I was diagnosed exactly one week ago today. Triple negative breast cancer. My appointment with the surgeon booked for twelve days later. TWELVE days. I don't know if my days have passed so slowly as these last seven have. I have two small kids. Samuel has just turned 6. In fact his birthday was the day after my diagnosis. And Elizabeth is 3, turning 4 in April. So with just these two I'm busy. I have a wonderful husband, we've been married 13 months. I'm a chef in a local restaurant, which runs two kitchens, we're desperately understaffed, I'm often working long hours, split shifts to accommodate the childrens needs. I'm active, I do fun runs, I'm usually the first up and the last to bed, with my days passing in a blur of activity. And now the waiting. I've googled, I've talked to friends who have fought cancer, I've spoken to family.... I know I need to stay positive, but the saying is so much easier than the doing...
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Hello, I was inspired to register with this website after reading your blog. I am on the good side of my breast cancer diagnosis and feel compelled to write to you in the hope that you feel loved & supported and that you are not alone. I found my lump myself quite by accident one morning as I was waking up, I tucked my left hand under my right arm as I turned over and there under the flat of my hand was the lump. I had a premonition about 6 weeks earlier and so when I found the lump I had it checked immediately. I am wondering if you have private health insurance ? My experience with having health insurance was that I was seen the very next day by the breast surgeon and had the biopsy the same day with diagnosis of stage one cancer the very next morning. Surgery was 5 days later. I am told that all of the cancer was removed and the lymph nodes were clear also. I am now in my fourth week of radiation therapy and am coping well, skin has turned pink and have been more tired but otherwise coping well. My overwhelming feeling for you is that you have a belief in yourself that you can get through this by being positive. A smile on your face makes you feel better and those around you also feel better. Each day at Radiation Oncology I meet people who are going through their own battles and I am amazed at their resillience and strength. Is there anything I can help you with or that you would like to ask me ? I am a good listener and would gladly give you all the support I can, my best wishes and love to you and your family. Leanne
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Hi Leanne, Thank you for sharing your story. I do have private health, and I know the surgeon has fitted me in as quickly as he can. I'm told he's the best breast surgeon in W.A, so I can only assume the wait is because of that. I am blessed to have a large support network, of family and friends, and really it's only been in the last 48 hours that the enormity of what is about to happen has sunk in. I think a big part of me is more worried for my husband. In fact I know I'm more worried about him than me at this stage. One question I have for you is how did the decision come about to go for a lumpectomy and radiation, instead of other, possibly more radical options?
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Hello Peta, Lovely to hear from you. To answer your question about the decision to do a lumpectomy and radiation: The lump was only 6mm when I had the initial ultrasound and when it was removed the pathology stated it was only 9mm although 18mm of tissue was removed. (This was so the surgeon was sure that she had tissue containing no cancer cells right around the lump.) From what I gather the fact that it was so small (less than 1cm) and only in the very early stages, (Stage 1) was how the decision for lumpectomy was made. I was told on the day of diagnosis that this was "curable", a very comforting word I've got to say. I also had 2 lymph nodes removed as a precaution to make sure the cancer had not spread. The results were that there was a clear perimeter around the lump with no cancer cells and the 2 lymph nodes were also clear. Chemotherapy was something I did not have to have. (Thankfully) I also did not have to have the Hormone drug treatment (Tamoxifen), the Oncologist felt that my chances of the cancer returning were low and due to other medical conditions I have he recommended that I didn't need hormone treatment. (This would normally be taken for 5 years.) The radiation was something I was very comfortable about doing as an "Insurance Policy" in case any cells were missed during surgery. My father had Pancreatic Cancer and I was his Carer, when he went through his radiation treatment he tolerated it very well and the Radiation Oncology rooms are only a 15 minute drive from my home which makes it very easy to go every day. The staff are fantastic and they remembered me from 4 yrs ago when I was taking Dad. I have 2 1/2 weeks of Radiation to go and I have been using a Homeopathic remedy and Aloe Vera Gel to help with the symptoms. So far the Oncologist thinks I'm going really well and he said to me this week that what ever I'm doing just keep doing it as he thought I might have had a burn wound by now. No signs of that happening at this stage !!!! My tumour was Oestrogen and Progesterone positive which is obviously different to your diagnosis. I hope this info helps you, are you having a lumpectomy or a mastectomy ? Bye for now, Keep your chin up and keep smiling at your gorgeous husband and children, it truly does help. Leanne
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