Breast cancer

Affected by breast cancer? Join this group to share experiences and ask questions to people who understand what you're going through.

Feeling Overwhelmed

LizzieB16
Posted by

Hello to everyone! Sorry for the long post. Got out of the shower four weeks ago and noticed in the mirror that I had a HUGE black, black bruise on the side of my right breast. No idea where it came from. I'm sure I would have remembered if someone had knocked me that badly! Felt a lump underneath the bruise. Managed to get a same-day appointment with my GP (usually unheard of). She immediately referred me to the breast unit of my local hospital and got me in the following week. After a mammogram there was the ultrasound to go through. Fully expecting her to say it's just a cyst, I wasn't expecting her to say that it was in TWO places! What? I had to sit and wait to see a consultant who told me that we were probably looking at breast cancer! I'm sorry, can you just repeat that? You know that something is going on when you're shown into a private room and they go and get your husband from the waiting room.

I was assigned my Specialist Breast Care Nurse (who is just lovely). She told me that four of them had looked at my images and, even if the results come back negative, they would ask for another test. That's how sure they were of what we were dealing with.

I was diagnosed two weeks ago - Stage 2 (in both areas) connected by a calcium stream, which they don't know yet whether it's cancerous ER+ HER2-  Undergoing my single mastectomy next Tuesday. Apparently they will do more testing to determine what further treatment I require, although my surgeon has said she thinks I will require a "not insignificant amount" of radiotherapy. I am putting off my reconstruction till later - 1. because if I need radiotherapy it could affect the reconstruction, and 2. apparently I'm too f*****g fat! No, my consultant did not call me fat! She just said that as my BMI is over 30 then she wouldn't be happy putting me through a longer operation that absolutely necessary.

After diagnosis I made the mistake of googling everything - huge mistake! I have had two meltdowns (usually on a Tuesday for some reason)! I usually have a fantastic  memory but at the minute I have described my brain as an overstuffed bin, and if I try to take in any other information, two other pieces fall out. I can start a sentence and either can't remember a word I want to use, or I forget altogether what I was talking about.

I feel like this has been going on for months but couldn't wrap my head around the fact that I was only diagnosed two weeks ago!

I'm trying to take one step at a time but it's so hard! I find I'm wanting to talk to everyone and anyone who will listen and boring the pants off them in the process. See, I'm rambling again. Sorry, future posts will be shorter - I promise!

Lenaloo
Posted by

Hi im sorry to hear all this.  I cant imagine how you must be feeling as im awaiting my results on Thursday and im a complete mess! Xx

Northerner
Posted by

Hi and welcome ,sorry to here your news ,I know you don't want to be here but it is the best place to be when you in this situation . I too like to tell all social media great for this .I also use my warped sense of humour to cope . Whatever tool that helps maud sense .

I was called back from mammogram they had found calcification,no lumps to be found either by ultra sound or surgeon .two weeks later biopsy back with results being invasive carcinoma and invasive ducal carcinoma 50mm area .

lovely conversation about how he was coming in to say mastectomy but because I have big boobs could do lumpectomy so after being given more info what do I want to do mastectomy says me ..are you sure ..what ? You must be sure I'm 70 boob done its job ..must be sure I'm going  home to think ok come back in morning 

Strangest conversation I've ever had !im still trying to work out how come no lump .

next morning a radiologist thinks it could be smaller area . So second biopsy rushed thru thus proves changes occurring so I made stronger decision for right side mastectomy. This was last Tuesday on Thursday I had my op . 8 days after diagnosis. Came home today . Tired but ok

.i also googled in the short space of time I had and read everything I could .

