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Just Diagnosed

bromlemibromlemi Member Posts: 5
edited October 2016 in Newly diagnosed

Hi All,

I've only just been diagnosed with multifocal breast cancer, on 20 December 2012.  I've just turned 40 and we have a 5 y/o boy.

My biopsies showed that I have four malignant tumours in my left breast and a malignant lymph node.  This is stage 2, subject to the CT bone scan which I've not had yet.

My younger sister has also been diagnosed with breast cancer on 3rd January 2013.  She is stage 1, subject to her bone scan being done this week.

Mum was diagnosed with bowel cancer in November 2012.  They say bad things happen in three's!

I see the surgeon again tomorrow (7 January) to discuss the treatment plan.  He has already told me I need a mastectomy and lymph node removal, then chemo.

I'm really not looking forward to waking up from surgery without a breast, and I know chemo will be tough, but the sooner treatment starts the better!

I'm interested to hear how long others took to recover, from surgery, from chemo. 

Cheers xx

 

Comments

  • dawngirldawngirl Member Posts: 130
    edited March 2015

    I'm sorry to read not only of the challenges you now face, but also your sister and your Mum. Perhaps it's the world's way of making you all be an amazing force of three helping each other through what lies ahead?

    I can only share wiith you what has been my experience .. and I hope it helps allay some of the concerns and fears you have.

    I too (47) initially diagnosed with multifocal disease in my right breast, two tumours, grade 1 and grade 2, her neg, estregon and progesterone positive.

    Combined, the tumours were put at 3cm, and ss they believed them to be in two parts of the breast, a mastectomy was indicated, but from the very start I wanted nothing else. Had no interest whatsoever in mucking around with a lumpectomy. Just made sense to me that if I had two different types in two different areas at the same time, no reason not to think it wouldn't pop up elsewhere in the same breast down the track.

    I had my mastectomy and a sential node biopsy (three removed, all clear) on nov 16. As it turned out, once they'd cut me open, they established it was just the one tumour and 3.5cm. One part invasive, one part not.

     

    An hour and half out of surgery was on my mobile catching up with my husband who had gone to fill in for me at work after being with me until the point where you have to wave goodbye pre op.

    I had no pain to speak of, and hardly used the button to press for relief. There was of course discomfort lifting my arm up to the side up towards my head...and this is what concerned me the most, losing use of my arm as I am right handed and an active girl. But day by day movement returned, and within a month I had full arm movement back. Soon as I got the ok to get in the water (six weeks), I was back in doing laps with no pain, and all joy.

    I was back to work and in the office the tuesday after surgery, and just made sure I did lots of lying around watching bad tv whenever I could in between.

    Two weeks post surgery I went through a couple of days of random pain ... it was this weird crawling sensation on my chest...wearing my bra was agony...but a day on panadine forte knocked it totally on the head. Have had no pain whatosever since.

    Hand on heart, losing a breast has not hit me emotionally. I just have not found it a biggie. It's not that I wouldn't prefer it was still there, and BC had not hit me, but I viewed it very much as something that was trying to kill me, and it had to be gone. The sooner the better. I appreciate also I have an incredibly supportive husband who loves me even lopsided, and I haven't had any issues being naked around him since. We tackled the issue head on, early..he helped me have my first shower in hospital. He also watched the DVD for male partners provided in the fab care kit supplied free of charge by the breast cancer network (have you sent away for yours?) and that helped him know what he had ahead of him in terms of what I might feel, look like, need by way of support.

    He of course had emotions of sadness when he saw me for the first time, said he looked and could only think what I had had to go through to stay alive and beat this, but it just is what it is, and has now become a normal part of who I am.

    It's a bit of a hassle on the clothing front. I'm not a plunging neckline kind of girl but those mastecomy bras (berlie, fantastic by the way, also available from this network as a very generous gift), aren't very forgiving on the strap front when it comes to summer tops and dresses, but I've just bought a few new things with higher necklines, and add thick strapped singlets and fine knits under the clothes I already owned and no one is the wiser.

    I haven't got around to ordering a proper new fake boob yet -- must do that in the new year.

    As for cossies...I'm not wearing a mastectomy one..have a fab one from jets from last season, with a proper racing back, and not so low scoop front, whack one of the my sports bras underneath (the lyrca/fashion style ones those with flat abs wear on their own -- not me!) ...stick in my my soft form from the breast cancer network underneath, and again no one is the wiser. Which is pretty extraordinary given I am a D cup.

    Oh..and there is a loss of sensation...your chest when it heals, needs to be massed with an oil twice a day to stop the scar adhering to your chest wall. At worst this just feels a bit icky/strange...I'm bad and keep forgetting to do it, but bio oil is said to be good. I am using rosehip oil which is all natural and great for healing scars.

    As for chemo....so many different experiences...but if you click on dawngirl and travel to my blog you'll see I am posting at the moment on my day by day experience of chemo round one...all totally fine so far.

    I really, really hope your experiences mirror mine, and you bounce out of surgery into the arms of your precious ones knowing you've just passed one huge hurdle with flying colours, ready for the next round of treatment to beat this dastardly thing.

