Breast Cancer Community
advice from so-called friends
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This patient support community is for discussions relating to breast cancer, biopsy, genetics, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, lumps, lumpectomy, lymph node dissection, lymphedema, mammograms, mastectomy, radiation therapy, reconstruction, and self exams.

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advice from so-called friends

I received a call from my breast surgeon at 4:30 p.m today.  Invasive ductal cancer, only grading was as a "low grade" from the histology section of the report.  He said that the pathologist said there was NOT enough tissue from the core biopsy to send in for the other markers, like ER+ that I was most interested in.  I am scheduled to see him on Thursday to set up surgery which he said would allow for lumpectomy and radiation on the basis of a limited path report.  If you've read my other postings, I am not an M.D. but have a B.S. as a Medical Technologist along with graduated hours as a veterinary pathologist, and then a Master's as a Medical Librarian.  Someone who I considered to be a pretty close friend called me on the phone tonight after reading my email to my "friends" and family, telling them that all things considered, with a good possiblity of a Stage 1 diagnosis per the surgeon, that I was looking at a lumpectomy and radiation.  The surgeon reinforced this possiblity on the phone this afternoon.

This "friend" who was a nurse 20years ago, started lecturing me that I should consider a mastectomy.  This really caught me off guard.  I might have expected this from  people who are scientifically trained, but not from her.  She totally discounted my training as a medical technologist and as a Master's student in pathology.  Duh, I didn't have any nursing majors in my Pre-Med classes!  I certainly did not have any nursing majors in my classes that I took with veterinary students.  Maybe those of you how are not educated with the sphere of knowledge a veterinarian must learn, will think, "well, they are only animal doctors!"  Guess what, you have to learn pathology and pharmacology in multiple species.  

I ended up cutting off the conversation with her because I was crying.  My husband came into the room and heard me trying to have an intelligent conversation with her, with only more frustration.  Have any of you reached out to people you thought were your friends, only to have their egos get in the way of offering you support?  I needed to hear that you are NOT a person who makes impulse decisions; you are a trained scientist who considers every thing you do very carefully.  

What is even more of a state of how I feel, I organized the largest fund raiser for the Republican Party in  my county that our group has ever had.  This woman was a former Republican party official.  She has just lost the skills I acquired from years in the corporate environment, in a year when the Republican party needs people like me.  Do NOT speak to me in a condesending tone.  If we can exchange information as equals, that is one thing,  but telling me that I cannot research anything with a Master's in Health Informatics is quite another.  So much for sharing from here on out. - Kay
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6 Comments
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I was snot aware that this is a political forum - it is not the proper place for this kind of comment.
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The choice of what type of surgery or treatment you decide to have to treat your breast cancer is a very personal choice.  I was diagnosed with stage II IDC at age 30 with no risk factors or family history.  I chose to have a bilateral mastectomy because I decided if I was going to fight this, I was going to do everything in my power to ensure this was only going to happen once.  I didn't want to spend my remaining years having anxiety attacks and sweating out each mammogram wondering if this was the year it would come back in my remaining breast.  It is a very personal decision that I felt very strongly about but there were some people who didn't understand why I did what I did.  

Basically, your friend has no right to tell you what to do with your own body and it was inappropriate for her to lecture you about it.  You have to make the decision and live with it.

I'm a life insurance underwriter.  I spend my days reading medical records and lab results and speaking with our medical staff of both doctors and RN's.  I'm used to doing research and I'm VERY familiar with mortality rates.  All that being said, I still needed to make a decision that would make it easier for me to sleep at night and that's why I chose to be aggressive and have the bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction.  Many women choose a lumpectomy with radiation and feel just as strongly about their decision as I feel about mine but who I am to tell them they are wrong?

Good luck to you!  Vote Barack Obama '08!
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394017_tn?1255018132
Thank you so much for your kind, thoughtful response.  This is what I needed to hear.  I appreciate the fact that you included your background.  I have sent you a private response in more detail.
I apologize to the others for typing the word "Republican".  I am not trying to turn this into a political forum.  In my emotional state, I didn't stop and think that I could have just used  words like "for one of the political parties".  I think we all may be guilty of ranting or typing something we regret later because we are under tremendous stress.  I'm not perfect and I am admitting my mistake. - Kay
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You have nothing to apologize for at all. You did nothing wrong and its a shame for you to come in here and vent a little and have someone jump on you for something so very trivial. GO McCaine/Palin hahahahahahahahahahahahah
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I've been at this B.C. thing for 7 weeks now, and have received MUCH advice!  I would like to think that most people are well-meaning, but it gets to be too much after a while.  I'll be having surgery soon (prob. lumpectomy, maybe more), and I've decided NOT TO DISCUSS it any longer with friends or others. When they "start in" with advice,  I think I'll ask for their email addresses or phone numbers, and if they REALLY want to help me, I'll contact THEM!  Who knows, maybe I will need a ride somewhere, or someone to take my daughter to school, or run an errand....BUT we don't need be be bombarded with these "opinions", which are usually upsetting and not helpful at all!  Thanks for bringing this up!
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526906_tn?1261875396
Hi there!

It's so hard sometimes for well-intentioned friends and family to remember that as individuals dealing with this *$&*^((*&#  Breast Cancer, we need to feel as empowered as we can to make our own decisions based on the facts we have at the time and what we know of ourselves and our ability to handle the plan we've chosen.  

Also, don't feel bad about your small nod to your chosen political party.  As this is not a political forum, I didn't perceive your comment as political, I thought you used the word "Republican" as an adjective and nothing more.  We all have said something during a rant that we might not have said if we weren't feeling so passionate at the time.  But that's what venting is about.  You shared yourself and your feelings.  Thank you for that.  Keep sharing. You are in the right place.

Chris
Healingwell62
Breast Cancer Community Leader
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