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update #63: Ok, so apparently...

VTmomVTmom Posts: 2,486Registered Users
....I have breast cancer :(

So much for the bad news....no worries please. I'm just pissed that it's ruining my summer. As a teacher, I live for my summers :) I did just get a week at the beach though with the hubs and adult children, so that made life good :glasses7:

This is what I know so far: I have IDC, the most common kind of breast cancer. I have a grade 3 tumor that measured over 2 cm at time of biopsy. I tested positive for all hormone receptors (estrogen, progesterone and the protein HER2). I will definitely be getting chemo, regardless of lymph node involvement which won't be determined until after surgery, scheduled for July 8. I'm getting a port during surgery and will have immediate reconstruction. I will be on herceptin for a year due to HER2 status.

For any curlies out there who have been thru this, I have these questions:
1. I know that I will be losing my hair. However, in the meantime, I'm a shave-every-day kinda girl. I've been told not to use a straight razor for fear the smallest nick could possibly cause lymphodema. I've bought an electric razor, but haven't opened it yet. I've also bought veet sensitive. Any recs on what works well?

2. Drains....UGH UGH UGH!! I'm dreaaaaadddding them!! ...probably as much as anything at this point. I watched a good video on youtube, and someone suggested in the comments to get one of those cloth nail aprons from home depot to hold them while showering, so I picked up a couple yesterday...they were only 77cents! Any other good ideas or suggestions for drains, PLEASE share :)

3. How long before you were able to get out and about comfortably?

4. How long before you could work out? My exercise of choice is running, but even that is a continual struggle due to my chronic plantar fasciitis. However, I've been continuing to run and work out in hopes I can be in my best possible shape before surgery.

5. Anything else you think I'd find helpful, I would welcome. I'm pretty sure more questions will be forthcoming.

If you're still reading....thanks ;)

Now, for the good news....just call me grandma (for the 1st time) :occasion9:
The smallest deed is greater than the grandest intention.

I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul. (Invictus - William Ernest Henley)

Just think I used to worry 'bout things like that,
Used to worry 'bout rich and skinny, 'til I wound up poor and fat,
Nowadays I kind of worry where my mind's been at,
Just think I used to worry 'bout things like that. (Delbert McClinton - I Used to Worry from Never Been Rocked Enough)
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Comments

  • theliothelio Posts: 5,374Registered Users
    {{{HUGS }}} to you.

    Congrats on being a grandma! You are leaving by my mantra! look on the brightside. That's what keeps us going if when the crap really hits the fan. Keep us updated on your progress and know that we are here for you.
  • TRBLTRBL Posts: 5,289Registered Users
    I hope the best outcome for you VTmom!
    When I grow up, I wanna be a Jiujitsu Turtle!

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  • CurlyminxCurlyminx Posts: 5,581Registered Users
    {{{{VTmom}}}}

    We are here for you VTmom.... or should we now say VTgrandma?

    Congratulations on the grandbaby!
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  • mrspoppersmrspoppers Posts: 7,223Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Congrats on being a grandma! I'm so sorry you got the other news though.

    Three of my sisters have had breast cancer of varying degrees of severity. One sister had a lumpectomy about three weeks ago and is getting ready to start radiation next week. Her tumor looked to be 1.5 cm before surgery but was actually 3 cm. She just got the results from her ONCA test and she's in the low range for recurrence so she doesn't need chemo. She was back to work in 2.5 weeks.

    Another sister had stage 3 breast cancer (lymph node involvement) and grade 3/4 tumors in both breasts. She had a double mastectomy in December 2011, followed by chemo then radiation. She is also a teacher. At the time she got her diagnosis, she was running and walking regularly and training for her second half marathon. She had her surgery after school got out for Christmas break and finished treatment seven months later.

