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Stage 1 Breast Cancer with tumor grade of 3.8

jgreer54923's picture
Posts: 3
Joined: Dec 2008

Hello there I am new here just joined. I have stage 1 breast cancer with a grade of 3.8 I go into the cancer doctor on the 17th to talk about my treatment plan. I do understand that I will have at least of 6 wks of radaition therepy but I have tried search other people with the same but have been unable to find anything. I am VERY NEVOUSE on what the radaition will do to me. I have 3 boys one who is 13 then another who is 3 and our last boy who is 14 months. Will I be able to care for my kids? I am only 32 years old with a HUGE history of breast cancer if the family. Will I have to do CHEMO????? is ther any one else out here with the same stage 1 and grade so high??? My noyds were normal so we did catch it before it got carried away. I have had three surgerys well make that 4 in the last month as I just had a hysterectomy as well right before I found out this was cancer. Things have gone way to fast for me to try and deal with all this. My right breast is so sore still is this normal? My arm pit is this worst however I had my check up yesterday with the surgent and he noticed my cut was infected and just told me to keep it clean and more pain pills.

Please HELP ME I hope to find some answers my self before I go in on the 17th.

mmontero38's picture
Posts: 1532
Joined: Dec 2007

Hi and welcome to the club none of us would have liked to join but here we are. You will find a great group of survivors here on this site. All of us willing to share our experiences with you. First let me start by saying that Stage 1 is early cancer so your chances of beating this are excellent. The fact that you had no node involvement is also excellent. Did you have a lumpectomy and is that why they had to make another incision under your arm? Depending on the pathology report, that will determine if you need to go through chemo. It will also determine if you will need medication after chemo and radiation is done should you need both. Make sure you take someone with you when you go see the oncologist. We tend to get overwhelmed with a cancer diagnosis and we don't hear everything the doctors tell us. Also, my other advice for now would be to get a note pad and start writing all the questions you have down, that way when you see the doctor you won't forget anything. Your breast will be sore for about 6 weeks which is about the time it takes to heal. Others have had discomfort for longer periods. It also depends on your ability to heal. Some heal faster than others. I hope I've answered your questions, if not post again and we will all answer. Be strong and hugs, Lili

zahalene's picture
Posts: 680
Joined: Nov 2005

Ok, now relax.
mmontero has got you pointed in the right direction (dern, she's good at this stuff). :)
Here's the thing: I had 2 radical mastectomies (at different times), 2 courses of chemo, 5 weeks of daily rads, and 7 years of Tamoxifin. And truth is, the radiation was the easiest part for me. I was not sick at all, just tired. And I had a 12 yr old and a 1 yr old at the time. So here's my advice:
Get a good support system in place. Call on family, friends, neighbors, anyone who might be willing to help you out for a couple of hours a day. And when anyone says, "Oh hun, I am so sorry, can I help?"...that's when you say, "You bet your booties you can!"
You might even post a list of things that need to be done by your phone and whenever anyone drops by or calls be ready with a specific need they can fill for you. Organization is the key. And most people don't mind helping out a bit when they know exactly what to do.
Keep posting here and let us know how things are going. Also, we have a great chat system here. You will meet some of the loveliest people in the world there...survivors and caregivers both. It has been a sanity-saver for many of us. Hope you can join us there.
Many, many hugs and God bless.

Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

I know you have a lot on your mind. You have come to a great place to get questions answered and find support as you go through treatment. I am glad they caught your cancer so early. I was also diagnosed at stage one, but I don't remember any grade score. It was 6 years ago, so maybe they didn't have that then!

I am worried that the surgeon didn't give you more to do about the infection in your cut. Infections can be VERY serious after surgery. If it looks swollen, hot to the touch, full of pus, or very red, you may want to call your other doctor or the nurse at your surgeon's office for more help. Nurses sometimes have more time than busy surgeons.

C. Abbott

Joycelouise's picture
Posts: 493
Joined: Nov 2007

Hi, I want to write more but I have to go pick up my son. What I really want to say quickly is that radiation is very doable. You may be a little tired, but that will take a while. You will DEFINITELY still be able to take care of your son. You will get a little burned at the end, but, except for the hassle of going every day, most likeley there will be little impact on your life.
Emotionally, you will have more to deal with but you have come to a very good place for help! We have all been there. We will all be here. Write all your questions, comments, fears, and occasional joke even. You are going to get through this! love, Joyce

NorcalJ's picture
Posts: 192
Joined: Feb 2008

I too welcome to this site, but sorry you needed to find it!

