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    The right choice?
    070872 posted:
    I'm first time to this site. I'm 63. After a second mammogram and ultra sound needle biopsy I was diagnosed with a low grade papillary cancer deep in my left breast 2-3 cm. Then had an IV MRI on the same day that I had an appointment with the radiology oncologist who said I would be a good candidate for a lumpectomy and radiation. Well, after examination of the IV MRI, the radiologist detected two small suspicious areas in my right breast and I was told I would need an MRI directed needle biopsy on that breast.. I've decided with the encouragement of my daughters & husband to have a bi-lateral mastectomy and reconstruction. I do not want to go through radiation for 6 weeks and I do not want to go through the MRI directed needle biopsy. My sister is very upset over my decision and feels like I am over reacting. I just want this to end..........................
    jean4u responded:
    Sorry you have to go through this. I think you have to go with your gut feeling. For others to question your decision is just their opinion and everyone has one. You have to live with it.

    I am 65 and went through pretty much what your DX & RX is.

    I had a lumpectomy and was scheduled for rads. After giving this much thought and info gathering. I chose to have a bi-lateral mast and reconstruction. BTW, my breast surgery dr did not question my decision to have this surgery after the lumpectomy.

    I have never regretted my choice.

    Part of my decision was based on the cancer coming back or occurring in the other breast. The lumpectomy, for me, created assymetry in my breasts. Also, rad has its own issues that I did not want to deal with.

    Staying healthy was my prime concern. It is secondary that I like my reconstructed breasts. Thirdly, when I glance in the mirror and see a whole body the breast cancer and surgeries are in the past.

    You must do what you feel is the best choice for you.

    Good luck!

    bcdevil responded:
    I also am deciding on bi-lateral mastectomy even thou I could have had a lumpectomy. This is your choice, not your sisters. My husband and 3 daughters all support this and even if they didn't it still is MY choice. My main reason is that my cancer has a high rate of re-occurrence, and I don't want to give it a chance to come back if I can do one small thing to try to avoid it. I also, just want to get it over with so I can move on. I want to be able to help everyone on here because i can validate every feeling you are having. When is your surgery? Mine is St. Patty's Day (March 17th) I will be praying for you!!! Sandy
    rachael67 responded:
    I am so glad that you have your immediate family supporting your decision. We all have to make the choices which seem right for us at the time....Having others quibble with that choice only adds to the stress which is out of control anyway.

    Just make sure which decision you want and stick with it...There may be times in the futrue where you may want to second guess that choice, but don't! We do our best with what we know at the time and must accept it. The angels can't do more!

    I am sending caring thoughts and gentle hugs your way.

    Just when the caterpillar thought her world was over, she became a butterfly! Don't give up five minutes before the miracle!!
    070872 replied to jean4u's response:
    Thanks, Barb, for your support - I was so glad this a.m. when I saw that I had responses. I was wondering if you also had a biopsy before the lumpectomy? I've read many comments from others who never mention needle biopsy and wonder if it is done differently in other parts of the country? When I read the comments it seems like I know so little about my cancer other than it being "low grade" and it is a "good" kind even though the bad thing is that it is still cancer! My sister felt that the plastic surgeon's comment was telling me that I was a "fool" but what my daughter and I heard was that he said a lot of people act out of fear and if not for that would make different decisions. My sister made me feel "small". I am very emotional and don't deal well with stress. I have a wonderful surgeon who told me that he cuts on people all the time but he himself doesn't want to be cut on! If it were his decision he would have the lumpectomy - same outcome for either decision at our age - but, he immediately told me that if you would ask his wife, she would choose mastectomy!! He's a great doctor and I have complete confidence in him! He said that before 2007 everyone was having lumpectomy but now the tide has turned back to mastectomies.
    Thanks for your support - you can't imagine how much I appreciate it!
    I too am a Barbara!
    Haylen_WebMD_Staff replied to 070872's response:
    Welcome to the community Barbara! (I'm the moderator of this board)

    I have 2 daughters and can only pray that they are supportive of me if I have a stressful medical situation! Sending BIG HUGS to you and your girls...

    jean4u replied to 070872's response:
    Hi Barbara,

    I had a digital mam that showed a blur....then the radiologist req'd a 2nd one. Not satisfied with that, I was ref'd for an ultrasound..could not find anything. But still the radiologist was not satisfied. Went for MRI..nothing showed up. Then a mam-guided needle biopsey. The lab 1st test showed non-invasive bc. Then a 2nd test showed invasive bc. No lump. A really tenacious radiologist!

