I have posted this on behalf of new user Hannah.
Regards Sam (BCC Facilitator)
Yes - they're back!
I'm afraid I can't remember exactly how long they took to return. My eyelashes are not as long or thick as they used to be but I wonder if that's something to do with the Zoladex - I think it can affect your hair. There are, however, definitely enough eyelashes to use mascara on though, which was the main thing for me...!
My eyebrows are completely back to normal. Again I'm afraid I can't remember exactly how long they took to return. I think it was a while though. I actually had a very strange thing where the hair on my head started to grow back a few weeks after I finished chemo and and then almost all fell out again a couple of weeks later while I was having radio. Thankfully it started to grow again almost straight away, so I didn't have too long to worry that I was going to be permanently bald!
I think it took about 3 1/2 months after finishing chemo before I was able to carry off the Sinead O' Connor look and now I have a mass of tight curls (previously it was only wavy) which I think may actually look better than my hair did before all of this (that's what I tell myself anyway!).
Hope this helps. I'm sure it won't be too long to wait now. I'll send you some positive hair vibes...!
Hannah.. I hope you dont mind me asking but have your eyelashes/brows grown back yet? I had taxotere 2 months ago and i wake up every morning hoping to have a hair or 2 but i'm greeted with the same baldy face each day.. I know its different for each person but a little hope from someone who's gone through it really would help me paint a smile (and an eyebrow or 2) on tomorrow!!!
Hope to hear something positive back from you x
Hi Julie.. I went through a similar situation. Although i have a 2 year old daughter, the thought of never being able to have another baby is unbearable.. Having a child makes me ineligable for NHS funded IVF so I had to fight for it. My fab GP put my case infront of the PCT and i got the funding, THANK GOD!!! The egg harvesting isnt the nicest thing ive ever done but I'm SO glad i did it. I froze 25 mature eggs which I was really pleased about and i look forward to meeting them (all!) one day... And a POSITIVE is that if i dont need them, as I was assured it wasnt that common for my chemo (FEC & Taxotere) to leave you infertile, i can donate them to couples who really do. See theres always a silver lining!!!
Anyhoo, do freeze! If you have any questions about chemo or side effects and you think i might be of help, please dont hesitate in sendin a message!! Take care and stay strong. J x
I have posted this for new user Hannah.
I've just been reading this thread and was so excited to read in your last post that the risk of premature menopause when having FEC-T chemo at age 31 is only 5% that I had to post something.
I was diagnosed in June 2007 (at age 30) with highly oestrogen and progesterone positive BC. Grade 3 but thankfully no lymph nodes involved. We are hugely fortunate to have a gorgeous 3 year old boy (then just 15 months) but I had just found out I was pregnant with our second child when diagnosed and were devastated to lose the baby. Like you I was told that it would be 'extremely hazardous' to have IVF and went through a course of FEC followed by Taxotere, Herceptin and Zoladex. I finish the Zoladex next February and am still desperately hoping that we will be able to have another baby. My oncologist assures me that if I wait 2 years from the end of radiotherapy (+ another 4 months to 2 years for the effects of the Zoladex to wear off - fingers tightly crossed for it to be nearer the 4 months end...) then there should be no additional risk of the BC coming back by being pregnant. I'll certainly be giving it a go if there's any chance at all.
In terms of hair loss, I also had quite long hair at the beginning of all of this and can recommend getting it cut short at the beginning of chemo - it made the hair loss much less depressing and less horrible somehow. I think the stage at which your hair falls out varies from person to person. I tried the cold cap (and hated it) but my hair still started to fall out before my second dose and was pretty sparse by the third dose. I got by with a wig (definitely recommend getting someone who knows about cutting wigs to give the one you choose (if you get one) a trim. It makes it look much more natural - I think mine actually looked better than my real hair had ever done!) and scarves. It really wasn't as bad as I thought it might be and by 4 months after the end of chemo I was wig free and getting compliments by complete strangers on my sinead o'connor hair do!
Anyway, I'll stop waffling now. Thanks again so much for the 5% statistic. I know you shouldn't/can't read too much into statistics but it's a much much lower proportion of people going through early menopause than I thought it would be.
Very good luck with it all and also to everyone else who has posted on this thread.
It's good to hear from someone who is through the treatment.
Have now had a discussion with a fertility expert and we have decided to go ahead with the chemo. He told us that the possibility of having a premature menopause is only 5% and given that my BC is oestrogen positive, any IVF may spark off any dormant cells that I have.
