My Valentines Day Cancer

Sazbe Member Posts: 19
edited February 2019 in Newly diagnosed
So My Story so far...

Couple of weeks ago I decided to make an appointment with a new GP to get my Mirena out.
Later that day I happened to put my hand on my chest and noticed a lump.  I decided to wait for that appointment and mention it then.
Over the next 2 weeks I occasionally felt it to see if it was still there and did notice I could see a subtile change in contour of the breast but managed to not let it worry me. To be honest I thought it was just hyper vigilance due to my strong family history and just a case of "Medical student disease". I'm a GP. In medical school we are told that at some point in time we will all succumb to Med student disease and we should all have our own GP to deal with it. It describes when a med student (or doctor) reading about some rare condition worries that they have in fact got it themselves.

On Wednesday I attended my appointment. We discussed my Mirena and the reasons I wanted it out, and my GP brought up very valid reasons for keeping it, and we decided to wait to take it out. I mentioned I also wanted my Breast checked, and she wanted my overdue cervical screening done, We started "top to bottom".

She said we should fully investigate the lump, mamo, US FNA, I agreed.
She organised imaging the next morning

then as I went to leave she said "the Mirena is the least of you worries"

My heart sank and I could not get those words out of my head

Next morning my first Mammogram (I'm 44) not as bad as I thought
Then the US, I asked the sonographer how it looked, she said the Radiologist would come and speak to me, and they had a med student with them was that ok, of course.

The Radiologist said it looked suspicious, I looked at the screen, A hypoechogenic spiculated lesion, when it's obvious there is very little doubt.
She said she would rather do cores than FNA then started to consent me. As she described the local I said I was a GP, I've put in local hundreds of times. She said yes but she would treat me the same as everyone else, which was just what I needed, I'm the patient now and she was great. As I lay there as she took the biopsies I thought about the med student, that had been me not so long ago, the fly on the wall as people get bad news. The Radiologist said the Path would be back the next day and that I needed early referral to a surgeon and she would phone and let my GP know.

As I left everyone said good luck, I hated meant I needed it!

I walked to my car with tears in my eyes.

Then I phoned the clinic, my GP was not in for the rest of the week, 
then I phone a previous practice I worked at, spoke to the manager, she got me in with one of my colleges that day and he referred me,made the call and I have an appointment Wednesday with the surgeon

I phoned my practice manager and told her I would not be in on Friday, my head was not in a good place to be seeing patients.

Friday I phoned the lab, the results had been reported so I asked them to download them to my work, to a colleague. 

I made an appointment with a different doctor at my new clinic. As I walked into his office he said my doc had spoken to him, I told him I was expecting bad news.

he handed me my path form and said, thats what you have

invasive ductal carcinoma grade 2. receptors pending.

He was amazing. I said I wanted the mirena out in case its progesterone positive. He said he hadn't taken one out in about 10 years but how hard could it be, I laughed. He did it so that I would feel more comfortable, despite the fact that waiting a few more days really would not have made any difference, and I appreciated it.

I told him how I was worried about telling my partner, his wife died of Metastatic melanoma in her 30's. Although my prognosis is way better than hers ever was, this waiting has got to bring up issues for him, and I feel so guilty about that. My Doc offered to phone him that night to let him know I will be ok. He will also phone me after I see the surgeon.

The weekend has been hard, I've just been so tired, I have had no motivation to do anything.

Today back at work.
results check, estrogen and progesterone positive, Her negative

4th patient of the day was new to the practice, she had a breast lump.
I was able to focus on her and her needs, took her history, examined her and organised imaging.  I got through it in a professional and I hope caring way, but it takes a toll.

Patient in the afternoon came in for review, rescheduled from the Friday I didn't come in. Her eye had settled with the antibiotics I had prescribed, but she was still getting headaches that another doctor had put down to tension (probably correctly). But they are not like her normal migraines and she was concerned. past history of breast cancer, I decided to MRI brain to be safe, acknowledging that this may bring up anxiety for her.

It's been a rough day... guess I here for support



  • SoldierCrab
    SoldierCrab Member Posts: 3,431
    hi Sazbe 
    you have come to the right place here you will one of the ladies with BC and not a GP but someone who needs support from the emotional side of it and that is what we do well here.... I am sorry you are now a member of this forum in that we wish no one needs it but at the same time this is the best place to get down to earth support and we accepting venting laughing crying and swearing as part of the Roller coaster ride. 

  • SoldierCrab
    SoldierCrab Member Posts: 3,431
    edited February 2019
    for us non GPs ... Mirena is an IUD .... ( I googled it .... deadly sin googling as you know ;) )
  • AllyJay
    AllyJay Member Posts: 931
    Hi there @Sazbe, I'm so very sorry that you've joined the club that nobody wants to join. To your radiographer, you were the patient,(rightly so), and here you'll be a fellow tribe member. We're rather a strange bunch, older, younger, women, men, wealthy, not-so-much, highly educated, and others with qualifications from the good old School of Life. You will get heaps of support here, a great place for venting and getting things off your chest, (pun intended). Some of us suffer from a bad case of Nigrum Humor, which taken in the correct doses and at the right time can certainly take off the edge. Sending a big cyber (((hug))), Ally.
  • Sazbe
    Sazbe Member Posts: 19
    Thank you very much for the welcome Soldier crab, I really appreciate it. I spent a lot of my "I don't want to get out bed" weekend reading posts here and it really helped. I have spent a lot of time reading up to try and figure out if I'm likely to need chemo due to age and grade, when really its just a waiting game for more information and the advice of the experts.
  • Sazbe
    Sazbe Member Posts: 19
    hahaha AllyJay, my very long post shows just how much I need to get something off my chest :)