I decided no reconstruction as I'm too old to be bothered 70 but that's my choice . Surgeon wants to do reduction of good side for balance ( maybe I'll fall over ) I have bad back so even would be better , so there you go I can ramble as well. I can also tell family that yes I am going to get ratty and tired .also my head full so get out of it . But I'm coping with help and support of places like this

. Take care 

feel free to ramble 

love and hugs xoxo

love and hugs 
xoxox
Margaret
LizzieB16
Posted by

Thank you Lenaloo x

LizzieB16
Posted by

Thank you Northerner. My brain has jumped from "No Reconstruction - they've served their purpose" to "Definitely Reconstruction - I'll fall over" to "I'm going to look weird!" so good to know it's a new kind of normal. I also have a very weird, warped sense of humour which not everyone gets! xx

Weeblemum
Posted by

When I had my mastectomy in 2013, I wasn't sure whether I wanted reconstruction or not, but they didn't give me a choice of immediate reconstruction so I didn't have to make that choice before the initial surgery. 

As I was undecided, they decided to give me radiotherapy over an extended period - instead of 15 sessions, I had 25. This was the same overall dosage over a longer period in order that the skin and underlying tissue was damaged as little as possible for a reconstruction down the line. I was lucky that I had VERY few side effects skin-wise just a very slight pink tinge in the last couple of sessions (it turns out that I do have some long -lasting lung issues, but they wouldn't affect reconstruction)

Just letting you know this in case you decide that immediate reconstruction is not for you - it might be that this method of radiation might be an option! 

Good luck, whatever you decide!

Best wishes

Cathy

x

Northerner
Posted by

H lizzieb16 thought it might help to tell you I'm an F cup so wide hence I could fall over or as I said to surgeon look lopsided  I asked for softies ( portable boobies ) On day we decided mastectomy needed .then went to good old m&s for bra.

I felt I would possibly be too vulnerable to go after op . Also managed to get soft sport type bra from Asda online both have been approved by bcare nurse

Sooo ! Yesterday when I was getting dressed to come home I dressed without bra so yes lopsided ( not bragging but I'm top heavy) had good look in mirror .Then put bra on with right side soft prosthetic. Asda. And ask ward nurse to check . It felt and look fine . I was so comfortable coming out .

my surgeon agreed with me that I don't want a reconstruction but could discuss later if I want . But he would recommend, for me , a reduction on good size to balance with prosthetic got visitors will come back 

love and hugs 
xoxox
Margaret
Northerner
Posted by

Sorry back now ..finding I can't multitask at the minute ha ha .

so where were we ?

So surgeon would recommend a reduction in a few months which is when I decided he might be worried about me falling over  This will be discussed at a later date .when I'm over initial shock and thinks have calmed down a bit ..I have never liked roller coasters !!

my next step is dressing removal tomorrow .Then get to our caravan in lakes to chill before review meeting .Think wobble might come back for that meeting , but at least I will find out if I have anything else to deal with. 

Sorry for long post any questions bout op or post op just ask just remember this is my experience each person has there own story .this is your story with your choices to make just gather as much in as possible to help you .Then you to can share in the hope it helps someone else

love and hugs 
xoxox
Margaret
LizzieB16
Posted by

Thank you all so much x

Fallenangel1
Posted by

Only found out its definitely tuesday i have breast cancer. Was told 23mm from ultra sound. Then today told its much bigger than first though. Only had biopsy done today. Was getting my head round the idea of having a marble sizes mass removed. Today shes told my how unlevel i would be. So im looking at a breast reduction done at the same time. My point is my bmi is 40. Im an h cup she think ill be c/d cup. The pictures horrified me. Im a chunky and my boobs balance me out. I know the op will save my life but it feels like its losing my identity. Im vain, scared and lost. I know how you feel. Im angry confused cant stop crying. Now im rambling x

LizzieB16
Posted by

Fallenangel1 Sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I have been told that as my BMI's 35.2 that I will have to lose a ton of weight before they'll even consider my reconstruction or breast reduction on the other side. I have decided to take small steps, one at a time. We are having to make really important decisions very quickly. My head is 'buzzing' with all the information I've tried to take in. Breathe deeply and slowly Fallenangel1 - We can do this. I want to get back to normal but I know that's never going to happen, but as my eldest son said to me "Mum, it'll just be a different kind of normal" - stay strong xx

WhatHappened
Posted by

I am sorry you have found yourselves in this group, the group none of us wanted to join, however, we are here and what an amazing bunch of people they are or Fruit Loops as we are also know.

