just concentrate right now on those 3 beautiful children. Have fun w/ them. Keeping busy will keep your mind off the upcoming weeks right now.

Hugs and prayers...Deb


New Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 3/31/2006 12:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks everyone, for your words of encouragement.  I love reading about everyone's families and getting to know your backgrounds.
Someone had asked me where I live...I'm just outside of Chicago (GO CUBS!).
I have to share a cute story about my daughter.  We've been very open with our kids, and we told them that once my diagnosis was confirmed, they could talk about me having cancer to whoever they felt comfortable talking to about it to.  I also sent a quick e-mail to their teachers to give them a "heads up" in the event their behavior at school changes.  Anyway, it's Spring Break here, and my daughter had a play date at a friend's house yesterday.  Her legal guardian (long story) called and said "Pam, Gabrielle said that you have breast cancer...is that true?"  I told her it was, and I asked in what context Gab had mentioned it.  She said "we were sitting at McDonald's, and Gab said 'Oh, by the way, did I tell you that my mommy has breast cancer?'"  Linda (the guardian) asked "Gab, does your mommy want you telling people that?" and Gab said "Yes, my mommy told me it was OK to talk about it to whoever I wanted to so I don't get scared."
That's my girl!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 730
   Posted 3/31/2006 12:59 PM (GMT -7)   

Pam: What a wonderful story! It sounds as though you and your husband are doing a great job in the way that you are working thru this w/ your children. It is amazing what they can understand. Isn't it great that you have them to make you smile?

Keep up the good work!



Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 826
   Posted 4/1/2006 12:56 AM (GMT -7)   
Glad you are back from the ledge, too.  You can get through this.  It is all very overwhelming at first and everyone here will help you through it.  These ladies helped me tremendously and continue to be here to support each other. 
I am 46 and was diagnosed in Sept. 2004.  I had a lumpectomy, followed by a mastectomy, lymph nodes removed, 5 months of chemo and 2 months of radiation.  I was very lucky that it wasn't that bad.  There are a lot of drugs out now that ease the side effects of chemo.  I worked through the majority of my treatments.  I'm one of the oddballs that isn't in the east.  I'm in Southern California.
Keep a positive attitude and enjoy those kids.
L & H,

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 730
   Posted 4/2/2006 8:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Pam: I have some info that I believe would help you. If you will email me I will send it to you.
Hope that you had a good weekend.

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 188
   Posted 4/3/2006 7:30 AM (GMT -7)   
Pam, I just wanted to welcome you to the board. These women are wonderful, and we will be with you throughout your treatment journey.

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

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 829
   Posted 4/3/2006 9:13 AM (GMT -7)   
Triplets???? My great-aunt Montine used to say "God has a way of evening up the score". I never did quite understand that, but it sounds appropriate for triplets, I guess.

I am the reason no one should believe in statistics. At diagnosis, my mother was told that I had about 9 months left. Then I was given the "20% chance to make 5 years" and then the dreaded "10% chance to make 10 years". The diagnosis was over ten years ago.

On this board, women brag about their children/grandchildren/ and great-grandchildren by pictures. I'm sure everyone would love to see your triplets.

If I were in your shoes, I wouldn't have to worry about my hair falling out from chemo. I would have pulled it all out long ago. God bless you and your family.

Hugs, Jo-Ann
A good friend will bail you out of jail...
but a true friend will be sitting
next to you saying,
"Dâmn... that was fun!".

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