Bilateral Breast Cancer

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Theresa9
Theresa9 Member Posts: 2
edited October 2023 in Newly diagnosed
I was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer in late September and am scheduled to have a double mastectomy and reconstruction in mid November.  Still trying to get my head around it all - it is becoming more real.  I have been trying to hold onto my normal for the last few weeks - work and life in general - this is proving more challenging as the days go by. I went to give blood on the weekend - I guess I am not too surprised that I was not able to - in addition to learning that I wont be able to this again until 5 years post the end of treatment. My most recent mammogram (18 months ago) was clear and I was doing doing all the recommended things - go to drs if you notice any change in your breasts.  I went to the Drs with what I thought was a breast cyst - having previously had these - and got a referral for an ultrasound. Went to ultrasound appt on the Friday - for what I thought would be 30 mins at most with a possible drainage of the cyst.  Not so - 2 hours and 3 biopsies later I left the clinic.  Tried not to focus too much on it all over the weekend - however first thing Monday morning I have a call from my GP - and an appt made for the afternoon....it has been a whirlwind for sure.

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  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,755
    edited October 2023
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    Sorry to see you join our select little group @Theresa9, tho glad you found us xx ... You are in the right spot for support & info from those who've 'been there, done that'. 

    Well done on advocating for yourself & getting the US.  Did they advise you of your breast density?  If you have dense breast tissue it is more difficult for the MG to pick up any tumours as both the flesh AND the tumour show as 'white' ... and 'white on white' = invisible  :(   

    Quite a few of us were diagnosed after clear MGs (I'd had one just months prior to my GP finding my lump.)  I'd also had a history of cysts, so wasn't overly concerned with my 'call back' .... 

    I told family & friends on an 'as needs' basis .... those closest to me & those who I knew I would be actually 'seeing in person' sometime soon, as I knew I'd burst into tears if I saw them socially & tried to hide it .... I also filled them in with  regular email with what was going on, so I didn't have to keep repeating myself, cos IT is upsetting, going over it again & again, too!  grrr

    In the meantime, as you wait for your surgery - Keep yourself busy, doing things you love xx. Maybe cook 
    & freeze some meals so that it is easier for you when you return home again after your surgery ...... and accept any offers from family & friends to 'do stuff' .... mowing, gardening, house cleaning, walking the dogs etc - as it is a win/win situation for both of you - as you may not be 'up to it' for a while, after the surgery.

    Take a good buddy with you to all your appointments as support and an extra set of ears (it is almost impossible to remember EVERYTHING that is said!) .... and also consider recording your appointments on your phone too .... so you can go over them again at home, if you need to xx

    Check out this thread too - it has lots of links in the forum, eg what to take to hospital with you & other stuff.  We have 'off topic' stuff too, for a giggle or 'show & tell' - your pets, garden etc and there are some 'self assessment' tick sheets you can fill in too, for your own mental/physical health.  Print them off & keep them handy & fill them in, take them with you to your appts. xx
    https://onlinenetwork.bcna.org.au/discussion/23477/a-big-welcome-to-all-our-new-members#latest

    take care & all the best xx.

    We have a few members in Canberra ..... who knows - you may be able to meet up with them some time later, for a coffee & chat.  (put 'Canberra' in the search area and instead of 'best match', click on 'newest' .... and the more recent posts mentioning those in Canberra will pop up xx
  • Theresa9
    Theresa9 Member Posts: 2
    edited October 2023
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    Thank you @arpie for the caring response.  And yes I apparently do have 'dense' breasts or 'busy' breasts - this has been commented on previously by radiographers - however I did not think too much about or ask a lot of questions at those times.  Always....hindsight......moving on.  Treatment options discussed were lumpectomies in both breasts with radiation afterwards or nipple and skin sparring mastectomy with immediate reconstruction were discussed - but given all that I now understand are the issues associated with dense breasts and possible issues associated with radiation - I opted for the mastectomy.  I will definitely check out the other resources you suggested.  Just at the  moment - what to take to hospital seems to be overwhelming me.  
  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,755
    edited October 2023
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    It really is a roller coaster of emotions, right from the start, @Theresa9 ... from sadness to anger & everything in between. 

    If you feel a tad overwhelmed, jump onto out helpline (number is on the blue banner up the top) and have a chat .... Have you been assigned a Breast Care Nurse yet?  It could be thru your surgeon, or McGrath? They can also be your 'go to' person for queries .... specially after your surgery.

    Maybe Join the 2 mastectomy groups too & put up any questions you want - they have pics too ....

    One involves reconstruction
    https://onlinenetwork.bcna.org.au/group/1-choosing-breast-reconstruction
     ... the other those who've chosen to remain flat
    https://onlinenetwork.bcna.org.au/group/29-flat-chat-no-breast-reconstruction

    all the best xx

    Keep updating THIS thread as you progress & it can be a bit of a 'diary' for you!!   I kept my first thread going til the end of 'active treatment' (after rads & start of Hormone Tablets) .... and is a very interesting read, 5 years later!  ;) 
     
  • Julez1958
    Julez1958 Member Posts: 1,160
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    Hi @Theresa9
    I too had dense breasts but no one ever told me the significance of that. I also found a lump within 12 months of a clear mammogram that turned out to be quite large.
    I opted for skin sparing  mastectomy followed by delayed DIEP flap reconstruction - my story along with many others are on the “ Choosing Breast Reconstruction” private group on here.
    It certainly is a lot to get your head around - many ladies go for implants  rather than the more complicated surgery of a DIEP flap reconstruction and others  opt to go flat - my breast surgeon said there is no right or wrong answer just what is right for you .
    Take care🌺
  • Cindi
    Cindi Member Posts: 134
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    Hi @Theresa9,

    I'm so sorry for your diagnosis, I too find myself in a similar situation although I've decided for no reconstruction.

    I also have the "dense" breast tissue, but was never warned that I was more likely to get breast cancer especially if I used HRT (which I did)

    Anyway no use thinking I wish I'd known, it is what it is and you need to let yourself gently come to terms with it and understand that a lot can be done, they are much more advanced in this area now, so that's a positive.

    I actually go in tomorrow for my double mastectomy, and I've come to terms with it. Also decided to just go flat and use padded bras if I want to occasionally.

    When I go tomorrow I'll be taking button up P.J's and a shirt to go home in with buttons (easier to put on) easy pull on comfy pants and necessities like my reading kindle, phone, charges, stuff like that.

     I know I'll only be in for one or 2 nights then home to recuperate, so I've been freezing a few meals I've cooked up so I don't have to bother with cooking for a while, so that's something you could think of doing.

    What type of tumors do you have? do you know? I have "Lobular".

    It's very hard at first to get your head around, such a shock isn't it, but I hope you can find some comfort here, everyone's been wonderful and helpful to me.

    Cindi xx