I'm new to this site and don't know what to do next.

Options
michelem
michelem Member Posts: 4
Hi
I have finally accepted the fact that I am a survivor of cancer. I had a lumpectomy and lymph node removal. I will have to have an additional surgery to remove more tissue from around the tumor area, but no more lymph nodes were involved so that is good. I want to know opinions on following the "standard" treatment pattern of chemotherapy and radiation. Is chemo really the only solution????
Thanks

Comments

  • LoveBabyJesus
    LoveBabyJesus Member Posts: 1,679 Member
    Options
    Hi Michelle and welcome! So
    Hi Michelle and welcome! So sorry you had to be part of this, but happy you found us.

    I finished my chemo last July, had a lumpectomy and 21 rad treatments. Taking tamoxifen at this time, and feeling OK (except with a breast infection I'm dealing with after 8 months - not complaining).

    It all depends on what your doctors suggest. For me I was dx at 32 so I had no choice but to take the chemo as my grade was a 3, with no lymph nodes involved. Personally, I decided to go ahead and take whatever was available for me to kill the beast. I want no regrets or look back thinking I could have done more and didn't. If your doctors suggest you have the chemo, have them explain why and maybe discuss it with your love ones and see how everyone feels. You have the last answer of course. What kind of cancer did they find and what stage (and grade)?

    Wishing you the very best and praying you make the right decision for yourself. Please keep us posted.

    Hugs
  • missingtexas
    missingtexas Member Posts: 146
    Options
    That is very individual
    That is very individual based on your diagnosis. I've talked to people who didn't need chemo. I've talked to people who didn't need radiation. Some require hormone therapy. Some don't. What has your doctor suggested? There are so many different individual factors that you really need to discuss this with your doctor and get a plan and go from there. Once you have a treatment plan and know all of the info about your particular cancer, it will be easier to make those decisions. In my particular case, there wasn't anything to decide. In order to have the best survival chance, the treatment was pretty standard. Good luck to you!!
    Dana
  • madsters1
    madsters1 Member Posts: 120
    Options
    solutions
    Have your doctors ordered an Oncotype test? That would definately tell you what your options are. The test is for node negative cancers. However, mine was micrometasisized in one node which left it Stage I, node neg. If you qualify, ask. You definately don't want to do chemo if it can be avoided. I'm not gonna lie, it's horrible. I just pulled all of my hair out into the bathroom sink this afternoon!! I'm horrified!! I wish you the every best and am sorry you have to be here. As others have advised get ALL the information on YOUR particular cancer then do some research yourself.
  • michelem
    michelem Member Posts: 4
    Options
    madsters1 said:

    solutions
    Have your doctors ordered an Oncotype test? That would definately tell you what your options are. The test is for node negative cancers. However, mine was micrometasisized in one node which left it Stage I, node neg. If you qualify, ask. You definately don't want to do chemo if it can be avoided. I'm not gonna lie, it's horrible. I just pulled all of my hair out into the bathroom sink this afternoon!! I'm horrified!! I wish you the every best and am sorry you have to be here. As others have advised get ALL the information on YOUR particular cancer then do some research yourself.

    Next steps
    Madsters1 Thank you for the reply. You were told you had Stage 1 and yet still required chemotherapy? I will ask about the Oncotype test. I'm so sorry about your reactions to the chemotherapy- how long have you been getting the treatments? How much longer do you have?
  • michelem
    michelem Member Posts: 4
    Options

    Hi Michelle and welcome! So
    Hi Michelle and welcome! So sorry you had to be part of this, but happy you found us.

    I finished my chemo last July, had a lumpectomy and 21 rad treatments. Taking tamoxifen at this time, and feeling OK (except with a breast infection I'm dealing with after 8 months - not complaining).

    It all depends on what your doctors suggest. For me I was dx at 32 so I had no choice but to take the chemo as my grade was a 3, with no lymph nodes involved. Personally, I decided to go ahead and take whatever was available for me to kill the beast. I want no regrets or look back thinking I could have done more and didn't. If your doctors suggest you have the chemo, have them explain why and maybe discuss it with your love ones and see how everyone feels. You have the last answer of course. What kind of cancer did they find and what stage (and grade)?

    Wishing you the very best and praying you make the right decision for yourself. Please keep us posted.

