don't feel I can't take anymore

KarenKL Member Posts: 42
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Hi all. I am now 2 weeks out from my bilateral mastectomy and up until Tues night I was doing good. I recieved a call from my General Surgeon telling me that my DCIS has made it's change to the spreadable type. And that one of the lymph nodes in my breast had this type of cancer. Now she is telling me that I have to see the Oncologist again and see what he wants to do, but it looks like now I might have to have chemo. My lymph nodes under the armpit were clear and I thought if I removed my breasts I would be free of this. My reconstruction might get put on hold. I am feeling very down and don't think I can't take anymore, but I know my children are to young for me to give up. I think how much more am I going to have to do, how much more can my family take. My brother in law is worse than me with prostate cancer, his came back, but they don't want to do chemo just yet cause that is his last chance for any hope of fighting. My husbands uncle died 5 days ago to lukemeia. Honestly this is alot to deal with in a short period of time.
And I know alot of responses will be good ones and that I need to fight this, but I am emotionally tired and scared to have chemo. My step daughter's mother did that and she had it bad. I seen the effects it left on her.


  • lindatn
    lindatn Member Posts: 229
    Karen, so very sorry to hear you may need chemo but many many of us have gone through with it if not with flying colors at least all in one piece! I am two years post chemo and doing all of the things I did before. After six months you will be fine. Ask how much better chance you have of a cure with the chemo and look at all angles. Don't feel pushed into it. Yes you have had enough cancer in the family as of late to be difficult to have to go through more yourself. Before I finished my cancer treatment my husband was dx with advanced prostate cancer so I do know how you feel. Take it one day at a time. We are very much into herbs, vitamins, and diet. Husband is one year out from radiation, his cancer was to advanced for surgery and he is glad as what he has read and heard he would not of gone that route. So you see we all make decisions about our cancer treatment. A while back I saw where gals were saying buy the M&Ms that the Susan Kormen foundation will get a kick back. Cancer needs sugar to grow don't buy candy give all the money you would of paid for the candy for research or go buy fruits and veggies. I am off the subject you were asking us Karen but you are stronger then you know. If you decide on chemo you can do it and pray each day that it works. Inside all of us there is a very tough core. God is with you. Linda
  • krisrey
    krisrey Member Posts: 194
    Hi Karen,
    I am very sorry to hear all that you and your family are going through. I know it can be extremly emotional and sometimes you just don't feel like you can take it anymore. My situation is somewhat alike in that even though I did not have DCIS I have invasive ductal I did get a clear lymph node report on the second surgery. However I later in the week received a call that It was also detected in the lymph node after all, therefore requiring yet another surgery. This did not effect my status on chemo though, I already knew that I would be having to have that. Sure it was the most horrible thing that I ever imagined having to go through. Already 3 surgeries and young children to care for, I could think of a million ways I would rather have spent my time. However, I am here to tell you one year post chemo that I made it through and actually it was not as bad as I had feared. I had 8 rounds of chemo every two weeks, and sure I lost my hair and I had some sick days and depressed days, but I kept pulling myself up and continued with my normal schedule. I also found it helpful to keep myself going to the gym and working out despite the fact that I felt that sometimes I was going to have to crawl out, I think it made me stay strong physically and mentally.
    Chemo is no cake walk, but you can get through it! Most all the women here have been on chemo and we will be here to support you in whatever you may need.
    Take care Karen and God bless,
  • lajohnso4
    lajohnso4 Member Posts: 31
    I am sorry that you are feeling the way that you do and its understandable. I was told by my surgeon that I would only need radiation but when I visted my primary care doctor and he looked at the path. report he called a oncologist and they discussed my case over the phone. After the phone conversation I was told that I would have to do chemo. I was not prepared to hear those words. I had heard such horrible things about chemo. But I wanted to do anything that would extend my life. So I faced it, with the attitude of getting better and doing something to erase this terrble disease from my body. I made it through the treatments quite nicely, I was not sick as I imagined in my mind that I would be. Everyone body reacts different to chemo. But I also find that you must have a positive attitude and realize what your are fighting for. YOUR LIFE
    Cry, kick and scream and then pull yourself together to do what you need to do. YOU WILL MAKE IT I DID.
  • wildangel
    wildangel Member Posts: 81
    Dear Karen,
    I am one of those people who was terrified of chemo. I thought the fact that I had to have chemo was worse than the fact that I had cancer.
    I was on the cusp. My tumor was just a little over 1 cm (1.3) and I had no nodes. Sometimes with that diagnosis they don't make you get it. BUT because I was ER/PR - and that the tumor was so highly aggressive I was told I had to get it.
    I never thought I would survive it. I am not just saying this either. My first day I was sitting in the waiting room I was so freaked out the receptionist had to come and sit next to me and hold me down because she could see I was going to bolt.
    I had CMF chemo. That stands for Cytoxan, Methotrexate, and 5FU. I had to go every three weeks for six months. I did not lose all my hair. It thinned out A LOT. And I had patches that came out but it wasn't total. I was given anti-nausea drugs but I am allergic to everything so we had a hard time figuring out which one worked the best. But it was not like you see on TV. They give you lots of stuff to make it bearable. You don't feel great but you don't feel like you are going to die either. Now they have a new pill call Emmend that you take before your chemo and the two days after and it pretty much keeps the stomach ok throughout those first three days which are the hardest. I have a friend who just finished dose dense A/C and she never got sick with Emmend.
    I hated every second of chemo because it made me a sick person. When you have your surgeries you get better- but then when you have to take these drugs suddenly you are SICK and I hated that. I am also terrified of needles. So the whole thing was terrible for me. But I went all 8 times.

