Just introducing myself and wondering something. I’m Mary Grace and was diagnosed with breast cancer and now am waiting to see the surgeon. I‘m 65, and also have type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and atrial fibrillation. I had my second COVID-19 vaccination in February, but have been taking extra care because of my underlying conditions, so I work from home mostly and don’t go to shops or restaurants. I wonder if others get the same criticism I get from some friends that I am worrying too much about COVID-19 and over reacting with my precautions?
@Mary Grace Hello and welcome to our caring community….I am sorry, for your reason to reach us; but glad you did. Please know you have found a group of folks, eager to listen and share and support one another.
How are you doing?
To answer your question…..I will start with: You are terrific, being cautious! Period.
It is not important, what friends/family/others think, about you and the covid situation, we are all in……you are taking care of you; with lots of caution….keep it up. I too do not go to shops (am dreaming of it one day soon!!) nor restaurants…….hello take out! hello online purchasing…
Keep yourself healthy, with all the tools available to you……..
Thank you. It helps to hear this. I was feeling hurt and confused.
Hello @Mary Grace
Welcome to this community. I am sorry that you have received this diagnosis and wish you the best.
Even though I am in remission and fully vaccinated, I am still more cautious than most others. I am on targeted therapy that lowers my immunity supposedly. My quick comeback if anyone says or insinuates anything is ‘I just spent 12 months surviving cancer and the treatment…I’d be really pissed if I got sick with COVID'. People will have opinions that suit themselves, let it go. You need to focus on you now.
I love that response! Thank you!
That is true. I know I’ve been fortunate to have an employer who supports me working from home, and a local food shop that delivers, but it’s honestly not been so difficult to stay home for me. The hard part is when my “friends“ diminish my choices and are critical of them. I almost feel as if they are blaming me, who chooses not to go out, for prolonging the pandemic, because I feel it’s not safe for me. Thank you for your reply. It helps a lot.
why on earth would anyone comment on your level of precautions….you are my kind of peep taking care of yourself as you are. your other conditions would make you, unfortunately, a patient who would struggle if you somehow managed to contract the virus. vaccination is but 1 layer of protection — GOOD FOR YOU!
sorry about your recent dx. when is your surgery appt? do you have that scheduled yet? in the province I live in, there has been a very recent delay to many surgeries, I hope that doesn't happen for you.
let us know how things move along for you and if there are any specific questions you have. we are a bunch who have either had cancer also, or loved somebody who does. while we may not have the ‘same kind’ as you, we all have common experiences and can offer tips and tricks to navigate the system.
@Emgee Hi and welcome to the most caring and uplifting community possible ! I too am diabetic and stage 4 lung cancer. You can not be too careful in your day to day life. I'm double vaccinated too but keep my “ social ” bubble to the bare minimum to include family. We explain why we can't get together and everyone understands. Last week I had to leave church before it began due to very few people wearing masks. I received an e mail a few days later from the Pastor letting me know the vestibule would be open just for my wife and I.
My sister is double vaccinated and still caught the variant. She was in the hospital for 10 days then on to a care home. She would be dead without those vaccines. You can't be too vigilante in watching out for your health during these times. Please stay safe !
Thank you. I spent two days feeling depressed about what my friend said, and then I found this forum. I feel so reassured and supported now. I will stay in this community because at this point in my journey I need to surround myself with people who aren’t critical of my choices, and who have more experience than me. My first consultation with a surgeon is on September 28, and I should find out then what stage I am at, and what the treatment will be.
Thank you, Dave. I am sorry you have diabetes and stage 4 lung cancer, and I hope your community will try harder to protect you, by doing something as simple as wearing masks and social distancing. I’m also sorry your sister got a breakthrough infection, and so glad she was vaccinated. I know the vaccines are our first and best line of defence and wish people understood that by refusing to be vaccinated, they are backing up our healthcare system and causing surgeries and other treatments, including for cancer, to be delayed. Of course for us, a breakthrough infection, even though vaccinated, could be a real problem with diabetes and anyone who is immunocompromised. I hope you stay well and strong and will be thinking of you.
yep, we got ya! happy to support and share experiences anytime.
you have a little bit of time to while away waiting for your surgery consult. have you seen the fantastic prep lists @Runner Girl has compiled? great list of question and things to think about pre-appointments.
what are you keeping busy with these days? it is simply the most beautiful autumn weather here in alberta. I am home on a short term disability, (broken foot), so am trying to schedule as many outdoor coffee/drinks dates as I can while the weather is good! hope you are enjoying some of the same.