    Hugs

    Love Baby Jesus
    Thank you for sharing. It's all pretty overwhelming isn't it? I will be asking lots more questions and posting again soon.
  • michelem
    michelem Member Posts: 4
    Options

    That is very individual
    That is very individual based on your diagnosis. I've talked to people who didn't need chemo. I've talked to people who didn't need radiation. Some require hormone therapy. Some don't. What has your doctor suggested? There are so many different individual factors that you really need to discuss this with your doctor and get a plan and go from there. Once you have a treatment plan and know all of the info about your particular cancer, it will be easier to make those decisions. In my particular case, there wasn't anything to decide. In order to have the best survival chance, the treatment was pretty standard. Good luck to you!!
    Dana

    Thanks
    I really appreciate your response. I'm so overwhelmed with all this. I don't feel any different but people are telling me that I have this terrible disease. I have to get my head around this but I just can't accept it completely yet. When does that happen?
  • Heatherbelle
    Heatherbelle Member Posts: 1,226 Member
    Options
    michelem said:

    Thanks
    I really appreciate your response. I'm so overwhelmed with all this. I don't feel any different but people are telling me that I have this terrible disease. I have to get my head around this but I just can't accept it completely yet. When does that happen?

    Michele -
    I understand

    Michele -
    I understand completely what you're feeling. I didn't feel different either, and really, for me, it didn't sink in until after my treatment ended. I had surgeries and chemo and reconstruction, but it just didn't sink in as much for me until I was finished with chemo.
    Don't let other people's fear get you down. Yes, cancer is a crappy disease but it can be treatable. You had no lymph nodes involved and that's excellent news. Chemo is not fun, but it's definately do-able, and it's temporary. There is a TON of support and information here for you.
    *hugs*
    heather
  • Barb A
    Barb A Member Posts: 123
    Options
    Hi Michele
    Welcome to this site. I'm sorry about your diagnosis, but am glad you found us. This is a great site to get advice, vent, laugh or what ever you feel you need at the time.

    I have had two diagnosis'. The first time I had a mastectomy with tram-flap reconstruction. No chemo or rads. The second time was in the reconstructed breast. I had a lumpectomy, chemo and rads. While this is rare, I don't know if it was a recurrance from the first cancer or it was a new cancer. The first was DCIS and the second IDC. I don't know that if I'd have had chemo the first time if I'd have had the second cancer. I'll never know. I just have to trust that I made the right decisions for me and not dwell on it.

    I suggest that you get a second opinion, research your options and do what you feel is best for you. Yes, chemo sucks, but I did pretty well with it. It didn't bother me too much to lose my hair. About the time it was to start falling out, I had my head shaved and I ended up getting four wigs of different color and style. I decided I was going to make the best of it and I did.


    Barb a
  • Rague
    Rague Member Posts: 3,653 Member
    Options
    We're all different
    Remember that we are all different as is our cancer. What is right for me. (or anyone else) does not make it right for you and visa versa. In some cases - chemo seems to be not needed but in others it is - in IBC (Inflammatory B C) it is standard to do chemo before surgery can even be done. Chemo is also done after surgery in addition to the pre surgery chemo before starting rads. Personally I never questioned doing everything I could as I couldn't have faced Hubby, Son and G-daughter if I had a reoccurance and I hadn't done everything offered.

    Susan
  • BetsyJane
    BetsyJane Member Posts: 127
    Options
    Stay with this site for your entire ordeal
    I am in treatment for cancer. Found cancer in left breast in December. Had a lumpectomy in January with two out of 10 lymph nodes postive. Was told I needed chemo, radiation, hormonal pills and Herceptin treatments. My margins weren't clear so I had to get another operation after chemo. Before chemo was started, I had a port put in my chest (best thing I ever did) as my veins are extremely hard to find. I also had to get another operation because I had micro-calcifications (turned out non-cancerous) thank goodness.

    All my operations are done with. I finished my chemo June 7. If you do what your doctors tell you as well as follow advice for side effects from the "pink sisters" on this site, chemo isn't horrible. You can make it. Ask as many questions as you want. We are always there for you.

    I am now on Herceptin treatments until May 2012 (since I am HER+). I am also on radiation treatments until December 23 of this year. I started Arimidex three weeks ago and the side effects right now are minimal.

