What a rollercoaster few weeks it has been. My loving uncle died on the 8 March, and I had my lumpectomy on the 12th. We buried my uncle on the 14th. And I got my results back yesterday. Good news. Clear margins and no node involvement. Best news ever!! My surgeon was happy. I am happy. My husband is ECSTATIC! It has been a rough few weeks, waiting for surgery, then waiting for results. I actually think the waiting is far worse than the actual surgery ... I'm a bit odd in that I really like being put under.
Anyway I guess now is where the rel battle begins. Mr Surgeon has told me chemo will begin in the next few weeks, the details of which will be decided by my oncologist, and then radiation. I read all these horror stories (and not too many positive stories) on how everyone handles chemo and radiation. I wonder if any of you reading this would like to share your own positive points. There has to be some, it can't be all bad. ( That is if there is anyone reading!!! )
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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.
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Sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I'm not in exactly the same situation but i was diagnosed last year at 31 (triple negative with no family history and negative gene testing) whilst 31 weeks pregnant. I also attend a young womens breast cancer support group with women who are in similar situations to you.
I guess everyones experience is different I know to start with i went into project management mode trying to sort my way through appointments, information and decision making. I was lucky and have a very supportive husband and family who have been with me every step of the way.
It is such a scary time and one thing i realised early on was that it was a journey rather than something that will be cured over night. Having a newborn was helpful as it gave me something else to focus on at times (when the whole cancer thing can be overwhelming) but also challenging as i wasn't able to always take the time out for myself that i think would have benefited me during treatment and recovery.
I hope you have a medical team you are happy and feel confident with and have been put in touch with a breast care nurse - they are truly invaluable. I have also found seeing a psychologist really helpful, i managed to get in with one who specialises in cancer patients,
is there anything you want specific advice on? Happy to ask my support group what their advice is.
Happy to help in anyway i can, hang in there.
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You're probably going to hear a lot about the "new normal" - I guess what that means is that things will get back to normal eventually but it won't be quite the same version of normal because you will have had this experience.
When I was diagnosed I was given a sort of guidebook for breast cancer. Did they give you something like that? I found it very helpful. You can also order a kit from BCNA (Breast Cancer Network Australia) that has a different guidebook and some other stuff. I found the kit somewhat irritating but in a helpful way if that makes sense.
Waiting is definitely a very hard part of the whole cancer thing. I think it is normal to be stressed out by the waiting.
Hope you and Bear had a good time at the beach.
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Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.