Hi from a newbie

HelenlovesSnoopy
HelenlovesSnoopy Member Posts: 93
edited October 2023 in General discussion
Hi, I’m Helen and part one of my journey has flown by. Last year was a difficult year personally, so this year I decided it was time for ‘rebuilding’ - on my list was to go and have my first mammogram. I went to the Rose Clinic in David Jones for a mammogram in July, thinking nothing of it - then got a call to attend breast screening at SCGH (Perth) and was diagnosed on the day with a small cancer in each breast - ie 2 cancers, one lobular, the other ductal and more aggressive. Both the hormone positive kind. In September I had a bilateral mastectomy with lymph nodes taken on my right side (2 nodes did have cancer). A tiny margin of cancer was found to have headed toward the pectoral muscle. Now I am being asked to do everything - radiotherapy/chemotherapy/hormonal tablets, because I’m considered young at 54. I probably will but it seems like a lot. 
Yesterday an oncologist told me that mammogram saved my life!
I’m married with three teenage daughters and a cheeky Jack Russell. I’m an Aspie (very mildly autistic), and a Christian which is helping me a lot with this journey to date, but it’s still hard!
By the way my mother had breast cancer, twice, but later than me - at age 70 then in her eighties. It wasn’t considered relevant but now with my having two separate tumours I’m being sent for genetic testing.
I don’t know if we’re supposed to introduce ourselves and not just our cancer situation, but I guess that’s what’s mostly on my mind just now. Wishing you all the very best, Helen 🙂
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Comments

  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,450
    So sorry to see you join our exclusive little group @HelenlovesSnoopy, but glad that you have found us. Good that your Mammo found the problem & but a bugger you have to do the whole enchilada!  xx. I hope your kids/partner are supportive xx

    We have a Christian Group that you might like to join xx. Just click on the 'Join Button' .... 
    https://onlinenetwork.bcna.org.au/group/3-christians-diagnosed-with-breast-cancer

    With your Mother having had breast cancer twice - it might be wise to have your daughters genetically tested too, relative to your own results? .... Revealing some of your background really does help, round out our understanding of your current situation xx

    All the best with your genetic Testing and ongoing treatment  .... take care & look after yourself xx
  • HelenlovesSnoopy
    HelenlovesSnoopy Member Posts: 93
    Thanks for the welcome Arpie - yes my family is very supportive, but while we’re being open with the kids of course we don’t want to worry them more than we have to. The good thing is that my future is looking good, but I can’t imagine what chemo will be like. 

    And yes we will be looking into my girls’ situation genetically speaking. 

    Xo

  • Julez1958
    Julez1958 Member Posts: 1,087
    Hi @HelenlovesSnoopy
    Re having chemo / radiotherapy / hormone therapy , the oncologists do many years of training so I figured I should accept their advice.
    No treatment is 100% guaranteed to prevent the cancer coming back but the aim is to do everything that can be done to prevent it coming back.
    Not everyone has side effects and many only have mild side effects.
    There are things you can do to help alleviate side effects - it’s important to let your medical team know promptly if you have side effects.
    There is a lot of information on this website ( including this forum) about treatments and side effects and if you have a Breast Care Nurse they are a great source of info and support.
    Take care and don’t hesitate to post any questions on here.
    🌺
  • HelenlovesSnoopy
    HelenlovesSnoopy Member Posts: 93
    Thanks @Julez1958, it’s true - these medical professionals do have a wealth of experience. The radiation oncologist did kind of win me over when she said ‘That mammogram saved your life.’ I could so easily have not done it!!
  • June1952
    June1952 Member Posts: 1,808
    Welcome to this club no-one wanted to join @HelenlovesSnoopy.  How fortunate that you did decide to have the mammogram as much later and they may not have had such a good chance at saving you.
    Be your own advocate at all times and don't stay silent or be a martyr - you are number one and you know your body.  Always ask, ask, ask.
    Your Christianity will no doubt provide a feeling of serenity and being cared for. 
    If you are offered assistance at all do take it as even the smallest thing does help.
    Just take it one day at a time - you will find you are stronger than you think.
    All the best.  💖
  • HelenlovesSnoopy
    HelenlovesSnoopy Member Posts: 93
    Yes @June1952 you reminded me of a Woody Allen quote along the lines of 'I wouldn't want to join any club that would have me as it's member' - but seriously, it is nice to have other women here to talk to, who understand it all through experience.  So in that sense I'm glad to join the club  <3 and thanks for all the encouragement. :smile:

  • GinGin
    GinGin Member Posts: 99
    @HelenlovesSnoopy, love how you came up with this name😃 

    I’m going through chemo currently (4 rounds of AC and then weekly Taxols for 12 rounds). I just had my 2nd chemo. Then I’ll have radiotherapy and tablets ( for 10 years!) I am getting the full course (had lumpectomy surgery and axillary clearance on left boot in Aug).

    Some people sailed through chemo, it depends on the type of chemo drugs and also one's age. I think you will cope well. I was recommended to have the full course as my tumour was found to be twice the size when they operate on me 😅.