    She couldn't work while she had chemo so she didn't go back to work until fall 2012. She was teaching first grade at the time and it was simply too physical for her. Her oncologist was also worried about all those germy kids so he was opposed to her working at all. I think if she had a desk job with adults, she might have been able to work part time during chemo (i.e. no work on chemo weeks and partial days during the non-chemo weeks) but it would have been 4-6 weeks after surgery that she would have been able to go back. (Your doctor can tell you how long. It has to do with when you stop pain meds and how soon you have mobility in your arms to drive.)

    The drains were a pain. She had a couple tank tops with little pockets to hold the drains. Showering, she just did the best she could. She definitely didn't shower every day because changing the dressings was hard. Since you're married, you might want your husband to give you showers at first. I personally wouldn't worry about shaving my legs. You'll need help with that at first anyway because you probably won't be flexible enough to do it yourself.

    Good luck with everything. I think the most important thing to know is that everyone is different. Some people have a really hard time and others go about their lives with no problems at all. Just remember to listen to your body and don't do more than you can handle.
    When are women going to face the fact that they don’t know their own bodies as well as men who have heard things?

    Don Langrick
    Bonsai Culturist
  • LotsawavesLotsawaves Posts: 8,660Registered Users
    (((VTMom/GrandMom)))

    Don't have any answers for you, but you are in my thoughts and prayers.
    From Michael Berg:

    Every person has a unique connection to the Creator that can never be extinguished, and every person has a great soul that can manifest important things in our world. To make a person feel less than they are because of something inside themselves, be it faith, race, or sexual orientation, is the greatest sin of all."
  • B-wavyB-wavy Posts: 1,733Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I haven't been through this, but I wish you all the best. Lots of good thoughts and vibes to you, and please keep us updated. And congratulations on being a grandma!
  • rouquinnerouquinne Posts: 13,498Registered Users Curl Dabbler
    (((((VT/Grandma)))))
    My blog:

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    Little Mother of all the Roaches, President-for-Life of the MAC Harlots!
  • spiderlashes5000spiderlashes5000 Posts: 17,495Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Hugs, positive thoughts prayers!!! You are my hero for being so calm and brave. Much respect! (But I am still very sorry to hear this news.)

    I had drains following an abdominoplasty and I wore a work ID badge neck lanyard thing around my neck in the shower and either clipped the drains onto the lanyard or hung them from the lanyard. If clips were involved, then the dr's office provided them for me bc I wouldn't have thought to go buy something like that. I just tried to stand as still as possible while washing and they always remained in place, even when they were heavy and full.

  • LAwomanLAwoman Posts: 2,949Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    (((VTMom))) No good advice, but I am sending positive vibes your way. You sound like you've got a great attitude, which is clearly more than half the battle!!
  • VTmomVTmom Posts: 2,486Registered Users
    mrspoppers wrote: »
    She couldn't work while she had chemo so she didn't go back to work until fall 2012. She was teaching first grade at the time and it was simply too physical for her. Her oncologist was also worried about all those germy kids so he was opposed to her working at all.

    I personally wouldn't worry about shaving my legs. You'll need help with that at first anyway because you probably won't be flexible enough to do it yourself.

    First of all, I'm so sorry about your sisters. I'm sure that was very hard for your family. How are they all doing now? I'm fairly certain I won't be back at the beginning of the year. My chemo starts the 2nd week of August and won't be over until around Christmas. So I'm thinking if all goes well, I'll go back 2nd semester. I work in a PreK-grade 3 school and have totally thought about the snotty little munchkins...not a good combo for a depressed immune system ;)

    As to the 2nd bolded, I'm most worried about my underarms! :shock: I can't imagine having hairy underarms. I really just can't imagine it. You see, these are the trivial things I'm thinking about....silly, huh?? :tongue10:
    The smallest deed is greater than the grandest intention.

