Hello!

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Apat
Apat Member Posts: 13
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
I had my yearly mammogram in January 2010, then another with ultrasound, then biopsy, then dx of Papilloma(second time in 4 yrs., not cancer but can turn into it if left), surgery to remove it, back to the surgeon on 2/19/2010 JUST for a post-surgery "check" - or so I thought. She told me that pathology(from the surgery) had found a small cancer attached to the Papilloma which didn't show up in the biopsy. It was very small, but still the "c" word. I remember looking at my chart while she was talking to make sure it was my chart. It's devastating and life altering. I've had many tests since to look for spread to other parts of my body & to bone, but Praise God, it's all negative. Now I will have my Sentinel Nodes removed for testing, and at the very least more tissue removed for better margins since it was cancer but I've also been given the option of double mastectomy with reconstructon. I don't know yet what course of treatment will be suggested, but I plan to be in control, consider the options and effects, and not get dragged along the "cancer trail" without a say. The cancer is estrogen +. If mastectomy for early stage cancer will help me avoid treatment, I will probably opt for it. I am very sensitive to chemicals/medicines and I'm not sure that I could tolerate chemo or even the anti estrogen pills. I'm feeling better now that I have settled it in my heart that I don't HAVE to do anything...it's my choice!

Angie

Comments

  • laurissa
    laurissa Member Posts: 773
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    Hi Angie
    I wish you well in whatever you decide. It is a difficult decision to make. I went with what the doctors suggested and came out great, thank God.
  • sbmly53
    sbmly53 Member Posts: 1,522
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    Angie
    Listen to the doctors, then listen to your heart. Decisions are tough but we are tougher.

    Hugs and prayers,

    Sue
  • jbug
    jbug Member Posts: 285
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    Angie..
    First, welcome to the boards...no one wants to come here, but you'll find lots of love and support from the sisters on this site. My story is similar to yours and started in Oct/nov of 09. I had annual exams/mammo. I have very fibrocystic *lumpy* breasts and also had an ultrasound last year. Radiologist thought they saw something but couldn't be sure...recommended MRI, which allows visualization of both breasts...ultimately, there was an abnormality in my right breast and i had a biopsy done...no cancer on that biopsy, but abnormal tissue which they recommended lumpectomy for. I had the that done, and when they reviewed the tissue in pathology, they found a 4mm lump, IDC and DCIS; hormone positive, HER2 neg. I had a separate sentinal node biopsy that was also negative.

    Those first few weeks are really mind blowing! For me, i could hear the words 'you have cancer' just echoing in my head. My reasoning mind said it wasn't a death sentence but I was so scared! Still am, though it's different as time moves on.

    Even more interesting was that my margins were clear, but not as wide as they initially wanted...originally we were going to get wider margins along w/sentinal node bx. The rad onc, who was really amazing, didn't feel anything would be gained in my case by wider excision...the right side is already the smaller of my breasts and i was concerned that much more would really leave a significant defect... recommendations for me were: radiation and tamoxifen.

    I asked about mastectomy and reviewed the research...the long term survival for mastectomy vs lumpectomy w/Stage 1 BC is no different and I had already achieved a "surgical cure" w/the lumpectomy. When it was me thinking about my body, i just wasn't ready to have a mastectomy. I completed rads in Jan and started tamoxifen. But that was the decision that was right for me...lots of our sisters here have made decisions for mastectomy. You have to gather all the info, sift thru it, and make the decision that sits right w/your heart.

    Good luck w/your decision making process...let us know how your sentinal node biopsy goes. God Bless...
    Julie
  • aztec45
    aztec45 Member Posts: 757
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    Hello
    Good luck with whatever you decide. Stay in touch and keep us posted. Welcome. You are in good company.

    P
  • susanleeann
    susanleeann Member Posts: 58
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    this is a great place to be
    yep, when in this situation, the people here are the best. i am just a little further along than you. had surgery yesterday to check the lymph nodes passed the sentinel node. since that showed a marginal number of metastatic cells, all my docs recommended clearing out the nearby nodes just to decrease the chance of recurrence over 10 years. then i start chemo in about 2 weeks.
    yes, be in charge of your treatment, but learn to listen to and trust those professionals advising you. ask all your questions. spend time here to learn about the experiences of others who have been where you are. we are praying for you as you move forward
  • Apat
    Apat Member Posts: 13
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    this is a great place to be
    yep, when in this situation, the people here are the best. i am just a little further along than you. had surgery yesterday to check the lymph nodes passed the sentinel node. since that showed a marginal number of metastatic cells, all my docs recommended clearing out the nearby nodes just to decrease the chance of recurrence over 10 years. then i start chemo in about 2 weeks.
    yes, be in charge of your treatment, but learn to listen to and trust those professionals advising you. ask all your questions. spend time here to learn about the experiences of others who have been where you are. we are praying for you as you move forward

    Thank you Susan. Did they
    Thank you Susan. Did they actually take your lymph nodes out, or just biopsy them?
  • Apat
    Apat Member Posts: 13
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    jbug said:

    Angie..
    First, welcome to the boards...no one wants to come here, but you'll find lots of love and support from the sisters on this site. My story is similar to yours and started in Oct/nov of 09. I had annual exams/mammo. I have very fibrocystic *lumpy* breasts and also had an ultrasound last year. Radiologist thought they saw something but couldn't be sure...recommended MRI, which allows visualization of both breasts...ultimately, there was an abnormality in my right breast and i had a biopsy done...no cancer on that biopsy, but abnormal tissue which they recommended lumpectomy for. I had the that done, and when they reviewed the tissue in pathology, they found a 4mm lump, IDC and DCIS; hormone positive, HER2 neg. I had a separate sentinal node biopsy that was also negative.