    Don't look at the whole picture all at once. You'll only drive yourself crazy. Take one day at a time. You may be lucky and won't have to have as many treatments or operations as some of us have had. As mentioned all courses of treatment are different, depending upon you and your cancer.

    and remember......we will always be there for you.
  • Just_Lisa
    Just_Lisa Member Posts: 16
    Options
    Rague said:

    We're all different
    Remember that we are all different as is our cancer. What is right for me. (or anyone else) does not make it right for you and visa versa. In some cases - chemo seems to be not needed but in others it is - in IBC (Inflammatory B C) it is standard to do chemo before surgery can even be done. Chemo is also done after surgery in addition to the pre surgery chemo before starting rads. Personally I never questioned doing everything I could as I couldn't have faced Hubby, Son and G-daughter if I had a reoccurance and I hadn't done everything offered.

    Susan

    :o)
    I personally think that chemo is the scariest part of it all and I havent even started it yet. I asked my onocologist about it and why I had to do it. I have a very rare breast cancer and my subclass is like 2 different ones intermingling. I am also grade 3 and chance of mestasis is very high. So because of the aggressiveness of my cancer she wants to do chemo just in case there are microscopic cell forming in other areas that we don't know about. Breast cancers are very different some require it some dont. I have accepted the fact the i have to do chemo and I look at it as I am doing everything I can do to stop it. Yes you might lose your hair, but it will grown back. You might get sick, but in the end it is worth knowing you did everything possible. Wishing you the best of luck.
  • disneyfan2008
    disneyfan2008 Member Posts: 6,583 Member
    Options
    Welcome..I did not find this
    Welcome..I did not find this site until years after the fact..and I came on to see IF i was cosidered a survivor...

    I had lumpectomy and nodes done April 2008-followed by radiation and tamoxifen..

    I did 8 wks Radiation!

    3 1/2 yrs into Tamoxifen I had to have total hysterectomny due to side effects (THICKENING of uterus-monitored @ 3 mths)


    Denise
  • camul
    camul Member Posts: 2,537
    Options
    I had a mastectomy
    followed by chemo so I did not need radiation. I followed my onco to a tee. I saw another doctor while mine was starting at a new practice for 2 visits. She said that the chemo was overkill. (After the fact) I disagreed with her, I was so happy that my doctor was aggressive. I was cancer free for 8 1/2 years before it came back, but had he not been aggressive, I may not have had the 8 years.

    I would do chemo again. If you are not sure on the treatment, you always have the option of a second opinion and I know my doctor encouraged it. This time around, I had all my test info sent to City of Hope and they came back with the exact same recommendation as my onco.

    Prayers and hugs,
    Carol
  • mrlember
    mrlember Member Posts: 10
    Options
    another newbie
    Hello Michele, and everyone. I am also new to the site and the process of surviving. My name is Michelle, too.

    I have enjoyed reading many of the posts and learning about the other ladies out there.

    Michele, you will be faced with many options and decisions to make. Take your time. Ultimately it has to be the decisions you are most comfortable with. The decisions I made came easily. I found it helpful to talk with my doctors and ask, "If it were you, your wife, your sister or your daughter, what would you do or have them do?" It was helpful to me to hear what my doctor would do in my shoes. Ultimately, the decision was still mine.

    Michelle
  • mollieb
    mollieb Member Posts: 148
    Options
    Everybody is Different
    Everybody's treatment plan depends on the type and degree of cancer, and everybody's reaction to the treatment is different. I know that a lot of people have a bad time with chemo. I wanted to let you know that it's not always awful. I had sixteen treatments (four A/C and twelve Taxol), and I didn't have that bad a time. I was very tired, and curtailed my social life a great deal, and once I had to go to the ER because my temperature was over 101, but that was just a precaution. The steroid pre-medication for Taxol (to prevent an allergic reaction) made me sleepless and irritable, but it's all forgotten now. And my hair is back.

    On the other hand, I HATED radiation, but today, a month after my last treatment, the memory is already faded. My energy has come flooding back, to the point where I overdid it last weekend -- I need to pace myself.

    Ask a thousand questions, read everything you can (Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book is the bible of breast cancer), and do what you need to do to regain your health. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it!