Log in or Register to participate in these discussions

Introductions

Introductions

Posted by Greatwitchtwo on Feb 9, 2019 1:00 pm

I am very newly diagnosed with IDC. I found a lump just before Christmas. At first I wasn’t sure if it was anything. I’ve always had pretty dense breast tissue, but I’d recently lost about 45lbs, and suddenly the right breast felt different. I saw my GP who sent me for an ultrasound, and a week later I had my first mammogram, another ultrasound and a biopsy. Another week, and I was told yes, it’s cancer. The waiting is the worst. Waiting for results, waiting for appointments... My surgery is in two days. The surgeon says I’ve caught it early, it’s easily accessible and he’s confident. I still worry. We’ve told some people - telling our 8 kids was stressful - and the thing that I find hard is that when you say “breast cancer” what you usually hear back is “oh, my aunt/sister/mother/friend had that and she’s fine now”. I understand that folks are trying to be supportive and positive - and yes, breast cancer is highly treatable - it’s not like it’s one of these super rare forms with a crazy high mortality rate - but it’s still CANCER - and it’s still anxiety inducing. Fingers crossed this goes well and it’s just a blip on my journey. 
 

Re: Introductions

Posted by Kims1961 on Feb 9, 2019 1:33 pm

Greatwitchtwo‍ Welcome to this community and thank you for posting!

Similar story to mine...I "found" my lump accidentally in 2017 on my birthday.  Like you - saw my GP - then mammogram .- then biopsy and BAM...cancer diagnosis.  Diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma - stage 2.  I am ER + and HER2+

My treatment started with surgery - i asked for bilateral mastectomy as i was not interested in reconstruction.  The surgeon was suggesting a lumpectomy but as my tumour came back as HER2+ and there were trace cancer cells in a lymph node - i'm glad i went with the mastectomy.  Due to cancer cells in a lymph node - went onto chemotherapy and then radiation.

The WAITING....yes...probably the toughest part.  I started chemo during Christmas so it was even trickier as clinics etc. were closed during the holidays.  

Good for you for doing some positive things already.  Connecting here - venting/asking questions can be so helpful.  There are some great resouces on cancer.ca 

http://www.cancer.ca/~/media/cancer.ca/CW/publications/Breast%20cancer%20UYD/32064-1-NO.pdf

http://www.cancer.ca/~/media/cancer.ca/CW/publications/Coping%20when%20you%20have%20cancer/32127-1-NO.pdf


Bringing someone with you to appointments and starting a notebook/journal to write your questions and info is really helpful.

During the waiting periods - distraction can work really well.  Sounds like you have an awesome big family and grandchildren!  Family can be an awesome distractor😀
Other things I tried:

1. Hobbies - puzzles, knitting, wood carving - anything that can keep the hands/mind busy
2. Some good old Netflix/ TV shows/ Sports - binge watching a few episodes can help pass the time
3. Clean - anything!  The kitchen junk drawer/ closets - anything that you can start/finish and see an accomplishment
4. Connecting with friends/family/colleagues - go for a walk/ talk - talk cancer or say no cancer talk
5. Exercise - can also help with sleep - walking, swimming, yoga - whatever you enjoy doing.

May I ask what type of surgery you are having?    

Good luck with the surgery - sending you many healing energies.

Kim

.

 

 

 

Re: Introductions

Posted by Essjay on Feb 9, 2019 1:49 pm

Hi Greatwitchtwo‍ sorry you find yourself on this site.

It is a shock getting the diagnosis, and finding you need treatment. Lots of advice on this site, and plenty of people with sound advice from their journey.

i found my breast lump in June 2018, diagnosed at the end of July with IDC, had surgery in October (lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy), and I’m halfway through chemo now. My surgeon removed a good chunk of me (multiple tumours including DCIS), and my cancer is triple negative (so no Estrogen or progesterone receptors,and no herceptin receptors), so my only options are to hit it hard with chemo and radiation, no endocrine treatments. I too caught it early - I was pre screening mammogram age and self-examine. I have had some complications from the surgery - web auxiliary syndrome and significant scarring, but I have a lovely massage therapist who is helping with this. I have been really lucky so far through chemo - fatigue is the worst, but I’ve had zero nausea thanks to the anti-emetics.

