I have been on tamoxifen for just over two years with minimal side effects thus far thankfully. I am always nervous about the potential for endometrial cancer. Yesterday my new doctor (I moved) told he he wants to put me on Femara. No discussion about other alternatives. I read up on other peoples experiences with this drug and think I'm better off on the Tamoxifen in terms of the side effects for better quality of life. Anyone been on both that can provide some insight on the SE's?
I am 11 out of 15 nodes positive stage IIIc, had chemo and radiation, and a bilateral mastectomyView Thread
How long did you have to wait from the time you had your tissue expanders inserted to the April 12th surgery? My final surgery won't take place until the end of this year which will be a year and 3 months from my original surgery.View Thread
Just getting back on board again after about a week. My radiation oncologist took my picture before starting. Every time I go I have to confirm my picture and my name on the computer screen and initial on a sheet they have. IView Thread
Being there for your mom, as Rachael said, will be so precious and important to her now. Also, as Rachael said, many continue to lead full lives despite a Stage IV diagnosis. Both of you will have good and bad days with how you're handling the diagnosis and treatments. But it's important that you don't allow yourselves to dwell on the negative stuff for too long in order to avoid falling into a depression. If you or your mom find yourselves thinking too much for too long, try to refocus your thoughts on something else like new house projects, go out to lunch, go for a scenic walk, or read a book. Anything to refocus the negative thinking onto something more positive. Staying positive is difficult for anyone dealing with 'the beast'. But its better to work towards being positive when it can have a much better impact on one's health.View Thread
I'm glad to hear you were able to come to a decision. I'm sorry you are having to deal with so much right now with your stepmom besides dealing with your own issues.
Having your sister with you to help after the surgery will be wonderful. One of my sisters gave me a "babywipe bath" while I was still in the hospital. Another sister brought me home from the hospital and kept a log for me of the times I took my pain meds and antibiotics so that I could refer to it to see when my next dose was due. Since I was foggy from the pain meds, this kept me from taking meds too soon or often.
I hope during your recovery you think of us while you use the tips mentioned by all the girls. We'll be thinking of you!View Thread
Thankfully I had the tatooing and form done already in a previous visit. I was nervous about the tattoing at first because I thought it would be very noticeable. Thankfully the dots are smaller than a mole making them barely noticeable. So tomorrow will be strictly the treatment I'm assuming. Good to hear I'll spend more time undressing than the treatment itself. I do have some soft bras I bought when I transitioned from the surgical bra to sports bras after my surgery. I'll have to test those out to see how they feel. With my tissue expanders, I may be able to go braless but prefer not to. I like some support even if they stay up on their own but gravity still must have some effect, no?
I'll write back as I go along to let everyone know how it's going.
I had the bilateral mastectomy and opted for reconstruction (with tissue expanders) at the same time of the mastectomy surgery. I do have to have another surgery only because tissue expanders were used. However, there are many methods of reconstruction on which your breast surgeon and plastic surgeon could elaborate where only one surgery will be needed.
If your fear is about undergoing a separate surgery for reconstruction, talk to your breast surgeon because depending upon the type of reconstruction, the mastectomy and reconstruction could be completed all in one surgery. My breast surgeon and plastic surgeon coordinated their parts during my mastectomy surgery. Your breast surgeon will most likely work with a plastic surgeon he or she could recommend you could speak with to get a better understanding of the process.
Regarding the scars, I have a scar on each breast which is no more than a line. As one of the girls here mentioned, you can see pictures online if you research "bilateral mastectomy" or other similar searches which lead you to plastic surgery involving breast enhancements or breast reconstruction.
Good luck with your decision! It's a scary and overwhelming process to have to make such complicated decisions so quickly when it seems you haven't even had the opportunity to absorb even the initial diagnosis. Just make sure whatever you choose works for you and how you will reflect on it in the future.View Thread
Good to hear everything is going well! Can you give me some tips about the radiation? I just got the call today that I start tomorrow morning. Are you using anything for the redness and itching? Are you able to use a regular bra? What does your doctor recommend for the shooting pains? At what time of day do you do your radiation treatments? How long are they?
Sorry about all the questions just nervous about tomorrow....lollolView Thread
After reading through everyone's posts many of my suggestions have been covered. I am going on 43 and had a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction in September of last year.
The way you are feeling that so much is being thrown at you all at once making everything hard to understand and digest is a feeling most of us have experienced when first diagnosed. I think you will reflect back on the surgery and find it was easier than you thought. I remember all my worries during that time even as I was being wheeled into surgery.
The drains were pinned to the surgical bra that was put on me after the surgery. My husband (who was absolutely wonderful) drained them for me when needed. One thing I noticed that wasn't mentioned was the doctor should instruct you on what to write down each time the drainage bulbs are drained. They like to monitor how much is draining so they know when it is okay to pull the drains. It is important to not do too much with your arms during this time so that the necessary healing can occur. I know this will be difficult since, like most of us, it's diffficult to NOT do any housework. Mention to your husband during this time it will be extremely helpful if he could worry about the dishes, laundry, meals, etc. and remind him this is only temporary while you recover.
Preparing yourself beforehand with, as someone mentioned, getting your meds beforehand will help you gain some control over the situation. The loose fitting shirts with buttons down the front will help you with the limited arm movement during your recovery. Grab any of your husband's old shirts and ask friends if they have any old button down shirts they don't use. You really only need a few that can be rewashed as you go along. Also, baby wipes can help you clean around areas you can't get to with washing like your back under the surgical bra, your armpits, etc. As one of the other girls mentioned, having a hand-held shower is wonderful (can purchase one at Walmart) to help you wash your lower body areas while standing in the tub. Afterwards I used to kneel outside the tub with my head over the tub to wash my hair using the hand held shower. Just being able to do that made me feel so much better! Establish an area where you'd like to spend most of your recovery time whether in your bed or on the couch. In this area put any movies or other items which you plan to use to keep yourself entertained during your recovery. Go food shopping before surgery to make sure you have at least week's worth of food in the house. Also, if you can prepare and freeze some foods to make it easier for your husband to just heat things would be good. All this prior planning will keep you busy and in some control prior to your surgery. You're going to be nervous and anxious but just know that you will get through it and will reflect later that the surgery and recovery wasn't as bad as you thought.
I'm sending warm wishes and support your way! Keep us posted on how you're doing!View Thread