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HAPPENING SO FAST
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dlbrand posted:
just had a lumpectomy and 5 lymph nodes removed (3 of which were positve), my oncologist said i needed chemo, more surgery, radiation and hormonal therapy. I was diagonsed Feb.5, had surgery Feb.17 and suppose to start chemo tomorrow. I am thinking about reschedueling chemo for a short while i have time to research treatment some more and get a second opinion. Is this wrong?
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bc090109 responded:
dlbrand,

What did your surgeon who performed the lumpectomy recommend?

If you're not comfortable with starting right away, I think most ladies here would say go with your gut if you feel you need to research and/or get another opinion.

This all does seem to happen very fast when lots of information and medical jargon is thrown at you which makes your head spin because you have no idea what it all means at first.

My breast surgeon (bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction, 11 out of 15 nodes positive)) was the one who told me I needed chemo and radiation basing these treatments on the extent of the breast cancer found after surgery.

Have you voiced your concerns to your chemo oncologist? Don't be afraid to call and ask to speak over the phone regarding your concerns. Worse case if you go there tomorrow and still feel the same, ask to talk to him/her before you start any type of treatment. Remember you can have a voice in your treatment.

Good luck and keep us posted
 
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rachael67 replied to bc090109's response:
bc090109 suggestions are good. If you feel the need to get more information or to get a second opinion, there is no time like now! But one caution: Some of us (myself included!) are apt to use a delaying tactic to avoid what we really know we need but really don't want to do!! Be honest with yourself as to the motivation, okay? A bit of time to explore and learn is okay as long as it is a brief bit of time during which you truly do homework and ask questions, etc. It would be very easy to let things slide a while, hoping everything will simply disappear! I hate to be the one to say it, but that isn't going to happen!

Yes, it is very overwheliming and frightening and feels like you are caught in a whirlwind! We have all been there and appreciate those feelings. They go with the territory. But know the feelings are normal, that the treatments are doable and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel...It just takes a bit of time to reach it.

One exercise which many of us have found most helpful during all this stress is deep, slow breathing...In and out...repeating it until the world begins to slow down and become a little more manageable. Please give it a try. Okay? And do know you will be in our thoughts. Let us know how you are doing.

blessings.
Rachael
 
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KorynH replied to rachael67's response:
I have had several friends wind up with nasty infections because chemo shuts down your immune system and if you are still recovering from surgery starting earlier than 8-10 weeks post op could be dangerous. I got 11 MRSA infections during chemo. It is not anything to play around with. Waiting another month would give you time to heal and also to seek 2nd or 3rd opinions.
 
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people54 responded:
I know what you are feeling. I am having a lumpectomy next week with radiaition to follow. I have been told my mass, which is only 1cm has the estrogen and HER2 receptor positive. I have been told I should have chemo but I have read alot and I am swaying toward just taking the medication for the hormone and Her2. I will see after the path report after surgery.
 
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rachael67 replied to people54's response:
Have you looked into the Oncotype test? It supposedly is most helpful in determining how effective chemo would be in your individual case.

We will be aboard the Pink Bus and with you in spirit next week. Please let us know how you are doing when you can.

blessings.
Rachael
 
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H3ath0r responded:
When I asked my oncologist why they were moving so fast and not giving me time to prepare myself, she said "ideally there is an 8 to 10-week window from your first surgery to when chemotherapy should begin in order for it to be most effective." Oh?!
The decision to proceed was simple at that point. Certainly if you're going to do it, then you want to ensure it's going to have the most potent benefit and that means starting soon after surgery (although you do need about 4 weeks to heal first).
Honestly, once I started chemo I had SO much less anxiety, fear, and depression. The time BEFORE chemo was harder than the actual treatment for me. Chemo has been tough but I am happy to tell you I did NOT have most of the worst potential side effects. I've done very well.
 
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caroln375 responded:
After giving myself several weeks to research and get add'l opinions, I opted for double mastectomies on Feb.1. They recommend chemo for me starting within 12 weeks of surgery (stage II tumors with 1 positive node out of 23 removed).