    And now when I have my little freak out sessions of worrying about a recurrance I ask myself- did I do everything I could to fight this cancer? And the answer is yes. I did the chemo and the rads. I know there is nothing more that I can do so it is really out of my hands.

    I COULD have refused the chemo. THANK GOD I didn't. Because now when I look back I would be beating myself up saying - If only I had done the chemo! I have a friend who has just found that it is in her bones and she refused all chemo and rads. She is kicking herself now. She was diagnosed a year after me. I am three years out.

    One thing I did when I was first diagnosed was go to this cool thing they have here called Nexcura. If you go to the home page I believe they direct you to it. Put in all your info and it tells you the pros and cons of all the available treatments. And since it is on this site you know you can trust it. That is how I found out that with my ER status and my tumor grade I really needed the chemo. It gave me peace of mind.

    I know this really sucks. You have been through so much. But you are a strong person and people need you and if I can survive chemo ANYONE can. Believe me!!! And you sound MUCH MUCH stronger than me!
  • seeknpeace
    seeknpeace Member Posts: 259
    ((((Karen)))) Honey, I am so sorry to hear this news. It has to be hard to take. Tell us a little more about this spread. What lymph gland was it in? Did they not do a sentinel node biopsy on you, where they inject radioactive dye that will follow the path of the cancer cells? What grade is it, what kind?

    You have every right to feel down right now. You have a lot of stuff swirling around you and right now you have no control of any of it. Some stresses we can control, reduce work loads, stop anwering the phone, etc., but, these things are not in that category. I am sure that you will make it through, but, that is little to offer you in the middle of it. Is your husband helping? I know that was an issue possibly before.

    Hang in there honey...