You will go though waves and waves of emotions with all this, and you are right to we all.  We are at a place that the majority of us have no understanding or back ground and then boom we are rushed onto a roller coaster of a ride when we didn't even know we had a ticket for the ride.

If this helps, I am over 50, only short in height, over weight and DD/G size cup.  I suppose a little like a weeble, although, slowly I am 'trying' to 'walk my way to happiness'..... although the walking seems to have disappeared at the moment.

At the start of my story, I was 'get it out, take them both off, all off, so long as its out'.... I think this is a natural reaction for something we have not idea about.

Cutting my story short, I was originally told due to size to be taken out (I think it was roughly 75mm x 75mm x 40mm) that I would be best to have 'therapeutic mammoplasty' ..... I seen pictures of the surgeons work and to be honest, it didn't help me feel any more confident, it scared me, I was expecting to see photos like the ladies that have had cosmetic breast surgery.

I kept all this in my mind, and worked mentally on the bonus of having both boobs reduced and got myself mentally prepared for this......

Then I found out about 'TARGET IORT' this is where you have lumpectomy and radiotherapy combined!! (This surgery is amazing and is now available on the NHS at a limited number of hospitals - thought most doctors still do not tell the patents about this treatment - this is another story and I will continually beat the drum to get this treatment heard of - by law all doctors and consultants should tell a patient of this treatment regardless of whether is its available at their hospital or even if a patient doesn't fit the criteria to have this treatment).

Anyway, I am rambling, so I find out about TARGET IORT and then say about the 'therapeutic mammoplasty' to 'even me up'.  My Consultant says this he can see no reason why I would have this done, there is no need - yes my boob will be slightly smaller, over time the body 'fill's in the space.  I light heartedly joked about 'having a bust reduction' and he said, if I had wanted this type of surgery I would of had it done years ago.... which is sort of true I suppose, although I would of liked it done, I would never of had the courage - so this was more a 'mentally, I am having a bust reduction rather than what the "real" operation was for.

What a situation I had put myself in, mentally I was prepared for the 'therapeutic mammoplasty' and now being told by a different Consultant (the Consultant that went on to do my surgery) that I really don't need to have such extreme surgery, there was no health benefits. 

The area was my left boob, top left - (if you had a pocket on a shirt that is the area).  I was thinking if it was the bottom area the weight of the boob would pull down and slowly cover/hide the operation site. I thought at the top this won't fill in. 

I went for the lumpectomy (TARGET IORT). I could not believe I had had my treatment, I had what looked like 'two sterria strips' - those funny little strips of plaster.  I will be honest, for the first few weeks I would not look at my boob, I didn't want to.  Then when I did I hated it, I think this is natural feeling for many of us, mainly because it 'reminds us of what has actually gone on', at the start it was all of a rush, a roller coaster of a ride and then after the operation I think this is when it finally sinks in and we start to grieve the old 'us' and adjust and move forward to understanding and accepting the new us. The operation area is a reminder of it all as time goes on it becomes part of a battle scar and slowly, slowly it all fades. 

Little by little, week by week, the area changed 'the dent' slowly started to disappear, 12/14 months on you can hardly see it now.
Yes my boob is still slightly smaller than the other, but hey apparently most women have lopsided boobs naturally and if I am honest it really is not that big a deal - especially in the bigger picture. 

Here is one thought though, the area I had lymph nodes taken from was, lets say, 'sore' not painful, a stinging type of sore.....
The lumpectomy area was not painful at all... I did as I was told, took it easy, didn't over do anything and everything went well. 
I could not and still can't get over the fact that 'so much was done - without pain' ..... this them made me think hmmm for my own reasons, to have a smaller bust.... should I have had the therapeutic mammoplasty - this is easy for me to ask now, now that I have experienced surgery..... but, I know, I would not have the courage to volunteer to have it done now! 

