WHAT TO DO........

angel23
angel23 Member Posts: 28
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Hi everyone, just look at my profile for details of my situation. I am new to this site, and have been checking it out all day....... My tumor is 3cm lt side,IDC Her2 neg, est/prog/ positive, and I am debating between lump/mast. I am at a grade 3 histology, and 20% nuc/proliferation rate. I saw my selected surgeon yesterday, and she is willing to do a lumpectomy/mastectomy.(My choice) Tomorrow I am calling her with my decision. I already know that a lumpectomy will not increase my chances of having further cancer,vs. mastectomy. I also know that I will undergo radiation/chemo with a lumpectomy, and chemo only with mastectomy. My question is how much can a body take? I am 56yrs old and a nurse of 29yrs, with 9 yrs until retirement......I am under the stress of helping my youngest daughter thru college, and my middle daughter is pregnant with her first child. I want to do whatever,but don't know what is "whatever"....... If anyone can give me any input it would be appreciated......


Thanks, Angel23
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Comments

  • chenheart
    chenheart Member Posts: 5,159
    (((((((((HUGS)))))))))
    My tumor was 3cm, I had 3 of 15 nodes positive, and was also estrogen positive. I chose the lumpectomy, and had the chemo and radiation. I am 6 years out, and will be 60 next month. Since my diagnosis and treatment ( during, and of course after) I have done 6 Relay for Life's, 3 5K's for Women's cancer, I walk 6-8 miles 3X a week, do Jazzercise 3X a week, and am about to participate in my 2nd half-marathon. I was never an athlete~ just a normally active woman; so this is not something I resumed after cancer. I am not breaking any world records, but I am breaking my own~ and that's truly what counts. My point is certainly not to blow my own horn, but to let you know that yes, we women "of a certain age" can still be vibrant after doing battle with the Beast.

    Just to say, do what is best for YOU! If you have been reading these boards you perhaps realize that we are living Life After Cancer, with jobs, husbands, children,and myriad milestones. Certainly not without pitfalls and potholes in the road of our lives, but we would have had those anyway, wouldn't we?

    I know you will make an informed decision..though being the patient is different from being the nurturing health care professional you most certainly are. It should go without saying that we are with you every step of your journey, no matter what decision you make. As a wise poster here once said : You are our past, and we are your future.

    Let us know what you decide!

    Hugs,
    Claudia
  • angel23
    angel23 Member Posts: 28
    chenheart said:

    (((((((((HUGS)))))))))
    My tumor was 3cm, I had 3 of 15 nodes positive, and was also estrogen positive. I chose the lumpectomy, and had the chemo and radiation. I am 6 years out, and will be 60 next month. Since my diagnosis and treatment ( during, and of course after) I have done 6 Relay for Life's, 3 5K's for Women's cancer, I walk 6-8 miles 3X a week, do Jazzercise 3X a week, and am about to participate in my 2nd half-marathon. I was never an athlete~ just a normally active woman; so this is not something I resumed after cancer. I am not breaking any world records, but I am breaking my own~ and that's truly what counts. My point is certainly not to blow my own horn, but to let you know that yes, we women "of a certain age" can still be vibrant after doing battle with the Beast.

    Just to say, do what is best for YOU! If you have been reading these boards you perhaps realize that we are living Life After Cancer, with jobs, husbands, children,and myriad milestones. Certainly not without pitfalls and potholes in the road of our lives, but we would have had those anyway, wouldn't we?

    I know you will make an informed decision..though being the patient is different from being the nurturing health care professional you most certainly are. It should go without saying that we are with you every step of your journey, no matter what decision you make. As a wise poster here once said : You are our past, and we are your future.

    Let us know what you decide!

    Hugs,
    Claudia

    Claudia
    LOL....!!! I am so amazed that you responded....I am in a lonely juncture of life right now.. However, with so much knowledge, it truly is sooo little when it hits home!!! I am hopeful that this site has given me the courage, and inspiration that I need, to proceed with an amazing outcome..... I just know it... !! Thank-you Claudia
  • TraciInLA
    TraciInLA Member Posts: 1,994 Member
    angel23 said:

    Claudia
    LOL....!!! I am so amazed that you responded....I am in a lonely juncture of life right now.. However, with so much knowledge, it truly is sooo little when it hits home!!! I am hopeful that this site has given me the courage, and inspiration that I need, to proceed with an amazing outcome..... I just know it... !! Thank-you Claudia

    Listen to your gut
    Welcome, Angel23. My diagnosis and life situation was and is very different from yours -- but I also had to make the decision between a lumpectomy and mastectomy, and I think the most important thing we all have to do is listen to our own gut.