  • Ellison
    Ellison Member Posts: 68
    Hi Karen, Darn it all.... You sure have been thru the mill. It seems like you don't even catch your breath and something else happens. Life on lifes terms is a hard pill to swollow. We do what we have to do to survive. I know you are a survivor and will come out on the other side of this. It will take time. I was very fortunate not to have cancer in my nodes. I had a lumpomecty. My surgeon told my husband and I just radiation. My mind was geared for that and that only. Well after I had surgery, I saw my oncologist, she suggested chemo, and the strongest dose. I asked why and she said because they have no test to see microscopic cancer cells in the blood. Karen, I am not kidding you, I went into shock. I know I was in my body but I was out of it. Just going thru the motions. I was also scared. I sat there for awhile and then I said well lets get it on... I prepared myself mentally. At the time this was going on my son-in-law was in Musol. I prayed for him everyday. I thought I am going to look at the chemo like shoulders going into battle and getting the bad guys. I had to get rid of some feelings I had. I was about to begin the fight of my life and I could not afford it. I need all the strength I had to fight this thing. It was about me this time... and I know it... I was angry at myself and my husband because 2 years before I was diagnosed I bought a cancer policy and he pitched such a fit I cancelled it. I had to tell him I was so angry at myself for listening to him. I was so afraid we were going to loose everything we had and it would be my fault.

    The day came and God and I and my husband went into that room with everyone else. I couldn't believe it, some people were sitting there with IV's in them eating, some were sleeping, some reading, some laughing and some looking pretty bad. It was a mix. I went every 21 days. Had 6 treatments. You don't know how you are going to feel, everyone is different. I felt tired and out of it for a few days. I was given antinausa medicine which helped. Then I would feel better and I would go to work. After chemo treatment they gave me a rest and I staarted radiation. I had 33 rad treatments. I would get my rad. in the morning and go to work. And then it was over.Ye Ha! What a glorious day that was....

    It seemed every feeling I had went in stages. By the time it came time to begin I was mentally prepared as I could be. You will be too. Right now you are darn mad. That is ok. This to shall pass.
    Thank you for sharing. It is so important. I don't know what I would do without it.
    Take care. Ellison
  • wimpy
    wimpy Member Posts: 58

    I'm really sorry that you feel so overwhelmed and scared. Having to do chemotherapy is scary. All I can do is send a huge hug and as much energy as I can and tell you that from my experience chemotherapy is not as bad as you think. There are new anti-nausea drugs that they have developed that keep the worst of the side effects to a minimum and I found that the anticipation of chemo was worse than the fact. I'll pray for you and send energy. Wimpy
  • kamaha
    kamaha Member Posts: 7 Member
    I had a lumpectomy and then 8 rounds of chemo. I got through it amazingly well with not too many side effects. Then I had another lumpectomy and THEN was told I needed a mastectomy. So for me, the chemo was not bad, just part of the treatment, but finding out after going through it all that I still would lose my breasts was devastating. That was last November and now I'm doing great.

    My point here, Karen, is that we each deal with whatever cancer throws at us, one step at a time. You look at the big picture and it's overwhelming, even though the big picture is important. But if you just take each thing, you CAN get through it and there is lots of caring and support for you as you do it.
    Take care!!
  • inkblot
    inkblot Member Posts: 698 Member
    Hi Karen:

    I know this is a terribly trying time for you. Your family has been through so much with cancers, treatments, etc. and my heart goes out to you and your family. I can't even imagine so much at once!

    Ask yourself this: If no one else in the family had recently experienced cancer or passed from it, would your feelings about having chemo be any different? I know that's hard to answer because it HAS happened and you can't change that but my point is that it's important that you not let everyone else's experiences colour your decision right now, while you're feeling so overwhelmed with cancer all around you.

    If possible, take a break of sorts. Go somewhere, just for a weekend even, with your husband and just try to relax some and clear your head and your emotions and then rethink your choices from a different perspective. It may help and can't hurt to try.

    Figure out what your biggest concerns and fears about chemo are and try to answer them with some research on the specific drugs which are being recommended for you. Have as many conversations with your oncologist as necessary
    in order to try to help you decide what is best for yourself to do here. Don't let anyone push you, one way or the other. It must be your choice and yours alone. has some solid info re chemo, side effects, etc. and it's worth checking out for starters.

    Don't feel rushed either. There is an established ideal window for beginning chemo, post surgery so check with your doctor for his/her
    opinion about that in relation to your particular case.