    Stay in touch, and don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or I can offer any suggestions or ideas to make the road ahead a little easier for you.

    x

     

  • dawngirldawngirl Member Posts: 130
    edited March 2015

    I'm sorry to read not only of the challenges you now face, but also your sister and your Mum. Perhaps it's the world's way of making you all be an amazing force of three helping each other through what lies ahead?

    I can only share wiith you what has been my experience .. and I hope it helps allay some of the concerns and fears you have.

    I too (47) initially diagnosed with multifocal disease in my right breast, two tumours, grade 1 and grade 2, her neg, estregon and progesterone positive.

    Combined, the tumours were put at 3cm, and ss they believed them to be in two parts of the breast, a mastectomy was indicated, but from the very start I wanted nothing else. Had no interest whatsoever in mucking around with a lumpectomy. Just made sense to me that if I had two different types in two different areas at the same time, no reason not to think it wouldn't pop up elsewhere in the same breast down the track.

    I had my mastectomy and a sential node biopsy (three removed, all clear) on nov 16. As it turned out, once they'd cut me open, they established it was just the one tumour and 3.5cm. One part invasive, one part not.

     

    An hour and half out of surgery was on my mobile catching up with my husband who had gone to fill in for me at work after being with me until the point where you have to wave goodbye pre op.

    I had no pain to speak of, and hardly used the button to press for relief. There was of course discomfort lifting my arm up to the side up towards my head...and this is what concerned me the most, losing use of my arm as I am right handed and an active girl. But day by day movement returned, and within a month I had full arm movement back. Soon as I got the ok to get in the water (six weeks), I was back in doing laps with no pain, and all joy.

    I was back to work and in the office the tuesday after surgery, and just made sure I did lots of lying around watching bad tv whenever I could in between.

    Two weeks post surgery I went through a couple of days of random pain ... it was this weird crawling sensation on my chest...wearing my bra was agony...but a day on panadine forte knocked it totally on the head. Have had no pain whatosever since.

    Hand on heart, losing a breast has not hit me emotionally. I just have not found it a biggie. It's not that I wouldn't prefer it was still there, and BC had not hit me, but I viewed it very much as something that was trying to kill me, and it had to be gone. The sooner the better. I appreciate also I have an incredibly supportive husband who loves me even lopsided, and I haven't had any issues being naked around him since. We tackled the issue head on, early..he helped me have my first shower in hospital. He also watched the DVD for male partners provided in the fab care kit supplied free of charge by the breast cancer network (have you sent away for yours?) and that helped him know what he had ahead of him in terms of what I might feel, look like, need by way of support.

    He of course had emotions of sadness when he saw me for the first time, said he looked and could only think what I had had to go through to stay alive and beat this, but it just is what it is, and has now become a normal part of who I am.

    It's a bit of a hassle on the clothing front. I'm not a plunging neckline kind of girl but those mastecomy bras (berlie, fantastic by the way, also available from this network as a very generous gift), aren't very forgiving on the strap front when it comes to summer tops and dresses, but I've just bought a few new things with higher necklines, and add thick strapped singlets and fine knits under the clothes I already owned and no one is the wiser.

    I haven't got around to ordering a proper new fake boob yet -- must do that in the new year.

    As for cossies...I'm not wearing a mastectomy one..have a fab one from jets from last season, with a proper racing back, and not so low scoop front, whack one of the my sports bras underneath (the lyrca/fashion style ones those with flat abs wear on their own -- not me!) ...stick in my my soft form from the breast cancer network underneath, and again no one is the wiser. Which is pretty extraordinary given I am a D cup.

    Oh..and there is a loss of sensation...your chest when it heals, needs to be massed with an oil twice a day to stop the scar adhering to your chest wall. At worst this just feels a bit icky/strange...I'm bad and keep forgetting to do it, but bio oil is said to be good. I am using rosehip oil which is all natural and great for healing scars.

    As for chemo....so many different experiences...but if you click on dawngirl and travel to my blog you'll see I am posting at the moment on my day by day experience of chemo round one...all totally fine so far.

    I really, really hope your experiences mirror mine, and you bounce out of surgery into the arms of your precious ones knowing you've just passed one huge hurdle with flying colours, ready for the next round of treatment to beat this dastardly thing.

    Stay in touch, and don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or I can offer any suggestions or ideas to make the road ahead a little easier for you.

    x

     

  • bromlemibromlemi Member Posts: 5
    edited March 2015

    Thanks so much Dawngirl, I have already seen your posts on chemo, and you give me hope that this treatment might not be so bad as I imagine!

    Sounds like your surgery recovery went very well, how brave you are to get back to work so quickly. Luckily my employer has generous sick leave benefits for serious illnesses, and they've said for me to come back when I'm better.

    Mum, Sis and I will for sure be emotional support for each other. I hope we can physically be there for each other as well, we live far apart, depending on treatments visits might not be possible. We have some great family and friends to support us though.

    I feel the same as you about this - I just want it gone, sooner the better.

    Thanks again. x

  • bromlemibromlemi Member Posts: 5
    edited March 2015

    Thanks so much Dawngirl, I have already seen your posts on chemo, and you give me hope that this treatment might not be so bad as I imagine!

