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    cag213 wrote on Lora's wall

    The gal with twins is Megan- and SHE is the nicest person ever.Everyone loves her but it is nice to know Casey said such nice things about me. Glad you found me on FaceBook. So strange how this site bleeps everything! We are all adults on here! Lora your lump is EXACTLY where mine was(is). That is such a weird coincidence. I felt the same guilt over the mammograms. I was soooooo stupid and if one good thing comes from this I hope that it is I scared all the females I know so badly that they will never skip one ever. I had had mammos but was way, way over due for one. I had actually had 2 biopsies several years ago but instead of prompting me to be more vigilant it did the opposite. One open biopsy was a whole surgical procedure and they found NOTHING. Nothing at all. I ended up with a big scar on my boob . Then next mammo they saw "something" again and I had a needle biopsy. This was several years ago and it was horrible- such pain I actually screamed. Again they found nothing.Nothing at all. They said I just has "dense breasts" . I was traumatized by this procedure so like an idiot I stayed away from them for awhile, plus I have an idiot for a PCP. He never prompts me to have mammos, or anything else for that matter. As soon as I finish my surgeries the first thing I am doing is changing my PCP. I have found an excellent one who is super thorough, and that is what I need.. someone to MAKE me take care of myself. I have been so caught up in caring for my husband that I have neglected myself terribly. I also nursed my kids and I also had fibroid tumors and endometriosis that led to a hysterectomy in 2003.Really I relate this cancer to hormones if anything. I have always had problems with my periods and prior to my periods my breasts were so incredibly sore that if my husband touched them I would practically scream-particularly the left breast where the cancer is. I also had mastitis in the left breast when I was nursing my son and it was a bad infection. I did have my period until late in my life which they say is a risk factor but that is a family trait. My grandmother was 58 when she had her last period, my cousin 56 when she had a hysterectomy and she was still menstruating. No one had breast cancer.I was 53 and still having my period like clockwork every 28 days. In fact I was having my period the day I had the hysterectomy! But because I had not gone through menopause it was an abrupt surgical menopause. They had actually thought that I had ovarian cancer before the surgery due to the "blobs" on my ovaries. They also thought it could be uterine cancer but it turned out to be endometriosis. One thing that bothered me is that not for one second before when I had the other biopsies or the hysterectomy , not once did I even worry for a second that I had cancer. I knew I didn't. When I found this lump I was scared right away. The fact that I was worried scared me . There were a few other sort of creepy circumstances that scared me too. The doctor that did my surgery for the hysterectomy was a female cancer specialist and he told me because of the abrupt surgical menopause that I should take hormones. He said 'Don't worry about all you hear about them causing breast cancer because they are perfectly safe". Famous last words, but who knows why? At this point I am mostly over it except for the still kicking myself in the butt for skipping the mammos for a few years. I did not mention last time how sorry I was to hear of your loss of your brother and mother. To lose someone suddenly and unexpectedly is so hard. I am blessed to still have my mother. She took the news of my cancer so hard. That was awful for me but she has pulled it together now and is very positive. How long have you lived in Ballston Spa? Did your kids go to school here? We have lived here for about 34 years and raised our kids here. Nice place to live. You will dance at your daughter's wedding. That is for sure. Really you found it early. They say they grow much slower in "older women" - not that I consider us old! Like you said it is gone now. I can't wait until mine is out of my body. I found the lump mid August- get it out already! I too am going to do whatever I can to beat this and stay healthy. . I am not giving up.

