Two years ago next Tuesday, I had my mastectomy and axillary clearance, all very unexpected as even the consultant said there was nothing to worry about. Fortunately he biopsied my tiny presenting symptom! When I went back for my 4th diagnosis, he told me 19 of the 21 nodes removed had been infected. I am described as ‘heavily node-positive.’
I tend not to think about it. I had a clear CT scan and bone scan - no mets - then I had chemo and radiotherapy. Now it’s anastrozole for 9 more years and zometa for another 2 years. I had an MRI in February which was clear. My attitude has been ‘Thank god for those nodes.’ They did their job. 19 little miracles workers. I know there’s an increased risk of recurrence if there is node involvement but there’s always going to be something to scare us. The increase in risk is quite small and the chemo is adjusted to take care of it.
There are two things that have helped me keep things in perspective. One is an article written by a psychologist attached to my hospital. It was posted here by one of the nurses and I read it occasionally to stay positive: http://www.workingwithcancer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/After-the-treatment-finishes-then-what...
The second was the wisdom of my breast-care nurse who had to halt my near-hysteria the one time I allowed myself to google and found ‘bad news.’ She pointed out that statistics are only helpful for the experts and are pretty meaningless for us. I’ll PM you her email. It restored me to sanity and acceptance. Why should I be one of the unlucky ones? Maybe, maybe not, but in the meantime, why should I ruin the quality of my life for something that may never happen?
Please don’t think I am calm and phlegmatic. I have my 2nd mammogram next week and I feel surges of horror of ‘what if?’ My oncologist says it’s unlikely I would develop cancer in the other breast but it’s not the cancer that bothers me. It’s being flattened between two plates!! I am mildly terrified, if that’s possible.
I know it’s only 2 years but I hope the article helps you regain perspective. With my very best wishes, Jan x
I haven't been on here for a long time. I am now through all active treatment and surgery and I'm on exemestane, zoladex and 6 monthly bone infusions.
I read about lymph node involvement all the time, but I feel that I had a heavy involvement compared to others (12 out of 13). Did anyone else have heavy node involvement either in recent years or in many years passed?
I would especially love to hear positive stories as the fear of recurrence plays havoc with my brain 😞
I am a really positive person and I hate the way thinking about this makes me feel down sometimes.
TIA to any responders (if there are any!)