Do I or don’t I ?

Grandma of 7
Grandma of 7 Member Posts: 8
edited February 2021 in Health and wellbeing
I am 66 yes old - 3 years post lumpectomy and radiation 
Each review I’ve had means painful mammograms ( due to dense breasts) and ultra sounds - finishing off with a mammogram biopsy - yes at every review ! 
I’ve just had my third year review with the inevitable biopsy - results came back today as negative 
So here I am - emotionally spent - if it was just the mammogram and u/s then I could deal with that but it’s the lonely humiliating experience of the mammogram biopsy and the wait for results - I can’t explain to anyone who has not experienced the impact of a cancer diagnosis - then treatment and the emotion that you go through during the reviews 
I want to focus on life not think every time there is pain - my mind starts thinking and while I can bring my mind into the now - this is taking it’s toll
i want to have a mastectomy - I need to do something positive - take control of this monster and be boss of it - not it of me 
My daughter is also on this journey - I know what to expect - I don’t need or want reconstruction - I want peace 
My husband thinks I’m nuts going down this road - how else do I find this peace ? 


  • Keeping_positive1
    Keeping_positive1 Member Posts: 554
    edited February 2021
    Hi @Grandma , although I am not a grandma yet, I am turning 66 middle of this year.  I am pleased you posted  your comment, as I have similar feelings.  Each year in January I have my yearly mammogram and ultrasound and at that time I have severe anxiety, and wonder if I should have just had a bilateral mastectomy when I was diagnosed end on 2016 (cancer in both breasts and in 2 lymph nodes).  Of course, I know this would not mean that the cancer could not return, but at least the mammograms and ultrasounds would have come to a close.  

    I don't know what the answer is, but I do know that each January when I need to have my yearly reviews, I think I should have just had both breasts off in the first instance. 

    I don't think you are nuts!  At times I think my breasts are just time bombs, and perhaps I should have had a bilateral mastectomy, so I certainly understand the dilemma you are going through.  A bilateral mastectomy wasn't necessary in my case, so I opted for the bilateral breast conserving surgery, as I was told that most "fare" better ":psychologically" without the ordeal of mastectomies.  

    Whether we keep our breasts or not is the question! 

    Some say we should follow our gut instincts, which I did, but , like you I now question my decision.

  • Hankster
    Hankster Member Posts: 86
    I first got bc at 36 my margins were very close and I was told I didn’t need a mastectomy but it was worth considering. I did and don’t regret it for a minute. I was able to get on with my life without constant fear. I had 10 good years before it became metastatic. I often wonder how quickly it would have come back if I had not had it removed. Good luck with what ever you decide 
  • Grandma of 7
    Grandma of 7 Member Posts: 8
    Thank you for your reply - I really appreciate it 💕
  • Grandma of 7
    Grandma of 7 Member Posts: 8
    Oh my goodness - thank you for responding and for being honest - I was feeling a little stupid having written this post - but you have helped me to feel my feelings are valid - tonight I’m going through - ugh why aren’t you celebrating ? I’m not down I’m just thinking ok - so buck up kid so you are ready for next year -
    there are others doing it so much harder - but at the end of the day we do this journey on our own aren’t  we - so we need to do what works for each of us 
  • Keeping_positive1
    Keeping_positive1 Member Posts: 554
    There isn't an easy solution, so I just kept mine as I didn't need to have unnecessary surgery.  @Hankster sums it up nicely and did what was best for her situation, but there are no guarantees either way.  
  • patdug
    patdug Member Posts: 53
    I totally relate to @Grandma of 7  and others and all your comments...I am in the same situation and when I talk to others who have had a bilateral mastectomy- I wish I had too as t the htought of BC popping up in the other one is ALWAYS there....
    I am currently weighing up the decision to proceed with having the other one removed and grappling with the trauma of another operation is such an individual decision and there is a lot to consider. Our ever reliable gut feelings though tend to guide us to the best of  luck everyone with what you decide...and if we consider all options put on the table by our specialists and our inner voice the right decision will come to us..
    much love to all Patricia xx
  • Sister
    Sister Member Posts: 4,960
    In the end it has to be your decision.  I ended up with a mastectomy anyway but my question at the time was whether I should have both taken.  The answer then was that it wasn't needed.  Twelve months later my surgeon said that if I was really struggling with the anxiety, he was happy to take the other.  I haven't done it but know that I have that option without having to fight for it.  If it is what you feel you need to do and your surgeon won't consider it, best to find someone else.

    By the way, do you have a 3D mammogram or a 2D?  3D gives more clarity.
  • Cath62
    Cath62 Member Posts: 1,241
    Hi there, I really believe it is critical to listen to your own inner voice and follow your gut feeling no matter what anyone thinks. You know yourself better than anyone and understand your own emotions and needs. Do what is the best for you. Good luck with your decision 
  • FLClover
    FLClover Member Posts: 1,513
    This is a very valid concern and very valid post about it. It’s a hard decision, but if you feel right about it, then you should do it. Peace of mind and being stress free is more important than anything else. It’s not about what others think and whether it’s silly. It’s about your body, and your physical and mental health, so there’s nothing silly about it. Good luck with it all 🍀♥️
  • Zoffiel
    Zoffiel Member Posts: 3,372
    Hey @Grandma of 7 there is your inner voice--which can be terribly noisy and difficult to listen to--but there is also the outer voice. What would you say to someone who valued your opinion if they were in the same situation?

    If you can't trust a totally disposable fat sack because you think it could kill you, why would you not get rid of it?

    Yeah, it's a big thing. It really is. Mxx

  • Lioness25
    Lioness25 Member Posts: 8
    Hi, I was diagnosed at 38 and had a single mastectomy - which I immediately knew I wanted. I chose to keep the other one though as I had a lot going on at the time (my father was dying of cancer, my boss of 6 years at work - who was also a big support system for me - left the company) and I wasn’t sure what to decide re the other one.
    However, 3 years on and I still want to get the other one done. I will most likely get it done but keep putting it off for various reasons. My surgeon has told me that if I decide to proceed with having the other one removed that I should give her a call when I’m ready. 
    Each year when it comes time for my mammogram and ultrasound I keep saying to myself that I will get the other one removed as it’s so stressful getting these tests done each year - and sometimes a biopsy.
    I completely understand where you’re coming from. You need to do what feels right for you.
    I wish you the best of luck with your surgery xo 
  • patdug
    patdug Member Posts: 53
    All the very best @Grandma of 7  xx P.
  • TonyaM
    TonyaM Member Posts: 2,833
    hi @Grandma of 7,
    It’s such a difficult decision. On one hand you don’t want to put your hand up for major surgery but then the yearly mammos stress you out. I get it.I’m 65 and wonder how much older I can be before such surgery is a worry.
    I had a lumpectomy and radiation back in 2003 and 7 yrs later cancer came back in the same spot so HAD to have a mastectomy. That was 11yrs ago. I’m fed up with being lopsided- it has it’s issues but because of radiation I’d be limited with recon. The other option is to take the other breast off.I keep stalling cos it’s big surgery. I now wish I’d had both breasts off 11yrs ago- hindsight hey.Good luck with your decisions- they are all awful!