    I didn't mention this in my earlier post, but my decision was definitely influenced by a friend of mine who has had bc and her 3 sisters, too. The latest one to be DX'd chose to have bilat-mast even though she was DX's with bc in one breast. Turns out that when they did the bilat-mast, they discovered bc in the non-DX'd breast!

    Also, when I talked to my PS, he said that rad skin is difficult to work on. It would make it harder to make the breasts symmetrical. My post-lumpectomy breast already had a wedge taken from it and was much smaller than the other one. I heard that rad causes some shrinkage, too.

    Yes, they say that lumpectomy and rad has the same survival rate as mast.. But you still have two breasts and the potential to have recurrence(s). My dau's BF' mom had a recurrence after 8 yrs..

    I came to this board, too before my surgeries. You really are doing a good job getting all the info to help make your decision.

    Like I said, I had had the lumpectomy and had met with the radiologist onco and was set up for rads. Once I would have started the rads, there would be no turning back. It just didn't feel right for me.

    I went to my bc surgeon and told her I had decided I wanted the bilat mast. She was very supportive. I cancelled the rad appts. I felt relief. I knew this was the best choice for me.

    I think you will know when you get to the right choice for you. We are individuals. It will just feel right.

    Look at me, I went through that lumpectomy and changed my course.

    Go to the library and get Dr. Susan Love's breast book. I think ther's one on reconstruction.

    You won't regret taking this time to do research. Also research the side-effects of radiation.

    Hang in there. I think this is a bit overwhelming but I think you will know when you get to the right answer for YOU.

    0910faith responded:
    TO 070872
    Hi I'm faith,
    Please don't let anyone diswade you in your decision.
    I have been pondering the bi-mastectomy for three weeks
    as I have had surgery twice and they have still found
    more ILC. Mine to is Low Grade. I have listenen on here
    to all the women and I'm afraid of the radiation treatment
    and that it might come back or cause further problems.
    I have a appointment Tuesday with the Oncologist
    and I am going to ask my options for the Bi-Mas.
    I am leaning toward this like you.
    I wish you all the best.
    070872 replied to jean4u's response:
    Hi Barb!
    My surgery is scheduled for this Thursday, March 3 @ 7:30 - I have to go to the hospital on Wednesday for the dye injection to locate the sentinel nodes - I am NOT looking forward to that! Needless to say, I am apprehensive, curious as to the results of the other breast which I opted out of the MRI needle biopsy on - whether cancer or not, I'm still fine with my decision. I'm frustrated because this has happened at all especially with no family history - we live in the pacific northwest and the radiology oncologist says we have one of the highest occurances of bc - probably because of our lack of Vitamin D. Well, I think I'm going to be taking some supplements after this!

    I purchased a book that was recommended by a friend called "Breast Cancer, Real Questions, Real Answers" by David Chan. It was very informative - the only thing I kept looking for but never really found in his book was "confirmation" of my decision or a choice of decision. It seemed like, for the most part, he was supportative of lumpectomies so I was left a little discouraged. After all, I'm 63 for goodness sakes!! Why do I always feel like I need someone else's "validation" for my actions?!!