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    • Lora's Avatar
      Lora

      Omg we are like cancer twins! hahaha.....and my mother had me when she was 46! I bet our cycles lasting so long influences this thing hormonally. Are you estrogen and progesterone ++ also? and I also had mastitis with my first son. He had ^bilirubens so I had to stop nursing abrubtly and I DIED of agony. Finally I was able to nurse him again, but my milk did not flow freely. My kids had to work at getting fed! I had a hard time expressing it too when I went to work. Interesting. All these random things maybe arent' so random!
      I LOVE Casey. She is a doll. You are really an amazing gal yourself and I love how you are scaring everyone into awareness! You have really gone through it, GYN-wise. But I think we assume that our doctors and all the procedures would reveal CANCER of all things!!!! XXX your primary!!!! I'm glad you have a new one :0)
      Today was the roughest! I went for a chemo teach and in my head I thought it would be a group of women and I could just zone out but it was a one on one with the RN. I immediately cried haha......She was amazing. Dr. Mastrianni, and that group. When you hook up with an Oncologist - and you should even if you don't have to have chemo - sign on with those guys! Just such a caring place. I even had her bring me into the chemo room. I can't cry when someone is on the IV!! THat would be utterly insensitive! So it shut off my waterworks in a hurry!

      I moved to Bspa 2 years ago. Moved up to live with my ex "manfriend" who turned out to have committment issues. We lived together in Toga for a few months then we broke up and I got the place in Bspa. My daughter moved in with me and finished her senior year at the High School. She had been living with her dad to finish out school there but she couldn't endure her stepmother. It was a gorgeous house, lovely neighborhood down in Warwick NY and I lived in a tiny trailer in Red Hook (by Rhinebeck) as a single mom. We shared her but it was terrible for her at her dad's. She didn't say anything about it but I would have left the man in a heartbeat to get a place with her. My boys stayed in the trailer in Red Hook because they were working together at Devereux. They still do :-) They got an apt. together in poughkeepsie when the trailer just couldn't hold up anymore. Now my middle one is with me. He's amazing. He travels down to Devereux and does 24 hours on the weekends, staying with his brother so he doesn't have to travel back between shifts.

      Oh well, off to put someone on contract for smoking! see you on facebook, sistah!

      about 4 years ago
  • cag213's Avatar

    cag213 wrote on Lora's wall

    They took your phone number out- just like they bleep all the swear words! Tee Hee! My real name is Celeste and you can e-mail me on my personal e-mail : [email redacted] to send your phone number. You know I kind of agree with you about what you said about others talking about you by the water cooler. I would rather be the one to talk about it. Some people just kind of cringe when I say things that I think are funny about my cancer. One person said to me "Did you know that October is breast cancer awareness month?" and I said "Yes I do and I am celebrating it by having a mastectomy." They sort of hurried away looking at me strangely. Lol! I thought it was funny. Oh well! Men seem to be especially uncomfortable with it.We will both have our bad "moments" . I think we are entitled. It is funny how one statement from the doctor can penetrate so deeply. My doctor just sort of casually threw it out there that I had had the tumor for a year and a half. I was floored to hear that. I am thinking " A year and a half ... to travel through my body? " Yikes!I was also astonished to hear it was 1.5 centimeters. It felt so small in my breast. Maybe just a bit bigger than a BB. I went home and got out the ruler and looked at what 1.5 centimeters looked like. I did not like what I saw. It seemed massive. Even though the lump is now swollen by the biopsy it still does not seem to feel anything like 1.5! But I agree with you that talking to you is a life saver for me. I cannot tell you how it has helped me. I feel that now I have a grip on things. I was floundering before. My family is supportive but I think it bothers them a little for me to talk about it. I know they are worrying so I hold back. My husband can relate a little more because he has dealt with a life threatening illness for years. I have always tried to bolstered him up but now, in reality, I know that I truly did not understand how he felt. I do now. There are two things I wanted to ask you. Not sure why.. How did you discover your lump and have you been dealing with any feelings of guilt over this? By that I mean thinking what did I do wrong to bring this on? I know that is not good to do and I have moved past it (mostly) but that was a big thing for me for awhile. You know.. was it because I took birth control pills for awhile, was it because I took hormones for awhile after my hysterectomy etc.I tortured myself with thoughts like that. I am doing a lot better today and feeling stronger. I do think we seem a lot alike. I had talked to another person on here and it just didn't "click" It seemed to do that with you right away. E-mail me and we will share phone numbers.

