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BREAST CANCER AND ME- The Beginning Part 1

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    BREAST CANCER AND ME- The Beginning Part 1

    I just wanted to share my breast cancer journey with ya'll.
    October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month if you've wondered why a lot of people have been wearing pink.
    Many people advised, counseled and help me through this time and I wanted to pass on what I've learned and felt through all this.
    Breast Cancer alone is hard to deal with, add in the MonSter and it really gets interesting.

    This thread will have to be in segments so as not to overload you at one time.


    My first remembered experience with breast cancer was when I was 15. My granny had been dxd with it and the doctors told my mom that she had a 90% chance of it being throughout her whole body.
    We lived in Atlanta & granny in Nashville. My aunt, also in Atlanta, mom and i went to be with her during surgery & recovery.
    She had a double mastectomy and at the time it hadn't spread. She didn't have reconstruction and I can still see in my mind her flat scarred chest. (They weren't near as careful as they are these days.)
    She lived well and on her own for another 10 yrs. She died when I was pregnant with another great grandchild for her.

    Fast forward-- at 29 I discover a lump in right breast.
    Doctor examined it and did mammogram. He was mostly sure that it was benign, but wanted to remove it to make sure.
    He removed surgically 8 fibroid tumors from my right breast, leaving a bit of a scar since he actually cut in and took them. No needle biopsy available then.

    A few years later my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She didn't have surgery. Instead they zapped her with radiation and chemo. I'll never forget her chest looking like cooked meat even years later.
    For 3 yrs., she was cancer free.
    Then it returned in her spine and rib cage. After needle biopsy, it was determined inoperable cancer because of it being located in the bone itself.
    She underwent 10 yrs. of chemo and other treatments. For awhile they would work. Then her numbers would start going back up and she would have to start treatment again.

    Despite living 1200 miles away, my girls and i made frequent trips to visit. Luckily i was able to go a couple of times a year since i was a school teacher.
    While there i would take her to chemo treatments. She always remained upbeat. But as the years went on, i could tell the toll and pain that it all was taking on her.
    She fought well for 10 yrs., but lung cancer got her in the end in 2005.

    So with my family history and my personal brush with breast cancer drs. have always keep an eye on me. The place where so many tumors were removed always alarmed new drs. (we move a lot) but were always able to verify with ultrasound that it was scar tissue or more fibroid tumors.

    My doctor here in IL, put me on a 6 mo. mammogram schedule just to be sure. Thank God for him!!!

    August 2011 my mammogram was normal.
    I put it off this year until May when my dr. threatened me in a 3rd letter!

    The radiologist came in after the mammogram and said that the area they'd been watching had disappeared. I was happy for about 3 seconds, until he explained that it meant another mass was covering it up and would need to be checked.

    Within a week I consulted with a surgeon and he explained that we would have to do a needle biopsy in order to know whether this new mass was cancer or not.

    A biopsy was schedule d for 2 weeks, since we'd already paid for a cruise starting the following week.

    So, I enjoyed myself on the cruise and was mostly able to keep the 'C' word locked up until we got home.

    Stay tuned for my biopsy experience and 'the rest of the story'.

    may God bless you richly!

    If anyone would like to email me privately instead of posting, feel free to at I will do my best to check and answer in a timely fashion.
    "All things are possible for those who believe." Jesus

    Thank you so much for sharing your family's story. Everything is crossed that your results come back saying you're healthy!
    Aitch - Writer, historian, wondermom. First symptoms in my teens, DX'd in my twenties, disabled in my thirties. Still the luckiest girl in the world.


      Originally posted by aitch10 View Post
      Thank you so much for sharing your family's story. Everything is crossed that your results come back saying you're healthy!
      i am still on my journey. i will do another segment soon.
      i plan on sharing all that has happened to me and why i made decisions and where i found info for those decisions.

      my only prayer is that it will help others who are about to go through this or going through it.
      i know it's hard to reach out when you're shell shocked and don't seem to have much time to make decisions.

      more coming soon!

      God bless ya!
      "All things are possible for those who believe." Jesus



        I am so glad to share my story along with yours, Pooh.

        My experience with breast cancer began almost forty years ago, when my mother got breast cancer. She was in her fifties then. She had a breast removed and suffered a severe lymphedema, swelling in her left arm due to the removal of the lymph nodes along with the breast. She had a serious scar and had to sit with a machine, the Dalkon Sleeve that pushed the swollen arm. All this was painful. My mother decided against getting any reconstruction. In those days, breast surgery was a more primitive operation, I think. And certain medicines that are used now for the the after-effects were not available. I felt so sad for her. My mother died of a different cancer when she was in her early seventies. She refused treatment for it and died a hard, painful death a few months later.

        I got regular mammograms, maybe not as frequently as recommended, but they always came out clear, no problems.

        Until Halloween of last year. My routine mammogram showed "something." So I went in for another, and then the dominoes started to drop.

        I'll continue my story in pieces too. I hope it helps others.