    Once I knew the basic facts of my diagnosis, treatment options, and projected outcomes, no matter how much more research I did or how many more people I talked it out with, deep down, my gut was always telling me the same thing about what was right for me. I would sit there and try to rationalize one decision or another, and it still said the same thing.

    So I think that deep-down, gut-based feeling over what's best for our own bodies and our own lives is the most important decision-maker there is.

    Traci
  • RE
    RE Member Posts: 4,591 Member
    Hmmmm
    I have had bc three times, the first time I choose to have a lumpectomy, chemo and rads. The second time it had spread so I had more chemo more rads. I remained cancer free for 9 years when it returned on the other side of my chest. I choose then to have a mastectomy since I no longer wanted to have to do both rads and chemo again....this time I just had to do chemo. I recently have had reconstruction and still have a few minor procedures to do. I can only tell you my story, it is such a personal choice for each of us. Whatever you choose to do please come here from time to time to let us know how you are doing, to vent or to ask any questions those of us who have been there may be able to answer.

    My best to you,

    RE
  • jk1952
    jk1952 Member Posts: 613
    TraciInLA said:

    Listen to your gut
    Welcome, Angel23. My diagnosis and life situation was and is very different from yours -- but I also had to make the decision between a lumpectomy and mastectomy, and I think the most important thing we all have to do is listen to our own gut.

    Once I knew the basic facts of my diagnosis, treatment options, and projected outcomes, no matter how much more research I did or how many more people I talked it out with, deep down, my gut was always telling me the same thing about what was right for me. I would sit there and try to rationalize one decision or another, and it still said the same thing.

    So I think that deep-down, gut-based feeling over what's best for our own bodies and our own lives is the most important decision-maker there is.

    Traci

    I had a lumpectomy and

    I had a lumpectomy and radiation in 2000 and a bilateral mastectomy with DIEP reconstruction in 2009, when I developed DCIS in the same breast. I'm thankful that I haven't had chemo and I truly believe that the treatments that I've had are a walk in that park compared to chemo. You'll have chemo, no matter which route you go, and I take my hat off to everyone who goes through it.

    I feel that each time I made the right decision for where I was at the time, and I agree that I could feel it in my gut. There was a great deal of peace, when I made my final decision. I'm hoping for that same sense of peace for you.

    Joyce
  • Jadie
    Jadie Member Posts: 723
    angel23 said:

    Claudia
    LOL....!!! I am so amazed that you responded....I am in a lonely juncture of life right now.. However, with so much knowledge, it truly is sooo little when it hits home!!! I am hopeful that this site has given me the courage, and inspiration that I need, to proceed with an amazing outcome..... I just know it... !! Thank-you Claudia

    Hi and Welcome Angel
    You sure came here with a full plate. You have the knowledge so we will be here to encourage you and support you through your treatment. I am sure that you will make the right decisions for yourself. Chemo and rads are doable. A long rough road but none the less doable. Just keep your eyes on the light at the end of the tunnell. We will be on the other side shining the light for you.

    I had a lumpectomy (1.3 cm tumor with 2 pos nodes) chemo and rads. It has been almost six years now. I just turned 55 and I can still kick pretty high. LOL I am getting cards from the Scooter Store now. Maby they are trying to tell me something.

    Wishing you the best
    Jadie<3
  • angel23
    angel23 Member Posts: 28
    TraciInLA said:

    Listen to your gut
    Welcome, Angel23. My diagnosis and life situation was and is very different from yours -- but I also had to make the decision between a lumpectomy and mastectomy, and I think the most important thing we all have to do is listen to our own gut.

    Once I knew the basic facts of my diagnosis, treatment options, and projected outcomes, no matter how much more research I did or how many more people I talked it out with, deep down, my gut was always telling me the same thing about what was right for me. I would sit there and try to rationalize one decision or another, and it still said the same thing.

