Triple Negative Breast Cancer support and advice
I am a 39-year-old mother of a 3 year old, the sole breadwinner in our family, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in September. I had a lumpectomy in early October, which removed 2 x Grade 3 cancerous tumours (one large and one small). I'm currently recovering from surgery.
Post-surgery results have revealed that I have TNBC. In positive news, the margins were clear and so was my sentinel lymph node. But in less positive news, my Ki67 rate is 60%, which I understand means my cancer is very aggressive. I also need to get genetic testing shortly for the dreaded gene mutation. I'm still awaiting advice on my chemo regimen, but I know they want to start it as soon as I have cleared one month post-surgery.
I had hoped to tackle this with my usual style, grace, and gusto - preferably with just one surgery (like my mum had a few years ago), a bit of radiotherapy, and maybe some medication thrown in for fun. In fact, I was looking forward celebrating a cancer-free Christmas. But obviously, I'm now in this for the long haul. And the one thing I had hoped to avoid - chemo - is now the one thing that seems absolutely necessary.
I've been struggling in the last couple of days to keep hold of a positive outlook or find my sense of humour, which until now has always been a reliable coping mechanism whenever life has thrown me a curveball or two. It seems positive thinking is not doing me much good either, especially when brutal reality sends along its next blow.
The added worry I have in the back of my mind is that I was selected to perform a special project role at work for the past year in a different location. After a year, we've finally settled here - unpacked the house, found childcare, support networks, a routine - and the extended treatment plan may mean my workplace decides that its in "my" best interests for them to relocate us back to a more streamlined position elsewhere. It's enough to come to terms with what is happening medically right now, without throwing in a move, to a place where we have no childcare, less support, living out of suitcases or unpacking boxes, on a reduced salary, where we would have to find new doctors, while tackling all the big cancer-related issues. It's too much. I am really hoping I can sell it to the company that this is manageable and treatable where I am, that if we can ride out the next six months or so, I am not a complete write-off - even if it involves a few additional costs, including that I will be off-line for a little bit. This way, at least my family life will remain stable and I won't face unnecessary delays or distractions involved with an unwanted relocation, chewing up valuable time and energy, that I could be using to fight the cancer.
So I would really appreciate advice or contact from anyone who has had TBNC and can provide any advice on the way ahead.
I've tried to find the TBNC Support Group on here, but the link from previous threads doesn't seem to be working.
I'm particularly keen to hear from anyone who has had TBNC and has managed to keep working for at least part of the time during chemo. Do you have any tips? Are the side effects likely to be worse at the beginning or towards the end of treatment?
Friends and family from various places have offered to come and visit for short stints to help out. Do you think this would be useful or is there little they can do?
Any tips also on undergoing chemotherapy with a spirited 3 year old in the house (who is very much a Mummy's girl) would also be appreciated.
I know I have lots of questions - my head is still spinning from all this - but thanks in advance for your help.
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