    Right now I am just sad and the weather in Seattle isn't much help but this too shall pass..........
    cancer47 responded:
    I decided to go lumpectomy rather than having the breast removed. Even if you have a breast removed if you have any lympnodes positive you will possibly need chemo. Radiation is a breeze when compared to other things you may go thru. Thinking that the MRI biopsy would hurt and you choose not to do it, I know it sounds scary but this is only the first of many scary times you will have. I was told before surgery there was no sign of lymphnode activity. But after the surgery the results were positive. I still believe that everyone makes their decision, but it's not always cut and dry. The needle biopsy I had done on the other breast and it was negative. I'm glad I did not remove a breast that did not have any cancer.
    sadblossom responded:
    Hello, this is only your choice to make. No one can make it for you. It is a personal decision for all of us. And we have to be confident in our decision. All of our cases are different in their own light. I had a lumpectomy and radiation, I do not regret it at all.At least not as of yet anyway. My surgeon did not even contemplate a mastectomy in my case. A lot depends on which route you go...........type....size of lump(S) if any........recurrance %.........node involvement.....existing health history?............etc; Each choice varies with each patient and their personal circumstances/dx.You must do what is right for YOU.Do what you feel good about.And as far as wanting it to never really ends for any of us once it starts. If we are responsible people then we make sure we continue to do what we need to for the rest of our lives for we are still at a certain amount of risk. BUT, you do get to the point where it does not rule your life and you move on into a lifestyle that is cautious but mostly normal and comfortable. So go with your heart, do all you can to protect yourself and live.
    Please come back here and let us know how it all goes for you. All of us on this board care about each other and help each other all we/they can. Rest easy, it will be OK.
    Take care and God Bless!
    bcdevil replied to sadblossom's response:
    My real name is Sandy aka bcdevil, and i will NOT let anyone change my mind. I let people voice their opinions but this is the choice that i have to live with. It's not right for everyone but i'm sure it's right for me. I have a cousin who had bc 25 yrs ago and the radiation gave her lung cancer, after dealing with breast cancer!! Amazing that things that are supposed to cure us, also make us even more sick!! I am mostly praying that my genetic test comes back negative as i fear for my 3 beautiful daughters. They are all supporting my decision 100%, so i am very lucky!! I hope in 3-5 years i am planning weddings and grandbabies, not fighting cancer again. We all have so much to fight for and i pray for each and every one of you every night. Godspeed be with us all!!!
    070872 replied to bcdevil's response:
    Oh Sandy,
    I guess it's evident that I am not a "strong" person! I've been married to this wonderful man for the past 40 years who loves me for who I am rather than what I am! I will go through with this surgery on Thursday and will let you know how I feel about it afterwards - I think you're scheduled for the 17th? Whether I'm doing an "over kill" or not, I decided with my family and it's what we are "comfortable" about. I'll be anxious for reconstruction afterwards. I was told that there is about a 25% chance of infection if skin expanders are placed immediately after the mastectomy so the plastic surgeon I am using will begin reconstruction 6 weeks after. I am tall and he feels I will have little discomfort - I hope he's right!!

    I feel so blessed with the responses from such caring people and my prayers are with you all!
    bcdevil replied to 070872's response:
    Yes, you are strong! And with you awesome husband and us you can and will beat this sweetie!! Your choice is perfect for you and that is what is important. I will be praying and supporting you 100% on Thursday!! Yes, i do go the 17th. I'm a nervous wreck but i know i can't even begin to heal till i get thru surgery. At least then, i will know exactly what stage of canceer i'm dealing with and can attack my recovery.
    I wasn't old about the 25% risk, so that concerns me. I have always been a very strong person, but for the first time in my life, i feel very weak. Guess maybe, this was God's way of slowing me down. I don't know but this has changed my entire being forever. Cancer to me, is like a theif! It doesn't steal your worldly goods, it steals everything normal about your life!! But in some ways i'm thankful for cancer, Sounds crazy but i have already learned so much from it. In the end, i will be a better person because of it and so will you!! After all, if it wasn't for the cancer i wouldn't be talking to you right now!! And thats a good thing! Hang tight sweetie and i will keep you in my prayers and close to my heart. Stay strong!!

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