    So I think that deep-down, gut-based feeling over what's best for our own bodies and our own lives is the most important decision-maker there is.

    Traci

    "ANGEL"
    Thank you Traci for your input. Life is so funny, and how I learned of my cancer, was tripping over a table,after my dog was playing with a couch throw. I went to my orthopedic surgeon, of which gave me time for a sprained knee and off for a mammogram LOL.... It just makes me laugh at how our higher power works.... 5 days off, mammogram, sonogram, and breast bx later, I was aware of my problem. My gut,, or my dog's gut, had me at "Hello"/////

    Anyway, more facts have become apparent, and life seems so much easier as I talk with caring people, as yourself...... thank you for allowing me to know that my body is my decision.......

    Angel23
  • tgf
    tgf Member Posts: 950 Member
    RE said:

    Hmmmm
    I have had bc three times, the first time I choose to have a lumpectomy, chemo and rads. The second time it had spread so I had more chemo more rads. I remained cancer free for 9 years when it returned on the other side of my chest. I choose then to have a mastectomy since I no longer wanted to have to do both rads and chemo again....this time I just had to do chemo. I recently have had reconstruction and still have a few minor procedures to do. I can only tell you my story, it is such a personal choice for each of us. Whatever you choose to do please come here from time to time to let us know how you are doing, to vent or to ask any questions those of us who have been there may be able to answer.

    My best to you,

    RE

    Angel
    As far as age goes ... I think I may be the most senior of the senior citizens on the site. I'm 65. Had a lumpectomy 1/21/09 ... 12 weeks of chemo (taxol/herceptin) ... and am now almost half way through radiation. I work full time ... and have only missed about 4 days of work (2 for the lumpectomy ... and 2 for when I had my port installed) ... other than that I've been able to schedule all of my chemo and radiation and doctor appointments late in the afternoon so I only have to leave work a bit early ... and miss and hour here and an hour there. I have a very understanding and patient boss and that makes it all much easier ... but it can be done.

    Of course ... it all depends on your surgery ... your recovery ... and the chemo they give you. Everything is so individual it's impossible to say how everyone will react. Some sail through everything with very few side-effects ... while others have nausea and other issues involved with their treatment.

    Just remember that whatever you end up doing ... is a step in the right direction. You do what you have to do ... and we will all be here for you. Welcome to the family.

    hugs.
    teena
  • angel23
    angel23 Member Posts: 28
    RE said:

    Hmmmm
    I have had bc three times, the first time I choose to have a lumpectomy, chemo and rads. The second time it had spread so I had more chemo more rads. I remained cancer free for 9 years when it returned on the other side of my chest. I choose then to have a mastectomy since I no longer wanted to have to do both rads and chemo again....this time I just had to do chemo. I recently have had reconstruction and still have a few minor procedures to do. I can only tell you my story, it is such a personal choice for each of us. Whatever you choose to do please come here from time to time to let us know how you are doing, to vent or to ask any questions those of us who have been there may be able to answer.

    My best to you,

    RE

    3 Times/RE
    So I wonder how reconstruction works with minor procedures.....You seem to have very young children...... I am 56yrs young, smoker, and wanting to continue to work in the nursing field for at least 10 more years.... I do not want to go thru this more then once, so with a 30% chance of attracting this disease again on either side, I want to nip it in the bud. (duct).....I will have to wait at least 3 months for reconstruction with a mastectomy. (since I am a smoker) Whose personal choice really is it???? I lose (live) either way with my situation, chemo/rad with lumpectomy, vs. mastectomy/chemo. I guess it is a wash......(3cm tumor, with + est/prog neg Her2, and 20% proliferation rate...)Short term disability gave me 7 weeks leave of absence.( does that seem reasonable?) Anyway thank you for your personal info, and letting me vent......

    God Bless, Angel 23
  • lolad
    lolad Member Posts: 670
    tgf said:

    Angel
    As far as age goes ... I think I may be the most senior of the senior citizens on the site. I'm 65. Had a lumpectomy 1/21/09 ... 12 weeks of chemo (taxol/herceptin) ... and am now almost half way through radiation. I work full time ... and have only missed about 4 days of work (2 for the lumpectomy ... and 2 for when I had my port installed) ... other than that I've been able to schedule all of my chemo and radiation and doctor appointments late in the afternoon so I only have to leave work a bit early ... and miss and hour here and an hour there. I have a very understanding and patient boss and that makes it all much easier ... but it can be done.

