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Breast Cancer Diagnosis

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  • #21
    Wishing you the best! I had a double mastectomy 16 years ago...one breast
    was for sure and the other preventative and breast reconstruction started at the same time. Was riding 3 weeks later although I had to use a mounting block to put the saddle on. Just walked and trotted for a while, but my normally spooky old man was a rock. The arena where he was boarded had a marvelous view of Pikes Peak (we lived in Colorado).

    The oncologist decided no chemo or radiation as it had been caught so early (had bumped the breast hard with carry a box around a corner that I didn't quite clear). We also put our house on the market shortly afterward to buy
    a horse property so all the window washing, polishing furniture was good for the
    arms and my surgeon said I had the best range of motion she had ever seen in
    a double mastectomy patient. Brushing horse also probably helped.

    I still see the oncologist yearly and make the trek back to Denver to do so. He's definitely a doc I didn't want to change. Thank goodness DH has pass
    privileges with the airline he works for.


    • Original Poster

      Thank you everyone. I did not care for the onocologist's ...I met them briefly a couple weeks ago...but my insurance pays for that center VS. self pay or driving and 80 mile round trip. The local onocologist's are about 3 miles from my home. I have selected an experienced surgeon 100 miles away though.
      3 more days.......
      I was told I would not be able to use my arm for at least 3 weeks...I was told not lifting, no leading my horse, etc.
      Last edited by Cfourhorses; Jun. 28, 2011, 09:47 AM.


      • #23
        Wishing you the best!
        Re the hair loss. Since I was getting 4 chemo sessions, each 3 weeks apart, I was told my hair would fall before the 2nd one. I truly did not want to wake up with my hair on my pillow... so I ordered a wig to look like my hair and it came in one week before the 2nd session. I had my hair shaved then! It felt like I was in control. A friend and my then 12 yo daughter decided they wanted to come with me and this was the most liberating moment of the whole experience. I had wondered how I would be able to take the wig off at home... it was easy! My daughter has been my best friend since then.
        My friends took turns coming to the chemo sessions with me and that was a great help too. We were all in the same room, but having someone to chat with helped me not look at other patients much sicker than I was.

        I don't know if you have a similar program in the US, but we have the "Look Good, Feel Better" program in Canada. It was marvelous ... you go, learn to apply make up to make you look better... and feel better obviously and you go home with a full box of beautiful cosmetic samples, all free. Everyone in that room had had chemo/cancer, etc., and everyone was laughing, enjoying themselves and really looking better and feeling better. It was a wonderful day!!!

        You lose your hair, but I still had to shave my legs which was unexpected! You still have to be careful with using your surgical arm (side of the breast surgery), no heavy lifting, no shopping bag around the wrist, no needle (I still do not allow blood taken from that arm). You do not want to deal with lymphedema.

        I loved my surgeon, he was my rock during all that time. Always making time for me, giving me his home phone number. He and his wife always inquired about the horse. Unfortunately, he passed away a few years ago from brain cancer and his wife (who was his receptionist) had an aneurysm and was quite handicapped after that. My oncologist was a wonderful down to earth woman, young but with grey hair which she refused to dye. "When I see what my patients have to endure, I can't be vain and colour my hair to look better!" She looked great though. Her husband was also an oncologist and he was candy for the eyes and also so nice!!

        I will be thinking of you!!!


        • #24
          Best wishes to you! I just finished my chemo last week. I have really found breastcancer.org's forum to be helpful and a great source of support: community.breastcancer.org .

          Oh...and I switched oncologists partway through treatment, and am so much happier! I think it's really important to have a doctor you are comfortable with and can relate to well.
          Ristra Ranch Equestrian Jewelry


          • Original Poster

            Thanks Vandy!!



            • #26
              Best wishes, C4; we'll be thinking of you.