I am also worried about the fact that the Dr. said your incision was infected, but didn't start an antibiotic. If you are allowed to shower, make sure you get the incision cleaned well. The soap and water are excellent for it. If it's too tender, make sure the water isn't too hot, that you use liquid mild soap without fragrance like Dove, and if it's tender, just have the water get there indirectly (like running over your shoulder).

The liquid soap is important because bar soap dries out only partially between uses and can grow bacteria.

If you have drainage, make sure you use some clean gauze to cover it, and change it a couple of times a day, or when it get wet. This isn't like a skinned knee that we just leave uncovered. If there is infection, you DON'T want a scab over it because you don't know what's cooking under there.

And, most importantly, if the drainage is green, or you run a fever over 101, or it becomes redder and more tender or looks like it's red and raised in a larger area than it was, you need to see the Dr. and be pushy!

I had a mastectomy, 4 months of chemo and 5 1/2 weeks of radiation and I can tell you that the radiation was nothing until some redness creeped up literally the last 3 days. It's very doable!

You'll do fine if you take a deep breath and surrond yourself with your support system---that includes us!

Let us know how you're doing!

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

I found great support both at CANCER.ORG...search for staging...and 1-800-ACS-2345...they are there 24/7.

I ALSO found that googling things in this area scared the PANTS off of me!!! And I consider myself to be pretty level headed...but YIPES!!! One site said that I should not only INSIST on a double mastectomy, with lymph removal, but should also have a total hysterectomy, and consider having my appendix removed!!!! WAAAAAAY over the top!

My mom has had both breast and endometrial cancer. I have had both breast and colon cancer. We are both cancer free.....there is BIG HOPE!!!! And, BTW, I still have both my breasts.

Your oncologist will have the answers that are custom-designed to you. Yes, it's good to know general things for your visit on the 17th, but he/she will have all the lab reports to work off of.

One piece of advice...start a notebook. Write down all of your questions. Take it with you everywhere, your thoughts could scatter, and 'brain full'. Try to find someone to go with you to your appointments.

You have found one of the best breast boards around. Post any question you have here. More than likely, some one else will have experienced whatever you are asking about....

Hugs, Kathi

Posts: 134
Joined: Nov 2008

Hi jgreer,

I was diagnosed at age 36. My boys at the time were ages 9, 8, 6 and 4. Initially I was stage I on my left....for some reason I don't know what the grade was, but the Scarff-Bloom-Richardson score was 7/9. My tumor was just over 1 cm and was invasive. I was Her2/neu positive. I started with a lumpectomy with sentinel node dissection (4 nodes were removed). My nodes were negative, but my margins on the lumpectomy were positive. I had horrible pain in my armpit following my first surgery as I developed a seroma about the size of a tennis ball in my armpit. If you have extra swelling in the armpit and you are not able to deal with the pain, you might check with your doctor about having some of the edema removed.

I went through a second lumpectomy, but still had unclear margins. The rest of my story is not relevant to your question, so I won't go into that. But based on my initial presentation, I saw two oncologist who recommended chemotherapy followed by radiation (s/p lumpectomy) and then followed by ovarian suppression and tamoxifen. However, the oncologists had two different perspectives on which chemotherapy I should use. Once your oncologist has laid out a plan for your situation, you can ask him if he has a research article to back up his plan.

But the pain you are experiencing does take awhile to go away. It will improve, so hang in there and keep doing your exercises to keep your shoulder moving....even if it is painful. Make yourself use your arm as much as possible for motions that don't add extra weight(reaching into your cubbard for your cups, pulling laundry out of your dryer) and eventually you won't have to be so guarded with every movement you make. Take your pain medicine, too.