    Next thing is to get at least one additional opinion, as soon as possible, from another oncologist/treatment center. Not every onc has the same thoughts/approach and it can be very educational to talk with a different doc about it all. Ask lots of questions, find out why they're recommending what they're recommending or why they're not recommending something. Also, it's not necessary to tell any doc you consult, what any other doc has recommended as far as specific treatment recommendations. All you have to state really is that your surgeon recommended that you consult with an oncologist as he/she felt that you may benefit from chemo, etc.. Do be sure to take your path reports and surgical reports, etc. to each different doc you consult...also take your path slides, if your consults will consist of a "team" review of your case which includes a pathologist, surgeon, oncologist and radiation oncologist. (My 2nd opinions included this kind of approach and it was wonderful, because I saw everyone at the treatment center on the same morning and got all their opinions in one visit, including the pathologist who reviewed my slides with the other members of the team. I also saw the surgeons even though I'd already had surgery when I went for the 2nd opinions...they're still worth consulting because they give their opinion to you about your surgery, whether they'd do anything more or differently, and why, etc.)

    Try to slow down a bit with this. You don't have to make a decision about having or not having chemo tomorrow. Take your time because you need to feel confident about your choice and your reasons for it. That's the bottom line, which ever way you decide to go.

    People choose different approaches often and for very different reasons. Doctor's can recommend but they cannot force us to do anything we don't feel good about doing. Family/friends cannot tell us what to do either because it's just too personal a decision. Input is great and helpful but being told what you "must" choose, by anyone
    is not helpful. It's your life and your decision. As long as you don't make it hastily or while you're way down on energy and resources, you WILL make the choice which is right for yourself. Hope that may help in some small way.

    Please keep us posted. We're here to support you no matter what choice you make.

    Love, light and laughter,
  • Denie
    Denie Member Posts: 6
    Hi KarenKL,
    I am so sorry for what you have to go through. But, there is hope at the end of all this. I know you don't see it right now but it will come. I went through chemo. I had six bouts of it. I made it through. I had said that I would never have chemo, but when I found out I had breast cancer,I knew I had to fight for my children and my husband. But most of all for my life. You first have to get good family support and friends support. I had the best support that anyone could have. You are stonger than you think. By reading what all you have already been through. Don't be afraid of chemo. You will make it through. There more advance treatment even now since I've been through it. You have to remember to always fight. Don't ever give up the fight.

    You will be in my prays. Take care and be strong. Denie
  • DoubleKnot
    DoubleKnot Member Posts: 41
    Hello Karen,

    Yes, I am sure that it is an awfully heavy load on your shoulders at this time, but all of us can talk about it and share that load. I know about other family members fighting cancer at the same time as you are going through this, makes it harder for you to deal with it.

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer, but I didn't have the time to really deal with it, because I am a fulltime caregiver of my husband who had a massive stroke, and approx. one and one-half years ago, had his bladder and prostrate removed because of invasive bladder cancer that was in the bladder muscle. Now, they think that it has metastasized into another organ, the lung. We will know around Christmas time, what the results are from his Pet Scan. The Pet Scan shows everything in the body and shows what is benign, and what is malignant. Time will tell if he has any option available for him.

    I was just like you and I felt like throwing in the towel. It was just too much to deal with and I was asking "God, why me and why is ALL OF THIS happening to us at once?" I had asked the question of God, but HE seems to give us the inner strength to get us through whatever we face and HE will guide us through it if we let him. I put it in God's Hands, because I felt like I just couldn't deal with it. My Mom is also My Guardian Angel, so I knew that she would help me/us in anyway possible.

    Karen, you WILL make it through all of this o.k. Just keep saying prayers and ask for the help and guidance that you need and all of us need so much.

    My husband went through 4 chemo treatments for his bladder/prostrate cancer, and a friend of ours went through 43 radiation treatments along with chemo shots for prostrate cancer. Our friend is doing great now. He actually looked forward to going to the clinic for the treatments. I know, that sounds unbelievable, but it is true. My prayer is that you will receive God's love and protection through all of your ordeal, and he will help you through it. My thoughts and prayers are with you.