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Follow up on BC through the years

Joany57's picture
Joany57
Posts: 20
Joined: Nov 2017

Hi Everyone,

I wondered if there is any testing done other than mamograms or ultrasound to check if your cancer has returned. Do they only do further test if you're having some kind of unusual symptoms? Is there blood test that they can do that give them information. Do they do routine bone density test, and would that even show cancer? I've gone through my breast cancer ordeal with a very positive attitude, even often making jokes. I suddenly am feeling anxious and fearful. I was diagnosed last summer and had a mastectomy in September. The cancer was all contained in my breast with no spread to the lymph nodes. My oncotype test score was a 6, so no chemotherapy needed, I'm taking Anastrozole. I don't have any reason to suddenly feel this panic, but I do.

Thanks for reading,

Joany

Teach76's picture
Teach76
Posts: 351
Joined: Jul 2015

Hi, Joany

 

Finishing active treatment is exciting, and I agree it made me anxious, too.  Having gone through 13 months of active treatment, I was suddenly told, " See you in 3 months."   I kept thinking - 3 months?!? What if I don't feel well, what if I have pain, what if I have a question about a side effect I am having?  I suddenly felt pushed aside, on my own to deal with now living beyond my BC.  Being put on an aromatase inhibitor, I wondered for 6 months  ( time of follow up Mammogram) if all of my cancer was gone.

thankfully, there are support groups, forums such as this one, and a few quality webpages that can help to guide one through the first few months/years beyond treatment.  As to further tests, it depends on treatment and continued hormonal meds.  The Dexascan will look for bone loss that would be caused by the. anastrozole.  Other tests will be ordered if your team feels they need to keep a close eye on something.

Cancer changes us for the rest of our lives, and I believe for the better in some ways - many have spent their lives caring for others ; here is a reminder that we need to care for ourselves and follow what we need to do to continue to care for others.  Yes, the side effects from the AI can be frustrating, but it's just one more hurdle that we need to overcome.

if you are feeling very anxious, speak with your PCP or oncologist.  AI meds have been known to cause depression or anxiety.  They reduce seratonin in the brain.  I resisted for 6 months taking something for anxiety - 6 months I wasted feeling upset and losing sleep.

all the best!

Kathy

 

Joany57's picture
Joany57
Posts: 20
Joined: Nov 2017

Kathy,

You don't know how much your words of support mean to me at this time. I never cried when I was told I had breast cancer, or through any of the testing and on through the mastectomy. I was puzzled actually as to how I was taking it all in and not being very reactive emotionally. My biggest reaction was joking about it. I feel I need support more now then when I was going through all of it. I think I might have been detached from the reality of it all and now BAM! It's like a wave of doom has set in. You're right, breast cancer changes us for life. 

Thank you for your wise words.

Joany

Apaugh's picture
Apaugh
Posts: 856
Joined: Aug 2016

Joany,

Kathy gave you some great words of wisdom.  I just love her.

I am sorry your having a hard time. What you are feeling we all feel  How can we not?   We are told to accept our new "normal" and we dont want to.  We want our old lives back and we want them back now.  And it takes a long time of highs and lows to accept what has happened to us and to accept we are forever warriors now.  Dont be too hard on yourself.  Find the silver linings of the day and look forward to tomorrows.  Be your own advocate because you have the right to be and you have to be.  If your not comfortable with what your doc is doing, get a second opinion on it, if nothing else it will give you some confidence in your original doc. 

My doc does a blood test prior to ea. 3 month visit.  So far all test come back fine but in the back of my miind,  I freak  I think we all go through this from time to time.  Sites like this that are nurturing and postive help so much.  Also look for a local BC group, talking it over with people that have been there done that or are now doing it, helps so much.  They get it. 

Please keep us posted as to how your doing.  We are here and we care.

Hugs,

Annie

 

Joany57's picture
Joany57
Posts: 20
Joined: Nov 2017

Hi Annie,

I've only been seeing my oncologist since this past November. I have been seeing him every 3 months and getting blood work done. I see him in two weeks and I'll be sure to take your advice and be a better advocate for myself. I'm going to write down questions so I don't forget. I think the blood work is to see if the medicine is adversely affecting me. I wonder if there are any markers in the blood that can clue them in about cancer. I guess that will be one of my questions. I was in la la land for several months when I got the diagnosis. I behaved like the dentist just told me I had a cavity. I've come back to reality now (a bit delayed.) I think you're right about freaking out from time to time. I can very much see how that would be a normal thing to do for any of us.

Thank you for your advice and support.

Joany

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