Lump vs mastectomy. Stuck between her choice and what I feel is best.

Posted by gpigford @gpigford, Jan 19 7:36am

So a little history. My wife sister died of Breast cancer 25 years ago. It was a second occurrence for her. Now my wife was diagnosed 2 weeks ago. Single tumor 3.5 cm stage 1. Genetically negative. No other signs of any spread. Doctor said we caught it early and suggested a lumpectomy. Fast forward 2 weeks, countless doctor appointments and mountains of information. She has decided to go full tilt and do a double mastectomy. So 4 doctors and her husband suggest a conservative approach. All the research seems to put lumpectomy ver mastectomy on a level playing field and she is hitting it with everything.

Here is my dilemma , I don’t agree with her decision. I get she is scared and tired of 25 years of worry. I understand she just wants to get to the finish line. I just think she is making a rash decision and not looking at it objectively. And I get she is not really in a state of mind to make a clearheaded decision. I feel that is where I come in. I’m the stats guy. I’m the one who can look at things from a few feet back. My job is to be the rock through this. The support when her knees give out. Every time I try to talk to her, the claws come out and she goes into a full frontal assault accusing me of not respecting her body and her decision. That is not what I am trying to do. All I’m saying is a lumpectomy can become a mastectomy, but a mastectomy can never become a lumpectomy. It is a one way street. If two years from now she gets off the emotional roller coaster she can be making a life changing decision. She will never grow them back. She will lose nipple sensation forever. Without nipple sensation she will most likely never have another organism. She is giving up everything because right now she is afraid of the future.

Sorry to have rambled on but I just don’t know how to support something that I think is a fundamentally rash and wrong decision. Anyone insight is very appreciated.

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I am so sorry for your wife's cancer and how it is effecting both of you! I have just been through a lumpectomy with radiation following and I'm glad i made that decision. Having said that, I have friends in the same situation and they decided to do a double mastectomy. It is such a personal decision and really I think it is your wife's decision. You are right when you say your job is to support her and be her rock. I know that is a tall task but good for you if you can let her make her decision even if you don't think she needs to go that radical. It is very different when you are the person that has the cancer. She needs to do what she feels is best for her and it is not just a physical decision but it is also an emotional decision. Hang in there and keep supporting your wife. You sound like a great guy and husband!

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Last night was another big blow up. I wanted to do something spontaneous, we both call out o work and just enjoy the day. No diet, no cancer, just the two of us enjoying an unexpected day. We live near Virginia Beach. I thought we would do breakfast at the beach. I was shocked when she turned me down. I had already called out so I still stayed home. That was a mistake, instead of a nice day away from my wife’s cancer, I spent the entire day thinking about it.

I called the doctor office ask some additional questions that came up. My wife signed off so I am a load too and they can talk to me. I wanted to know things like what would happen if it returned in three years. What would we do than. They did a great job explaining things that our future holds. Than I asked about getting a repeat MRI and conformation on the biopsy results. I asked about getting a second opinion. New eye may see treatment plans that’s are different. Things changed, I was told how expensive a MRI was. They were not rude or anything like that but I felt like my concerns were being brushed off. It was very upsetting. I am not dealing with this well. Nancy seems to have entered the next phase and I’m still behind.

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@gpigford

Last night was another big blow up. I wanted to do something spontaneous, we both call out o work and just enjoy the day. No diet, no cancer, just the two of us enjoying an unexpected day. We live near Virginia Beach. I thought we would do breakfast at the beach. I was shocked when she turned me down. I had already called out so I still stayed home. That was a mistake, instead of a nice day away from my wife’s cancer, I spent the entire day thinking about it.

I called the doctor office ask some additional questions that came up. My wife signed off so I am a load too and they can talk to me. I wanted to know things like what would happen if it returned in three years. What would we do than. They did a great job explaining things that our future holds. Than I asked about getting a repeat MRI and conformation on the biopsy results. I asked about getting a second opinion. New eye may see treatment plans that’s are different. Things changed, I was told how expensive a MRI was. They were not rude or anything like that but I felt like my concerns were being brushed off. It was very upsetting. I am not dealing with this well. Nancy seems to have entered the next phase and I’m still behind.

