10 Years Today

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10 years ago I received the confirmation that I did indeed have breast cancer and that I would need a mastectomy and chemotherapy. As it turned out, I was extremely lucky to have discovered a dent in my breast and then to have made an appointment with my GP. After surgery I was told that the cancer was growing right up to the chest wall and that it was in 5 lymph nodes, 3 of them extensively. That meant after chemo I would also need radiation. If I had not noticed the dent, if I had waited until 50 to have my first mammogram…. I was 47, no family history and did not have many of the known risk factors. 

My first visit to the oncologist we asked for statistics for my situation. That was a shock (chance of getting to 10 years disease free was about 33% without further treatment) but useful to understand the importance of each part of my treatment.

So, straight into chemo, then radiation and then Tamoxifen. At 49 it was decided that I would have my ovaries removed after my periods returned. Then I changed to Femara which I found much harder than Tamoxifen. All up I managed 7 years and 3 months of anti hormone therapy before my oncologist said enough. She told me to walk out that day believing that I had every reason to think that I would continue to remain cancer free.

Today I will have a quiet celebration that I am still cancer free and I have had 10 years of living well since diagnosis. Discovering that dent and the medical treatment I then received has given me the opportunity to enjoy my life, spend time with those I love and have some incredible adventures. I am so grateful to the doctors and many medical personnel, my family and my friends who have helped me along the way. 

Hugs to those who might be just starting their treatment or somewhere along in the process. Take care. Deanne xxx


Comments

  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,392
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    Well done! I too passed my ten year mark since diagnosis, last year. I feel I have a great deal to be thankful for - surgery, chemo, a year of Herceptin and ten years of Letrozole have, so far, kept me cancer free and able to live a normal and immensely enjoyable life in that decade. Not everyone has that result so, like you, I am indebted to all those who have made that decade possible. 
  • Cath62
    Cath62 Member Posts: 1,363
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    Congratulations to you @Deanne and also to you @Afraser. We like hearing stories of wellness like yours. 
  • Julez1958
    Julez1958 Member Posts: 1,176
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    Well done on making 10 years!
    👏👏👏
  • iserbrown
    iserbrown Member Posts: 5,600
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  • June1952
    June1952 Member Posts: 1,897
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    Hello @Deanne
    That is fabulous news.  Many of us are sending you a big thank you for the support you have given to us over that time.

  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,798
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    That's terrific @Deanne xx.  I hope you celebrated in style tonight 

    Out of interest - did you have side effects from your AIs?  How long after you stopped taking them, did you feel 'normal' again?  
  • jennyss
    jennyss Member Posts: 2,003
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    Dear @Deanne
    Thank you for posting with your awesome news

    from jennyss in Western NSW

  • Deanne
    Deanne Member Posts: 2,163
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    Thank-you everyone. I had a lovely, long lunch with family yesterday and just enjoyed feeling well! 

    @arpie I had a lot of joint, particularly hand pain and stiffness on them. Femara also caused bone density issues, cholesterol issues and vaginal atrophy. In the end, my oncologist felt that the negatives outweighed the positives for me. The aim had been to stay on them as long as possible, that turned out to be 7 years and 3 months for me. When I stopped Femara for a month break at the 5 year mark. The hand and joint pain and stiffness went pretty much immediately. My oncologist then switched me back to tamoxifen but the joint issues returned to a lesser degree. It fixed my cholesterol very quickly though!

    It’s very hard to say what effects are possibly still from having taken the tablets and what is now just deterioration due to getting older. My joint pain and stiffness is much reduced but other effects continue. 

    I was fortunate to have an oncologist who considered quality of life as well as reduced recurrence benefits and drew a line using her professional judgement. 

    Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums out there! xxx
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,798
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    That's terrific, thank you @Deanne xx. I come from an arthritis background, so am stuck with pain whether on AIs or not ... but just now Anastrozole isn't as bad as the others .... so looking at extending now I've reached the 5 year mark ..... I see the Onc next month, to discuss.  Happy to continue with it, as mine is ILC and it is famous for coming back further down the track xx

    take care xx

  • FLClover
    FLClover Member Posts: 1,560
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    Congratulations @Deanne, that’s an awesome milestone 🎉👏🏻. I like your oncologist btw. It’s nice to be heard and seen. 

    To more decades cancer free 🥂🍀. 
  • Deanne
    Deanne Member Posts: 2,163
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    Thanks @FLClover. I felt I had a great oncologist who saw me as an individual. When she made the decision that I should stop the anti hormone therapy, she took great care to make sure I left feeling that I had done everything I sensibly could to help prevent a recurrence. I wish all doctors were so good at hearing and seeing! xxx
  • Michelle_R
    Michelle_R Member Posts: 901
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    Hi Deanne, I am so happy to read that you are doing well as you hit your 10 year milestone!  I passed my 11th in April, still happily cancer-free!  You were always one of the most inspiring women on BCNA.  Love and best wishes, Michelle_R xx
  • Deanne
    Deanne Member Posts: 2,163
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    Hi @Michelle_R
    So wonderful to hear from you and to hear that you are still cancer-free too! I was so fortunate to find BCNA early in my treatment and learned a lot from yourself and many, many others. There was so much encouragement and support. The best thing was never feeling alone! Love and best wishes to you too! Take care. Deanne xxx