Home Newly diagnosed

Third time lucky?

luckymeluckyme AdelaideMember Posts: 11
edited August 2021 in Newly diagnosed
Hi everyone, I have just had my breast cancer come back in the same breast for the third time.  I discovered the lump myself, after trying to decide if it was actually there or not, but eventually decided it needed to be confirmed. However there has been a 30 year gap between the first and second recurrence, and a 9 year gap between the second one and this diagnosis. Each time, a different type of cancer. I had a lumpectomy and radiation the first time, and a lumpectomy and four years of tamoxifen the second time.Thankfully no spread anywhere else this time, but my dilemma was, what to do? After a lot of online reading, and discussions with my oncologist, I have decided to have the right breast removed, in about 2 weeks time.You'd think it would get easier, having been through this before, but in some ways it does, in other ways it doesn't. I'm absolutely scared to death of the surgery and have been trying to be sensible about updating my will, and finishing my advanced care directive, but I don't know whether I can. I do have a very supportive family which helps, but sometimes the fear overwhelms me.


  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 3,884

    Commiserations! Three times is three too many. But no-one can say that you haven’t given your right breast every chance! I had my left one removed after the first (and I hope only) incursion - I didn’t have much choice, the tumour was too big for a lumpectomy. But if your experience is anything like mine, the surgery was remarkably pain free. I had an axillary clearance to remove a lot of lymph nodes, but my arm mobility was back to normal rapidly and I went back to work after a week. Surgery sounds awful, but I found it relatively easy. If you are having immediate reconstruction, things are a bit more complicated and take longer for you to recover from, but the mastectomy itself is not to be feared. Best wishes for your speedy recovery and no fourth time! 
  • luckymeluckyme AdelaideMember Posts: 11
    edited August 2021
    Thanks, I'm only having the mastectomy, no reconstruction, seems a bit pointless as I am 70 and quite used to wearing prostheses so comfortable with that.! 
  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 3,308
    Don't be scared about the surgery. The hardest thing is waling into the hospital, getting on the trolley and answering the questions. Actually committing to the procedure is much tougher that recovering from it. Once your had space moves to viewing a toxic fat lump that is polluting your life as totally disposable, things move into perspective. MXX
  • luckymeluckyme AdelaideMember Posts: 11
    Thanks for your slant on things.
  • June1952June1952 Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 1,438
    Hello @luckyme.  Welcome ! 
    Miss Rightie has had three chances to kill you and has failed - now it is time for her to go for good.  You have made the decision which is the best one for your sanity.  Mastectomy surgery is not as bad as one might think but don't be a martyr, take all he help you can get from the hospital, family, friends and support services.
    It is always a good idea to have your legal documents in place even when not facing surgery but it is another thing which will be off your mind.
    Your medical team is there for you and you will be in safe hands.
    You don't have your location so if you add that to your profile you will get support from ladies near you, too.
    Come on and chat anytime.
    Sending a virtual hug  💖
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 6,121
    Golly Gosh! @luckyme ....  that’s hardly fair!  As the ladies have said .... 3rd time round ... get rid of it!   Also, as they say, the thought of it is often worse than the actual procedure and recovery ... this bloody disease really mucks with the brain!  Try and keep busy in the lead up to the surgery ... That is great that you have supportive family and friends who can spoil you afterwards ... put your feet up and let them do the work! ;)

    Try not to use Dr Google, as a lot of it is outdated and not relevant to your diagnosis ... so take care, and all the best for your upcoming surgery xx
  • luckymeluckyme AdelaideMember Posts: 11
  • Julez1958Julez1958 SydneyMember Posts: 392
    Hi @luckyme
    your pen name resonates with me.
    I think everyone here has had a mixture of good and bad luck in their breast cancer “journey “ ( or as some would say , “ shitfest”).
    I was unlucky that despite  having regular mammograms every 2 years I discovered a lump in my breast that turned out to be a 5.5 cm lobular cancer requiring a mastectomy.
    I was lucky to have a great GP who referred me to a great breast cancer surgeon who in turn referred me to a great plastic surgeon.
    I was lucky that I had the money to go as a private patient which went some way to addressing my heightened anxiety after feeling very let down by the free public BreastScreen mammograms.
    I was also lucky to be in Sydney Australia in a medical system not overrun with Covid 19 patients.
    also lucky no cancer in my lymph nodes so didn’t need chemo only radiotherapy.
    Lucky that although the surgery caused me a lot of pain for a period of about 6 weeks ( requiring me to take Endone when I don’t normally even take a Panadol),  after that time things settled down.
    Lucky that I managed to have DIEP flap reconstructive surgery 4 weeks ago just before they put a halt to non urgent elective surgery ( which mine was) .
    And lucky that my recovery from that is progressing well and I am not even needing so much as a Panadol now.
    BUT there is still a part of me that says how unlucky was I to be the first in my huge extended Irish family to get breast cancer and how unlucky was I that it was picked up so late I was denied the chance to keep the breast.
    However in the end it’s not healthy  dwell on the “ what if” and “ why me” and it’s better to look forward not back.
    I too was in a complete state prior to my mastectomy even though I knew I had a great medical team .
    Everyone is different and some  people sail through it , I had a tissue expander inserted as I was going to have delayed reconstruction after radiotherapy and I think that was the thing that made my pain so bad.
    I was also terrified of becoming addicted to the Endone and in hindsight should not have stressed about just taking it instead of trying to get off it too early.
    So it’s natural to be anxious about the surgery, but we have great Doctors ( and nurses) in Australia , everyone handles it differently , my advice is if you get bad pain, just take the meds and realise it is only a short term thing.
    Also I found acupuncture helped me ( I came to it late) and also seeing a physiotherapist who specialised in Breast cancer patients was helpful.
    All the best and there are lots of ladies on here who can give you lots of good advice and support.

  • Cath62Cath62 Brisbane Member Posts: 785
    Just wanted to send a big virtual hug and wish you all the best 🌺
  • luckymeluckyme AdelaideMember Posts: 11
  • LocksleyLocksley Macedon Ranges, VictoriaMember Posts: 796
    Also thinking of you and sending a hug.
  • luckymeluckyme AdelaideMember Posts: 11
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 5,029

    Wishing you all the best for your upcoming surgery.   It's a daunting thought but certainly doable.
    Do you have a surgery date?
    Have they identified the type of Breast Cancer?  
    Fortunately it's contained to the breast

    There's lots of good information on the BCNA website to help you 


  • luckymeluckyme AdelaideMember Posts: 11
    Thanks, I never asked what type, but it's level one or very early cancer, slow growing. Date is the 15th September.
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 5,029
    Type will determine if you need ongoing treatment 
Sign In or Register to comment.