I had help with my boys once a week during my chemotherapy, but I didn't need help during radiation. I did work out a schedule so that I could take my boys to someone's house during my appointment. (Occasionally I took them with me). Radiation is every day (M-F), but the appointment is short once you get started. If you have a schedule in place for childcare, it should go well. Near the 5th or 6th week of radiation, you may start feeling more fatigued, especially in the afternoon. So, you might allow yourself the opportunities for a nap while the younger two are napping. And if they aren't napping, put in a video that will get there attention for an hour!

During this time I was able to continue homeschooling my children. So they were home with me most of the time. You will be able to care for your kids, but depending on your plan of treatment, you may consider asking some friends for help (ie. cleaning the house, bringing meals, watching kids during appointments).

Write down all your questions in a notebook and keep it with you. Then after the oncologist is finished talking, see if there was anything he left out that you wanted more information about. That has always been helpful to me.

I'm glad you found this site. I'm rather new, but have had much help and advice from fellow travelers on this journey through breast cancer.


jgreer54923's picture
Posts: 3
Joined: Dec 2008

Thank you so much for your replys, I am very happy to see them come in I havent had very many responses in other places.

Infection was a very small one and was able to take care of with some creams and cleanings and is not red as of right now. The pain is there still but I am able to deal with it at this time. Yes they did a lumpectomy and took 3 noyds all where negitive as well as the extra tissue he took around the tumor site. So that hows they determinded I was stage 1 but very agressive in grade the size of my tumor was just over 1cm as well.

Will I be able to drive my self back and forth to Rads? How about the Chemo can I drive my self back and forth if its not pill form? Can you drive on Chemo? (I still cant believe I am having to ask these questions)

I have started a note book of questions for my oncologist a few days ago.

We are alone over here in Wisconsin our church however is been there alot with different things for us. However I am not all onboard with having others make our dinner or watch our kids. My husband family all live in MN and mine in WA we just moved to this town about 2 years ago but have decided to not to get to know our neightbors and such due to land issues we had on our frist home. So I really couldnt even tell you our neightbors names if you had asked. So having family, friends and ect to be there and help with my kids or what not really cant be done at this point (enless I allow the church into our family more.)

I think I am handleing all this okay besite a few break downs in the surgerents office and at home of course. The appointment is coming and I wake up sick every day to the point I just want to throw up so I know nerves are starting to play in. But I move on everyday and do the things I need to keep busy I would of before the *C* word came into our family.

I am very glad I found this site too!


mmontero38's picture
Posts: 1532
Joined: Dec 2007

Jackie: Depending on the type of chemo (If you need any) you may get, you might need someone to drive you back and forth. You will need some type of help, but before you jump the gun wait until you've spoken to the oncologist to see what your options are. The worst is over, the disease has been removed, so now your treatments will be preventative, so take a very deep breath and relax. Let us know what the oncologist says when you go back to him. Hugs, Lili

Posts: 134
Joined: Nov 2008

Hi Jackie,

Lili is wise. Once you've spoken to your oncologist you'll know more about which direction you are headed with your treatment.

As far as driving goes, you will be able to drive yourself to/from radiation appointments. For chemotherapy, it really does depend on what you're going to be getting, but I think it's smart to have someone drive you the first few times you go (if you end up getting chemo). You never know how your body will respond, and some chemos require additional medication that may make you drowsy. For me, I know I was emotionally stronger when I had someone with me. That's a good question to write down for your oncologist. :)

It's not always easy to ask for help. The saying, "It is more blessed to give than to receive," is so true. I'm sure your church family would be especially blessed to be able to help your family. It's also very humbling to receive the blessing. But it's truly a way to see the tangible hands of God acting on your behalf.

Let us know what your onc. says.

Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2012

I suggest you contact Livestrong foundation...I have stage 1a breast cancer and grade tumor 3. Neg Lymphnodes and have been so at peach having that foundation behind me explaining all of my options and having a can do attitude at all times. I had a lumpectomy and am getting many opinions before I launch into the medical model of no choices....There are choices...but being informed completely will allow you to relax with your decision every step of the way...My mother had breast cancer twice and is 87 and is healthy! I am 55 and very healthy...but a tough last year allowed these cells to grow..To know this disease can be managed and beat...Take proactive action to get all the information for all aspects of your health...physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually...to be a team member towards your own recovery...AND YOU WILL RECOVER!

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