I fumed when I read your letter. We all know the risk is there, you didn't need that. Yes the passage of time is good. I had a lumpectomy last summer and I HATE these people who want you to spend the rest of your life being afraid. The way I look at it, anyone might be run over by a bus tomorrow, we don't go around waiting for it! You've sorted things out in case, that's all you need. I wonder if she's made you depressed, (not surprising), it might be good to talk to some-one qualified about it, but NOT HER! I do feel for you. You've done so well, I cannot understand why she kept on. Don't let her get you down. You will make it.
I'm two years down the line from primary DX (7cm tumour, 7 nodes affected, ER pos, HER2 pos) and currently doing very well. I can relate to the negative comments too. On the day the breats surgeon sribbled all over my breast a couple of hours before MX (had neo adj chemo) we discussed survival stats. I said I would hope it's around 65%, he said to me "that's a bit too optimistic, maybe for five years, but not for 10". On another occassion the onc told me (and I even didn't ask her), I'm at high risk of the cancer coming back. One day she said to me she knows it's difficult for me. A few months ago I heard she had a MX herself, diagnosed with BC, I guess her age under 40. I feel sad for her, but I have to say, now she KNOWS how it feels and how difficult it is.
And mine also Fimbo!
Hi lizalou, congratulations on reaching 7 years clear 🙂 . Your Oncologist sound like a grumpy pessimist 😞
Studies have found that women with TN do have a higher risk of recurrence BUT only for the first 3 years and as years go by the risk of TN recurring gets lower. Bloody BC it's always lingering in the background I guess we just learn to live with it. I was diagnosed in 2007 too and although it's not on my mind every minute now I still get times when I think what if. Enjoy your little boy and two fingers up at your Oncologist and Cancer xx
Liz - I have had a very similar experience to your own in terms of less than positive comments from some of my BC team over the years. Every annual mammogram my breast radiologist sucks her cheeks in and says she 'can't take a risk with me'. The breast surgeon reminds me that 'blips'can occur years after diagnosis and my oncologist makes throw away comments like' You had a very nasty cancer', 'Your tumour was bigger than we like..' They tell us to go away and get on with life, while at the same time (unnecessarily in my view) reminding us of our mortality (as if we can forget) and to stay vigilant. I was secretly a little smug ( not proud) when one of the radiographers who over the years had been patronising and business like in her dealings with me, was diagnosed herself. She had the good grace to say,' Now I understand the fear'. A lady who was diagnosed with me had a 7cm, grade 3, triple neg, 14 pos nodes and we are both 10 year post diagnosis, so hang on to the knowledge that there are people out there who are quietly doing well. I let my 'team' know they do not need to manage my expectations, I'm quite proficient at depressing myself from time to time and don't need their help to do it. They probably think I am a prickly old bag, but hey ho!
After reading your post I wondered if you have seen BCC's related links to this subject, so I have put you the link below. Our helpline staff are also at hand for emotional support as well as practical help and support so please don't hesitate to give them a ring. Calls are free, 0808 800 6000.
This different oncologist has no idea how to talk to cancer patients at all.
I had ductal invasive, very strongly ER and PR positive. 1/3 nodes proved positive, had mx, chemo and now on Anastrazole. When I was having to think about RADS, I asked what my risk of recurrence was without them. I was told less than 20% in my chest and 50% in my nodes, for which I could have ANC. That was enough to reassure me that I didn't need (or want ) Rads.
OK, I might get a recurrence, I might get a new primary, I might not. I might get knocked down by a bus tomorrow!! I try not to think about it. As for whether the passage of time is a good thing, can anyone ever really know the answer to that? And you are NOT an idiot. If you were, you wouldn't even be worrying about this.
P.S Liz, just wanted to ask. Has your oncologist ever walked your path?? Unless she has, she will have NO idea how those commnets will affect you and your confidence!
They may be qualifed in the field of oncology but, some of them have the people skills of a bird1 Grrhhh...
Wow Liz, some commnents from your oncologist !
What can i say? Do the medical team have a crystal ball? Can they see into the future? Do ANY of us know our fate?
There is PLENTY of hope in being healthy, plenty... You are well now, your scans are clear and you are living in the land of NED with me and lots of other women. The fear and the anxiety, it is always going to be there i think, because BC is now part of who we are. But, we must live our lives, as though the cancer will never return. To live life any other way, means the cancer has won.
I have a thread on this section about fear and anxiety and i admit, i do get scared. But like you, i am also a mother (of 2 lovely children) who need me, so for most of the time, i do what mums do. I work, do school runs, cook tea and all of that stuff. But sometimes, i get struck down with the 'what ifs' and my brain rambles. So, i bring myself back to the present - the 'here and now' and i carry on.
The passage of time is a very good thing Liz. I live by this also. I am in my 4 th year of NED (touch all things wooden) and that is all i can ask for.
You are not an idiot, but an intelliegent, courageous woman, who has lived in fear for many years.
It takes some doing to let go of the fear, but take baby steps.. I live my life day by day and start again the next. I am learning how to cherish life and all that it has to offer me.
Why has the oncologist said this to you now??
I wish you a long long and happy life Liz.
I haven't been on here for a while but had a pretty depressing appointment with my oncologist at my latest annual check and wanted some advice/info/reassurance.
I was diagnosed with IDC in 2007 when I was 28. It was a large 8cm tumour, in 14/25 nodes and was ER/PR negative but HER2 positive. I had full mastectomy and node clearance, chemo, rads and herceptin for a year. I was told subsequently I was in the menopause, but went on to have my beautiful precious boy in March 2012.
I have been clear ever since, touch everything wooden in sight. At the time of my diagnosis I had an amazing oncologist who was positive - talked about getting me well to live and long, healthy, happy life and refused to talk stats with me as in his words "You're either 100% one thing or the other and you won't know til you get there."
At this appointment (where all my scans were once again clear) my oncologist took it upon herself to stress what a terribly high risk of recurrence I had, that the risk would always be there and to make sure I incoporated it into life decisions ie making sure my partner would be able to bring up our son should anything happen to me. I told her that I had deliberately never had this conversation that I was trying my best to be healthy and that of course my partner and I had talked about it. For God's Sake this bloody disease is who I am now, I've carried this worry and fear (increased a million fold since becoming a mother) every second of every day for the last nearly 7 years.
So - now I keep obsessing about my risk and I don't want to. Am I being totally naive to think that the passage of time is a good thing here and there is actually hope I could stay healthy? I don't want to be an idiot in all this.
Thanks in advance for all your advice and support