Hi, I am 46 and have just been diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma. Since finding the lump in my breast, having a biopsy and being scheduled for a mastectomy on March 18th, it has only been about 5 weeks. I have no idea what to expect really. The doctor said I would need radiation and chemotherapy. I am in shock I think. I have 3 children, 18, 16 and 9. So I am scared. The Diagnosis: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Nottingham Histologic Grade 3/3, measuring 2.6 cm in greatest dimension.
A. Margins positive for invasive carcinoma and ductal carcinoma-in-situ.
B. Pathologic Staging: T2, Nx, Mx.
The lymph nodes were not removed when the biopsy was done but they will be on the 18th.
I think I should have a lot of questions but am not sure what to ask or what's important. If anyone can give me any advice/ideas it would be greatly appreciated.
It's difficult to tell someone what questions to ask .... I think the main thing at this point would be regarding your recovery from surgery as well as what to do and what not to do following the procedure. I'm hoping that you have been told what to expect after surgery since it's only a couple days away. Each Surgeon has their own routine so it's hard to be exact here ... there will be drains (2 most likely) that will be connected to a bulb type affair and will need to be emptied and measured to track the amt. of drainage. These will be removed (and it varies) 5 to 10 days after surgery depending on the amount of drainage. I had no pain post-op but that's relative also .... I went home without a dressing except for a gauze where the drains were placed. I was allowed to shower the day of discharge; stayed overnight in the hosp.; had surgery at noon and came home the following evening. Back to see the surgeon about a week after surgery. If you can get a "Softee" brand camisole to wear after surgery and also when you have radiation. It's too late to get it so you can wear it home from the hosp, ... it is very soft with seams on the outside, can be stepped into and has little pockets for the drain bulbs. They are a wonderful item .... even have pockets for a fluffy padding if you don't care to look flat on one side. They can be purchased at Medical Supply stores that handle post-mastectomy supplies. Your treatment will not begin until some healing has taken place and the treatment will be determined by your Oncologist after all the Pathology reports are completed. If you have other concerns please feel free to post them or contact me by private message if you prefer. Wishing you all the best ....
I know it's really scary, and like you, I really didn't know enough to ask questions in the beginning, and really trusted my doctors to know what they were doing. I actually really appreciated not being placed in the position of having to decide about reconstruction, and lumpectomy vs. mastectomy, and all that at the time. I didn't really have any choices and that was fine with me.
As japdip has said, the surgery is not very painful at all compared to other surgeries, even a c-section, if you had that with any of your kids.
In fact, I had no pain in the beginning at all and then only some days a couple of days later. It's the type of thing that will probably cause you some problems for a while, like with your arm and range of motion, etc, but hopefully nothing severe. If you can, ask your doctor for a referral to a PT (Physical Therapist) if you do have any problems. They seldomly think about that for themselves and it really helps.
Take everything just one day at a time and you will be able to handle it, you will. It won't be as bad as you think it may be, because they have much better anti nausea medications today than they used to, and it's not like in the movies, where you spend all day throwing up. I never did once.
Also, one thing that I expected and didn't realize was untrue is, that you most likely won't lose any weight with chemotherapy even if you eat very little. (it's also not like in the movies)
You will also find out more after surgery about the status of your disease, as the pathologist will then be able to test all of the tissue and is not limited to the small amount of tissue that was taken out with the biopsy.
If your cancer was determined to be hormone responsive positive, you will also most likely be prescribed hormonal treatment after chemotherapy.
Do post with questions or concern as you go along.
Thanks so much for responding. I would love to talk to you both again. There's so much I'd like to say so I'm going to try and figure it out (the important stuff) so I don't end up writing you a 'book'. Talk to you soon...and thanks again. Oh by the way, the surgery went well, I think, and the doctor said the margins looked good, so there's hope for me yet!
Hi, I'm not sure how to send you a personal message. I just have a few questions. I forgot to mention the first time that I am ER Positive (2+ Strong), PR Positive (1+ Strong) and HER-2 Positive (3+). I just got my report about my mastectomy.
Breast, Right, Total Mastectomy with Axillary Dissection:
Residual Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, NOS, High Grade, Multifocal,
Extensive Ductal Carcinoma In-Situ, High Grade, Estimated 8cm.
Extensive Lymphovascular Invasion Present.
One of 19 Lymph Nodes Positive for Metastasis. 1.2cm.
2. Lymph Nodes, Right Axilla:
3 Lymph Nodes, Negative for Metastasis.
I have to go for a bone scan, abdominal ultrasound and chest x-ray on the 17th April.
My doctor said not to worry and try to keep up-beat. I had a bad day today though. When his assistant called to make the appointment I broke down. I really do not like the waiting and not knowing I guess. My question is about the 'extensive' lymphovascular invasion. That sounds really bad to me. Actually, it all sounds bad. Like I have an aggressive cancer? And with this diagnosis what is the normal kind of treatment? And will I have a good outcome? I have read so many conflicting things. And of course, when I am at the doctor's office my mind goes blank and I don't ask anything. Also, for the bone scan I was told that I would be injected with something. Does it hurt? I am not able to think straight right now and am finding this all consuming. I'm wandering around in a fog. Still, I'm healing pretty good and able to use my arm more. I don't like being sick, period. I am scared of what's to come. Some people seem to breeze through their treatment. I hope I will be one of them. You seem very knowledgeable and I hope you can help. I also managed to get a couple of the camisoles which are great. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you. Anji
I am at the end of treatment for breast cancer and remember clearly when I was where you are. All I can tell you is to take one day at a time. Chemo is not as bad as people make it out to be.....some people have no side affects at all. Radiation is simple and although you have to go everyday it is painless. Please dont be scared. There are so many people out there to help you through this..... you will be fine. As far as what to ask and what to do...take things one day at a time. If you forget to ask a question, phone and ask when you get home. Dont let things overwhelm you. Sit back and breathe. Write things down as you think of them and take them with you to your appointments. Dont try to think ahead of what is happening today. It is far to much to try to cope with. One day at a time. One battle at a time. You will do just great.
Good morning, I was diagnosed the first week in February with Stage 4, then updated to a Stage 3. I am having chemo prior to surgery in an attempt to reduce size of tumor. I had a bone scan prior to treatment, no big deal, they inject u with a dye and after a few hours, you are scanned while lying on a table with a big machine over you, takes about 45 minutes. Dye doesn't hurt any more than a blood draw, very good information can be obtained with scan, They were able to learn that my tumor had not gone thru chest wall after all, Upgrade to a 3 from that test alone. GOOD LUCK,SISTER!!
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