    1 Comment
    • Lora's Avatar
      Lora

      It bleeped out our emails too! haha....well I'm lmonta60 at gmail. haha ..... I'm a skilled stalker....lol! This is such a coincidence: I'm working today at Loyola and my social worker co-worker knows you! She said you are the nicest person ever. Her name is Casey! She said you and she have a mutual friend on FB who has twins....She did an intership with Mohawk Opp and she loved it there and you guys chatted sometimes. See....I'm an animal!! HAHA! Plus, you can always find me on face book. My name is Lora Montalto. Bleep THAT, Internet!!!
      I thought that was the funniest thing ever what you said about celebrating breast cancer month by having a mastectomy! I'm laughing out loud right now :-D
      As far as guilt, I DID feel guilty about never having had a mammogram and I'm 52! I was an idiot and put my children's future with their mom at risk by being irresponsible. The idea that my 19 year old daughter may have had a wedding someday without me really knocked me over. That's what she told me. I didn't know that she thought about those things....So my irresponsible behavior is what bother's me. But, I don't think I did anything to bring this on. I nursed my 3 kids, and I have the invasive ductal as you do. The tumor was under my areola at "3:00pm" as they say. I feel that this specific cancer we share with millions of other women may be just a human female outcome that is genetic on some level. It doesn't make sense to be environmental to me. (Although I consumed tons of Equal in my lifetime....!) My tumor was positive for the hormones estrogen and progesterone, negative for the HER2 thingy, I have been pregnant 5 times, 3 live births, 2 very early miscarriages, I have fibroids, still get a fairly regular period, I'm RH negative..... Just random stuff that may or may not be factors. My mother never got breast cancer but she never nursed us. Or maybe she did have it, and just died of something else at age 82. I don't remember her ever having mammograms....
      And listen, if it is in the nodes it really doesn't change EVERYTHING. It just doesn't! They just take out the nodes, and you make some treatment decisions from there. I decided to go with chemo followed by hormonal therapy because I want to leave nothing to chance. And the nodes did not change my odds for survival in a way that matters to me. I still have an 80% chance of dying of something unrelated to cancer. The odds are even higher in my crazy mind because I am so healthy to begin with.
      Tuesday I do a PET scan, which is scary because my body has betrayed me recently and I don't trust it anymore! Wed, I get the port placed and hoping for some very nice drugs (haha) and Thursday begins chemo. I picked out a fabulous wig from Savon in Saratoga Springs! I get paid next week so I have an appt. to get it from her friday. I know I will lost my hair so I'm just embracing that as proof my treatment means business! I plan on doing fabulously dramatic eyeliner, and maybe false eyelashes too. My daughter is fantastic with that stuff and can teach me. I was thinking that I can't date until next summer, but ya know what? This gal needs a fancy dinner once in a while and I just lost a couple pounds - need about 20 more~! but why not!? I have to stop thinking that my cancer defines me. I will define how I experience my treatment. My cancer is already gone, a lump and 2 nodes are out, and the chemo is just to be sure there is nothing lurking that can pop up later. I know something can pop up later anyway. I'll just deal with it then, and it will not have the opportunity to grow the way my breast tumor did because I'm going to be pro-active in every way imaginable!

      about 4 years ago
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    cag213 wrote on Lora's wall

