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elthia
Posts: 11
Joined: Sep 2013

Just wanted to introduce myself.

 

I am a 37 year old health care worker newly diagnosed with Stage IIb invasive ductal carcinoma.  I recieved my diagnosis 8/20.  I then had all my care transferred to a larger cancer center.  I recieved the obligatory echocardiagram, breast MRI, BRCA testing, I had my port-a-cath placed last Monday. 

I have since found out that I am Estrogen positive, progesterone positive, Her negative.  However, some doctors want to classify me as stage IIIa.  My original tumor is 2.8, but MRI showed 7 satellite tumors ranging in size up to 1 cm, making my total tumor burden greater than 5 cm.  No lymph node involvement. Either way the treatment is the same. TAC, surgery and radiation.

My father died from cancer at 57, by sister had a different type of cancer in her 30's, and there are so many other types of cancer in the family that if I am BRCA1 and BRCA2 negative, then I will be tested for other familial cancer genes.  Which scares me to death.  I think I could handle being BRCA positive better, because I know how that is treated, and what the odds are.  I find out the BRCA test results in about 10 days. 

Every time I think I have a game plan, it changes. Everyone thought it was a cyst, including me.  There is NO breast cancer in my family.  Lung, endocrine, uterine, colon, and thryoid cancer, but not breast.  I have had colonoscopies and thryoid ultrasounds, I quit smoking 10 years ago, and I even had and endometrial ablation last year and was told everything looked good.  Then I get sucker punched.

My life is broken down into getting through the next 2 weeks.  Find out results of tests, to find out lumpectomy vs mastectomy.  3 cycles of chemo to repeat MRI to determine if I am having mastectomy then or 3 more cycles of chemo. I don't know if I am having surgery then radiation then reconstruction, because it is all up in the air.  I hate not knowing.  I hate not being in control, and I hate these damn cells that have betrayed my body and are taking my hair, my breasts and forcing me to go into early menopause. 

For the most part I am doing okay, however 25% of the time I get really down and scared.  I am the primary breadwinner in the family, and everyone tells me not to worry about that but I do.

I start chemo next week. The closer I get to it, the more nervous I get. Other than pain from biopsies and the port surgery, I don't feel sick.  And since my endometrial surgery last year I have been the healthiest I have ever been.  I know what living in daily pain is like, I don't want to return to it. However if it means I will live to grow old with my husband, I am willing to go to hell and back.

New Flower
Posts: 3838
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi

welcome to CSN. i am glad you found us snd hope you will stay.

Your feeling are very normal and understandable. Please do not feel angry at your body or yourself. now you need a full cooperation from all of your organs and cell. please remember you did nothing wrong to bring cancer on yourself. You will be surprised that most breast cancer survivors have been very healthy prior to cancer diagnosis and only few have had family history with breast cancer. 

That sense of being in control.. I often miss it, however we, survivors, can be ahead and very proactive and flexible.
 
Waiting for genetic testing results is not fun and can be excruciating, however you cannot change it and you will deal with it. Think of Angelina Jolie, who did prophylactic mastectomy despite of her profession and career. 
 
Starting Chemo is a very scary.  Please try to think positive about it, Chemo helps to kill cancer, and we will help you to go through it.
 
While Finances - are always a concern, right now your treatment and recovery the most important things on the table. Many organizations and states have medical leave programs, STD benefits. check with your state what laws and assistance are available in your state.
 
Good luck and keep us posted
New Flower
sandra4611's picture
sandra4611
Posts: 121
Joined: Sep 2013

Elthia, what a crappy hand you've been dealt. You have every right to feel angry, frightened, frustrated, and depressed. I would do the same in your shoes. When I was first diagnosed (last month) I hated it when people said to cheer up, think positive thoughts, it could be worse...it's like they were denying me my right to feel devasted and sorry for myself. I found a psychologist who was my savior...she gave me permission to be pissed off, shout at the unfairness of it all, and indeed, said I was perfectly normal for wanting to own those feelings. I'm an accountant so not having answers was killing me. Things need to add up, even if the total is a negative, it's still a total. So I delved into educating myself. I picked the Johns Hopkins website, the Mayo Clinic website, and Susan G Komen. I researched everything that could go right and what could go wrong. I carried out each scenario to it's logical end. I began to feel a sense of control again because I knew what to expect, good or bad, no matter what the next twist or turn brought. Some people said I was morbid or scaring myself unnecessarily, but it did just the opposite. Knowledge is power. I had a list of questions for the doctors and took along a support person to each appointment. The docs were great. Yes, that particular thing could happen...but if it did, here's what they would do. Fear lessened and I ended up feeling like I was in a great strong hammock, swinging in the breeze, but in no danger of falling. I was peaceful and supported when I went into surgery. My wish for you is that you continue to acknowledge your feelings and fears, work through them with help from as many smart people as you can find, and continue to come here for understanding and support. We know. We've been there.

