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    Madonna asked a questionBreast Cancer

    One Year Anniversary

    12 answers
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar
      AlizaMLS

      Dear Madonna,

      Hi. I'm Aliza, a Breast Cancer patient. I'm also a Medical Librarian who's retired but who practices her profession on this site by offering non medical advice, referrals, and research to those who need and want it.

      Let me say I was saddened by your news. I think what might help you in addition to some of the excellent suggestions you have gotten from other folks on the site is to contact CancerCare. The Social Workers there are specially and specifically trained to deal with only the issues facing Cancer patients and their caregivers. Talking with them isn't like "regular therapy". No one's interested in discussing your "toilet training" and no one is going to blame your mother"...;) It's all about helping you feel better so that you can make the best decisions possible during difficult times and they may be able to refer you to other resources as well. You can speak with a Social Worker either by phone or have an appointment in person (whatever you choose-whatever works best for you). They're very accommodating.

      I cannot answer your medical question re chemo. Chemo depends on many variables - the Stage of the cancer, whether it's spread to the lymph nodes and I don't know whether they take into consideration that you've already had breast cancer already (even though it may be a different kind plus other variables that I don't even know). Your breast surgeon and especially your oncologist would be the best people to speak with (better than people on this site). Everyone here has their own experiences, but we're not You! I, especially cannot offer medical advice because as a Librarian, it's against our code of ethics and technically, it's also illegal. It would be considered practicing medicine without a license, which I take seriously. I can tell you the variables that I know of that go into making such a decision, but even if I knew your specifics and knew the answer, it still would be illegal for me to say and it wouldn't be appropriate. Sometimes I worry that someone with a question such as yours is advised by someone on WhatNext of something that might be very upsetting to them and that person is all alone with no family to support them and cannot reach their friends. That's another reason why it's important to really find a physician you trust and stick close to her/him.

      It's also an excellent time if you belong to a religious community for you to contact your clergyperson and tell them what's happening with you. They are usually very warm and understanding and may be able to offer help in ways you didn't dream of. Some congregations have "sunshine committees" where members visit housebound or ill people to keep them company or drive them on errands. Most congregations have a discretionary fund if you need a small bit of money to tide you over with a bill, and your clergyperson can point you to contact a charitable agency in your faith like: The Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services, Catholic Charities, The United Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies.

      There are other sources for medications, one of them being www.needymeds.com. There are others, but they're not coming to mind at the moment. I'm sure someone else can fill them in. Let me know if you need more. You can also Google "Susan Komen" who offers grants.

      Please don't hesitate to contact me if you need further information. You can do so on the site or even email me. I'm sure you'll get through this. Just try to stay calm-easier said than done. You might try to look into different forms of meditation- Zen, Transcendental Meditation (Jerry Seinfeld endorses them now). There is a catalogue called Gaiam (www.gaiam.com) where you can probably order meditation background music.

      I wish you the best of luck in a difficult situation,
      AlizaMLS

      over 3 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar
      Nancebeth

      I was diagnosed with IDC-L in Jan 2012, had bilateral mastectomy in Feb 2012. I had chemo based on my Oncotype DX score. I was ER= and PR+ and followed chemo by 2 months of Tamoxifen. It should have been 5 years but I could not handle the side effects so I stopped it.

      over 3 years ago
    • Madonna's Avatar
      Madonna

      Thank you, everyone, for all the wonderful information you've given me. Now, I have some good news. I don't have cancer in that breast again. About a week ago I had the needle biopsy and there was a large pool of blood in there - right where the surgery was done for my lumpectomy. The results from the lab came in around Friday. No cancer. The doctor at the breast clinic at Wishard) said the skin thickening on the other side of the breast would have to have a skin biopsy (a punch type) done and they do that at the VA. Saw my Oncologist at the VA and she's pretty sure its just thickening due to the radiation treatments. She isn't going to do a biopsy right now, but keep a close eye on it with another ultrasound in two months. Then she asked me if I'd hurt myself on that breast, I'm sure she was thinking something like that happened because of a blow to that area. I assured her I hadn't and she wanted to know who the surgeon was that did the lumpectomy a year ago next month. When I told her the name, she told me no, that was another Oncologist, who was the surgeon. I couldn't believe it. I asked my husband later who the surgeon was and he told me the same name I gave my Oncologist. We were led to believe she was my surgeon and it appears we never met or was given the name of the surgeon. That's weird! Again, I appear to be fine since they drained the pool of blood out and I want to thank all the wonderful people on here who gave me information, hugs and good wishes. I'll check in every so often for updates.

      over 3 years ago
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    Madonna shared an experience

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

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    Madonna shared an experience

    Radiation: Okay, I'm really messing this up in terms of sequence. Well, radiation has been prescribed and the drug Anastrozole for five years. Things kind of got messed up because I'm a veteran who was sent to a civilian hospital by the VA for everything through the surgery. I'm supposed to get my radiation through the VA hospital, but the civilian hospital did not get all their records, pathology reports and original pathology slides to the VA as promptly as the should have. My surgery was May 23 and the VA didn't get the pathology reports until yesterday afternoon (July 11) after being hounded by the VA. I was at my radiation consult when they came in by Fax. So now I'm waiting for my radiation treatment schedule. I am extremely optimistic. I know what I'm in for, but with a loving and supportive husband and the greatest doctors, I know I will have the best care and help possible.

    Its ironic, but my best friend through most all of grade school and high school was diagnosed with stage 0 breast cancer after my surgery. She had her surgery three weeks ago and gets her radiation consult today.