How do you all deal with being afraid of the process of chemo, surgery & radiation that will affect at a minimum, the next year of your life?
Hi, I was diagnosed June 21, 2021 and I will be going for my first treatment July 26th. I still in shock to be going through this! There is no history of breast cancer in my family.
B, I was initially diagnosed with DCIS following a lumpectomy (bleeding nipple) where a 1 cm lump was removed. Then I was sent for a MRI (don't know why they didn't do it first) and another lump (2.5 cm) was found and I had a mastectomy, left side only, this time I was diagnosed with triple positive IDC. My lumpectomy was Oct 30, 2018 and my mastectomy/expander placed was Mar 12, 2019 and my left nipple was removed. Lymph nodes were not involved and I did not need radiation. My chemo (6 cycles) which included Herceptin (17 cycles) started May 14, 2019 and ended Sept 2019 but I continued getting Herceptin alone until April 2020.
Once my treatment was finished, I had to wait an amount of time determined by my Doctor's, before I could have more surgery done. July 2, 2020 I had a surgery to remove my expander from my left side and place an implant, my right side was reduced/lifted. My Plastic Surgeon knows how to recreate nipples using an origami technique (Oct. 2020). I had to wait 3 months for the nipple to heal before I had a tattoo (Jan 2021) to add color to the nipple/areola area. It takes 4 to 6 months for the tattoo to be the correct color.
I am now totally done my treatment/surgery but am still on a hormone blocker, Letrozole. I have completed about 1 year 8 months out of 5 years.
I will add that my chemo experience wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. I had manageable side effects and was even able to work (grocery store produce department) during part of it. But keep in mind, everybody reacts different to chemo. My chemo was delayed one week once because my bloodwork was off. I thought I would include dates in this post to give you an idea of how long the journey could be and mine wasn't delayed too much because of Covid.
I am sorry about your diagnosis and can really relate to how you are feeling. As you can see from the posts you have already received you are not alone. Being a member of this community helped me tremendously when I was first diagnosed with DCIS and continues to be a great support.
I notice that your site name has only one letter and this will mean that others will be able to reply to your posts but that you will not be notified of that. It is suggested that your site name has 4+ letters or numbers. This is how to ensure that notifications are sent: type @ and with no space start to type the name. When the name appears in the box click on it, it will appear in blue in your post and presto the person will receive a notification. Sorry if I have no explained clearly. If you want to give it a try by replying to this please do.
I hope you read this. I will also send a message. 🤞
Thank for your kind words and information.
I'm sure you've heard it before, but it does make me feel like I'm not alone. I haven't been discussing it much with family or friends as some are giving advice from Googling breast cancer. So I really appreciate hearing from you and learning of your journeys. PS I did change my name from B to Bre*
@Bre* @B Hello and welcome……You are stronger than you think….to “avoid the fearful thoughts”…..please try to keep “busy”……get your mind off the “C” word…..de clutter the closets; all of them, donate to a local organization…..vacuum the car mats….cook and freeze a lot of meals for your freezer….get outdoors; walk, get fresh air….sit on a park bench….get so busy and tired, that you wont even have “time” to think….of……..much …..
Welcome to our caring community….
welcome to the club no-one wants to belong to…..yep its a gut punch to hear those words that will change your life.
happy to see that you have both found this community….everyone here just ‘gets’ it. for me it was my lifeline thru my #covidCancer experience; as I could have none of my peoples around to help me. mostly I just read others stories and that gave me a lot of comfort that what I was feeling was ‘normal’. then I started interacting with folks here and have hashed out many of my issues, fears & frustrations with people who have walked the similar path before me.
cancer is hard. but somehow, just doing one day at a time, one procedure at a time, one appointment after another……you just get thru it!
once you start your treatments you will also have access to a team of technologists & others who can answer many of your questions. never hesitate to reach out here…someone is always around ;)
you are when I was first diagnosed and getting ready to start treatment. You will find the strength and courage you need even though it may be hard at times.
I was lucky to have a small group of people that were my key supporters. Two of them happened to be nurses which was a bonus. They didn’t have knowledge of the cancer world but they knew what questions to ask. My husband was great but doesn’t like medical things so he really appreciated their support. Do you have someone that you can trust to be “your person” through all of this?
Chemotherapy was not as bad as I had imagined or that tv and the movies portrays but everyone reacts differently. I have a few pieces of wisdom for managing chemo:
1) take all medications that are prescribed in the way that say. This will help reduce side effects.
2) Drink LOTS of water the day of chemo and the few days following. This will help flush the toxins out of your system and again help reduce side effects
3) stay ahead of constipation - it is not your friend.
4) get some form of exercise everyday even if it is just a short walk to the end of the driveway and back
5) track your side effects and what you did to try to help. Bring this with you to your chemo followup appointments to discuss with your care team. They will make adjustments to your chemo or medications if needed.
My last piece of advice is to be kind and gentle with yourself. It’s okay to feel what you feel.
You can do this and we are here to support
Reach out for help. When you are used to being the strong person, asking for help can be hard, but this is a time to ask for help. Find a cancer counsellor to talk to. In BC, that is available for free through BC Cancer. Ask your friends for help with meals when you are in the thick of treatments. Talk to anyone you know or who your friends know who have had breast cancer. Walk and talk with friends. You have supported your friends through their life’s troubles, it is their turn to support you. Sometimes friends are there for serious talking. Sometimes friends are there to be a distraction and keep you entertained and get your mind off your cancer journey. It does take a year of your life. Things are different than your normal. You will make it through.
You are strong. That hasn't changed. Being scared doesn't make you weak - it makes you human. Any cancer diagnosis is scary. None of us expected it. You have no idea how you will react to the drugs - how will your life change during treatment and after. Will you ever be ‘normal’ again?
These are all normal.
Take one day at a time. You won't get the answers until much later.
Make plans, accept invitations - but add in that you will have to see how you are feeling at the time. And this will change - sometimes hour by hour.
Treatment and understanding what your side effects will be is very frightening. We can tell you what our side effects were but everyone is different. They warn you of all the side effects but you may have some worse than others and some not at all. I did not have fatigue for example - but even with the anti-nausea drugs - I was very nauseous.
Wait and see.
You are strong - you will get through this. Be patient and be kind - your body is busy and it will need to rest.