    You are right about managing a program such as mine. I have 83 clients in in 5 different programs. Each program has a different grant and different regs. I have 6 staff I supervise. I sometimes long for the days when I was a Service Coordinator and just had to do my job and go home. We have a new Executive Director who is very difficult to work with. He started as my direct supervisor 11/2 ago and it has been a nightmare since then. For some reason he seems to hate me and finally I had to go to HR to complain because he was just out of control with me. There are many, many times I have thought of leaving but with this economy and I am 62 years old and the sole support of my family it did not seem doable to me.My education is not conventional either. When I was diagnosed the doctor told me I had the cancer for 1 1/2 years. Hmmmm.... odd coincidence. I am sure all the stress I have been under has a lot to do with it. My children are both grown. I have 2 sons. One lives in Texas. One lives very close to me in Ballston Spa but he has 2 little children and works nights so he is very busy. He does help us a lot with the yard etc.but I hate to ask him.He is so busy and works so hard.My daughter-in -law is great too. I may need to ask my mother to come stay with us for a few days after my surgery but I think we will be fine. My husband can do little things like empty the dishwasher and dust. I made some food ahead and froze it and have been keeping the house super clean before my surgery. I usually never ask for help, ever. One of my faults that I have to change. I have called the Cancer Society and I am going to take every benefit I can get. I cannot go this alone as I usually do. My father had the port in when he was undergoing cancer treatment. He had lung cancer due to a life long cigarette habit. He was an extremely healthy man , though, and did not get cancer until he was much older. He took massive amounts of chemo with little or no side effects. Unfortunately he did pass away at age 81. For him the port procedure did not seem bad, but I know how each of these "lovely" things us cancer fighters have to go through involves stress and pain of some sort of other. For me it is the needles. I absolutely hate them. I am fine once the needles are in. The "after pain" I deal with well. It is the needles. I am not an "easy stick" so they tell me. I actually like the morphine. It works well for me. The pain pills I hate. I just cannot stand that "woozy" feeling they give me so I rarely take them. I have had a lot of surgeries in the past so I have experience with what works for me. Pain pills last longer but make me feel like XXX. Morphine just makes me gently sleep and I wake up with no effects but it does not last as long.I am more fearful about the news on the lymph nodes than I think I was about the diagnosis. I am just so sure they are clear. I don't want to think other wise. This is just a tough thing that no one should ever have to go through. I had a very bad day yesterday . Really the first time I cried since the diagnosis. I just came home and started to talk about it to my husband and broke down. Not sure why, maybe the stress of work. It had been a busy week, maybe the gloomy weather. It did not last long. I mentally slapped myself around and snapped out of it. I have been doing well and trying very hard to stay positive. I rely very strongly on my faith, but sometimes the devil is there whispering in your ear and trying to start those negative thoughts. I try to nip that negativity in the bud and know that nothing is going to happen to me that God does not want to happen. As you can see I am a "talker" too! I have only told a few people at work though. Those I am closest to.I know many others know. I can tell by their attitude toward me. I am not sure how I am going to handle if I need a wig and things like that. There are so many employees and it's not like I want to announce it . I have thought about this a lot. I am not quite sure how to handle that part.The clients is another thing. I don't know how to address their questions if they notice things with me.. I know you will do fine with the port procedure. You handled the surgery and that is much more involved. I will be praying for you on that day and everyday.. You are right -WE ARE BOTH GOING TO BE FINE!! 100% guarantee on that sister!

    2 Comments
    • Lora's Avatar
      Lora

      I feel the same as you. I go through my bad "hours"....not so much days. I was obsessing last sunday because it "suddenly" dawned on my that the ocologist told me my liver function tests were SLIGHTLY elevated. Thats when I jumped on here in fact. I just needed to be around people like me - even if it was just online ("just"...haha that was stupid! This is saving my sanity right now!"
      And XXX people's attitude toward you. Eff them! That's the very reason I tell them so I can control the situation and YEAH that's RIGHT I have cancer, XXX. I know I shouldn't have posted that...hahaha But that's who I am. Nobody is going to feel sorry about me and talk about me by the water cooler. I will talk about me by the water cooler and YOU will listen!!!! My friend's know I'm going through it, though and I am vulnerable when I need to be. The first time I get "news" or the first time I saw the "chemo room" I was very shaken. The lymph nodes and tumor size knocked me for a loop but only for about a half day. Sometimes I get a lump in my throat when I say something out loud, or if one of my brother's calls me. My closest brother passed away suddenly a year ago April and I'm still missing my mother who passed away in the 90's so that gets me weepy when I talk about it. But I do know how you feel and we sound a lot alike. I'm so sorry you have an a-hole for a supervisor. That's a long time to endure him. We don't have the sharpest tools in our business sometimes as you know! Call or text me anytime you have a hard day and I promise I will say something ridiculous and at least distract you....maybe I'll have a weepy moment with you, sis!!![phone number redacted]~~!! And my name really is Lora. I'm a texter so feel free. Any psychos out there who start stalking me after posting that online can suck it!!! lol.....Feel good and yes we absolutely will be fine! Better than fine!

