2nd surgery needed

I was diagnosed with stage 1 cells at the beginning of November then had to wait four weeks for lumpectomy and removal of the sentinel lymph node. Had another two week wait for results, found out on Friday that the lump was bigger than they thought as it goes right under my nipple. This means I have to go back in for more surgery on Thursday, although it’s not a full mx I will loose my nipple and imagine I will be very mishapen. Has any one else had to go through this? I’m worried about the pain and the effect it will have on me emotionaly and I’m worried that this will not work either. The only reason I discovered the cancer in the first place was because my nipple started to sink, I am 44 years old so not going for regular mammograms and even my GP couldn’t detect any lumps when I first went so I am also worried I won’t know if it comes back again.
The sentiel node was affected too although the other four they took out were clear. They don’t seem to want to tell me yet what after care I will have, whether this means the cancer has spread or will come back, maybe they don’t know.
Trying to stay jolly for my children (aged 10, 18 and 20) and husband over the festive period but it’s so hard with all this hanging over me. I have a great support network of friends but have found reading some of the posts here make me feel less alone in this.
Hope 2013 turns out to have a much happier end!

Hi Elago,

Welcome to the forums, you’ve come to the right place for some good honest support from the many informed users of this site. There will be people around the forums throughout the Christmas period if you need some support away from the family, the helpline will be open at various times (see top of this page) and there will be a moderator checking the forums intermittently throughout, you’re not alone.

Take care,

Jo, Facilitator

Hi there,
Just posted this for solidarity really :slight_smile:
Mine was initially dcis with suspicion for microinvasion, but at first surgery they found one out of 4 sentinel nodes affected so took another 7 at that time, which were all clear. But at my follow up I heard there were not clear margins at 8cm, so further surgery was indicated. I was worried that she’d want to try another resection, and then still not get it all, with the possible mis-shapen breast, so I was almost relieved when she told me mastectomy was the only option. She seemed reluctant to use the term staging, but it appears my cancer was upgraded from a probable grade 0 (“not really cancer at all!”) to its present grade 3! Not sure how that happened, but I guess imaging wasn’t sufficient as a lot of the tumour was at microscopic level.

I had my mastectomy 2 weeks ago today, and see the oncologist on Jan 2 to start chemo …

Sigh. I’m not being very inspiring I’m afraid. It’s all rather depressing!

Hi Elago - I started with a lumpectomy and then had a mx a month later after the histology results weren’t very good. Sorry you’ve been unlucky in having to have more surgery. There are quite a number of ladies on the Forum who’ve had repeat surgeries, so you’re not alone.

I was also too young to be in the screening programme and only found it after finding a swollen lymph node in my armpit. Having been down the cancer route they’re now screening me annually and have just finished my 3 monthly checkups and have moved onto 6 monthly ones.

I hope 2013 picks up for you. Just take each step at a time and you’ll get there.

Hi Morwenna - hope you’re managing to get some Christmas cheer.

Best wishes to you both.

Dear Elago
I’m sorry you are going through such a hard time. This time last year I was going through much the same, had a lumpectomy at the end of October then had to have an mx on 5<sup>th</sup> January. I was also too young for the screening and I was diagnosed after noticing some changes to my breast.
I have been through chemo and rads this year, and am now on Tamoxifen. Its been a tough year, but I am still here at the other side of active treatment. My advice would be to take each day as it comes to give you time to adjust to your treatment. Good friends and family are invaluable support, as is the BCC forum.
I am now looking forward to shutting the door on 2012 and welcoming in 2013, which I hope for me will be a much better year! You will be in this situation next year. There is light at the end of the tunnel and I wish you all the best with your treatment.
Joan xx

Hiya Elago, I have had 2 lumpectomies and then had a mx. They said the lump I found was 1.7cm but when he opened me up he removed 5.8cm, I also had 27 lymph nodes removed. My personal experiance was really bad with m 1st surgery (I must stress like everyone else says we are all different and react differently to surgeries and treatment). My results 2 weeks later showed I didn’t have clear margins but only 2 lymph nodes had been effected so my 2nd op was booked. I like you couldn’t understand why or how this could happen, the best explanation I could get was that it’s microscopic and peppered through out. 2nd op was a doddle, didn’t even feel like I’d had anything done. Went home within 3hrs. 2 weeks later my results after having a total of 13cm removed still didn’t have clear margins, so my 3rd op was booked for mx. I still have good and bad days about my decision to have the 2nd op as on one hand if I would have got clear margins i would have still had a breast that wasn’t too deformed even though 13cm had been taken away but on the other hand I beat myself up for not just having the mx in the first place then I’d have started my treatment in August and not November. Sorry for waffling on just wanted you to know you’re not alone but we are all different and you will get through this, best wishes to you and your family.

Hi Elago,
After my diagnosis I did not have a choice as my lump was too large for a small breast. I remember my surgeon explaining that if I had been bigger breasted then maybe we could have tried, but to be honest I wanted the full mx to make sure. As the cancer had gone into my Lymph Nodes I had FEC T Chemo.
It is of course your decision and you can only really be guided by your surgeon. Sending you love and strength in your decision making. Love Tracy xxx

Thank you for all the support and feedback. Couldn’t sleep last night so it gave me something to read in the small hours this morning and made me feel less alone :slight_smile:
Home now after today’s surgery and so far don’t feel nearly as much pain as last time. No more lymph nodes removed so maybe that’s why.
May have got a bit muddled with the biopsy results may have been grade 1 not stage 1, so much to take in when you’ve just been slapped with diagnosis of cancer and they seem unable or reluctant to answer a lot of the questions you want answered.
Still that’s amother hurdle over and I’m on another couple of weeks wait to see if they managed to get a clear margin this time so I can head on for the next stage of treatment or whether I go back in for even more surgery. Would be great to have good news to pass on to family and friends and I will eventually just not sure how long it’s going to take or how many horrid treatments!
It helps to know there is light at the end of the tunnel but a bit frustrating that I can’t see it and no one able to tell me exactly where it is! Need to concentrate on looking after myself and making the most of the days when I feel more motivated and positive and spoiling myself on days when i don’t.
Wishing all the best to those of you still trying to beat it and wishing a great future to those already there!

I am over te moon! Got results on Tuesday and the last surgery was successful! Cancer is gone! :slight_smile:
Just have to prepare myself for the next step now, should be stating chemo in a couple of weeks then a short break after 4 1/2 months before going onto 3 weeks of Rads. At least the end in now in sight!

Congratulations , it’s such a relief isn’t it !! I’ve just got my results and luckily got clear margins first time but I was really worried I would need more . I had a few nodes checked whilst having my WLE & as one had cancer they done a full ANC all under the one operation , much better than just a SNB then having a second op .
Like you I start chemo in 3-4 weeks then rads so best of luck
Karen x

Wonderful result for you Elago - at least the surgery is all behind you and you can move on.
Best wishes