I am now booked in for my first lot of chemo, which is going to be FEC followed by Taxotere next Tuesday. I'm kinda glad now that it is booked and that I haven't got too long to think about it. I have long hair, which I will be sad to lose but I was planning to have it cut short to lessen the affect of it falling out. How long does it usually take for hair to start falling out?
I can relate to how you are feeling. I was told I had BC almost 18 months ago. I was 31 at the time and found the lump when on holiday for our first wedding anniversary!
I was just starting to consider the whole children issue and although hadn't made any firm plans was very upset when realised all this could have an effect on fertility.
I know what you mean about egg freezing. It was a difficult decision but I just wanted to get the treatment over and done with and get rid of the cancer. My mind was also made up when they said that egg freezing meant an increase in hormone levels which didn't seem like a good idea as my cancer was very hormone positive.
My oncologist suggested a chemo regime of vinoralbine and epirubicen which he had used with younger women who then want onto get pregnant.I was still just about having periods when I finished chemo which my oncologist said was a good sign. As others have said I was also told that the younger you are the last likely you to become infertile. My ovaries have now been temporarily turned off with Zoladex so will have to see if everything is still working when I come off that. Do you know what chemo you will be on?
He didn't seem concerned about the effect pregnancy could have in the future so I wasn't too concerned about this but others seem to have been given different info - very confusing.
Good luck with your decisions and treatments.
My consultant said they would remove only part of the ovary to freeze for the future. Not sure how big an op this would be and it would obviously delay chemo a bit but it would be there for the future.
worth thinking about i guess
Hi Julie, I am 29 and was diagnosed in April, about to start chemo on Monday (eek!). My main concern was, and still is, any potential effects on fertility (sod the hair loss!) but yesterday I went to see a consultant gynaecologist who was brilliant and really honest with me. My onologist arranged this at her hospital. Sounds very much like age is on my side, and I guess it would be for you too. She arranged a really simple blood test and an ovary scan, the latter showed everything looks normal. The blood test will show whether the eggs/ovaries are healthy. For me, it was really important to get an idea of whether everythig 'down there' was working normally, and it sounds like it is. It also means that, if in a few years, I struggle to conceive then they have my baseline results and can assess what the chemo has actually done to me. Understand you're averse to any more poking and prodding, but it really did put my mind at rest and I'm happier about Monday now. No guarantees I'll ever get pregnant obviously but at least I have some reassurance and every little bit of good news helps! xx
My BC is oestrogen positive too, and they also have only told me that pregnancy is not advisable as it will most likely trigger any dormant cells that I have.
I didn't know that you could have an ovary removed. We have the option of freezing some embryos before I start the chemo. The consultant did also mention surrogacy as well, but I think pregnancy is all about being able to carry your own baby so I don't think thats an option for us.
I would definately go for using your back muscle rather than an implant if your consultant can do it, as at least you know its all natural and part of you.
To begin with I was stiff in both my back and underarm, it took a month before I could raise my arm above my head and sometimes I felt very low wondering whether I would get back to normal movement. But now six weeks after the op, I have 95% movement in my arm. With my back it hasnt been too bad, a bit achy sometimes. The only thing I still struggle with is taking t-shirts off over my head, i get there in the end with a few wiggles 🙂 I'm sure it will get easier the more I try and do it. Definately listen to the nurses when they tell you to exercise, cos it works.
As for bulkiness under the arm, the swelling goes down, it took about five weeks for me to notice that it was smaller. Now its not too bad.
Hope the op goes well, whatever you choose.
Hi Julie and Sue,
good to hear from you both. I'm interested in your surgery, Julie, as it is exactly what I was due to have. However, I am probably going to consider another option, perhaps just an implant alone, as I don't like the idea of having a perfectly good muscle removed. saying that, I have heard that it gives a really good result.
Have you had any problems with muscle weakness or stiffness in your back or arm? Does it feel bulky under your armpit? These are some of the things I was concerned about, especially as it is my right side.
As for planning a wedding in two weeks, we only managed it with the kind help of good friends. We'd already talked a bit about wedding plans and the sort of things that would be important to have, so it was fairly straightforward. We didn't have a big reception, though, just cakes and drinks at the church, and then an evening meal with the parents.
I love being married. In all the difficulties, we are glad to have eachother. I couldn't imagine either of us going through the things we have in the last year on our own. I've learnt ( or am trying to learn!) to count my blessings and focus on enjoying what I do have rather than feeling sorry for myself about what is not good in life. Not always easy, but I try....
