Breast cancer confirmed, biopsy and PET scheduled for 1st week of Aug.

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GinGin
GinGin Member Posts: 147
Hello everyone, so glad to come across an online support group.
I have just been diagnosed with BC after I felt a lump on my left breast (US and mamo confirmed the cancer. This was on 14 July ). They don’t know what cancer type I have yet ( I guessed we will know after biopsy and PET scan, right?). According to the US/ mamo, the lump measures 3 cm and may have spread to lymph…..I did hear the breast surgeon saying I’m stage 3……:-(. She assured me it’s treatable… I should have asked if it is curable…..

Biopsy (scheduled for 2 Aug) and PET scan scheduled for 3 Aug, I will only know the results when I see the breast specialist on 08 Aug. These are the earliest dates available. I did inform my breast care nurse I will go private if necessary. Does these timeline appear Ok or should I organise for private  biopsy and PET. Not even sure if I will be able secure earlier dates if I choose private. I am in Melbourne. 
Both my GP and breast care nurse assured me this timeframe is reasonable (am guessing the cancer isn’t going to grow during these 2-3 weeks!)
I am still an infant on this journey and have been reading about BC extensive since diagnosed ( not helpful mentally). Grateful if others can share how they keep themselves busy beside googling BC.

p.s. Didn’t help that I quit my full time job in May to take a short break (only to be diagnosed with BC in July). I am 58, happily married for 25 years with no kids. Should I look for work to keep myself occupied or should I start looking for work after I have completed my treatment (if successful).
Thank you for reading my post.

Comments

  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,392
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    Bad luck! All of it. Many of us know just how you feel, wasn’t in the plan. But here it is and all you can do is put one foot in front of the other and think positive. I’m nearly 11 years post diagnosis, NED (no evidence of disease) and finished ten years of hormonal treatment earlier this year. Apart from COVID messing up the world, it’s been a great decade. 

    Starting a new job with a cancer diagnosis hanging over you is always a bit tricky. I worked right through active treatment with no problems but I was already in my job and I dodged the nastier side of chemotherapy. Perhaps best to wait till you know what your treatment is and how you weather it - it can vary hugely. But doing something to occupy yourself is I think a good idea - maybe some voluntary work? 

    I also elected for no reconstruction, it’s a hugely personal choice but reconstruction can be quite lengthy to recover from, so you may need to consider that too.

    Planning is a good thing but at the very start of this type of experience, it’s helpful not to think too far ahead. Not for dire reasons, there have never been so many options and potentially great developments for treatment. Just simply that it all takes time to accept, to think about, to make choices, to keep your head and emotions healthy too, and one step at a time is the best way to go.

    Best wishes! 
  • GinGin
    GinGin Member Posts: 147
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    You are right @Afraser. I’ll definitely consider volunteering to stay out of trouble. I have also decided not to have reconstruction. :smile:
    I am so happy to hear you are NED. This is so motivating and more importantly you are still in the group to support us newbies. Thank you very much!
  • June1952
    June1952 Member Posts: 1,898
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    Welcome to the site @GinGin - most people here know what you are going through.  The waiting times are the worst.  Don't spend your time on Google as that can be your enemy - not every site is up-to-date and much of it won't be in your treatment plan.
    The idea of a new job is probably not your best one as you don't know what is ahead so that is not fair to you or to a possible employer.  The idea put forward by @Afraser of volunteering is a good one as you are the one in control of when you attend and it still occupies your mind.
    By all means see if you can get earlier tests in the private system if you can afford that but if you don't see the specialist until 8/8 is it worth it ?  More waiting time.
    Make lists of questions and take someone with you to appointments as that is always helpful.
    On here no question is too small or too silly so ask away.
    There may be a support group in your area of Melbourne so if you are a 'group' person you can get extra support there.
    Thinking of you as you begin the BC saga.  💖
  • Aska
    Aska Member Posts: 75
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    Hi GinGin,
    Well welcome to the community,  one you'd rather not be part of  but is such a great source of encouragement.
    I was 4 weeks between diagnosis and surgery, I had more biopsies MRIs and mammos in this time.  As part of the biopsy they should have done immunochemistry markets  which tell you hiw fast it grows (K 67 marker) and if hormone receptive ( estrogen, progesterone or hetceptin). The big picture dictates planning and any presurgery treatment. I didn't need cgemo before or after, but am about to finish radiation, then ho on hormone blocking therapy for 5 to 10 years.
    BC is very heterogeneous, so it's hard to compare each other's treatment etc
    Good luck with it all and my best advice is to ask all of the questions that pop into your very busy mind. I take a book to write questions and answers in.
    Take care x
  • GinGin
    GinGin Member Posts: 147
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    @Aska, thank you for sharing your journey and experiences. I’ll need to get a book and bring with me. Good to know about K 67 marker!
    @June1952, thank you for taking time to write to me. I am leaning towards volunteering after hearing what you and Afraser have proposed. :smiley:
  • Julez1958
    Julez1958 Member Posts: 1,177
    edited July 2023
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    Hi @GinGin
    Yes it’s a huge shock to receive this diagnosis , but luckily you live in Melbourne which has world class hospitals and people who can help you through this journey.
    It is good you have made your way to BCNA there is a wealth of information on here and it is all credible and reliable ( unlike “ Dr Google”)
    This online network is also a great resource, everyone on here “ gets it” in a way people who have not been diagnosed with BC can.
    The best advice my GP gave me when delivering my diagnosis was to take my husband with me to all important consults as I would not be likely to take everything in.
    The next best piece of advice was from my ( amazing) breast cancer surgeon that I should only look at official websites like the cancer council and breast cancer network.
    All the best with your treatment - my husband described it as a cross between a roller coaster and whirlwind.
  • GinGin
    GinGin Member Posts: 147
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    Hi @Julez1958, the diagnosis has been a shocked for me and my hubby. We don’t know of anyone in our circle with BC. He has been to all medical/doc visits with me and wants to be supporting me through this journey.  Despite this, I don’t think my hubby truly truly understands. I am so grateful to whoever that has created this BCNA online support. I have been reading others’s journey and experiences, gaining heaps of perspectives.
    Thank you very much for writing and sharing your knowledge with me. I hope you’re all clear now.
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,804
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    Sorry to see you join our exclusive little group, @gingin ... but as the girls have said - you're in the right spot for the best support & info from those who've gone before you xx And yes, the waiting really DOES suck!  :( 