I have waited and am glad I did. I needed every bit of these past 8 weeks to recover. The 'anti-angiogenesis' properties of many chemo drugs would have made this much more difficult, since they are designed to seek out and destroy cells trying to establish a new blood source. Allowing the sking to seek out a new blood source via the chest wall was EXACTLY what I NEEDED my own body to do; as well as allow severed nerve endings to die down, scars to heal and muscles to become fully functional again.

Give yourself whatever time you need to make your decisions, listening to as many doctors as you choose, as many authors as you can find in the library or online, as many personal friends or family members who have been through this experience. But mostly, listen to your own gut feeling. You are most in tune with your body. Do what you feel is right for you.

The jury is still out on whether or not I opt for chemo at this time. And no matter what one chooses, or when, keep in mind that drugs alone aren't likely to 'cure' any of us. Through various lifestyle and/or dietary changes, adequate rest and exercise, and a positive outlook we should be able to boost our bodies' abilities to maintain and manage cancer cells at a livable level for many years.

You will all be in my prayers! Wishing you all the best with your decision making and with learning to take even better care of ourselves than we ever imagined!
 
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babygirlpage responded:
Dear dlbrand,
I was diagnosed with stage 2a invasive ductal carcinoma in July of 2008. I had 2 lumpectomys and no lymph nodes were involved, my tumor was 2.2cm. but was told I needed chemo, radiation and hormone therapy. Like many of us - we trust our Dr. knows best. I pray I do not ever have cancer again, but if I did I would seek a second opinion. I have read many books after the fact and question why I had to have chemo, I believe that's not uncommon to question, but I could have been more proactive in the choice had I been more knowledgeable. If I would have had a second opinion, I know I would feel alot better about my decision to go ahead with chemo. Unfortunately, when we are first diagnosed most of us are in a fog & really don't know what questions to ask because we've never been through it before. Do not be afraid to question your oncologist regarding his choice of therapy for you and have them explain why they feel that it's right for you. If he or she is offended by your questions, or the fact that you wish to have a second opinion, you should seek out another oncologist for your therapy. Please bring someone with you so they can be your second ear and write down everything, or if allowed - tape record the meeting. I will pray that you get the information you need to make an informed decision.

Prayfully,
Beve
 
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LADYPAR72 replied to babygirlpage's response:
hi! all
i,m new here i,m faced with a real tough decision to make in 10 days as i told the doc i would give it then. i have stage 2b .has a long process. had excisional biopsy local went on to a 2hr trip to a cancer center for cleaning margin in feb. spent 1 night do to ischemia heart that turned out after 3 weeks of testing small blockage, they wouldnt operate til this was all clear . report was needed more margin out and 1 lymph node so had another surgery mar 22. all went well and said i didnt need chemo given age 71 and they knew i was scared of it. go to local onocologist says 13 percent more cure rate if i do have chemo. i read its only 8 percent . im leaning for none just radiation . i realy feel if i were 10 years younger ok not worth it im thinking. anyone else have i thought here. on age and chemo. tanks
 
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rachael67 replied to LADYPAR72's response:
Welcome to the club no one would wish to join, but where you will find very caring, helpful folks!

I can fully appreciate your reluctance to the chemo...If it can be avoided with little long term risk, I think that is the direction I would take too. (BUT please know that I have never had to deal with chemo and am letting my fear dictate rather than experience! Perhaps you will hear more from those who have been there/done that. From some of the stories I hear it isn't nearly as bad as we envision!!)

About percentages! There are two types: Absolute and Relative. The results of each is quite different. What you want are ABSOLUTE! They will much more closely reflect the outcome.

As for your age, do you know that the older I get the younger I realize my present age is???!!! When I was on the "other side of the door" it really looked old!!! Oddly, from this side, I know it is quite young!

Were I in your shoes, I do think I'd get a 2nd and 3rd opinion. (I would definitely want one of those to be from someone in a large breast care center ~ large center not large breast!!! ( Bit of humor to relieve the tension!!) Prior to seeing these doctors, I'd do a fair amount of research so that I can present them with tons of questions. And don't leave until you get answers!!

