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View Diary: I was just diagnosed with breast cancer (146 comments)

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  •  thanks to all who (41+ / 0-)

    have replied so far. I may very well have questions as I go through this. Won't know much more til after surgery, although I suspect lymph node spread (there is definitely something there). But exact stage, etc. Unknown.

    It's the waiting that I find so weird. You'd think they'd want to get moving more quickly.

    Inconceivable! You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    by hopeful on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 10:08:44 AM PST

    •  {{{{{hopeful}}}}} (29+ / 0-)

      Great user name for your circumstances now--but I guess it's always applicable.

      Waiting is weird. With some cancers, it appears that urgency is not necessary. But it's not at all fun to wait even if there's no reason for alarm. Your sequence doesn't appear unusually slow, yet I can appreciate why it seems like an eternity between each step.

      If you have heard this already, then please disregard. One of the more constructive things you can do is to create a notebook for your medical records. I have one with a cover that permits an insert, and in it I have a photo of Uncle Fester making a lightbulb glow, with the caption, "Sometimes all you can do is suck lightbulbs." (It seems funny to me, anyway, which is all that matters.)

      My tabs include consult reports, lab and test results, and follow-up instructions. It was really valuable to me when I was in the middle of intense treatment to have this information close at hand. In my first consults, I prepared a list of questions for my oncologist. My husband took notes of her answers--and that's another piece of advice: take someone with you if at all possible to the consults. It is terribly hard to listen, take notes, and ask questions all on your own. And afterwards, having had someone else there who can help you remember is important. (If you can't get anyone to accompany you, see if you can record the conversation.)

      There may well be some days of feeling ill from treatment. Most of the women I know who have had treatment for BC don't feel ill from it to the extreme, however, and if they do that's usually something that can be addressed.

      I know it's hard, almost impossible, not to 1) anticipate and 2) assume your experience will be like another's. But staying in the moment is important, and so is recognizing that the course of your illness and recovery really is unique.  

      We are pulling for you.

      Oh, one more piece of advice: See if you have a Cancer Support Community or a Gilda's Club near you. The programs they offer are great, and free to people with cancer. My in-person support group has been marvelous, and so have the other services I've used (particularly yoga and meditation).

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      by peregrine kate on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 11:06:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Great advice, kate, especially the part about (4+ / 0-)

        keeping a well organized written record.  While the information itself is important, the recording and organizing of it will help Hopeful feel like she's her own case manager and will expand her perspective on what's happening and allow her to track what is happening.  Over time things won't feel so random and out of her control, in other words, so helpless.

        We're here for you, hopeful.  Your desire to be alone for awhile is understandable.  We'll hang with you.

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        by judyms9 on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 02:05:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I find the waiting (7+ / 0-)

      while one is in the office, waiting for the initial mammograms to be read just horrible.  I can't imagine waiting 3 weeks! \

      I would want it OUT!  ASAP.  I think you are handling it wonderfully, and send you cyber hugs and best wishes.  

      Everybody does it a little differently.  No need to apologize.  Be well ........ and hopeful!    {{{{ }}}}

      •  Waiting. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PinHole, hopeful, Sixty Something

        Ladies (and gents!),

        There is a breast cancer center that is part of a local hospital (John C. Lincoln) in Phoenix that does the mammo, and has a doc on site who reads it and goes over it with you shortly after (digital) scan is taken. . . No waiting for a letter. . . If you are blessed with good insurance that has minimal approval hoops to jump thru, they can do the ultrasound and biopsy same day / same appt. . . My bride's care was very good and the anxiety of "the wait" was minimal. . . They have a place that provides biopsy info in a few days as opposed to weeks. . .She is doing fine after a double mastectomy almost 2 years ago (Must donate surgical bra's)

        They are special. We love them. Care / people driven.  

        I am a male and ironically I had "the wait" myself. Found a lump and the work nurse told me I needed to get it looked at ASAP. I would be home (1,200 miles away) in a month and would get it taken care then . . . She had asked about family history (not good - why I visited) and wrote up the size / location / "feels like' info. . . Had to call my former Doc (who also treated Ma's breast CA) and he got me in for a mammogram. . . Big Chicago hospital, yet the were still using x-ray, as opposed to digital. . . VERY long  2 weeks waiting. . . Didn't feel comfortable talking with co-workers and didn't want to worry the bride). . .

        Moral of the story. A) There are awesome patient orientated care givers available and B) guys need to follow up on lumps too. (P.S. Mine was fine ! ! !)

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        by Gilmore on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 08:51:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Two years ago (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          we lost a middle aged male friend to breast cancer.  It took 2+ yrs from the time of initial diagnosis.  I have no idea how long it took him to get it X-rayed from the time he suspected, until it was diagnosed.  

          I do know that it was thought after the first round of treatments that he had licked it, but it popped up again.

          Glad you are OK - stay well!  

    •  About the waiting: BC is NOT an emergency. (7+ / 0-)

      That's a good thing. The kinds of cancers where they want to whip you into the OR before you have time to think are not the kind you want to have.

      So yes, it's weird. But the cancer has probably been there for five to ten years, progressing very slowly, so another couple of weeks won't make any difference in treatment.

    •  about lymph nodes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      if by "something there" you mean one you can feel, it isn't necessarily cancer. I had a big lump in my armpit, and it was just plugged up from when I nursed my babies -- I guess the milk can travel up into the lymph system or something. They've stuck a needle into it a couple of times since (radiologists insisting) and it's fine. They told me lymph nodes get hard for all sorts of reasons.

      So don't fret in anticipation; wait for the pathology report, and then you'll know.

      •  a little more than that (0+ / 0-)

        they did ultrasound on lymph node and there is something there. They'll do needle biopsy whenever they get me in for surgery to see if it is cancer spread or something else. But, the fact that it is on the same side and of concern to the radiologist makes me think that it's spread.

        Inconceivable! You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

        by hopeful on Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 05:43:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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