i hear you on the waiting - I’m a type A personality and don’t do waiting well. We renovated our kitchen as a distraction, which helped a lot, and in the end I actually found the time helped me accept that I have CANCER! I also focused on keeping myself in good physical shape for the surgery and afterwards. I went into chemo fit and healthy and I think it’s helped. I also made plans for those times when I wouldn’t be able to keep on top of grocery shopping - stocked up on soups and easy to cook meal ingredients, filled the freezer etc. I joined the library and have been enjoying books and audio through that - there’s an app called Libby that really helps with that. I also used the time to read up on my cancer, treatment regimens, drug side effects, surgery side effects, radiation side effects so that I was ready for doctors appointments. I’m struggling a little to accept I do a lot of sleeping and resting - it’s an investment in my future (hopefully another 30 years plus), it doesn’t matter if I don’t do very much just now!

i too have found people’s ‘oh my aunt had that and she’s fine’ attitude dismissive. I’ve also had my own mother tell me that i got breast cancer because I didn’t have children, somewhat insensitive but then she is never going to forgive me for the lack of grandchildren, despite medical reasons. You never know what’s going to happen. Everyone is different. Most women will survive breast cancer, but...not everyone does, and understandably we have our own worries that we might end up in the wrong statistics, after all we haven’t had much luck so far...

re your surgery - rest up, follow the instructions. Don’t do too much for the first 10 days - I needed that time off sick from work. Do your stretches daily, and as soon as you can, get some bio oil on the scars and massage the scar tissue - it will help. 

Good luck and best wishes xx

Re: Introductions

Posted by Greatwitchtwo on Feb 9, 2019 2:48 pm

I’ve found it challenging that you have to decide on the type of surgery you want to have before you have the whole picture that the sentinel node biopsy will provide. I’ve opted for the lumpectomy and radiation. The tumour is at 8:00 on my right breast and is apparently 3 cm. It’s not attached to my chest wall and the surgeon feels that since it’s easily accessible he can get everything he needs to without doing a full mastectomy. At this point radiation is scheduled to begin 6 weeks after the surgery. 5 days/week for 4 weeks. What’s the right choice? Whichever one feels best with the information you have at the time I guess. We won’t know until those biopsy results come back a week or so after the surgery whether there will be a need for additional treatment. I find that frustrating. I too have control issues - I don’t like not having ALL the information to formulate a plan.... 
 

Re: Introductions

Posted by Minus2 on Feb 10, 2019 8:11 am

Hi Greatwitchtwo‍, 
You have had some excellent advice from others on this site.  Like you, I do like to be in charge and waiting for results of each test and exam was really hard.  I did a lot of walking and talking and my poor husband, well, he just had to listen.  The one thing I would encourage you to do is look after your emotional health and well being as much as your physical health and that means some people are dismissive or insensitive.  No one really understands until they have had their own diagnosis.  And generally speaking, people are trying to be sensitive and they come from a place of care and concern, and sometimes we are just not in a place to hear any message as it's intended because we are too frightened.  Talk to a counsellor for strategies and do your very best to focus on the positive.  I have an aunt who is a 30 year survivor.  I think about her every day.  Once you make a decision regarding treatment, keep moving forward and do not second guess your decisions.  As you gather information, you will know what is the best for you and you will make decisions you can live with.  I have a journal that I keep to record my questions in advance of each appointment and document other news or recommendations the Dr. conveys.  I also used it to record my decisions regarding treatment decisions, just in case I needed to bolster my confidence down the road and because making T-charts, creating a visual, helped me decide. I would also encourage you to understand that the imaging is very good, but your post-surgical pathology is far more accurate and indicative of your treatment plan, which can change based on the post surgical results.  I tend to have an attitude where I am "prepared for the worst and hoping for the best" and so far, it works well for me.  