    I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul. (Invictus - William Ernest Henley)

    Just think I used to worry 'bout things like that,
    Used to worry 'bout rich and skinny, 'til I wound up poor and fat,
    Nowadays I kind of worry where my mind's been at,
    Just think I used to worry 'bout things like that. (Delbert McClinton - I Used to Worry from Never Been Rocked Enough)
  • PerriPPerriP Posts: 6,613Registered Users
    I don't have any words of wisdom, but I do have thoughts and prayers coming your way. Please keep us posted, we're here for you.

    And congratulations grandma!

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using CurlTalk App
    Modified CG since Dec 2011
  • CGNYCCGNYC Posts: 4,937Registered Users
    I don't have anything really useful to add but I'll be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.
  • mrspoppersmrspoppers Posts: 7,223Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    VTmom wrote: »
    mrspoppers wrote: »
    She couldn't work while she had chemo so she didn't go back to work until fall 2012. She was teaching first grade at the time and it was simply too physical for her. Her oncologist was also worried about all those germy kids so he was opposed to her working at all.

    I personally wouldn't worry about shaving my legs. You'll need help with that at first anyway because you probably won't be flexible enough to do it yourself.

    First of all, I'm so sorry about your sisters. I'm sure that was very hard for your family. How are they all doing now? I'm fairly certain I won't be back at the beginning of the year. My chemo starts the 2nd week of August and won't be over until around Christmas. So I'm thinking if all goes well, I'll go back 2nd semester. I work in a PreK-grade 3 school and have totally thought about the snotty little munchkins...not a good combo for a depressed immune system ;)

    As to the 2nd bolded, I'm most worried about my underarms! :shock: I can't imagine having hairy underarms. I really just can't imagine it. You see, these are the trivial things I'm thinking about....silly, huh?? :tongue10:
    My sisters are doing well. Thanks for asking. :)

    That sounds like a good plan for when to go back to school. I'm glad you don't need to worry about it and can just focus on you.

    I didn't even think of underarms! I don't have any hair on mine so I forget other people do. I could be wrong, but I don't think you'll want to shave much after surgery. It's awfully close to your incisions and you most likely will be numb in that area--at least my sister is. Johns Hopkins says to use an electric razor if you must shave.
    When are women going to face the fact that they don’t know their own bodies as well as men who have heard things?

    Don Langrick
    Bonsai Culturist
  • The New BlackThe New Black Posts: 16,738Registered Users
    Love your attitude! That should help your recovery IMO. All the best!
    montage-3.gif No MAS.

    I am the new Black.

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  • SpiderSpider Posts: 3,380Registered Users
    Prayers, healing vibes and wishes of strength and endurance - you can fight this !!
    Don't let your heart be broken. Let it love.
  • LadyV69LadyV69 Posts: 3,397Registered Users
    So sorry to hear this. It's good that you seem to have a positive attitude. It can help in the long run. And congrats on being a grandmother.
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  • WiregirlWiregirl Posts: 1,695Registered Users
    Hope this will help....my friends blog
    Shinymama.com 2013 March » Page: 1 | Shinymama.com
  • Sincerely_YasSincerely_Yas Posts: 11Registered Users
    Sorry to hear this. My grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer as well On June 14, 2011 but I have good news. She got her surgery and radiation. She is now cancer free and better than ever. I will keep you in my prayers !!
  • curlypearlcurlypearl Posts: 11,970Registered Users Curl Novice
    {{{Vt Mom}}} Maybe now we should call you Vt Grandmom! That's wonderful.

    I had a drain in my head after brain tumor and a port in my stomach, so I know a little of what you are facing. Some of the things we fear most don't turn out to be so bad. I hope that's the case for you.