    Of course ... it all depends on your surgery ... your recovery ... and the chemo they give you. Everything is so individual it's impossible to say how everyone will react. Some sail through everything with very few side-effects ... while others have nausea and other issues involved with their treatment.

    Just remember that whatever you end up doing ... is a step in the right direction. You do what you have to do ... and we will all be here for you. Welcome to the family.

    hugs.
    teena

    ANGEL
    Like you i am fairly new to this, was just diagnosed in april this year and just had a double mastactomy four weeks ago yesterday. The only reason i chose to do a mastectomy was because i didnt want to have to go thru radiation. Maybe a stupid reason, but that was why i did. And also, my gut was telling me both. I am glad i made that decision because i had two tumors in my other breast that at the moment were not cancer, but my breast tissue was starting to change around them and god only knows what would have happened had i mad the choice to keep the other breast. Not to mention, when i go thru the reconstruction part, i want them both to be perky and pretty! HAha. Trying to make such a big decission is soooo hard and nobody can tell you what is right or wrong. Just pray and listen to your heart and hopefully you will get some peace with your prayers. Also, to let you know, finding this site has been such a blessing. Somedays i just feel so alone and everyone here is so wonderful and great at their responses. So keep your spirits up, know you are not alone and know that someone here is always there. Even on those nites you cant sleep. I know i found this site at 330 in the morning. Good luck and god bless.

    Laura
  • RE
    RE Member Posts: 4,591 Member
    angel23 said:

    3 Times/RE
    So I wonder how reconstruction works with minor procedures.....You seem to have very young children...... I am 56yrs young, smoker, and wanting to continue to work in the nursing field for at least 10 more years.... I do not want to go thru this more then once, so with a 30% chance of attracting this disease again on either side, I want to nip it in the bud. (duct).....I will have to wait at least 3 months for reconstruction with a mastectomy. (since I am a smoker) Whose personal choice really is it???? I lose (live) either way with my situation, chemo/rad with lumpectomy, vs. mastectomy/chemo. I guess it is a wash......(3cm tumor, with + est/prog neg Her2, and 20% proliferation rate...)Short term disability gave me 7 weeks leave of absence.( does that seem reasonable?) Anyway thank you for your personal info, and letting me vent......

    God Bless, Angel 23

    NIps and tucks
    Hi again Angel, the minor procedures are finishing touches....LOL....some sanding, some tattooing and then construction of the nipple should I choose to do so. I am 52 my dear and those little ones are my much adored grandchildren.

    When I was first dx I had two teenagers at home and life was hectic. Some folks work through it all while others do not. I was a do not...I was off for 9 months the first time and a year the second time (I was stage 4 the second time so my battle was much more intense than it had been the first time.) Chemo takes a lot out of a person and with each infusion usually the effects become more pronounced. We are all different and we each react uniquely. Keep us posted my new survivor friend.

    Hugs,

    RE
  • angel23
    angel23 Member Posts: 28
    lolad said:

    ANGEL
    Like you i am fairly new to this, was just diagnosed in april this year and just had a double mastactomy four weeks ago yesterday. The only reason i chose to do a mastectomy was because i didnt want to have to go thru radiation. Maybe a stupid reason, but that was why i did. And also, my gut was telling me both. I am glad i made that decision because i had two tumors in my other breast that at the moment were not cancer, but my breast tissue was starting to change around them and god only knows what would have happened had i mad the choice to keep the other breast. Not to mention, when i go thru the reconstruction part, i want them both to be perky and pretty! HAha. Trying to make such a big decission is soooo hard and nobody can tell you what is right or wrong. Just pray and listen to your heart and hopefully you will get some peace with your prayers. Also, to let you know, finding this site has been such a blessing. Somedays i just feel so alone and everyone here is so wonderful and great at their responses. So keep your spirits up, know you are not alone and know that someone here is always there. Even on those nites you cant sleep. I know i found this site at 330 in the morning. Good luck and god bless.