              I, too, did not like my oncologist at first. My surgeon was very businesslike, and told me to make the decision about chemo as a business decision--get as many numbers regarding success rates and make a decision based on those. Appealed to me, as a phyical scientist and mathematician. The oncologist, a woman from Poland, was totally wishy-washy, did all of her thinking out loud, and left me on Friday afternoon saying "well, think about it and let me know what you decide" having given me no data to work with. But, she was very intuitive, in a very feminine way. Cancer is a crapshoot, it's different for each person--what could be better than good intuition? I have both Drs following me, so I get both perspectives, and I feel it all turned out as well as possible (knock wood ... ).

              The advise you're getting in terms of activity after surgery is somewhat affected by where in the breast your surgery is. It also seems that there is a lot of variability in what Drs believe about post-op care. You will have worse scarring if your are over-active--it's pretty soft tissue and any pulling on the incision will increase the scarring, so keep that in mind. You have to use your judgement about how quickly you want to be back up to speed versus how you want the results to look and feel afterward. I don't recall ever discussing it with my Drs re the horses. I told them that I had help lined up for farm work and wasn't planning to ride in the Olympics that summer (joke, that) so I'd just feel my way through it and that was fine. The oncologist did mumble at one point that she didn't think I should be around horses; I said that wasn't an option, and that was the end of the discussion. Just remember that your immune system is totally wiped out after chemo, so you do have to be careful; also depends on how well you tolerate the meds they give to rebuild the immune system. Be sensible, there, because the consequences if you get an infection can really mess things up (I'm talking during chemo, should you have that, not post-op).

              More than you wanted to know at this point, again.

              Just be well, *GOOD LUCK*, and we'll be holding you in our thoughts--
              "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

              Spay and neuter. Please.


              • #27
                Hey, I just saw your post. Been there, done that, like many of the other posters here. You're definitely not alone. I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this.

                GOOD LUCK on your surgery. I know it's terrifying to have the day get closer and closer, but I found that the hardest thing was just walking into the hospital to get the ball rolling.

                In answer to your questions, I got back on the horse (proverbial and otherwise) a month after a double mastectomy and, while I took it slow, it felt great to ride throughout the six months of my treatment. I did six rounds of chemo and rode every day except the 3-4 days following an infusion. My doctor encouraged me to get exercise and get out but, like others have said, everyone is different and doctors have differing opinions on this. I did wear a dust mask while grooming, which someone on COTH recommended when I asked similar questions to the ones you're posing now.

                As a side note, I have a little surgery fashion tip: go get yourself a couple of the cotton zip-up-the-front lightweight yoga sweatshirts from Old Navy. They have two interior pockets (one sewn on each side of the front zipper), and they were perfect for holding the drain balls that you'll have in for a week or so after your surgery. Those pockets were the perfect size and shape and the zip-front was perfect for when you're still getting your range of motion back.

                Hang in there, and feel free to PM with any questions. There's no getting around it, it sucks, but I found that I just had to get through each hurdle and now I'm back to normal life on the other side. You will be, too!


                • #28
                  I also want to add that I was terrified before the surgery. I felt the disease was invading me, but I became very calm AFTER the surgery. It was OUT! It was my turn to fight!

                  I hope you feel the same way. I had more energy after the surgery because my energy was not spent in fear! I never felt the anger people talk about, but fear, yes!

                  Thinking of you!!


                  • #29
                    C4 - wishing you the best of luck tomorrow. You will be fine!


                    • #30
                      {hugs} - gosh, just look at all of us here!

                      I am a 13-year survivor, no mastectomy or chemo "just" a lumpectomy, lymphectomy & 6wks daily (no weekends) radiation. Then 5yrs of tamoxifen < TYVM for the weightgain

                      I rode in an event the weekend after I finished radiation tx.
                      Finished 2nd BNH

                      Do ask about preventing lymphedema.
                      I have an insignificant (to me) amount on the surgical side & still do not allow BP readings on that arm.

                      Like FalseImpression, once I had the surgeries I considered myself cured.
                      *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                      Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                      Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                      Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


                      • #31
                        Thinking of you today
                        I wasn't always a Smurf
                        Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                        "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                        The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


                        • #32
                          More good thoughts for you today!
                          "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                          Spay and neuter. Please.


                          • Original Poster

                            I want to thank each and everyone of you for your responses to me. I have read and re-read them all all and cherish each one.