Cricket64
Posts: 63
Joined: Sep 2013

I agree with what you said, and what others responded to you.  This cancer journey is HARD, just plain HARD!  But, you've already made a huge positive step, which I delayed doing, you have joined this network.  Everyone here, has their own story about cancer to share, you will find some of our journeys will over lap with yours, and some not.  BUT, having a place to both vent and receive help for others will be a good thing.  May angels walk next to you on your journey, as will everyone on this blog.  My limited additional advice, would be to find a really good friend or two, who will know when you need to vent, and talk about your cancer journey, but who also will know, when you just want to be 'you', and pretend for a few hours that you are not a cancer patient.

 

eihtak
Posts: 784
Joined: Oct 2011

Hi, I post only occasionaly, but read often and benefit from much of the great advice. I just have to agree with you on the help I received from having a friend that came to see me every Thursday and we got to a point where we didn't even bring up the "cancer" topic for just an hour or two each week. We talked kids, clothes, food, garden, gossip, or whatever came up. My nails were growing long probably because I wasn't doing housework like I used to and she would bring polish and we'd do manicures. Her visits were crucial in my recovery.

tufi000's picture
tufi000
Posts: 416
Joined: Jun 2005

I was dx IIB IIIC, had chemo, bilateral mast, then rads.  I worked full time through the whole thing,  The only concession at work was I left an hour early for the rads each day. Also had  5cm tumor and lymphnode involvement 15/17 positive, hormone positive her2 neg. 

That was in 2002.  and I am still here!!! Doing ok so far and they monitor me carefully.

See??????  It's doable

Scary right now, ya and the waiting is the hardest.  But this is all doable.  Our mantra   one day at a time.

elthia
Posts: 11
Joined: Sep 2013

Thanks, if others can do this, so can I.  I just need reminded of that sometimes

sea60's picture
sea60
Posts: 2601
Joined: May 2010

We totally understand your fear, sadness, betrayal, forced menopause...all that. Just know you WILL get through this. You're determined and I love your statement..."I don't feel sick". Most of us didn't when diagnosed. So keep that thought strong. I always spoke of cancer as this thing. It wasn't in me but rather this unwelcomed intruder who's not allowed to stay. Whatever analogy you use, make it one that strenthens you and helps you.

Praying for you!

 

Sylvia

disneyfan2008
Posts: 5057
Joined: Oct 2010

welcome....great group of people here to listen!

thinking of you...

Denise

mollyz's picture
mollyz
Posts: 737
Joined: Sep 2010

Hi and welcome to the boards,I never know really what to say to a new comer because i know what and how  you feel, it's over whelming, just know there's some ladies here are able to guide you and give you a lot of good advice, make sure you understand we're all different so don't think some one else's story is like yours and get scared, we all have simlier stories and diagnoses but still not the same.~~MollyZ~~

VickiSam's picture
VickiSam
Posts: 8133
Joined: Aug 2009

to 'OUR' Sisterhood of loving, caring, as well as Supportive Sisters / Brothers in Pink.   I am however sorry for the reason you had to find us .. Innocent 

Please know that we are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week -- and there's no waiting in line.

Strength, Courage and HOPE for a Cure.

Vicki Sam

 

Kathy2az
Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2013

My thoughts are with you.  I was diagnosed with the same cancer in July.  I chose a mastectomy of the right breast.  I had the surgery 25 days ago.  I was in the hospital overnight.  Amazingly, the pain was basically no existent.  I had the reconstruction at the same time so right now I go weekly to have the tissue expander pumped up.  In December, it will be replaced with the permanent implant.  I was told that they got all the cancer but because of my age (47) I am scheduled for 4 rounds of chemo as a preventative measure.  I don't look forward to the hair loss but I will be better on the other side of it.  Breast cancer does not run in my family and I have had mammograms every year since I was 35.  I thought this would not happen to me.

This week is my second week back at work.  It keeps my spirits up and makes me feel that I am still productive.  Plus I love my job.  They are working with me for my appointments and whatever I need with Chemo starts.  People say I am tough, but I am not willing to give into this diease.  It will not get me.

Keep your spirits up and look past what is happening now.  You can overcome this as well.

 

 

 

Cricket64
Posts: 63
Joined: Sep 2013

Started chemo yet?  Each of us shares their own version of the same story to share, so here is mine, perhaps it will help.  I was absolutely teriffied of chemo, teriffied!  But followed every single bit of advice my medical support team gave me regarding what to do pre/post infusions, and other than the extreme fatigue I experienced, and the hair loss (which to me, meant, at that point everyone knew I had cancer) for me, the anticipation was worse than the participation.  Good luck. 

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