The best thing you can do - is look at all options, how you feel mentally with it all, a little part of me wishes my boobs where smaller, I am just so grateful that it was picked up early and I was blessed to be able to have treatment.  

I came here nearly two years ago with the question of what do I do 'lumpectomy or therapeutic mammoplasty' and Mistymoley gave me the best advice..... 

I know you are conflicted.  I'm going to tell you that the WLE is the one for you.  How does that make you feel?  Are you now tending towards the mammoplasty?  

OK, so I tell you to have the mammoplasty.  Wish you were having the WLE?  I think sometimes you need to be given no option to realise which option you really want.  

If you are fearing recurrence, you need to know that it doesn't matter how much breast tissue you have, it only takes one rogue cell to develop into breast cancer, so that's kinda irrelevant.  Also, secondaries can develop in the lungs, brain, bones, all over the place, so that is even more irrelevant.  

If your surgeon goes for the WLE, he may find more cancer and decide to take more and you would be quite lopsided.  Then your mum would notice, most likely.  Or it may be less than expected, and you'd be up and about in no time.  

I say go with your gut. Ask your surgeon for your statistics for both.  I'm pretty sure they'd be the same. You can use the Predict tool as well, if you want to try your own statistics.  

This was the thread... 
Thinking of you and hoping I have helped a little - sending hugs xxx
Northerner
Posted by

Hi Fallenangel1 

if it helps you to know I had mastectomy last Thursday 8 days after diagnosis .An calcification area of 50mm proved positive . Not much time to take info in and make decision between lumpectomy or mastectomy.

I am 70 no idea what bmi but overweight with a F/G cup .For myself I decided against reconstruction ,but have been offered reduction on good side .A decision that can be confirmed a few months down the road I wasn't offered one at same time .I did make a joke about being lopsided .one thing that was mentioned was My boob was wide , this could make it difficult to match up with permanent prosthetic so wouldn't be balanced.

At the moment I have got a soft temp prosthetic (Freda ) I was able to wear even when dressing just removed . Been In use all day today . Even tho I have a large cup you honestly cannot tell so I would wait til the rollercoaster slows down a bit before you make some of the decisions and just use your energy in the now ! We all have felt /feel the same but this community is such a support . People think I've lost the plot because my weird humour has come out but whatever helps you cope .

Must admit less pain than I thought just take the painkillers . More inclined to think I may have a reduction later.

Well that's my ramble for today 

love and hugs 

xoxo

love and hugs 
xoxox
Margaret
Northerner
Posted by

Hi Fallenangel1 

if it helps you to know I had mastectomy last Thursday 8 days after diagnosis .An calcification area of 50mm proved positive . Not much time to take info in and make decision between lumpectomy or mastectomy.

I am 70 no idea what bmi but overweight with a F/G cup .For myself I decided against reconstruction ,but have been offered reduction on good side .A decision that can be confirmed a few months down the road I wasn't offered one at same time .I did make a joke about being lopsided .one thing that was mentioned was My boob was wide , this could make it difficult to match up with permanent prosthetic so wouldn't be balanced.

At the moment I have got a soft temp prosthetic (Freda ) I was able to wear even when dressing just removed . Been In use all day today . Even tho I have a large cup you honestly cannot tell so I would wait til the rollercoaster slows down a bit before you make some of the decisions and just use your energy in the now ! We all have felt /feel the same but this community is such a support . People think I've lost the plot because my weird humour has come out but whatever helps you cope .

Must admit less pain than I thought just take the painkillers . More inclined to think I may have a reduction later.

Well that's my ramble for today 

love and hugs 

xoxo

love and hugs 
xoxox
Margaret
Fallenangel1
Posted by

Thanks for replying. Your sons very positive kids have a great ability to ground us to the practical aspects. My heads a mess at the moment. One minute i want to talk but i think if i here another "they can work miracles these days" im going to barf. Im angry on minute and in tears the next. Although i did manage 5 hours today where i didnt burst into tears.