    I have found this online network outstanding. Everyone is very supportive and understands and when there's any questions, there's many who willing share their experiences and tips. ❣️. I'm so lucky to come across this network.

    so feel free to fire away if you have any questions along your journey. 

    xx💝
    Gin
  • HelenlovesSnoopy
    HelenlovesSnoopy Member Posts: 93
    edited October 2023
    @GinGin thanks so much it truly does help to chat to you all 💕 - when I see the medical oncologist next week I’ll ask questions here because I realise the chemotherapy can differ according to the drug and the course of treatment. Your order of treatment sounds similar to mine as in surgery first/chemo/the rest! Basically you’re a month ahead of me but also one boob not two. (At least that made my decision easy in a way because everyone told me it was safest to go for a double mastectomy).

    I’m going to a workshop called ‘look good feel better’ in a couple of weeks and really looking forward to that. Have you done one of those?

    Hugs from Helen 

    PS: yes i am a Snoopy freak but also one of my daughters is - she has my old Snoopy from when I was a kid 😊

    PPS: GinGin I forgot to say - I hope your chemo is going really well 😍 and please let me know how you’re going over time. 

  • GinGin
    GinGin Member Posts: 99
    Yes! I have done a few of the LGFB program (virtual)! it's extremely useful, Helen!

    One of the session on hair help me with deciding when to cut when and how much hair to cut to reduce the emotional stress.  I have shaved my hair now as cold capping wouldn't work on me (cause of the chemo drugs I'm on).

    some of the LGFB sessions are popular so try to book earlier if you are interested. 

    I am in Melbourne and I have also signed up for 'Think Pink' , joining virtual sessions on plilates and yoga.. maybe you can check if there are similar groups in Perth.. good to try and do more exercises without leaving the house as Melbourne's weather is very temperamental.☀️⚡️⛅️

    With LGFB, You can also sign up for the 'goody bag', they throw in so many skin care products and make up as well in the goody bag(not that i am into makeup).

    My chemo (AC) is considered one of the more aggressive one, so am not having much fun but coping well (esp with the tips I have been getting from here, you may find some will share tips by direct messaging you (there is a mail located on top right under your profile), i only found out later..

    Chemo was initially a maybe on my menu, but when my surgeon opened me up, the tumor was doubled what the ultrasound stated. He said he wanted me to live longer so advice me to add chemo to my meal and I agreed(I'm 58)🤣.

    keep us posted on how you go, I'll pray you'll get the less aggressive chemo and have a smooth one.💝

    p.s. so sweet to pass the snoopy to your daughter!🤗
  • HelenlovesSnoopy
    HelenlovesSnoopy Member Posts: 93
    edited October 2023
    I know how you feel @GinGin because when I had my surgery the cancer in my lymph nodes was nicely contained, but the tiny amount of cancer that might have escaped to my chest muscles (and fed into my upper chest lymph nodes) meant they need to throw everything at me too, otherwise I might have got off more lightly.  Like you I'm young  :D at 54, but I'm an 'older Mum' with teenage girls plus I use hair dye so I probably come across even younger than I am :p .
    PS: LGFB sound fantastic - I'm booked for a physical workshop so will apparently receive the goodie bag there.  Just hoping the docs won't try to book any conflicting appointments!
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,450
    edited October 2023
    I attended a LGFB workshop in Vic earlier this year @HelenlovesSnoopy..... (not being a makeup/girlie girl) and it was just so much fun!!  I must try & remember everything that I was taught & use the 'goodie bag'/products so kindly donated to us by such reputable Makeup Manufacturers!   You'll enjoy it xx 
  • HelenlovesSnoopy
    HelenlovesSnoopy Member Posts: 93
    @arpie I only wear a little makeup, but I love samples of skincare and makeup - I always used to get drawn in by Clinique whenever they had one of their bonus sample gifts free with purchase.  I think I love miniature things! xx
  • Abbydog
    Abbydog Member Posts: 472
    Dear HelenloveSnoopy,
    When you have time, perhaps you could fill in your Profile. In that we can easily see the information that you would like us to know. If you click on any of our names or Avatar, you can find out more about us (If it has been filled in). It can be a quick way to see what is similar or relevent. 
    I too was lucky (but not the same), I found my lump by accident. I was only scratching near my nipple and found the lump. I was lucky also, because I had a Mammogram only 9 months before. It wasn't there then.
    My treatment would seem very similar to yours. I have been fortunate that my body coped quite well with the treatments. I've had some side effects, but nothing serious. Since my initial treatments I have has a prophylactic Mastectomy and breast reconstruction, all having gone well too.
    All the best for all of your treatments, I hope it goes well for you.
  • HelenlovesSnoopy
    HelenlovesSnoopy Member Posts: 93
    Thank you @Abbydog! I didn't realise that - I've updated my location and will write my story (the brief version) on there soon.  
    And thanks for sharing your story - it's so good to hear that your side effects weren't too bad.  That's my hope too, stay tuned!