    Laura

    Perky!!
    Hey Laura, thank you for responding, and believe me, I have had a thought, a second thought, and then another thought...... My last thought was why go thru radiation, and chemo...Maybe a glimmer of vanity, and then a longer glimmer of reality... I think a lumpectomy sounds soothing and breast tissue saving. I am all for each.... However, why put my body thru both chemo and rads.... I for sure will have both with the lump removed. It is a very personal choice.. Right now my self image is not looking too great, and from my stand point,esp. where my tumor is sited, I may lose a lot with margins. What happens if my doctor needs to re-enter and take more margins?, I am large breasted,however there really is only so much you can take......(esp the second time around) My point is, will I in all actuality have a mastectomy with repeated lumpectomies??? Just a thought rolling around in my head along with a lot of gratitude that I have met up with this site......

    Thanks, Angel23
  • Kylez
    Kylez Member Posts: 3,761 Member
    angel23 said:

    3 Times/RE
    So I wonder how reconstruction works with minor procedures.....You seem to have very young children...... I am 56yrs young, smoker, and wanting to continue to work in the nursing field for at least 10 more years.... I do not want to go thru this more then once, so with a 30% chance of attracting this disease again on either side, I want to nip it in the bud. (duct).....I will have to wait at least 3 months for reconstruction with a mastectomy. (since I am a smoker) Whose personal choice really is it???? I lose (live) either way with my situation, chemo/rad with lumpectomy, vs. mastectomy/chemo. I guess it is a wash......(3cm tumor, with + est/prog neg Her2, and 20% proliferation rate...)Short term disability gave me 7 weeks leave of absence.( does that seem reasonable?) Anyway thank you for your personal info, and letting me vent......

    God Bless, Angel 23

    Angel, I just want to wish
    Angel, I just want to wish you good luck with your decision. You will do whatever is best for you. Please keep us posted as to what you decide and how you are doing!

    Hugs, Kylez
  • angel23
    angel23 Member Posts: 28
    Kylez said:

    Angel, I just want to wish
    Angel, I just want to wish you good luck with your decision. You will do whatever is best for you. Please keep us posted as to what you decide and how you are doing!

    Hugs, Kylez

    Decisions, Decisions.......
    Thanks Kylez!

    I'm still tossin and turnin....I have had a great spirit of help here, very invaluable!

    Angel23
  • mimivac
    mimivac Member Posts: 2,143
    angel23 said:

    Decisions, Decisions.......
    Thanks Kylez!

    I'm still tossin and turnin....I have had a great spirit of help here, very invaluable!

    Angel23

    Welcome, Angel
    I wish you good luck with your decision. I had a grade 3 tumor as well (2.6 cm.) though I don't know the proliferation rate. My tumor was er/pr/her2 negative, so it was considered even more aggressive. I ended up having a lumpectomy and then chemo and radiation. The radiation did not bother me very much, and I've recovered very well. My lumpectomy scar is also very good. You have to really look to realize that I've had surgery at all.

    Another factor in your decision may be your BRCA 1 and 2 status. I was negative for both, so a lumpectomy was an option. My doctor would have strongly urged mastectomy if I had mutated genes. Peace to you.

    Mimi
  • Alexis F
    Alexis F Member Posts: 3,598
    mimivac said:

    Welcome, Angel
    I wish you good luck with your decision. I had a grade 3 tumor as well (2.6 cm.) though I don't know the proliferation rate. My tumor was er/pr/her2 negative, so it was considered even more aggressive. I ended up having a lumpectomy and then chemo and radiation. The radiation did not bother me very much, and I've recovered very well. My lumpectomy scar is also very good. You have to really look to realize that I've had surgery at all.

    Another factor in your decision may be your BRCA 1 and 2 status. I was negative for both, so a lumpectomy was an option. My doctor would have strongly urged mastectomy if I had mutated genes. Peace to you.

    Mimi

    Just saying welcome to you
    Just saying welcome to you Angel and wishing you good luck!
  • angel23
    angel23 Member Posts: 28
    mimivac said:

    Welcome, Angel
    I wish you good luck with your decision. I had a grade 3 tumor as well (2.6 cm.) though I don't know the proliferation rate. My tumor was er/pr/her2 negative, so it was considered even more aggressive. I ended up having a lumpectomy and then chemo and radiation. The radiation did not bother me very much, and I've recovered very well. My lumpectomy scar is also very good. You have to really look to realize that I've had surgery at all.