        Stay lifted,
        Mermaid Susan
        "Life is short, and we have but little time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us; so let us be swift to love, and make haste to be kind."
-Henri Amiel


          thanks for sharing

          thanks for sharing with us mermaid. i know it's not easy

          so sorry to hear about your mom, too. it's hard seeing your mom like that.

          i'm glad that treatment and meds have improved for us and the next generations.

          God bless ya as you heal,
          "All things are possible for those who believe." Jesus


            time to add my story

            I too have had to travel this journey this year. I am going to share my story also.

            A little history is in order. I am a nurse and have been in the healthcare field for over 25 years. This has lead me to see many cases of cancer breast and other wise.

            On top of that, there is alot of different cancers in my family. The first cancer that I was subjected to was my grandmother, but I was young and she was in her 80's. I remember her traveling far to the capital city of our state for treatment and it did not seem to be that bad.

            The next cancer is my grandfather, when I was 18. Grandpa had skin cancer and radiation did not take to much out of him. But he did meet his maker shortly after I graduated from high school.

            Over the ensuing years, many of my aunts and uncles on both sides of my family were diagnosed with cancer. Almost all forms of cancer except for brain and any female cancer was covered.

            My father was a very stubborn person (I have no idea where I got my stubborness, lol) and did not believe in going to quacks. This worked ok for him until he was reaching his upper 50's. He was undiagnosed diabetes for years. We could see the symptoms. When he was close to loosing his toe/foot he decided he might want to see a quack. This lead to a spiral of two years of managing his diabetes and no treatment (his choice) of bladder cancer. He passed away in his early 60's and did not see my children.

            A few years later, and after my oldest was born, my mother was admitted to the hospital for some unexplained fatigue and bloodwork that was off. This lead to hospitalization, nursing home, and home care for leukemia battle that lasted from December until March. It was not a fun battle but she tried. She died the day before her 70'th birthday. I was also in the early stages of pregnancy with my youngest child during this process. Never in my nursing career had I been nauseous from the food carts in the hospital, but was when visiting my mom.

            Nine years later, and post my MS diagnosis. I was experiencing issues with my menstral cycle. Not enough to make me go right away, but keep a journal because my yearly exam would be coming up in a couple months. Basically having some form of my monthly cycle for three weeks. The exam was negative and ultrasound was negative. So, continue keeping a journal.

            Oh, and your six month mamogram is due. I had been on a six moth mamogram on and off for calcifications. So, nothing new for me. Let's go in like we normally do and off I would go on my merry way. LOL, first of all, new technician for me. She did not verify my identy with my birthdate. Boy did she get a surprise when she was comparing my first film with a different person's mam. I had to sit down until she figured out what she did. A big difference between hers and mine, lol.

            So, as I am dressing. I am expecting to go home. But, for once the tech was standing at the exit door from the changing room. The radiologist wanted to talk to me and I had to stay and wait in anoter consultation room. Ok, my mind started clicking. Hmmmm. Abnormal monthly cycle. Probably abnormal mamogram. Ding Ding Ding. TROUBLE.

            We see a spot, you need to see a surgeon for a biopsy. We can even skip the ultra sound. OH, you can. okay. Already had my surgeon picked out. She had done surgery for me about a year a half earlier for a major abcess. She did a wonderful job. Schedule a visit and oh we need to do a needle biopsy.

            I too am 80% numb on the side that the spot was found. So, needle biopsy, done in a chair thankfully, was a breeze. Radiologist said the easiest one she had ever done. I also practice guided imagry so that helped with the process.

            Okay, we have to wait. Every one gave me great encouragement. Most biopsies come back negative. Yeh, I know that, but I also have this issue with the monthy cycle, and oh yeh, the heart palpitations are increasing.

            I, former employee of the institution, knew that the biopsy should be back by X day at the very latest. Knew the lab people by name, so called them and wanted to know why my biopsy was not back yet. Oh, one of the pathologist is on vacation and we had to send it off to Vanderbuilt Hospital, and this is standard protocal for when this happens. Ok, really? When is the latest day that it would be back from Vanderbuilt.

            The next day after it was suppose to be back, I was on the phone with lab. I did wait until 10 AM. Oh, yeh your biopsy is back we are just faxing the results to your surgeons office. Ok, thank you very much.

            I call the surgeons office. Oh, we don't have it back yet. Yes, you do go check your fax. Ok, we have it back but the surgeon has to review it and you know this. Ok, where is the surgeon today? Oh, she is in surgery. Thank you. I call surgery. It pays to have friends that are the secretary in surgery. Patched me through to the suite that the surgeon was in. Oh, okay, I will talk to the surgeon and call you back. Five minutes later, not only do I get a call back but it is the surgeon herself that is calling me. Do you have family with you. Yeh, you want me to send them to you, because I want my results back. Positive for inductal carcinoma. Hey, surgeon can you actually fax it to me please. Sure I am standing right next to a fax machine.

            I am very blessed spiritually. I received this diagnosis on Good Friday. So, after I got this diagnosis it was time to go to church. OH!!! I got it, for me and my beliefs. God. You sent your Son to die on the cross. I can handle this diagnosis. Thank you so much for showing me this on this day. Lets go!
            God Bless and have a good day, Mary