      about 4 years ago
    • Lora's Avatar
      Lora

      Oh wow, my number was blocked by the site. Email me and I will share it with you. [email redacted]

      about 4 years ago
  • cag213's Avatar

    cag213 wrote on Lora's wall

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. It really helps. Strangely enough despite the horrible prevalence of this disease I have never known a single woman who had it. I am definitely learning a lot. I am now looking forward to getting the surgery over with. The waiting is excruciating. How long after the surgery did you learn if your lymph nodes were positive? I am so glad you got hooked up with Cancer Services to help with your medical bills. I was surprised that I will still have "cleavage" . At least I can wear a bathing suit or tank top again if I want. We are very lucky to be living now when we have these options available to us. My work has been great and I appreciate their understanding, especially when I have had to take off so much time for my husband. He just had a heart attack this summer and is on kidney dialysis. I have been the one taking care of him for years so for me to be sick is a switch. I have basically enough time to take two weeks off then I will not have a paycheck . Our type of work is so rewarding but also so stressful. This time of the year I have so many homeless people coming in just begging me for housing and I just can't help them all. That can weigh on me a little sometimes.I have had a lot of openings lately though due to people getting called for Section 8 so I have been able to help some. I am busy trying to tie up loose ends before I go out for the surgery. I had heard about that event in Saratoga but I don't know if I will make it. I am just exhausted lately and just come home and plop . I am in bed reading most nights by 8:30. How is your chemo going? Do you have a port in?

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    • Lora's Avatar
      Lora

      I am so sorry to hear about your husband's struggles. It is hard to go from caregiver to being someone who needs to be cared for. I didn't know anyone either, in our predicament. My mom had some "pre-cancer cells" and had a hysterectomy when I was little but that's the only time I heard about it in our family. My brother's didnt even remember that and they are much older than me! I am a talker, and I can't go through something and not be yacking about it to everyone at work! I have a hard time faking it when something is on my mind. Maybe it's because I don't want anyone wondering what the XXX is wrong with me! When I lose my hair, IF I lose it, everyone will know the day before WIG Day! I cover things up by being a little flamboyant at times but it works for me.
      I admire you. Its SO hard to be a manager of a program! I know you must have your hands full! I have been in charge of CD programs and the pressure is intense to maintain regs compliance, stay in the "black" financially and manage staff! I am glad I punch in and out nowadays :-) I decided today to keep my Sunday job at Loyola. So much pressure to catch up financially after time off with no pay. You should be fine to go back after 2 weeks but if you need another few days, let yourself have it! And do what I did: Have your kids take care of you for a little while! I'm not shy about asking for help when I need it.
      I start chemo on oct 4th, next thursday. I get the port placed the day before! I always minimize these things but now that i'm reading up on it, it's a real surgery thing.... I'm not shy about asking for pain meds either lol....I found out about the lymph nodes a week after the surgery at my follow up appt. with dr. Bell. I thought I was in the clear, because I assumed I would have heard right after the surgery but maybe that was for the best. I was a hot mess in the hospital as far as my denial was concerned. Plus the morphine! When he told me i was stronger, but I was so SHOCKED and really upset about it. My lump was bigger than they thought too. I still have my moments of worry, mostly right now about the PET scan next week (to be sure there isn't anything else lurking). Now I feel that my body is insidiously deceptive with the most sophisticated of imaging! Really Tumor? An ultrasound, diagnostic mammo and MRI??? I get caught up in that distorted thinking sometimes and have to yank myself back. The goal of chemo is CURATIVE. It's just to be sure nothing is brewing. Our tumors are the same size and 1.5 cm and that is not that bad! A couple nodes...eh....not so bad either! We're gonna be fine.