    Another factor in your decision may be your BRCA 1 and 2 status. I was negative for both, so a lumpectomy was an option. My doctor would have strongly urged mastectomy if I had mutated genes. Peace to you.

    Mimi

    BRCA 1 and 2 status
    Hi Mimi!

    I have worked with another nurse her name being "Mimi", great people!!..... Anyways, I was not offered the BRCA 1 @ 2 ... Would these tests be offered if you have a familial history? ( I don't)However my parents were of the generation that did not speak of the "C Word"....I am learning so much from all of you! Nurses don't know everything... LOL! Boy am I quickly finding that all out.....I did opt for the lumpectomy..Its chemo either way, so I am happy, and peaceful with the decision I made. Surgery is for 7/28/09 outpatient on the unit I work on.... Geeezzzzz.... I will be surrounded with the best of the best, and along with all of you, how could I ever lose..... Thank-you!!

    Angel23
  • mimivac
    mimivac Member Posts: 2,143
    angel23 said:

    BRCA 1 and 2 status
    Hi Mimi!

    I have worked with another nurse her name being "Mimi", great people!!..... Anyways, I was not offered the BRCA 1 @ 2 ... Would these tests be offered if you have a familial history? ( I don't)However my parents were of the generation that did not speak of the "C Word"....I am learning so much from all of you! Nurses don't know everything... LOL! Boy am I quickly finding that all out.....I did opt for the lumpectomy..Its chemo either way, so I am happy, and peaceful with the decision I made. Surgery is for 7/28/09 outpatient on the unit I work on.... Geeezzzzz.... I will be surrounded with the best of the best, and along with all of you, how could I ever lose..... Thank-you!!

    Angel23

    Good luck, Angel
    I'm glad you came to a decision and have peace with it. That is what matters. The BRCA 1 and 2 testing was offered to me mainly because of my age (34). The younger you are at diagnosis, the greater the chance for inherited disease, as I'm sure you know. My family connection is not overwhelming: one grandmother that we know of for sure (on my mom's side). After my diagnosis my dad remembered that his mother said she was treated for breast cancer in her thirties. It was never verified since my father and his siblings were very young at the time and no one is alive who would know for sure. The good news is that this grandmother survived 40 years after her diagnosis and radiation treatments.

    I would perhaps ask about the testing. If you have no family history and are not in your 30's or 40's, it might not make much sense to give it to you, but I would ask anyway.

    Mimi
  • angel23
    angel23 Member Posts: 28
    mimivac said:

    Good luck, Angel
    I'm glad you came to a decision and have peace with it. That is what matters. The BRCA 1 and 2 testing was offered to me mainly because of my age (34). The younger you are at diagnosis, the greater the chance for inherited disease, as I'm sure you know. My family connection is not overwhelming: one grandmother that we know of for sure (on my mom's side). After my diagnosis my dad remembered that his mother said she was treated for breast cancer in her thirties. It was never verified since my father and his siblings were very young at the time and no one is alive who would know for sure. The good news is that this grandmother survived 40 years after her diagnosis and radiation treatments.

    I would perhaps ask about the testing. If you have no family history and are not in your 30's or 40's, it might not make much sense to give it to you, but I would ask anyway.

    Mimi

    50's
    Hey, Hey...thanks for the clarification..... No not 30's, 40's, but vibrant 50's.... I am thinking my mother had uterine cancer..... No breast cancer anywhere tho.... Do you live near the ocean?? (from your pic) thanks for being there for me...!!!

    Angel23
  • Akiss4me
    Akiss4me Member Posts: 2,188
    BOOHOO!!
    Angel, welcome. I can't beleive this! I posted you a very uplifting response yesterday, and today I look, bam.....gone! Hmph...it's sitting in cyberspace somewhere! (somewhere....out there....{sung to that famous tune} beneath the la la la... )
    Anyway, welcome. Glad you made a choice. Glad you will be surround by very good people for your surgery!!
    Keep us posted and keep up the great attitude!! :) Pammy