    Those first few weeks are really mind blowing! For me, i could hear the words 'you have cancer' just echoing in my head. My reasoning mind said it wasn't a death sentence but I was so scared! Still am, though it's different as time moves on.

    Even more interesting was that my margins were clear, but not as wide as they initially wanted...originally we were going to get wider margins along w/sentinal node bx. The rad onc, who was really amazing, didn't feel anything would be gained in my case by wider excision...the right side is already the smaller of my breasts and i was concerned that much more would really leave a significant defect... recommendations for me were: radiation and tamoxifen.

    I asked about mastectomy and reviewed the research...the long term survival for mastectomy vs lumpectomy w/Stage 1 BC is no different and I had already achieved a "surgical cure" w/the lumpectomy. When it was me thinking about my body, i just wasn't ready to have a mastectomy. I completed rads in Jan and started tamoxifen. But that was the decision that was right for me...lots of our sisters here have made decisions for mastectomy. You have to gather all the info, sift thru it, and make the decision that sits right w/your heart.

    Good luck w/your decision making process...let us know how your sentinal node biopsy goes. God Bless...
    Julie

    Thanks Julie. Yes, I've
    Thanks Julie. Yes, I've heard that lumpectomy and mastectomy in our case are equally effective, but I thought mast. would end all my future probelms with this...I'm finding on this site that's not the case at all! How are you doing on the Tamoxifin? How was the radiation for you? I feel that these will be the recommendations for me also, maybe one of the other estrogen blockers. I'm concerned about lymphedema with the node removal...

    Angie
  • susanleeann
    susanleeann Member Posts: 58
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    Apat said:

    Thank you Susan. Did they
    Thank you Susan. Did they actually take your lymph nodes out, or just biopsy them?

    yep
    they took them out, last evening i was more than bit sore and started to imagine them using an ice cream scoop or cheese slicer to take the tissue. the surgeon said there would be even more damage than otherwise. i've known this man for 20 years, besides the fact that his reputations is excellent, i know him well. i listen, take advice, turn it over inside me then make my own decisions. praying about it the whole time of course.
  • jbug
    jbug Member Posts: 285
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    Apat said:

    Thanks Julie. Yes, I've
    Thanks Julie. Yes, I've heard that lumpectomy and mastectomy in our case are equally effective, but I thought mast. would end all my future probelms with this...I'm finding on this site that's not the case at all! How are you doing on the Tamoxifin? How was the radiation for you? I feel that these will be the recommendations for me also, maybe one of the other estrogen blockers. I'm concerned about lymphedema with the node removal...

    Angie

    Angie
    You need to talk w/your surgeon and rad onc docs. From my understanding, w/low grade bc, Mastectomy, assuming negative nodes, may not require any further treatment (such as rads). That's what I was told in my case...if i elected mastectomy, no rads would be needed, but they still would have started tamoxifen. The issue w/recurrence is always a concern I think, no matter what type of treatment plan we choose.

    I had 30 radiation treatments, 25 regular and 5 boosts. My skin burned pretty quick, but no blistering...just very red and tender. I had quite a bit more fatigue than i bargained for...thought it would be relatively smooth sailing..felt a bit like a rad failure compared to other sisters here who seemed to sail thru, but learned that all of us are different and react differently. Boosts were right over my nipple, so last the last 5 treatments, while quick, added to my discomfort. That being said, the treatments are VERY doable!

    Started tamoxifen 27 Jan and really haven't had too many problems. I take my pills in the morning, as i read some posts about insomnia at night w/tamoxifen. I've had a few hot flashes...but that's about it.

    Lymphedema: i only had 2 or 3 nodes removed and haven't had any problems...usually, potential for lymphedema increases w/the number of nodes removed. But, not always as there are sisters here who've certainly had probs and only had 1-3 nodes removed. Keep an eye on your arm for usually swelling or thick feeling and report to your doc if your having problems. Though we've only had a small amt of nodes removed, you should still protect that arm...no blood pressures/IV's or blood draws.

    Feel free to PM me if you want! God Bless....
    Julie
  • Megan M
    Megan M Member Posts: 3,000
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    aztec45 said:

    Hello
    Good luck with whatever you decide. Stay in touch and keep us posted. Welcome. You are in good company.

    P

    Good luck with your
    Good luck with your decision!