      about 4 years ago
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    cag213 wrote on Lora's wall

    Do you work at Conifer Park in-patient in Glenville or the out-patient on Franklin Street? I work for Mohawk Opportunities. We used to be right next door to Conifer at 600 Franklin Street but then we bought our own building and moved to Nott Terrace. Really right around the corner.Thanks for the advice about the surgery. I will definitely try the tank tops. Someone else told me about wearing button up shirts so I have to run out and buy some because usually I don't wear button up tops but I hear that it is hard to raise your arms over your head for awhile. My plastic surgeon showed me an album of photos of women before and after reconstruction. That was the most helpful thing for me. They were actually much better that I had thought. Most women looked actually better than before, a little higher, and I could use that! My temporary implant will be filled with saline and then I will have to have a permanent one put in. He gave me info about silicone implants but I have always been against putting silicone in the body. I am hoping when I get to that point I can have saline implants. Are you on chemo now? I am praying my lymph nodes do not show signs of cancer so I can avoid that. I i was hard to decide between the lumpectomy or mastectomy but I finally did decide for the mastectomy. My family really wanted me to do that and I think it will prevent a lot of worrying after . Is your insurance not covering the reconstruction? You mentioned medicaid. I was told that by law the insurance companies have to pay for reconstruction.

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    • Lora's Avatar
      Lora

      Oh Wow! I know where you work! I was a guidance counselor for many years until I left for maternity and childrearing. No more jobs out there in the 90's in schools. I went to OMH and OMRDD facilities and did that for many years.
      I didn't have insurance as I was working on a per diem basis - both at Conifer (inpatient in Glenville!) and on sundays at Loyola (the vets detox in Albany). I left my old full time job because they are under investigation for some very bad things, embezzlement being the least of it. The Commision on Quality Care got a tip and now the feds are involved. I couldn't stay knowing the extent of what had been going on for over 20 years under the oversight of a Priest no less! i left and went to Conifer, adding more days and they were very accomodating. That was in April and I didn't have insurance as a per diem, so I was eligible for Medicaid. I was so relieved! Regardless of my income, by virtue of being uninsured with Cancer I was eligible through the Cancer Services Program of Saratoga County. Amazing people and I was so lucky to get scooped up in their services.
      And as far as the shirts....about a week and a half out from surgery I was trying on every top I owned to cover the those drains and I was one sore mama that afternoon! The lifting the arm to put on tops was NOT a great idea! Still I like stretchy material so I havent worn the button downs yet because I don't want anything tightish around my upper arm. There's a sensitivity still. They removed 16 lymph nodes, 2 of which were positive. That's where it hurts, not the boob. My feeling is a little spongey on that side....kinda numb still. Coming back though! I have cleavage today haha....my co-workers where doubting my "boob-less-ness" ....Its really not noticable in clothes....
      I'm glad I had the mastectomy too. Dr. Bell convinced me that the reconstruction will have a much better result and I can still image the boobs with the implants in them so there is no increased risk of failure to detect future tumors. I think I'm going to be hitting Victoria Secret's with a vengance in the spring! lol......
      You and your husband should go to that event in Saratoga next Thursday. It's free for us, and 25.00 for non-cancer-ites. I'm going with my son. http://celebrateoctober.eventbrite.com/ Sounds classy haha.....

      about 4 years ago