Newly diagnosed with recurrence

Just wanted to start a new thread because I didn’t seem to fit into the existing ones. I’ve just been diagnosed with a local recurrence after 12 years. I was 34 when I had my first one, had a lumpectomy and radiotherapy and I’ve had annual mammograms and check ups since then. I found the lump myself in September, reported it to the doctor when I had my annual check up in November and I’m now going in for a mastectomy next Monday (29th).

No one told me at the time of my first op (or else they didn’t know then - it was a long time ago!) that the radiotherapy affects breast growth so for the last couple of years I’ve had really uneven breasts to the point when my surgeon offered me the opportunity to have them evened up last year. I had plastic surgery to reduce my bigger one this April so I’ve spent the last 8 months enjoying my lovely even cleavage. My surgeon and I have discussed the irony of having gone through that this year only to have to have the other breast removed!

I was offered immediate reconstruction but have opted not have it. My surgeon has a wicked sense of humour and he questioned whether I was making the right decision: I have such a large bust that with only one he said there’s a risk when I go swimming I’ll go round in circles!! My decision was based on being able to get in and out of hospital with minimal pain and get back to normal - although it will be a different kind of normal with only one breast. I know I can have a reconstruction later but I just want to see how I get on with a prosthesis.

I’m keeping very positive and cheerful - I don’t think I’m in denial, it’s just that life goes on and having got through it once I’ll get through it again. I’m also taking comfort from the fact that I’ve had a chest x-ray, and liver and bone scans and it hasn’t spread (although the liver scan showed up gallstones I didn’t know I had!).

I’m a single parent - my daughter was only three when I got it the first time and she didn’t know what was going on. She’s now 16 and while she appeared to be taking it well, she did give way to tears last night (we’d been watching Finding Neverland in which the mother died and the little boy said, “I thought she’d always be there”, which set her off). So I suppose I’m keeping strong for her, although I’m also doing it for myself.

I am starting to think about the chemo though. Last time the tumour was invasive ductal grade 2 and was only 11mm when it was removed. This time it’s even smaller - only 3mm - but grade 3 at present, although I’m told it may come down once the whole lump has been analysed. It’s therefore likely that I’ll need chemo but I won’t know until 14th January, when the pathology results come back. Once I know what I’ll be having I’ll be reading all the other discussions with close interest - at the minute it doesn’t mean anything.

I just wanted to start a discussion for anyone newly-diagnosed who hasn’t got to the chemo stage yet so we can go on the journey together. Hopefully there will be some of you out there who will be interested.

Linda

Hi There,

I,m not in the same boat but just want to say how sorry I am that you are on this journey again. I wish you the best of luck and best wishes.
Love Andrea xx

Andrea

Thanks for your good wishes.

Linda

hi linda my cancer returned in jan o8 on same side after 18 years, I thought I had put it all behind me, have just finished chemo and had a mastectomy and am thinking of a reconstruction, just coming to terms with things at the moment, best wishes love suzan x

Hi I was DX in aug o7 …now waiting MRI on new lump in recon breast …is it or isnt it ?will no 16 Jan so sorry that you have got to go thru it all again after so long !!!
best wishes to you xxxxx

Operation went well on 29th, surprisingly no pain and hospital let me out on New Year’s Eve, although still with a drain, which the District Nurse is to remove when ready. I gave her a fright yesterday when I opened the door to her - it was only the drain that gave away the fact that I was the patient! Disappointing that she wouldn’t take the drain out yesterday - seemed quite frightened at the thought - and it won’t now come out until Monday. I’m complaining that I’m stuck in the house 'cos I’m carrying my drain bottle around in a little gift bag, which is mad when you think about it. If I didn’t have the drain in I’d probably be out shopping and not resting, so it’s just as well I’m forcibly confined to the house. My soft prosthesis is a good match so dressed I don’t look any different so all in all things are going well at the moment. My next appointment at the hospital has been confirmed for 14 January, so we’ll discuss then next steps and what kind of chemo I’ll need.

Best wishes for the 16th mazaroo - I’ll be thinking of you.

Linda

Hi Linda
Am pleased that your operation went well - loved the bit about the ‘gift bag’!
Best wishes.
Sally

Hi I hope I am not intruding but I have just had the news that my tumour marker ca15-3 is rising 53 in nov 08 and this week 66.
I have an appointment to see my occologist on monday but I am really scared its come back.
I had a lumpectomy in july 2004 at 34 years old and had chemo and radiotherapy after, I am just coming up to 5 years post op.
I knew it was too good to be true. I think I am in shock. Does anyone know anything about tumour markers?

Sorry Rachel, I don’t know anything about tumour markers - nothing that anyone ever mentioned to me.

How did you get on with the oncologist?

Linda

There is a whole thread about tumour markers I will try to find it and bump it up for you Rachel.There can be all sorts of reasons for them to go up and they do not necessarily mean more cancer activity.
Love Valxx

I had breast cancer in November 2005 and then having plucked up courage to go for DIEP reconstruction in May 2008 they found another lump during the operation and I have all the scars on breast and tummy but no reconstruction. They said it is stage 3 again but this time have not given me chemo. I keep asking why not but they say there is nothing now to treat but that they expect it to come back but when they do not know. This is a constant worrying time for me. I’ve had 3 CT scans since May - all clear - and have another mid February so do count my blessings but do not sleep at night and have not had a proper night’s sleep since May.
I asked my oncologist about tumour markers and she said they couldn’t be used for breast cancer. Is this true?
On the positive side and to try and take some control I have embarked on Professor Jane Plant’s dairy-free diet (check out Amazon for her books) and in my case vegan diet and really hope this stops another recurrence. The plus to the diet is that I have lost 2 stone in weight! I miss chocolate and cheese but if I think of them as ‘poison’ I can cope.
Good luck to those starting out with their chemo.
S

Hi StaceyO,
Why did they give you a tummy tuck and not give you the reconstruction, did they tell you?
It seems daft to me that they put you through all that for nothing, but i suppose they know best
but i would want to know why not and no chemo, are you on any tablets?.
If they told you in a reasonable way it might help you cope better and give you a better night,s sleep.
Love Reneexx