You will be in my heart that you are able to reach a decision with a solid degree of confidence and then have a good outcome! Please keep us updated on how you are doing.

OH, YES! AND please start a post of your own so that you don't get lost in someone else's...okay?

Blessings.
Rachael
 
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H3ath0r replied to LADYPAR72's response:
Hello LADYPAR. It IS a tough decision. I just finished 16 weeks of chemo at age 40. What I can tell you is that it Rachel is right, it is NOT as bad as our fears of it, at least it wasn't for me. But it was still maybe the second toughest thing I've done second to carrying twins to full term - and of course that was a joyful duty to bear.
For me, Herceptin gives a huge improvement on my odds, Tamoxifen gives a very good return also. The radiation is good, and obviously localized. But the chemo... for me it only reduces my chance of recurrence by 10-15% compared to nearly 50% for the Herceptin (which is a specialized treatment for my Her2 cancer).
During chemo I did not throw up once. In fact, I was never nauseous. I rarely had a mouth sore. I was never ill or hospitalized. My white counts were great - I never had so much as a cold. However, the fatigue and bone pain were so debilitating that if I were over the age of 70 I'm not sure that I would go for it. I think an older body would suffer those aches and pains tremendously.... but then, maybe you're more used to it. For me it was a huge shock to wake up suddenly menopausal and feeling like a 75 year-old!
 
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cabkatz replied to H3ath0r's response:
Hi. Don't know why I think that others who have gone through this know more?? Anyway I'll share my experience to add to the info out there. Had my annual mammo and radiologist insisted he saw something new. All thought he was just "covering his ..." Thank goodness he was insistent. Biopsy of malignancy was a surprise - Dx invasive stage 1 grade 3. nodes neg and hormone pos. 2 lumpectomies fast soon after and still not cleared. Then the recommendation of chemo. The oncotype test was smack in the middle.

I guess my reaction is that I am 55 and "healthy" and want to maximize the chances that I won't have to go through more anytime soon. The Oncologist used the term "chemo light" and offered every 3 weeks 8 times and I am halfway through without any unbearable consequences.

Friday afternoons and lots of rest on the weekends. Drugs for nausea which is minimal. Aches in the muscles and exhaustion, but then everyone around me seems to have issues. Haven't lost all my hair. Lots of support and good attitude help.

I feel like when I was pregnant and that this has a happy ending- We don't die from this anymore. I too feel older than my active 85 year old father at the moment, but I can use the word cancer which not long ago was a much scarier life sentence.

Each decision is unique. For me, after not "clearing the margins" after two lumpectomies it seemed that it was caught early but growing fast and I had to make a fast decision. My decision was to attack this systemmically and follow up with the precisely aimed radiation and hormone treatment.

Best wishes for a lasting recovery!
 
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LADYPAR72 replied to rachael67's response:
thank you for all responses. anyone here have trouble with infections after surgery? i m going to radiation but had to cancel due to treatment for this . i had so much pain almost went to emergency ward local. i went to my surgeon who but me on a week of antibiotics and since my draintube fell out after 4 days she aspirated it infection got worse had to go back put me on another but that isnt working either but feels better not looks better. have to go back also where the disection and seroma was its like blood spater in side area . thought it was the bra to tight but wore none last night still there. may have to go to infection doc she says , i have been on pill since sat . iwill go back soon .
i dont want to go in hosp this is 5 months now and 4 weeks since last surgery. and dec the lumpdectomy. was potpone because of heart ck was ok put me another 3 weeks delay,

im gettig nervous about not starting radiation. any one else with these problems? please respond.
 
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1jagfan responded:
I am having same thoughts. Just had consult w/oncologist. I have stage 2a. Had lumpectomy w/2nodes. Surgeon removed all the nodes. I am OK with hormone and radiation, but the small difference in percentage for adding chemo is making me hesitant. Is it worth rearanging my life, major side-effects and possible heart damage and infection for a 4% improvement in life expectancy?


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