                            Friday, 7-1 was surgery. Took 1/4 of my right breast. Does not look too terribly unmatched to my left...a little padding and one would never know. I think 3 lymph nodes were taken. No drains.

                            My 76 yr. old surgeon felt good about everything....but of course the pathology report will tell us what happens next.

                            Best case scenario... radiation.

                            Biopsy reults showed that my cancer is estrogen negative....not as common as estrogen positive...tomaxifin and like drugs will not help.

                            So I wait until the 12th when I go back to see the surgeon and find out the pathology reslts.

                            I pray all the cancer is gone and all I need is raditation.

                            If this is what I need I could be riding with in a month!!

                            Trying to relax in the mean time & not stress.

                            Have been going to the barn and doing little while my hubby and daughter do chores.

                            It is good to get out to the barn!! I am not too keen on sitting home!!



                            • #34
                              You sound like you're doing great in the whole scheme of things. You have a great attitude!

                              It's hard though no matter what and I think it can be a bit of a roller coaster. For me, the time after I was finished with treatment was one of the hardest.

                              I hope you can be riding in a month and that you get clean margins on your pathology report!

                              {{Hugs}} and healing thoughts


                              • Original Poster

                                Thank you Hoofpick

                                Takes some effort to keep the negative thoughts at bay!! But trying.




                                • #36
                                  C4, mine was estrogen negative, as well. Looking for the little silver lining, as least we're spared the side effects of tamoxifen (weight gain).

                                  Did you say somewhere that yours was in a spot that you'd had a soft-tissue injury or a large bruise at one time?

                                  Anyhow, best wishes for the best possible outcome on the treatment!!
                                  "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                                  Spay and neuter. Please.


                                  • #37
                                    Yes, tamoxifen and weight gain... but I have managed to lose it all again! Thinking of you. Think positive. It's out of your system, it's gone. Now you follow doctors' orders. Enjoy the summer.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Thank you FalseImpression and Monstrpony.

                                      No brusing or soft tissue injury to my knowledge...do not remember anything ever happening taumatic to that breast.

                                      I have read the estrogen negative is not nearly as common as positive estro.

                                      Trying to think positive

                                      Glad you lost the weight Monstrpony....hoping I can lose some myself



                                      • #39
                                        I am glad you reported your progress so far, will hope and pray for a smooth and speedy recovery from surgery. I have been blessed so far not to have that particular problem, but did have open heart surgery a year ago January so can empathize with the stress and coping with an invasive surgery.

                                        There is an organization that was created by and mostly geared toward the saddle seat show breeds but is doing some cool stuff to fundraise for breast cancer research. Even though it may not be your chosen equestrian discipline, maybe looking at what UPHA is doing may be inspiring?

                                        I have often wondered if this is something that could become a trend in other types of horse competitions, not just saddle seat, to have a designated 'pink ribbon' class.

                                        Good luck and keep us posted!
                                        Last edited by sdlbredfan; Jul. 5, 2011, 09:12 AM. Reason: improve content
                                        RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


                                        • Original Poster

                                          Update...visit 7-12-11

                                          On a scale of 1-10, (10 being best news), I woul consider myself an 8. On 7/29 I need more surgery as the surgeon was not comfortable w/ 1 of the 4 margins. And the cancer had become "invasive" in 2 areas...he said it is not a well behaved cancer and is aggressive..but... we have it pretty early. Lymph nodes clear. Surgeon not sure about radiation VS. chemo....onchologist's will have to decide as it did start being "invasive" and is an aggressive type so chemo a possibility...but all in all good news...still a bit more to go!! If chemo they would like me to come up there to Strong for chemo treatments, 200 mile round trip. Will meet the onchologist's up there sometime in Aug.

                                          Report reads: Ductal carcinoma in situ with microinvasion (A10, A28).

                                          Tumor size 5.7 cm

                                          Nuclear grade 3

                                          Solid & cibriform

                                          comedo type

                                          Estrogen receptor negative

                                          Microinvasion 2 foci measuring 1mm each

                                          closest margin <1mm

                                          They forgot to check for HER -2...next surgery they will.