I agree with the others who have responded to you. I have an aunt who has made it to age 80 despite having asthma, so having seen her struggle to breathe for a lot of her life, I sure don’t want to endure the ravages of covid.
I also agree that vaccinations are only one level of precaution. I was at an outdoor event yesterday, with about 18 vaccinated people, but we were not wearing masks, and a lot of people were coming within 6 feet of one another. Despite how great it was to see them and the fact that there was a nice breeze, I won’t go to the next event, if we have one.
You have a serious condition, and several other conditions that can complicate that one already. People ought to be understanding of that, and if they can’t handle it, then it’s OK for them to be in a “timeout” for however long it takes them to develop the amount of empathy required to meet your comfort level.
As mentioned by @supersu I have compiled a very long list of questions for the different situations you will find yourself in thru this journey. I will add in here the list of questions for your surgeon before surgery. I also have a list of questions for the surgeon after surgery and for the oncologist before treatment starts. Feel free to pick and choose which questions suit your needs.
Here is a list of questions for your surgeon:
• Am I a candidate for a lumpectomy?
• Do I need a mastectomy? Is reconstruction (plastic surgery) an option for me? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Is it possible to avoid removing my nipple and areola?
• Do the lymph nodes in my underarm need to be removed?
• What is a sentinel lymph node biopsy? What are the benefits and risks? Would you recommend it for me?
• What is the risk of lymphedema with a sentinel lymph node biopsy? With axillary lymph node dissection?
• What is the benefit of having more lymph nodes removed?
• What are the side effects of these procedures? Can they be prevented or minimized?
• Should I consider chemotherapy before surgery?
• Will I need radiation therapy after surgery? Does this affect my reconstruction options?
• When do I need to make a decision about surgery?
• What should I do to get ready for the operation? Do you have recommendations on how to help me relax before surgery?
• What medications and supplements should I stop taking? Should I stop taking hormone replacement therapy? What about birth control pills?
• Will you describe exactly what you will do during this operation, and why?
• Will my tumor be saved? Where will it be stored? For how long? How can it be accessed in the future?
• What are the potential risks and side effects of this operation? What can be done to ease side effects following surgery?
• Does the hospital offer programs that help aid healing?
• What can I expect regarding the operation?
• Will I need to be admitted to a hospital for this operation? If so, how long will I stay in the hospital?
• How long will my surgery take?
• What type of anesthesia will I need for this operation?
• How long do I have to wait for my preoperative test results? Do I call you, or does your office call me?
• Will a pathologist examine the tissue and write a report? Who will explain that report to me?
• What are the possible complications for this type of surgery? How would I know if there is a problem?
• How long will it take me to recover after the surgery?
• When can I return to work and other daily activities?
• Will I have stitches, staples, and/or bandages?
• Will there be permanent effects from the surgery?
• Where will the scar be, and what will it look like?
• What type of clothes should I bring to go home in? Will I need a special type of bra?
• Are there instructions or post-operative care pamphlets I can take home with me? When can I shower or bathe?
• Will I need to have surgical drains? What does this mean? How long will the surgical drains be in?
• Do I need a nurse to visit my home after surgery? How is this arranged?
• When will I need to return for a follow-up appointment?
• Will I need help at home after the surgery?
• What kind of pain will I be in afterwards? Can you help me manage my pain?
• When should I call your office if I experience any side effects?
Thank you! My daughter has asthma too. She lives in Australia where the vaccine rollout has been much slower. I will be relieved when she gets her second dose. Everyone has really helped me feel better about my boundaries, and I am going to put some time and space between myself and “friends” who are critical of my choices. I need people in my life right now who lift me up, not bring me down. Thank you so much.
This is an amazingly comprehensive list! Thank you for all the work you put into it, and for sharing it. My appointment with the surgeon is on September 28, so this list will help me a lot. I will be on my own at the appointment, but will take a notebook with me. Thank you so much!😊
Thank you. I am still working but remotely, which is good. I just go into the office on weekends if I need to. I love autumn!🍂 🧡