Invasive ductile breast cancer: What should I expect?

Posted by ellerbracke @ellerbracke, May 9 6:04am

I was just diagnosed with invasive ductile breast cancer.. Caught early, pretty localized, barely invasive. Lumpectomy on 6/2 (with sampling of sentinel lymph nodes, which show clear on ultrasound). Probably either, or both, of hormone therapy or radiation treatment afterwards. Any advice/input regarding what to be aware of, or what to expect?

@jejones

That is about all I saw of my surgeon, 'tho' we had about 20 minutes for the decision of best process the first time we met. And she did call me the day after to see how I was doing. But I don't think the surgeons are to have much interactions. This was at Mayo. The rest of the care and the compassion is to come from your oncologist and the rest of the team… This is how I understand the process. Do you have a good care team with an Oncologist now? They should provide the ongoing care and any of your concerns… At least that is my understanding and the way it was with me.

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Yes, oncologist is great. I was simply spoiled from assorted previous orthopedic surgeries where the surgeon took the time to a) have a brief talk immediately before surgery, and b) be around for post-operative comments once I was “awake”. But then, perhaps knee replacement rates higher than lumpectomy on the seriousness scale.

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@ellerbracke

This seems to be almost ridiculous to mention while waiting for my breast cancer to be typed, but what does one do when your left breast is a B-, so is your bra, and your right lobe is close to a D? Does not fit anywhere…………. can’t compress. Wearing loose stuff, but sideways mirror view is hilarious. Well, not for me – I could be an ad in “before and after” for breast enhancement. Going on 2 1/2 weeks past lumpectomy. Lymph node area still super tender. How does one avoid moving one’s arm? Each time I do, the area gets disturbed. Easing up, but still, summer time with perspiration under arms with fresh incisions is not the best combination. Just frustration talking.

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I think you should be moving your arm. I was told both times I had lumpectomies and when I had bilateral mastectomy to move the arm/arms or they would lock up and you would be in real trouble as far as movement in the future. You might want to talk to someone about this. Also, it takes a good while for the swelling to go down.

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All in all, I think the most complicated and compassionate care goes to stage 4, for good reason.

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I am going to chime in and say this is a very serious time and there are very serious questions here, but you all have a pretty great sense of humor through it. I found this to help me a lot. I still make fun of all the gifts from breast cancer 17 years later. I was treated in my small town system and it was the opposite of @ellerbracke. My surgeon was a lifesaver, my oncologist never spoke to me after the initial 5 minute visit and turning me over to the nurse who was kind and funny. I had the stages of bras for 2 years. First the swelling of the surgery side being lopsided, I wore a back wrap around them tightly to keep them quiet. Then came the opposite where the non surgery side was still its normal size and the other had only half. But since I ride horses the movements were painful so I found a bra that was like armor around them both. I did decide I didn’t want to wear the prosthetic so I ended up in sports bras for most activities for the next 10 years. I went to a boutique 3 hours away for the prosthetic and bra I wore once when my husband and I renewed our vows. How are you doing size wise now? Have you finally healed up? Are you moving your arm?

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@auntieoakley

I am going to chime in and say this is a very serious time and there are very serious questions here, but you all have a pretty great sense of humor through it. I found this to help me a lot. I still make fun of all the gifts from breast cancer 17 years later. I was treated in my small town system and it was the opposite of @ellerbracke. My surgeon was a lifesaver, my oncologist never spoke to me after the initial 5 minute visit and turning me over to the nurse who was kind and funny. I had the stages of bras for 2 years. First the swelling of the surgery side being lopsided, I wore a back wrap around them tightly to keep them quiet. Then came the opposite where the non surgery side was still its normal size and the other had only half. But since I ride horses the movements were painful so I found a bra that was like armor around them both. I did decide I didn’t want to wear the prosthetic so I ended up in sports bras for most activities for the next 10 years. I went to a boutique 3 hours away for the prosthetic and bra I wore once when my husband and I renewed our vows. How are you doing size wise now? Have you finally healed up? Are you moving your arm?

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Oh yes. Day 2 after surgery I went for usual 2 mile walk, pumping arms (and paid for it), kept up with all housework – not that much in a 2 people old folks place, and also kept up the minimum and perhaps more of daily yard/garden stuff. I just simply thought that both breast swelling and extreme under arm tenderness would resolve it much, much, much faster. 8 weeks past I still have a slightly enlarged (but no more grotesque) lumpectomy boob, still halfway brownish discolored, and still a very very visible red scar from lymph node removal. I’m happy the boob shrunk, but re. scar – I’ve kept the breast cancer from my kids for now – no need to know – and I see no way to get together with fun pool times. Raising your arm is pretty much a given, and I don’t want the questions, panic, concern for now.

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@ellerbracke

Oh yes. Day 2 after surgery I went for usual 2 mile walk, pumping arms (and paid for it), kept up with all housework – not that much in a 2 people old folks place, and also kept up the minimum and perhaps more of daily yard/garden stuff. I just simply thought that both breast swelling and extreme under arm tenderness would resolve it much, much, much faster. 8 weeks past I still have a slightly enlarged (but no more grotesque) lumpectomy boob, still halfway brownish discolored, and still a very very visible red scar from lymph node removal. I’m happy the boob shrunk, but re. scar – I’ve kept the breast cancer from my kids for now – no need to know – and I see no way to get together with fun pool times. Raising your arm is pretty much a given, and I don’t want the questions, panic, concern for now.

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Take heart this will pass. I had a bunch of blue settle in my breast and turn me blue for months and months, my husband called me smurfette. Lol. Have you looked into any of the old lady swimsuits with the ruffle or flap over that area?

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@ellerbracke

Oh yes. Day 2 after surgery I went for usual 2 mile walk, pumping arms (and paid for it), kept up with all housework – not that much in a 2 people old folks place, and also kept up the minimum and perhaps more of daily yard/garden stuff. I just simply thought that both breast swelling and extreme under arm tenderness would resolve it much, much, much faster. 8 weeks past I still have a slightly enlarged (but no more grotesque) lumpectomy boob, still halfway brownish discolored, and still a very very visible red scar from lymph node removal. I’m happy the boob shrunk, but re. scar – I’ve kept the breast cancer from my kids for now – no need to know – and I see no way to get together with fun pool times. Raising your arm is pretty much a given, and I don’t want the questions, panic, concern for now.

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Just adding: my kids and grandkids expect me to be the first to go off the diving board, take a “hold-your-breath” challenge, dive to bottom of 12’ diving pool (lying, my ears won’t do this any more). but generally, the under-arm mark would show. Thinking up excuses a lot.

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@auntieoakley

Take heart this will pass. I had a bunch of blue settle in my breast and turn me blue for months and months, my husband called me smurfette. Lol. Have you looked into any of the old lady swimsuits with the ruffle or flap over that area?

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Smurfs…. I knew there was something I meant to toss/donate/research that I have in my kids’ spare bed room. Unique collection, including some bought while on vacation in Europe. Boob is well contained in swim suit, just that offspring expects me to do all kinds of athletics in the pool, both while feet touching ground, as well as swimming competitions/activities. Sharp eyed kids. Pretty prominent/visible incision outlined in red in arm pit still.

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