In May 2016, I was 54 when I was diagnosed with DCIS in both breasts along with a 2 cm IDC tumour in the right breast.  My surgeon said I was not a candidate for a lumpectomy as the DCIS was extensive on the right side.  I am small busted, so there would have been nothing left on the right.  Even though the DCIS was small on the left side, my shape would still have been significantly altered.  So, her recommendation, which I took, was that I have skin and nipple sparing bilateral mastectomies with implant reconstruction - all done in one operation.  Her recommendations made sense to me.  She worked very closely with my plastic surgeon, whom I absolutely love - actually I have loved all of my Dr.'s except one and she is not my Dr. anymore -  and I am pleased with the results.  I am symmetrical, just like before, and I look mostly like myself.  I have a 5" scar under each breast that is flat and white and my new breasts are round instead of teardrop shaped, but I can live with that.
Let us know, when you are ready, how your surgery goes along with your results.  You will surprise yourself I think, at just how well you navigate this new world.
Minus2

Re: Introductions

Posted by Greatwitchtwo on Feb 12, 2019 2:09 am

Thank you so much for your suggestions and support. It means a great deal to me - especially since you’ve all been through this challenging experience. 
I had my lumpectomy and Sentinel Node Biopsy today. The preparations for the biopsy weren’t exactly fun - those injections were nasty - but I feel better physically after the surgery than I expected to. Everything went as planned/expected. The surgeon is confident that the removal was a success. Now we wait for the results of the biopsy to determine any additional required treatment. As for me, I feel as thought this is only the beginning of this journey. The hardest part will be forcing myself to take it easy and focus on self care. Not my strong suit at the best of times, but with 5 teenaged boys all between 17 and 20 getting ready to “launch” and trying to get our house ready for sale, there’s a great deal to do - allowing others to DO while I supervise and let myself heal is going to be a challenge. Thanks again for your good wishes - and great information. 

Re: Introductions

Posted by Greatwitchtwo on Feb 22, 2019 7:01 pm

It’s been 10 days since my sentinel node biopsy and lumpectomy to remove a 3cm invasive ductal carcinoma. I THOUGHT I’d be back to my regular tasks by now - you know, things like fixing drywall, painting walls and ceilings, laying new floors... after all, it’s not like I needed a full mastectomy.  I have another 6 days to wait before I see the surgeon again for a follow up and hopefully get the results from the biopsy. What I’m wondering is, is it normal to still be this sore 10 days after the surgery. I feel like there’s a tennis ball in my armpit and I get tired very quickly. It’s super frustrating. I still can’t wear a real bra comfortably, and I’m constantly reminded about the biopsy every time I try to do something with that arm...  I’d appreciate hearing from anyone who has been through this process as I still don’t know exactly what to expect. What’s “normal” with this?
 

Re: Introductions

Posted by Essjay on Feb 23, 2019 9:18 am

Hi Greatwitchtwo‍ I was surprised at how long it took to recover from my lumpectomy. I went back to work after 10 days, and followed my surgeons instructions on exercise to the letter - in the gym on the elliptical with no arms at 14 days, arms at 21 days, reintroduced weights at 28 days. I had a massive amount of scar tissue, which I am working on through massage (helps with radiation later), and I developed web auxiliary syndrome, so have needed specialist massage through our lymphedema clinic. The biggest problem was the swelling in my armpit, which took a good six weeks to go. I also had nerve pain down my arm which caused an intense burning feeling, and that took 2 months to go.

i don’t think there is a ‘normal’. We are all different, and our bodies respond differently.

Lumpectomy sounds like minor surgery compared with mastectomy, but you still have incisions, and the surgeon has basically gone in there and scraped put that tumour and those lymph nodes with a spoon-like implement, which will have done you damage.

Be kind to yourself. Start massaging, and if the wound has healed start putting biooil on your scars.

Essjay

Re: Introductions

Posted by Greatwitchtwo on Feb 23, 2019 9:55 am

Thanks essjay! That information helps a lot. I was starting to feel like a bit of a wimp! Of course, if my husband gets hold of this information he’s going to INSIST that I take it easy and not do too much! LOL Now if only we could convince all these teenagers to do a little more around the house... 
 

Share with your friends: