Whew. Well, that is not too bad. I hope the next surgery goes smoothly. Your's sounds similar to mine. I am now almost 4 years from the surgery, which I count as my Free From Cancer date.
BEST of luck to you and thanks for keeping us posted.
Great news about the lymph nodes. Did they take a sentinel node? They took 13 nodes in my case and, like you it was invasive. However, my surgeon had been careful NOT to use the term but had explained things clearly. My stupid family doctor is the one who said "Oh yeah, well it was invasive..." not saying more. The surgeon reassured me, but I had decided to have the whole breast removed anyway! I felt so much more comfortable with that.
I did have chemo and tamoxifen. I wanted to tell myself I had done everything possible to fight this thing and in case of relapse, I did not want to ask myself "What if I had done this or that ... then?"
I am glad they are being very careful and going back in again to make sure they get clear margins. Better for you in the long run. Frankly, chemo was not bad for me (Zofran was my friend!) and in my case, radiation would have been a 200 miles round trip. They only did chemo in town (now that has changed though). But, since the breast was removed, there was no need for radiation; chemo was preventative and, touch wood, so far it has worked.
Good to hear!! Great news about the lymph nodes. It is reassuring, if nothing else, when they want to go back and make sure they got everything possible. If you do have to do chemo, well--it is much more well managed than the horror stories of old, so chances are you'll weather it okay. But overall, I'd say the news is fairly good, so good job all around! Hope it all continues as positive as possible!
"One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine
Surprisingly I now need to count back to remember when!! Between my horses and naturopath/accupuncture Dr hepled me though. Back to riding soon really never quit..Now it is just an excuse to not move those darned three tie bales.
Hey, I'm just checking back in with your thread. I'm so glad that the surgery went well. It's a drag that you have to go back in for more, but the second one will be a lot less traumatic since The Lump (grrr!) is gone, and this second time it's just precautionary. Sad though it may be, every surgery seems easier. The first time I went in, I couldn't stop crying, and the last one... well... not a tear was shed. I had a big smile on my face while waiting for the anesthesiologist because I knew that I was just hours away from being completely D.O.N.E.
If you wind up having to do chemo, I agree with the others that say it's not as bad as the stories of old. The thought of it and all the things associated with it, much like the thought of the surgery prior to going in, is far worse than the actual experience of living through it.
I know that everything must feel like it's spinning out of control right now, but just keep jumping through the necessary hoops and you'll be through it in a few months.
Do keep us posted. You have a lot of people here rooting for you!
Thank you everyone!! I have been "riding" only walking...do not want to "bounce" @ this point...LOL. Friday for surgery # 2 is almost here.
I saw my primary Dr. @ church Sun. & she wants me to ask if I should have both radiation & chemo. I did find out in that case chemo comes 1st for about 6 mos. The hospital where I have surgery is 100 miles away and they said if I need chemo they prefer I go there but the radiation I can do locally.
Their onacologists just do BC and the clinic here does all cancers.
I am frustrated because now I will have to heal all over again since it has almost been a month since surgery #1. No swimming this summer Last summer I had bi lateral hip replacements....I really thought this would be a summer for riding w/ my "newer" horse. Oh well at least I have been getting on and putzing around.
This chemo has me anxious. I REALLY NEED to get back to work ASAP...hubby cannot cover all my expenses & he is getting frustrated. Being self employed = no disability for me.
The woman who sold my mare to me has said she will take her back for as long as I needed to @ her farm if I cannot work on chemo and I could take her back once on my feet. This is a wonderful offer...but I hope I do not have to send her away...I would miss her.
I have been terrified reading the breast cancer sites and forums.....so basically I have stopped. Having BC I am finding MANY have had it themselves or know someone who did. Some survive...some have not!!!! OK breath.......
I will meet w/ the onacologists from both facilities at some point in August and find out what happens next and what my prognosis will be hopefully....
Only 2 lymph nodes were taken and yes one was the sentinel, what could that mean?
The sentinal lymph nodes are the first ones in the lymph drainage path from the breast, and are a likely location for any cancer cells that have begun to migrate. If your sentinal nodes are clear, you have a better chance of having no migration, so that's a good thing. They identify the sentinal nodes by putting a tracer into your breast before the surgery and giving it time to begin to drain through the lymph system. The first nodes that the tracer shows up in are the sentinal ones. The tracer is either a dye, or it can be a radioactive tracer. So, if they took sentinal nodes, they were just doing their job in terms of collecting data for making decisions about further treatment.
The fact that they are not in a rush about your surgeries or deciding about further treatment is a positive sign; if they were worried, they'd be moving you along. Frustrating, but so it goes.
I would encourage you to avoid unguided web browsing about this; there is so much bad info on the web. Ask your Drs to suggest sites that they feel are accurate and reliable and avoid the others. So many sites are trying to sell something and are shameless about using scare tactics.
Do not get yourself worked up about chemo; chances are good that if you do need it, you will have minimal reaction, and remember that the support drugs are SO much better now than the horror stories of old. It's no picnic, but it isn't really that bad. Keep a positive attitude; consider it an adventure. Go into it with the attitude that you're going to be one of the strong patients, that you're not going to let it get to you. Give it a chance to be not that bad. Take your meds, stay hydrated (that's a big one), plan to be totally wasted for two or three days and then wrung out for a few more, and then go about your business till the next infusion. (the wasted days won't be right after the infusion, you'll just feel a bit druggy; it takes a couple of days for it to hit, but everyone is different in this and it depends on what drugs you are doing, too).
That said, remind your husband that you are fighting for your life here. He's going to be hard pressed to find much sympathy for his frustration at your being out of work a bit; he might as well give that up yesterday. This wasn't your idea, you have no choice in it, but if you have to go through it, you'd appreciate his non-judgemental support. Yes, he's probably struggling in his own way with this; perhaps your Drs can suggest a program of support for him, where he can express his anger and frustration and fears (all very legitimate) without burdening you with them.
Is someone going with you when you go to Drs appts? It can be really hard to take in all of the info and remember it yourself; take a good friend along to chat with while you're waiting for the Drs and to take good notes on everything that is said. Keep a notebook with you to write down questions that occur to you at odd times; you'll forget them when you're in the Drs office. You might want to designate a tote bag to take with you for all of the paperwork and info they will give you.
And then ... try to relax, and breathe! We're here for you!!
"One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine
I made the decision early not to read the web. It was too scary! I had a good group of friends (none had gone through cancer) and I stuck with it. I felt I did not need the ups and downs of others. I did not want to go to support group meetings, get to know someone and then have to deal (maybe) with that person having a relapse. I felt strong on my own, with my medical team and normal friends.
The first chemo treatment was the scariest for me because I did not know what to expect and my own oncologist was not there. I had to "deal" with the "bad bed manners doctor"! but since he was not my doctor, it went in one ear and out the other.
Every treatment, I told myself I was on the same river as all these other people, but NOT in the same boat and I was getting off earlier!! I chose the 4 treatments 3 weeks apart which guaranteed me hair loss by the 2nd treatment. So I had my head shaved to be in control. But I was never sick nor totally exhausted. I kept saying I had a disease but "I" was not sick!
I was also self-employed when this happened, but my husband had good company insurance which covered Zofran etc. All chemo drugs were in hospital and therefore covered by provincial insurance. So were the surgery and follow up visits. Sometimes I felt my husband was not very supportive either. They deal differently for sure and he could never say "I don't want to lose you", it was always "We don't want to lose you" (meaning the kids and him). And to this day, it upsets me that he had to use the "We".
Good luck on Friday. Relax and breathe. Think that they are making sure you are cancer free. Be positive!
First let me send hugs and my wish for you to have peace and strength during this difficult time.
My journey was like this..........bought a dump of a farm that needed total renovation in 3/06. Dx'd with BC May 06 ICDS with invasion. Surgery, Chemo Radiation. Couldn't ride during treatments much but loved even a ride to the mail box to get my riding fix.
2008 adopted a Golden Retreiver who is a water rat. That winter he fell through ice in my pond I fell in trying to get him out. Dressed for a early North East Feb morning in Carharts, muck boots, jeans, winter coat.............destroyed my hips.
Couldn't ride or do much of anything for 2 years (no health insurance, was impossible to get (afford) after a BC DX) until I had one replaced this past winter.
My journey is the reverse of yours. To get my horse fix and not have to worry about infections during chemo, I taught my horses agility. They can do a course just like a dog including jumps and weave poles!
I do find it ineresting how many of "us" have both hip replacements and BC! Oh and BTW, I am riding on the trails with the girls tonight *G*
Last edited by casper324; Jul. 27, 2011 at 07:33 AM.
I enjoy and gain encouragement from rereading your posts.
Hubby is supportive...he is jut frustrated we do not have enough to cover the monthly bills w/out my income. He also lost his mother as a young boy to BC.
He was on chemo 2 years ago and spent 6 months in the hospital bed. He could barely move he was so weak. His front tooth broke off, he had a rare side effect, neuropathy...which has left him handicapped and unable to drive.
So when the chemo word is used I know his experience all too well. He did receive disability income from work so we made it through.
My daughter is going to surgery w/ me again as hubby must stay back w/ the animals and I will not be able to drive myself home after surgery.
With cancer I do notice that some "friends" are distancing themselves. At first they made offers to help drive me to an appointment, bring food, very concerned & supportive....now they rarely answer my emails. I feel as if some people think I am contagious! LOL.
I also have lost some long time customers...I think the C word scares them. With my customers this is the 2nd summer I am not there for them and with the C word they must think it is better to find a healthy person to go to. In a way I feel as if some people are writing me off already.
A couple people offerd to excercise my horse but they fell off the radar too...I know people are busy and have their own lives to live....
I will just have to go step by step and take things as they come. My one fear is having to send my horse back to her former owner while I do the chemo...a I doubt I will be able to work full time and not be able to support her...it is a blessing the former owner is making this outstanding offer available to me!! It would also take the burden of my portion of the barn chores off my family as I work off part of the board.
I want to thank each of you for your replies as they mean more to me than you will ever know!!
Sorry I am late to this thread. I was also diagnosed with breast cancer last December and have just recently completed my six major treatments - Herceptin only every three weeks for the rest of the year. Like you, I had to go back in for a second operation after the margins weren't clean the first time, so went from a lumpectomy to a mastectomy but was able to drop the radiation.
Although my reconstructive surgeon isn't letting me ride yet, I had no major problems with the chemo, just some tiredness and shortness of breath towards the end. In fact, I quickly discovered that my minor stomach discomfort was a side effect of the Zofran, not the chemo, and stopped taking it. I even went out to California and helped a friend who was showing in her first CPEDI event! Chemo these days isn't always bad by any means, though everyone's reaction to it is a little different. Do take a quilt or blanket to keep you warm during treatment.
I was also advised to visit my dentist before starting chemo, to get any necessary work out of the way, since they don't like to do any dental work while your immune system is compromised.
Another vote for avoiding the on-line cancer forums - way too depressing. Luckily, I ran across a lot of BC survivors in the local riding community who had far more positive attitudes and gave me a lot of encouragement. I also got a couple of wigs ahead of time and have received more compliments on my looks since I started treatment than I got before, lol.
Very best wishes for your second surgery and know that we will all be here for you during your chemo. Fell free to PM me at any time if you have any questions, or are just feeling down.
Good luck with your surgery. *hugs* I also second not reading too much on line, but you do need to be your own advocate. There are lots of people here with many positive stories. I found that the most help after I was diagnosed three years ago. I went from being sent home with a clean bill of health after a lumpectomy to a double mastectomy two months later. I had four rounds of chemo. It wasn't bad, I was wiped out for about four days after each treatment. Other than that I did stalls, rode and enjoyed my horse. Relax, we are all cheering for you!
I will keep thinking positive thoughts for you.
I know what you mean about people distancing themselves. I lost a friend who I never would have believed would dump me, but plenty of other people did a lot for me.
I hope you can keep your horse near you, you will need the comfort.
Hang in there, we are all pulling for you.
I wish you all the good energy I can -
I agree... DON'T read cancer forums- they are depressing and just not accurate to the true statistics out there. Don't let that negative energy into your life- you are worth way more than that.
Surgery went well. A little more "sting" to the incision than from the 1st surgery...and it is a bit longer now too.
The surgeon said because the cancer went "micro invasive" and I am pre-menopausal....chemo is most likley the road I will take possible w/ radiation after.
The chemo scares me only because I still MUST work...and do not want to have to send my horse away.....again the former owner offering to keep her for me until I am on my feet again is so amazing!! And this would ensure me from having to sell her. Will have to see how I feel and that is at least a month away.
The surgeon said I will lose my hair and I was looking at a catalog at the Hope Lodge where we are staying and I think I like the soft terry turban's. I do not think I would like the feel of a wig as I like my hair very short anyway. And w/ the scarves they look bulkey...but pretty.. as the tails hang down and I think that would bug me.
Most of the chemo would be in colder months and I would just wear my knit caps anyway.
I wonder how a shaved head would feel under my riding helmet?? Scratchy?? (If I can work and afford to keep my horse w/me).
Thank you all for your responses...I enjoy rereading them so much!!
I was reading "Leena's" story the other day and WOW...what an amazing woman and equestrian....she is so fortunate to be able to keep and ride her horses!!