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Newly diagnosed - Breast cancer

Re: Newly diagnosed - Breast cancer

Posted by Kims1961 on Nov 9, 2020 6:13 am

Wendy Tea:
annqb‍  HI Ann, I had my surgery at Jimmy Pattinson 's and they were amazing. Let us know how it goes or if you have any questions.  Hugs!

Hello annqb‍ 

WOW!! Good for you in mentioning the new lump.  It might be something that one would think, I’ll just wait or keep an eye on it, as to not interfere with the original plan for the lumpectomy.  Your story is so important.

Glad you are at home and healing.  Having a nurse sister is certainly a perk. 

Thank you for posting - let the healing begin!! Kim
Her2+, ER+ Bilateral mastectomy in 2017, followed by chemo and radiation. Mack and Hannah's mom

Re: Newly diagnosed - Breast cancer

Posted by annqb on Nov 22, 2020 11:28 am

Hello Everyone,

It’s me again browsing around and reading stories from others about their experiences. I am on my two-weeks of healing after left breast mastectomy. Other than pain in my underarm and difficulty of raising my arm for possible cording (physio appointment next week) my incision is healing well. My full pathologist report is finally out. I had my appointment with my surgeon and oncologist last week. Although I was expecting it I still cried all day long and was so depressed. I came along with what @kims1961 said that my story is important, just like everyone else. So it turns out I did not have just IDC but also ILC. I have invasive carcinoma with ductal and lobular features and a high grade type. This explains why in a short period of time the surgeon thought it has spread quickly but not only that, it was there all along but did not show up in my mammo and initial ultrasound missed it because it focused only on the lump. I learned that lobular carcinoma, they call this “sneaky” cancer, it does not usually form a visible lump which makes imaging test hard to detect especially for a woman like me who has a dense breast. It is usually shows up at a later stage. I am grateful we went ahead with mastectomy instead of the original plan of lumpectomy.  I requested for MRI for my left breast and and a PET scan. Also 3/3 nodes have cancer and I might need more surgery for nodes dissection after chemo. I will be starting my 8 cycles chemo in 3 weeks then radiation and hormone therapy after. I am searching for tips and tricks on how to deal with the effect of chemo. I am still trying to stay positive and getting myself ready for the next step. Thanks all for reading and your kind words.

Keep safe.


Re: Newly diagnosed - Breast cancer

Posted by MCoaster on Nov 22, 2020 12:48 pm

annqb‍   I am so sorry that you have received news which is so traumatic but hope you find the answers and support that you need here.   I was very fortunate that I needed no further treatment after my bilateral mastectomy.  ashcon‍ has a wealth of knowledge about chemo and if you take a peek at “Let’s talk Chemo” in Forums” you will find lots of posts.  Thanks 🙏 in anticipation ashcon.

As you know we are always here for you.

Take care.



Re: Newly diagnosed - Breast cancer

Posted by Kims1961 on Nov 22, 2020 5:37 pm

annqb‍   Ah...the cancer journey....so many ups, downs and curves. I was initially told i had a very small lump and then pathology comes back and everything seems that much more complicated :(    I so understand that feeling of sadness - it's like the weight of cancer comes crashing down.  I had to work on my mindset and this forum was so helpful with that.  I dreaded the thought of chemo and radiation - but when i changed my mindset, it did become easier.  I took it one treatment at a time and surprisingly time went by relatively quickly.

One of the key pieces to the pathology report is that you now know what your are dealing with.  Breast cancer is still very treatable , they just need to know what they are dealing with.
Many people manage chemo quite well and there are some solutions to side effects.  I felt a little like a guinea pig at my first session - it was a wait and see how i responded.  CCS has some good pamphlets and treatment and what to eat during chemo.

It seemed to help to be as healthy as i could be prior to chemo.  I tried to stay hydrated, exercise and got outside.  These strategies really helped through treatment as well.  Keep your journal/note writing going so that you can keep track of your questions and feedback from doctors.  Prior to chemo, i had an orientation to the chemo unit.  I think some centres are still doing this via online links.  Not to worry, if they aren't doing this due to COVID, I found the chemo nurses so awesome with helpful tips and care.



I'm glad that ashcon‍ was tagged.  She is our passionate dense breast advocate.  