    Please post here often; we really do care about you.
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  • curlylifestylecurlylifestyle Posts: 77Registered Users
    I'm sending my thoughts and love to you!! Congratulations on being a grandma!!
  • StarmieStarmie Posts: 6,679Registered Users Curl Dabbler
    I have nothing constructive to offer re your concerns and questions but will keep you in my thoughts, your positive attitude is a credit to you.
    And many congrats on becoming a grandma - is it a girl or boy grandbaby?
    3b in South Australia.
  • VTmomVTmom Posts: 2,486Registered Users
    Starmie wrote: »
    And many congrats on becoming a grandma - is it a girl or boy grandbaby?
    They don't know yet. I think the next sonogram will show them, which isn't for another 5 weeks or so. My DIL wants to be surprised, buy my son wants no parts of that. He cracks me up...so type A..."I don't want neutral, I need to know whether to decorate pink or blue." "Come on <insert name of DIL here>. We need to go to bed, but you need to do some push-ups and eat some vegetables first because my baby's coming out STRONG!" (kidding, of course!) She just rolls her eyes and shakes her head :D
    The smallest deed is greater than the grandest intention.

    I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul. (Invictus - William Ernest Henley)

    Just think I used to worry 'bout things like that,
    Used to worry 'bout rich and skinny, 'til I wound up poor and fat,
    Nowadays I kind of worry where my mind's been at,
    Just think I used to worry 'bout things like that. (Delbert McClinton - I Used to Worry from Never Been Rocked Enough)
  • multicultcurlymulticultcurly Posts: 5,132Registered Users
    Wishing you the best VTgrandmom! I have no answers to your questions, but I will be sending you positive thoughts.

    Sent from my HTCEVOV4G using CurlTalk App
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  • divegirldivegirl Posts: 1,286Registered Users
    I too have nothing constructive to add apart from many positive thoughts. I hope the surgery is successful - please keep us posted.

    And congrats on the grandbun in the oven :)
  • Jess the MessJess the Mess Posts: 5,844Registered Users
    (((Hugs))).
    High Priestess JessMess, follower of the Goddess of the Coiling Way and Confiscator of Concoctions in the Order of the Curly Crusaders

  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,258Registered Users
    I don't have any advice to offer...sounds like you've gotten some good advice here though. I am sorry to hear of your coming ordeal, but I have ever faith that you'll get through it with grace and dignity. I'll be thinking of you.
  • lucyprimroselucyprimrose Posts: 166Registered Users
    I'm so sorry you're going through this.
    Congratulations on the little one due to arrive, that is really wonderful.
    UK based wavy :hello2:

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  • RebeccaKRebeccaK Posts: 305Registered Users
    I'm a (long time) lurker but had to comment here, to tell you how sorry I am to know you're going through this but to commend what truly seems to be a realistic, positive, courageous approach. I believe with my whole being that this is going to be the catalyst for the best possible outcome for you.

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer in Dec 2011, and also had bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. My cancer was caught by the wildest fluke, and therefore so early that I needed neither radiation nor chemo.

    However, I did go through the surgeries (including a salpingo-oophorectomy).

    I realize that my post surgical treatment was different from yours, so I can only comment on the surgical aspect, but I wanted to share with you that I found the entire experience very non-traumatic and very doable.

    Do not dread the drains. The idea of the drains (and everything else) is much worse than it turns out to be as you're going through it.

    Please feel free to PM me at any time, especially if you would like to chat about post-surgical care tips to make things easier on yourself.

    Whatever happens, you can (and will) handle it.

    Rebecca

    sent from phone
  • VTmomVTmom Posts: 2,486Registered Users
    Thank you all so much for the well wishes and love...I can feel it! :)

    Rebecca, I was so glad to read that your experience with drains was not as bad as you expected. That allays my fears a bit... :)
    The smallest deed is greater than the grandest intention.

    I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul. (Invictus - William Ernest Henley)

    Just think I used to worry 'bout things like that,
    Used to worry 'bout rich and skinny, 'til I wound up poor and fat,
    Nowadays I kind of worry where my mind's been at,
    Just think I used to worry 'bout things like that. (Delbert McClinton - I Used to Worry from Never Been Rocked Enough)
  • adorame06adorame06 Posts: 572Registered Users
    I do not have knowledge in this so I can not offer any words of wisdom. I do send my love to you and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Congratulations on your grandbaby

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