    Try & keep as busy as you can between now & the biopsy, doing the things you LOVE doing (I went fishing every day for a week - I was on my kayak when they rang me to come in for the biopsy results!)  Keeping BUSY will hopefully keep your mind off everything ..... 

    Definitely don't look at getting organised work again .... doing volunteer work would be good (or maybe take up some new hobbies!  I can recommend Ukulele playing!)

    Your timeline looks OK - but ANY timeline is still stressful. xx  Make sure you Stay away from Dr Google .... as everyone's case is totally unique ... and a lot of info on the net is old & no longer relevant.  Have trust in your team. xx

    Check out this link with lots of info about the forum - including bits leading up to your surgery & tick sheets to monitor your mental & physical health/well-being ... also lots of other 'fun' posts re pets, crafts, gardens & all sorts of other things not necessarily BC related .... 
    https://onlinenetwork.bcna.org.au/discussion/23477/a-big-welcome-to-all-our-new-members#latest

    I am 5 years in & going good .... take care & all the best for your ongoing appointments xx
  • GinGin
    GinGin Member Posts: 147
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    @arpie, I can’t believe I am feeling so fortunate to be in such a fantastic group. Thank you for sending all the links. I’ve read your story/jokes about getting yourself a Xmas present ‘from your husband’ and opening in front of him. Lol, that used to be me too!! However, now, I hand a list of shortlisted items  and he’ll “surprise” me. Lol.
    thank you for helping us newbies with our journey.

  • Fufan
    Fufan Member Posts: 123
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    Welcome @GinGin.  What can I add to all the excellent advice you have received above?  I’d just like to reassure you that your timetable sounds ok.  In my case, I found a lump in May 2021 and despite a number of tests, didn’t get my diagnosis until the December.  Then, of course, I had to wait through the Christmas season until I had surgery.  Eighteen months later, I’m doing ok, thankfully 🤞🏼.  Your wait is really only a couple of weeks. Keep busy.
  • GinGin
    GinGin Member Posts: 147
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    Thank you for writing to me @Fufan and your comforting words. I am so sorry to hear yours took so long, it would have been extremely long stressful period not knowing.  I’m glad to hear you are doing ok now.
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,804
    edited July 2023
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    Wishing you all the best, @GinGin .... Please consider recording all your meetings on your phone too, to go thru later on if you need to, as it is easy to miss/forget bits, as you are writing something down. xx. It is terrific that your hubby is such a good support for you too.   Terrific that you have a breast care nurse already - you can put any queries past them as well!!

    'Treatable' is good .....  Once the surgery & 'active treatment' (Rads/chemo if given) is over - that is when you will work on getting your life back & enjoying life again .... this is a speed bump ...  You may even find that you don't want to go back to work fulltime .... often your priorities change - so see how you feel in a few months time & go with what feels 'right' for you. xx

    You may like to join the Flat Chat Private Group, where you can chat in total privacy about any issue at all - both before and after your surgery, from those who've also chosen that route xx. 
    Just click on this link, choose Flat Chat & click 'Join' - https://onlinenetwork.bcna.org.au/groups

    i went private for surgery, just to get it done asap & it was just 2 days after seeing the surgeon! (I had a fairly large gap to pay, but I was aware of it beforehand.) Then I did Rad Onc & Medical Onc in the public system & couldn't fault any of it.

    hehe, we have lots of funny bits to share & have a giggle with & god knows, we need a good belly laugh now & then! Our Friday Funnies has some beauties in it!  If you have any funny pics or sayings,  whack them up there for everyone to have a laugh! xx

    @Fufan - I thought MY wait was long (found in Oct & surgery in Mid Jan ...) but yours was incredible!  :(  I blamed mine on being rural ..... but living in Melbourne .... other than Covid delays - that is almost unforgivable!

    take care xx

  • GinGin
    GinGin Member Posts: 147
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    @arpie: thank you for letting me know about recording! (Hubby and I have already started disagreeing on what each of us is hearing from the doc/nurse about my condition).
    I’ve also requested to join flat Chat :wink:

    thank you for sharing so much with me. I do acknowledge everyone’s journey will be different, just good to hear how others choose/ went etc.