  • SoldierCrab
    SoldierCrab Member Posts: 3,431
    When we get diagnosed we all need to get stuff off our chest or  our chests off our body .... depending on what the BC is up to.... 

    yes things can change between cores and surgery pathology I am sure you are aware of that so asking the questions you need to ask your team is the way forward.  
    here we can give you our own after the fact lists we now know we would be asking... 
    a list of what to take to hospital or what you might need afterwards the practical stuff 

    I am sure that being the patient could be a new experience for you and maybe something which will be a growth for you in your ability to empathize with those in this position. I can imagine it was very confronting to deal with patients last week when you were feeling so vulnerable yourself.  I applaud you for going to work in a situation where you have to make those calls with patients when you were new diagnosed. 

    make sure you allow yourself time to grieve this Path you didnt ask to go on .... and take care of you first.... 

  • Sazbe
    Sazbe Member Posts: 19
    Thanks again for you kind words and you a right on the money with the take time to grieve comments. 

    I have been doing lot's of the not to be recommended internet research, but with the medical background to be able to do that safely, and I found comfort in that, it is clinical and familiar ground for me. It was the reading about available supports like physio and dragon boat racing groups that sent me to my 5 year olds room blubbering while she was at school. I think thats what made this feel more real and I think letting it out is cathartic and important and probably something I have not yet done enough of.
  • Giovanna_BCNA
    Giovanna_BCNA Member Posts: 1,839
    Hello @Sazbe, welcome to our online community, you will find lots of support from our online members.  There are lots of support services available, dont hesitate to call the BCNA helpline on 1800 500 258 if you would like to speak with a cancer nurse for information regarding support services.  It will be a huge relief to have a treatment plan in place.  Wishing you all the best with your treatment.
  • SoldierCrab
    SoldierCrab Member Posts: 3,431
    Blubbering in the shower is a known release for many of us .... it is good for our mental health to allow it out in whichever way you need to..... I remember the best rose pruning ever in sept 2012.....  swearing at the universe and then saying OK I can do this one bite at a time.... 

  • kmakm
    kmakm Member Posts: 7,974
    @Sazbe If you haven't already, you might like to read Liz O'Riordan's blog. She's an English breast surgeon who got breast cancer and she talks a fair bit about the tension of being a patient and a doctor.

    You've come to the right place for support. I wish I'd never met this mob but boy am I glad I did! This place is extraordinary, for caring, concern, knowledge and support. I hope you find it as helpful as I have.

    Sounds like you had a very tough day indeed. I remember well how I had to pretend I was functioning normally in those early days. It was almost like an out of body experience. Well done on getting through today.

    Once you get your treatment plan it gets easier. And of course with the passing of time the shock wears off a bit. I must say though, it's 14 months since my diagnosis and I still sometimes feel like it's a dream I'm going to wake from.

    Forgive me if I'm teaching my grandmother to suck eggs, but quite often the details of your diagnosis can change once your tumour is out, if surgery is first up for you. And that can change your treatment plan. Just a wee heads up.

    No worries about the length of your post! We have some veritable theses here. You unload as much as you need to. We've got you. K xox
  • Sazbe
    Sazbe Member Posts: 19
    @kmakm Thanks, I have started on Liz's blog, I was reading it in the waiting room while waiting to see GP for path results! I know plans will very much depend on LN's which while clinically OK won't know till surgery. My internet research also tells me that if grade changes post surgery it is usually upgraded, but no point in dwelling on what we have no control over.
    I initially thought likely plan would be local wide excision, radio, chemo dependant on LN. 17mm tumor grade 2 hormone postitve. 

    However my cousin was diagnosed aged 38, Aunt in her 40's Mum was post menopause and a few more post menopause. So wondering if mastectomy may be on the cards
  • kmakm
    kmakm Member Posts: 7,974
    @Sabze I was furious for three weeks, and then started crying. Could have won a medal crying for Australia. I cried everywhere, at anytime of the day, but not in front of the kids. Camo crying in the shower every. single. night. for a month. It petered out eventually as chemo got underway. The first counsellor I saw (two weeks after I was diagnosed) said I had to lean into the pain. I thought she was nuts, but now I know what she meant. It was grief, those tears had to come out to process the pain.

    As my husband's grandmother used to say "Better out than your elbow". Don't ask me what it means, I have no idea!

    Hang in there, K xox
  • Sazbe
    Sazbe Member Posts: 19
    I have silent tears in the car with the kids in the back where they can't see.
    don't want to cry in front of my partner due to what he has already gone through, but want his support, so thats hard.

    I have a 5 year old and 11 year old. I will tell them after I see the surgeon and have more of a plan, I've read the leaflet on it, good advice but nothings going to make that easy
  • kmakm
    kmakm Member Posts: 7,974
    Very close to my details @Sabze, 16mm tumour, Grade 2 - 3, ER+, PR+, HER-.

    I think they like a cluster of relatives to be first degree, but the age of your aunt and cousin, and yourself, might indeed put a mastectomy on the table.

    My oncologist told me that even though doctors tell their patients not to Dr Google, it's of course the very first thing they do themselves when diagnosed with a serious condition!
  • Sazbe
    Sazbe Member Posts: 19
    I have big boobs, it's a lot to loose haha.
    quite confronting when they are so tied up with sexuality and so identity, I also don't feel ready for menopause, I'm too young, which seem such shallow thoughts when I'm also a mother of young children and my mortality has such wider implications than just me