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3rd time - not so lucky .....

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edited October 2016 in Metastatic breast cancer
In 2003, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in my right breast. Lumpectomy (removal of lymph nodes which showed 6/15 were cancerous), followed by partial mastectomy due to non-clear margins (I did raise the question of a full mastectomy however my surgeon said "You are 37, young - I would advise against it).I underwent chemo & handled this relatively well, all things considering, then radiotherapy. 
My eldest son was just 5 - in kindergarten and my youngest was 2. I was petrified not simply for my own life, but for that of my little boys. Would I ever get to see them finish school. Both them and my wonderful husband gave me a reason to get back to "some kind of normal". The fear or recurrence would crop up, especially around the anniversary of diagnosis. I would dread July. 
There was no history of breast cancer in my family - until my Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 just after her 70th birthday.  
In 2007, regular mammogram and ultrasound done - whilst it was not picked up on the mammogram, ultrasound detected another lump in the same breast, near my chest wall. Full removal of my right breast - yet again not a sign in the left breast. I underwent bone scans, CT scans - no spread again. After the complete initial shock, we breathed a sigh of relief. The fear of "what would I do if it ever returned" had now become a reality. Oh, and our youngest son had started kindergarten - what was it about breast cancer and kindergarten. We joked and said thank goodness we only have 2 children !
Our lives ambled along and my health continued on a stable plane.
In 2012, Mum was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in the bones. She was 76 years old. The fear again was felt throughout the whole family. I underwent regular scans - bone scans, CT scans etc - all clear. 
In 2014, Mum lost her battle and we in turn lost our Mum. Being prepared makes it no easier - just gives you the opportunity to say our goodbyes.
Last year in September, 6 weeks before my 50th birthday and 3 weeks before our eldest son was to sit his HSC, my persistent back pain turned out to be metastatic breast cancer in the bones. Shock, fear, grief - it just came in waves. Our first priority was to assure our boys that yes, like their Nan, I too have secondary breast cancer but I am fitter than she was and 26 years younger when diagnosed. I have had radiotherapy - on & off from October to February. Given the  persistent pain in my leg and my upcoming bone scan this week, I may need more. I am taking aromasin, everolimus, with denosomaub every 3 months now given plummeting calcium levels and a 3 week stay in hospital earlier this year.
I have the most incredible support from my husband, 2 teenage sons (who have had to deal with way too much at a young age) and wonderful, beautiful friends and family.
I was inspired to join the online network after attending the forum last week. Thanks for the opportunity to meet so many inspiring ladies and support people and those who work in the field.
My wish is for everyone to see love, laughter and happiness in everyday.