Please continue to let us know how you are doing.  BTW....3 years ago in December, I started chemo as well - I'm with you!

Her2+, ER+ Bilateral mastectomy in 2017, followed by chemo and radiation. Mack and Hannah's mom

Re: Newly diagnosed - Breast cancer

Posted by ashcon on Nov 22, 2020 6:39 pm

Hello Ann - my name is Ann too!  Yes, your story is incredibly important. Despite expecting it, I am so sorry that the news from your pathology report was not a better story for you.  Yes, ILC is "sneaky", but I suppose one could say that ALL cancers are sneaky.   I'm glad you are healing well, so far.  How is your energy level - slowly edging back up again? 

In addition to the sharing the same name, I shared the same experience as you of being blindsided after I got my pathology report. (I was Stage 3, Grade 3 triple negative, with cancer in 4 of 8 nodes for my first surgery).  I also had dense breasts and the tumour was missed on my screening mammogram done just 6 months before my diagnosis.
Anger, crying, and sleepless nights overtook me for the first 3 months of my 9-month treatment plan.
Odd as it may sound, the thing that calmed me down after the really crappy news from the pathology report was being fast-tracked to start my dose dense chemo regime (AC, then T, administered every 2 weeks along with a neulasta injection to keep the WBC count up.)  Someone on this site said to "visualize" the chemo "eating the cancer cells" (like Pacman!) while sitting there hooked up to the IV pole.  This really helped me. Hey, you do whatever you can and must to get through this emotionally and physically gruesome experience.

I also got signed up for an axillary node dissection after I finished chemo because the cancer had spread to more nodes while I was doing chemo. The funny (??) thing is that all nodes came back clear after the axillary node dissection. It seems the chemo had done its job very well! 
Today, 3 years later, I wonder if I should have asked for another round of screening on those nodes before agreeing to go under the knife again.  Oh well. What's done is done, and with a double mastectomy, I have the peace of mind I sought.
Additional screening (eg ultrasound or MRI) may be something that you ask to be done after you have completed chemo.  Who knows, you may not need to have the ALND after your chemo is done. 

This is going to be a chunk of your life that you don't want to go through, but you must. The good news is that you and your doctors know what your particular monster looks like, and there are proven standards of treatment for aggressive ILC and IDC breast cancer.  Plus, you have the bonus, if one could say that, of being ER/PR+, so have hormonal therapy treatment options available to you as well.  In addition, I think that, being so young, you have age on your side to withstand the treatments better than someone who is older.

MCoaster‍ was right. There is a lot of information and tips in the discussion thread, "Let's Talk Chemo" along with many more wise and caring people who will help you with any question, fear, or just simple urge to vent.

Do you have to travel far for your chemo treatments?
---- "Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced." ----

Re: Newly diagnosed - Breast cancer

Posted by mc2 on Nov 23, 2020 8:11 am

annqb‍   Thank you for sharing your story.  You cancer story is quite the rollercoaster and I read several lines of "lucky in your bad luck".  The last minute change in surgery plan must have been so nerve wracking and yet such a good catch.  Glad you found this site.  My journey was easier than yours (i was very lucky in my bad luck) and yet this community was instrumental in me staying sane  through my cancer journey.  On my upcoming birthday in december, it will be 1 year since I rang the bell... Seems so far now with the 2020 we had (i have a 6 year old which also helps seeing how time flies) and yet I think of it everyday....  Best wishes.

Re: Newly diagnosed - Breast cancer

Posted by JustJan on Nov 23, 2020 9:37 am

annqb‍ I am glad your surgery is over and even though it didn’t go as expected, at least they carried on that day and didn’t delay. The one thing I have learned is that the cancer treatment road is filled with twists and turns with lots of ups and downs along the way. 

Most cancer facilities have counselling available and it is a great thing to take advantage of. Also if your anxiety is high don’t be afraid to ask for some medication. I have never had severe anxiety until my cancer diagnoses and the medication did help. I didn’t take it all the time but was grateful for it when I did need it. 

It sounds like you have great support which is wonderful and will help
carry you through the rest of your treatment. 

I wish you a speedy recovery! 
Strength doesn't come from what you can do, it comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn't. - Rikki Rogers