    Sounds like your surgery recovery went very well, how brave you are to get back to work so quickly. Luckily my employer has generous sick leave benefits for serious illnesses, and they've said for me to come back when I'm better.

    Mum, Sis and I will for sure be emotional support for each other. I hope we can physically be there for each other as well, we live far apart, depending on treatments visits might not be possible. We have some great family and friends to support us though.

    I feel the same as you about this - I just want it gone, sooner the better.

    Thanks again. x

  • dawngirldawngirl Member Posts: 130
    edited March 2015

    Oh trust me, if my boss wasn't such a bitch (self employed), I would not have rushed back to work so quick ;-)....but the upside was that a sense of normality returned quite soon, I wasn't in pain, so although I had undergone major suregry and needed to take it easy, spending some time in the office oversseing things and tapping as needed online (actually managed to finish a long-lingering website task on the to do list during this period), I think actually helped my recovery.

    A friend fighting BC, who did not need radiation or chemo, but had a double mastectomy and then reconstruction, took a year off work and in retropsect says it was a mistake. She says she feel to pieces and spent too much time thinking and not doing, and would have been better off mentally if she'd stayed to a more normal routine once she was able to.

    But really, you just need to listen to you, and your body, and do what's best for you. An an extended stint at your home with your gorgeous five year old could be just the added bonus your five year old ordered.

    Don't know how tech savvy your Mum and sis are, but Skype during this tiime could be great. You can all dial in and chat and see each other when distance and circumstances don't allow for personal visits.

    Wishing you all the best for your appointment today, and may the booking for your surgery be speedy so you can be on the path to better very soon.

    The surgery really won't be so bad. Fatty tissue (which breasts are mostly made of) don't hurt much to remove I'm happy to report. And I have a low pain threshold.

    Take care.

    x

  • bromlemibromlemi Member Posts: 5
    edited March 2015

    Hey Dawngirl, I did order the "My Journey" kit on Monday after your reminder, and that was a good move, my surgery is this Friday afternoon (11th) so I hope it arrives in the next couple of days.

    I had some good news, the type of cancers I have (three different types) are low grade.  A rare mucinous carcinoma grade 2, a DCIS of medium to high grade, and a grade 1 - 2 invasive carcinoma.  All very treatable.

    All tumours are medium to strongly positive for both estrogen and progesterone. The invasive carcinoma is also strongly HER2 positive.  From my reading, this is good, it means hormone treatment could also be given, but I won't know that until I meet the oncologist.

    So I'm spending the next couple of days catching up with my girlfriends and going to the movies with hubby, last chance for some fun for a while!

    Feeling positive!  x

  • dawngirldawngirl Member Posts: 130
    edited March 2015

    That's great news to see you have the diagnosis before you and a plan of action in place, allowing you to just enjoy the lead up knowing you will be in good hands to take care of you in just the right way.

    It's amazing that not so many years ago -- I think 2006? - they could not even test for HER2, let alone hit it with a targeted therapy.

    I've never been a science head, but find that amazing.

    Like you, pre surgery I had a multi focus diagnosis. Post surgery pathology, they found it was just the one tumour in various stages of playing up -- some DCIS, some invasive DCIS and then bits in between the two showing signs of cancer. It's a tricky so and so sometimes.

    And don't think of the next few days as your last chance for fun for a while...you'll be amazed how incredible it feels to wake up post surgery and think I did, it's gone, next!

    Which isn't to say, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

    x

     

     

  • sillysam83sillysam83 West Gippsland Member Posts: 379
    edited March 2015

    Welcome to the group - Wow what a tough time for your family. Xxx

    We are always here for you. We also have a group on FaceBook too, if your interested! 

    Merylee

  • dawngirldawngirl Member Posts: 130
    edited March 2015

    Hi,

     

    Just checking in to see how you're travelling.

    Hope the surgery gods were kind to you.

    x

  • bromlemibromlemi Member Posts: 5
    edited March 2015

    Hi Ladies!

    I'm recovering well from surgery, seeing the surgeon Monday arvo and hopefully will get all the dressings and paraphenalia removed.

    The pathology after surgery was interesting, lucky I only had two cancerous lymph glands so I'm at stage 2a. The tumors were found to be grade 3 after all, which makes sense for how quickly and how large they'd grown - 53mm (the mucinous carcinoma), 35mm and 20mm.  

    The surgeon has prepared me for "the kitchen sink" as he put it - a longer chemo treatment plus radiation due to the size and grade of tumours, and my relative youth. However I don't see the oncologist until end of Jan.

    Looking forward to getting a breast form now, I don't have my Berli pack with the soft form yet so bra stuffing ATM - hubby made a joke that it's been a long time since I've had to stuff, but actually I never did, I've had boobies forever! Found a wonderful mastectomy fitter down my way for when I'm OK to get the prothesis.

    My sis had her lumpectomy and we were discharged from hospital the same day.  We're not sure about her pathology until she sees her surgeon next week, but the hospital were confident frm the sentinel node biopsy that her lymph nodes would be clear. 

    Feeling pretty good now, and have ditched the harder painkillers for panadol.

    Mich x

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