I am amazed you managed to plan your wedding in just two weeks, but Congratulations! on getting married 🙂 Sorry to hear your hubby has suffered so much and now you have been diagnosed with BC as well.
I had a skin sparing reconstruction (latissimus dorsi flap) which used muscle from my back as I am only a B cup size. The surgeon removed the breast tissue via the nipple and then somehow pulled my back muscle via my underarm and created my new breast. He then formed a new nipple from some skin from my back. All in all I am very pleased with it, only three scars which is a complete miracle considering what the surgeon did! It was very tender afterwards, especially my underarm but its not too bad now.
My hubby has been great with everything. He was there everyday whilst I was in hospital, keeping both sides of the family updated on my condition and arranging friends to visit at different times. When I came home, he helped my with everything as I found even the simple things like washing my hair difficult and he changed my dressings.
hey there. I am in similar position to. I am 32 and i was diagnosed in april with grade 3 BC. Had a WLE 2 weeks later. My Lymph nodes are clear too. The big diffence with me is I already have 2 little girls- one is 2 and the other is 10mths old today! Altho i am soooooooooooo pleased i have them we were currently getting fit and loosing weight ready to try for another so i have been left devastated knowing that i will not have any more. I didnt enjoy my last birth and a lot went wrong and it makes me very sad that is my last experience of it all.
No one can tell me if another pregnancy could trigger the cancer to return. All they can say is the BC i have is oestrogen positive so large amounts of oestrogen from another pregnancy and breast feeding could certainly unlock any dormant cancers cells hangin around.
I am so sorry you have had to join this group but boy will you get good advice and support. I have been offered a chance to have part of my ovary removed with eggs in if prior to chemo but i dont really know if its worth it as i cant really carry another baby?
I think there are quite a few young women out there so hope they reply to you too.
Well done for getting round to writing on the website. I know it's a bit daunting. I've only done it a few times myself.
You message really struck a chord with me. Although my circumstances aren't the same as yours, there's a few overlaps. I have DCIS, an early form of breast cancer which is non-invasive, but could become invasive in the future. Because of this risk, and the fact that I have widespread high-grade DCIS in one breast, I will be having a mastectomy. On 18th June I'll have the op, followed by an immediate reconstruction using an implant.
Being diagnosed was difficult in many ways, but particularly because my husband had bowel cancer last year. He's 34 and was diagnosed in June 2008, had chemoradiotherapy and then surgery in October, leaving him with a permanent colostomy. The day before he was diagnosed we'd bought an engagement ring, with the view to getting engaged in a couple of weeks time.
We continued with the engagement as planned, but in order to allow us to be together before he started his treatment,(we didn't live together before geting married) we got married three weeks later, doing all our planning and preparations in two weeks. It was lovely, and everything went well on the day, but the diagnosis was in the back of my mind and we had a lot to think about. We had a few days in the cotswolds for a honeymoon, and are still hoping to have a longer honeymoon abroad at some time.
In terms of having kids, we'd both love to, but we still don't know if my husband has been left infertile afer his treatment. Hopefully, I won't have to have chemo or hormone therapy after surgery, so from my side of things we should be ok. I have a really deep nurturing maternal urge and would find it extremely hard to not be able to have kids naturally, but I also know that there are a lot of children who need 'mothering' in other ways and I would consider other options if we couldn't have our own kids.
What type of reconstruction did you have? Are you pleased with it? How has your husband been with it all?
Sending you love and best wishes
Hello everyone, I'm new to this website, been brave enough to start writing something down and see who else is out there in a similar situation to me. I am 31 with no children, now happily married.
I had my breast looked at a week before I got married and was told it was cancer,I then had to wait a couple of weeks before I had the results. If it hadn't had been for planning the wedding and the support of my now hubby, I'm not sure what I would have done. It was also hard because we didn't tell any of our family till after we were married as we wanted the day to be happy, and I'm pleased to say it was perfect. I was diagnosed with Grade 2 invasive adenocarcinoma on the 26th March aged 30, luckily it hadnt spread to the lymph nodes. We decided to go on our honeymoon as the earliest the surgery could have been done was a few days before we were due to come back. We had a fantastic time. I had a left skin sparing mastectomy and then a reconstruction on the 23rd April. Am now recovering well from the surgery. Next stage is chemotherapy.
The hardest thing that I am finding right now is the possibility that we won't be able to have our own children. We both want children and its hard not knowing what the future has in store for us. We have been persuaded to go see a fertility clinic to discuss the options. Although right now, the thought of more tests is not nice. I just want to get on with the chemo.
Would love to hear from women in the same boat as me.