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Supporting wife diagnosed with HER+ breast cancer

Mez_BCNAMez_BCNA VictoriaAdministrator, Staff, Member, Moderator Posts: 314
Original post created by member @AaryBee moved to own discussion in 'Supporting someone with breast cancer' category:


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  • AaryBeeAaryBee Member Posts: 2
    Hi All.
    I am completely blown away from the supportive replies I have received from you on this forum. It is so kind, and it really has made me feel much more comforted.

    We had a small win yesterday. Bianca got a call from the specialist to let her know that the PET Scan results had come in and she wanted to let Bianca know right away that she DOES NOT have any metastatic spread outside of the left breast and lymph node.

    Of course, as I now know - lymph node involvement is not ideal, and this is still a very serious disease - we were crying happy tears to know that Bianca has a treatable cancer, and has a real chance of "curing" it. 

    Again, she is such a strong and positive woman - she is amazing to watch - right after the call - she went straight back to work - not because she had to, but because she wanted to.... so amazing! 

    I have done lots of reading on the benefits of exercise and eating well while in chemo and afterwards to try to reduce the rate of recurrence. For context, Bianca is already very fit and active and healthy but I am organising weekly personal training for her and regular remedial massages. She will continue her membership at her pilates studio - and the women there have been nothing short of amazing, and we are increasing a focus on eating well.

    I know that there will be tough days on chemo and days where lots of bad food will be eaten and days spent resting and doing nothing - but she is commited, and so am I, to really trying our best to keep up a good regime. The PT is super supportive and he cannot wait to begin working with Bianca. 
  • AfraserAfraser MelbourneMember Posts: 3,910
    @AaryBee

    Good news! As one who had cancer in the left breast and one lymph node, I can vouch for the potential for a good outcome! I worked throughout treatment, it works for some (I had no nausea or fatigue from chemo) and it doesn’t work for others. For me, the ability to live normally and actively was worth a very great deal. The very best you can do is support your wife in what she wants to do. Exercise, Pilates etc - excellent stuff! Some people find chemo very hard, others find it much easier than they imagined, you can’t really know till you start. Take each phase step by step, but look forward - that’s the only direction to take. Best wishes. 
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 6,139
    edited February 3
    Just adding my previous reply from the Welcome New Members post, for continuity ....

    Well done, Aaron @AaryBee for reaching out on behalf of your lovely wife.  You will both still be suffering shock from Bianca's diagnosis and the unknowns & uncertainties & emotions that go with it.   
    You are in the right spot for support and information from those who've gone before ...... That is terrific that you have supportive family & friends.  Lean on them - they will want to help you both.

    Some great info from @Locksley already xx

    Wishing you both all the best with the PET scan results xx.  Bianca's medical team will be working on the best plan for her treatment xx

    Here is a fairly recent post on members who are triple positive who may be able to  help you .... to read up on .... 
    https://onlinenetwork.bcna.org.au/discussion/23501/triple-positive

    Has anyone on the Medical Team mentioned immunotherapy treatment? Herceptin is used with Her2 Positive & there may be other treatments that have been approved, as trials & advancement in treatments are happening all the time.  The USA are doing trials using Keytruda too (currently used in Australia on Melanomas and Lung Cancers.) Hopefully Australia starts trialling it sometime soon too.

    take care xx

    That's just awesome news @AaryBee & Bianca.  Onwards & upwards.  

    Keeping up with Bianca's exercise regime will be terrific for her to have goals - but be ready for those 'off days' when she may not want to get out of bed.  Maybe keep all her favourite treats handy, too, to entice her to eat/get fluids ..... even lovely fresh grapes  ... anything that she enjoys.

    All the best for Bianca's ongoing treatment ..... Take one day at a time  - but don't forget to look after YOU as well .... make sure you do take time out for some of your own favourite activities, too, as this wicked disease also impacts you, the carer.  xx. It can be difficult tho (I am caring for my Stage 4 husband) and sometimes I find it hard to leave him to do 'my stuff' ... but I do need to have my own time out now & then.

    take care, both of you xx
  • Cath62Cath62 Brisbane Member Posts: 819
    This is great news @AaryBee and wonderful things you have put in place. 

    None of us know how chemo will impact us but my oncologist said to me if I got sick she would have failed at her job. Let your wife know to speak up about any side effects no matter what they are.

    I did ok with chemo. They gave me steroids so I didn't reject the chemo drugs. I also had antinausea meds with chemo too. I found I had a fair bit of energy for a couple of days after chemo and then it dropped. This was because of what the steroids do. What goes up also comes down 🙂. I learnt this when I went bike riding a couple days after chemo. 😃

    I walked every day and while I normally did pilates during my treatment I saw an exercise physiologist for exercises during my treatment. I only went back to pilates post my surgery, chemo and radium treatment and once things healed in that area.

    Breast cancer treatment ie surgery requires specialist consideration for muscles around that area and probably someone who understands the impact of breast cancer to look at the muscle impact in that area etc. 

    Maybe check in with the massage therapist too as to whether they have experience with patients who have had breast cancer. Sometimes there are issues with lymphatic drainage and there are specialist lymphatic drainage physios who can provide the correct techniques to help in that area with swelling. Just food for thought as you go through this together.

    It's one step at a time but it all sounds positive and very encouraging all the plans you both have. Your wife's attitude and determination will get her through. Sounds like she is a high achiever. Let her know that this time is for her now and she can take time to heal in every way. Please don't forget to look after yourself too. 

    Happy to help with any questions you have and if you feel like it let us know how you and your wife progress with it all. 

    Take care 💐
  • Julez1958Julez1958 SydneyMember Posts: 467
    Hi @AaryBee
    so lovely to see you on
    here!
    The “ in sickness and in health” marriage vow became very real to me when I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer 18 months ago - my hubby of 32 years was my absolute rock.
    Obviously it is a very scary and emotional time but the scariest moment for me was when he cried - he is not a man who normally shows his emotions like that!
    It is hugely helpful to have a supportive partner and also one who can help you laugh.
    Have a listen to the Dr Charlotte Tottman “ What you don’t know until you do” podcasts if you can they are in the “announcement “ towards the top of this page - she is a psychologist specializinf in treatment of cancer patients who got breast cancer herself - I found them hugely relatable.
    re the exercise , other ladies here are better at me to post links ( I’m thinking Arpie or Iserbrown) but there are definitely studies that show regular exercise helps in preventing breast cancer from coming back.
    Take care.
    🌺
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 6,139
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