Sheryl x 
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Comments

  • primek
    primek Member Posts: 5,392
    How frustrating for you to just feel you are getting on with life only to have the rug pulled out from under you ..twice. you are amazing to remain so optimistic and I hope should my cancer return I tackle it with the same strength you show. Have you had genetic testing done?  It would be interesting to know if you did carry the gene. Hope the pain settles for you soon and they stabilise things. Take care. Kath x
  • rowdy
    rowdy Member Posts: 1,165
    Hi Sheryl welcome to the site so sorry to hear your news life can give us so many ups  and downs.
    This site has helped me through some tough times I hope it helps you, visit often. Sending you a hugxx
  • Share
    Share Member Posts: 217
    Hi primek, yes the issue of genetic testing was discussed and I was referred to a consultant at the Cancer Care Centre where I had my radiotherapy. We went through the first stage and as this was prior to my Mum's diagnosis, there was no family history. Earlier this year, my cousin's daughter (on my Mum's side) was diagnosed with early breast cancer and following her discussions with her oncologist and now our family record, yes, it is something that we will be investigating further. 
  • Tracey62
    Tracey62 Member Posts: 298
    Hi Sheryl, you are so right, the forums are really encouraging. I met a lady at the recent forum in Brisbane who said that bc was the best thing that ever happened to her. Remember thinking how bizarre, how could you ever think this is a good thing to invade our lives? But she told me that against the backdrop of fear, anger and grief, the loving support of family and friends just shone all the brighter. I'm so sorry both for your struggle and your dear Mums. While I wish we could spare our families this tough trip, we simply couldn't manage without them. What an encouragement you must have been for your Mum. Do hope your next bone scan brings good news, Tracey xx
  • Brenda5
    Brenda5 Member Posts: 2,423
    Sorry to hear that rotten dog of a cancer is back on you. Radiotherapy sounds a lot better than chemo though, at least you can have not a bad quality of life and that's really what its all about. My dad is same age as your mum was and has the bone cancer. When I finished my chemo in April my dad started chemotherapy and he had continued to have it and has another couple of doses to go. His oncologist is telling him nothing though and will not commit to if or when chemotherapy will end. Dad did his lolly last week and went what the hell is going on? The oncologist will review him with scans on the 8th. It can be so frustrating just living in a twilight of life. Fight on Sheryl and don't take any evasive rot from doctors.
  • wendy_h67
    wendy_h67 Member, Dragonfly Posts: 466
    Hi Sheryl I am also sorry to hear your news. It is definitely a blessing to have support and love from family and friends. I am sure it's the only way I have got through so far. I recently had some news that thoes nasty little cancer bugs have been having a crazy party in the bones. I had been on Aromison for 20 months which kept the cancer stable until now. Just waiting on CT cans on the organs and seeing my oncologist next week. This week I'm spending time doing thing I love to do. Today being sunny and warm I plan to go for a walk along the beach. Sending you hugs  and wishing you all the best.
  • socoda
    socoda Member Posts: 1,767
    Hi Sheryl,  Huge hugs to you. Welcome to the site. So glad that your support network of family and friends is so strong, and very glad that you have joined so we can add our support to you as well. You sound incredibly strong and pragmatic but please know if you need to let your guard down to cope and destress this site is the best place to do it. Wishing you all the best. Xx Cath
  • Ne
    Ne Member Posts: 336
    Hi Sheryl.  So glad you joined the forum because not only do you get to be loved on and supported but we get to be inspired by people like you!  I am so sorry that you have lost your mum to this awful disease.  Thank you for sharing your story with us.  We are all cheering you on xxx
  • Jane_Elizabeth
    Jane_Elizabeth Member Posts: 158
    sorry to hear you lost your mum, and hope you can find comfort in the memories of time spent with her. March on, as we all must. Sending you best wishes and strength for this next stage of your life. Jane
  • Sowelu
    Sowelu Member Posts: 3
    I hope you won't mind my post here , I do not have breast cancer myself but My dear friend has recently( two weeks ) been diagnosed with breast Cancer and is only a week away from a mastectomy . I was with her when she recieve the news over the phone that her scans for secondary sites were clear . I was shocked that her surgeon had not arranged for this news to be given in person considering it could have gone either way and indeed my friend expected the news would not be good . Thankfully the breast cancer nurse consultant at our local hospital gave us an appointment to coincide with the phone call . This was actually a very good thing as it has created a connection and trust that will be needed in the coming months, so perhaps the seemingly inept Dr did my friend a favour, not that he suggested the involvement which I still feel very cross about . 
    While so relieved at this time that the cancer has not apparently spread the dreadful prospect of surgery next week is now looming . My friend has her husband her mum and I to provide as much support and love as we can and I hope that my friend will join you on this site in the future however for now any advice you can offer me about what may help and things that can be less helpful will be really welcome . In particular if any of you know any good really simple resources for very young children as my friend also has a five year old son who as yet knows nothing . His Mum and Dad will be telling him before her surgery but as they have just moved house this week and he school too it has been necessarily avoided . My friend is especially struggling with how to go about this so if you have experience that could be helpful or know of good resources I would be able to pass them on as she cannot at this time ask this for herself . 
  • Ann-Marie
    Ann-Marie Member Posts: 1,142
    @Sowelu welcome to the online network. I wanted to let you know our website has information around family, friends and children.  You may also find this resource helpful from the Cancer Council. The members are wonderful and will be able to provide you with some more support. Also check out the Category - Supporting someone with breast cancer.
    Ann-Marie
  • Sowelu
    Sowelu Member Posts: 3
    Thank you I'll look now .
  • Share
    Share Member Posts: 217

    Hi @Sowelu - please don't even apologise or asking if we mind you coming onto the site - everyone who offers support is always welcome on the forum - as I have seen from all of the posts so far ! I found that in addition to Ann-Marie giving you an update on what is available on their website, our wonderful breast care nurse provided us with information that is relevant to children of various ages and stages. It was noted that we received very different information targeted to young school age children in 2003 and then very different (more specific) information last year. Given your earlier information, it sounds as though your friends breast care nurse may be the best source.  

    You will provide wonderful support to your friend I am sure - we are all lucky to have such dear friends and fabulous husbands. 

    My very best wishes to your friend and of course, if she has any questions, am more than happy to help as most forum members would be.

    Sheryl   


  • Share
    Share Member Posts: 217
    Just as another update @Sowelu, with your friend's surgery looming next week, I found that a body pillow, similar to that targeted to pregnant women, was really handy. You can move it around and snuggle into it, swap it from side to side as getting comfortable can be so difficult. These are available in K_Mart, along with their covers so that they can be washed and interchanged so that you are never without it !    
  • Sowelu
    Sowelu Member Posts: 3
    Thank you  Sheryl for your kind words and yes your right the breast care nurse has been truly wonderful . And also thanks for the suggestion of a body pillow I will get one tomorrow any thing that can help at all will be good .