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Your wife sounds like a strong individual. And thank you for supporting her in her difficult decisions. Cancer is a frightening diagnosis and with her family history, I'm guessing treatment options are more difficult to deal with.
I don't know your ages or the kind of breast cancer.
Have you spoken with a surgeon? Nipple sparing surgery can be done as well as well as reconstruction. Will her surgery eliminate the need for chemo or radiation? Neither are easy to go through. Support your wife in her decision.

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I honestly think you are not respecting your spouse's autonomy. I understand how hard this is for you but it is harder for her, and it is her right to decide.

I had a double mastectomy for many reasons, including avoiding radiation and its side effects and long term sequelae. Some of us feel safer with our breasts gone. And no need for yearly mammogram or MRI's. In a cancer situation, decisions do not have to be entirely rational. (I went flat.)

It appears you have concerns about your marital sex life. If I were you, I would step back from your spouse's decision-making and find a counselor for yourself to help you deal. Cancer is hard on spouses, but it is not you who has cancer, it is your wife.

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Me and I’m sure everyone on here understand the roller coaster your wife is going thru in addition to family members. I just had double mastectomy with nipple sparring. My choice to do double even though I was assured that chance of me getting cancer in the other breast is very slim. I made the decision right from the start that I want both out. I am off the roller coaster even though still in treatment and I do not regret my decision at all. Even at times I wonder if I shouldn’t have done the nipple sparring. Your wife is traumatized and she has every right to take extreme measures to protect herself from any recurrence. Even if I was told lumpectomy was an option for me, I would have chosen mastectomy. When you go thru this, everything else minor. Your wife might even choose to go flat with no reconstruction. I agree with her, it’s her body and hope you support whatever decision makes her feels safe.

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I agree with the responses you have received here. If your wife is swayed by your wish and opinion and goes against what she really wants to do, she will end up resenting you. That would not bode well for your marriage. She could blame you down the road if there were to be any kind of issue with the lumpectomy and future treatment. However, if there were to be an issue after her surgeries, she would not feel resentment toward you.

It is natural to project concerns and fears into the future. I was very unhappy when I was told I needed a mastectomy but now I am really glad I did — no radiation, fewer worries about recurrence, etc. I agree with another writer that you might benefit from individual counseling about this. As her husband, I think it is essential that you support your wife as much as possible. My husband's love and support has carried me through in every way.

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You are talking the talk, but you are not walking the walk. You are both traumatized by this diagnosis, but that doesn't mean your wife is any less clear-headed than you. Two weeks, multiple tests, 4 doctors seems as though you're not lacking in information. (Another MRI BTW is unnecessary and not a fun experience and really is of little value-this from personal experience.) Your wife is dealing with emotions you can't begin to comprehend, so don't try. You need to step back, and let her come to you. My partner of 27 years lost his wife to BC 28 years ago, so he was full of advice when I was diagnosed. When he started to push me on things I didn't want, it made me feel so alone rather than supported. At most you both take a breather before making these decisions, but fighting her on this just amplifies everything. Respect her decisions. Everyone reacts differently because everyone is different. What's right for one isn't necessarily right for another. Your wife needs to do what's right for her with your full support.

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@gpigford

Last night was another big blow up. I wanted to do something spontaneous, we both call out o work and just enjoy the day. No diet, no cancer, just the two of us enjoying an unexpected day. We live near Virginia Beach. I thought we would do breakfast at the beach. I was shocked when she turned me down. I had already called out so I still stayed home. That was a mistake, instead of a nice day away from my wife’s cancer, I spent the entire day thinking about it.

I called the doctor office ask some additional questions that came up. My wife signed off so I am a load too and they can talk to me. I wanted to know things like what would happen if it returned in three years. What would we do than. They did a great job explaining things that our future holds. Than I asked about getting a repeat MRI and conformation on the biopsy results. I asked about getting a second opinion. New eye may see treatment plans that’s are different. Things changed, I was told how expensive a MRI was. They were not rude or anything like that but I felt like my concerns were being brushed off. It was very upsetting. I am not dealing with this well. Nancy seems to have entered the next phase and I’m still behind.

Jump to this post

Essentially it has to be her choice with what she can live with. Maybe she didn’t want to take off work worried she’s going to have to take off for surgery & recovery so she could use the vacation days for that. I know it’s hard but try to be patient with her even though the cancer is effecting you both, although in different ways. It’s disconcerting & stressful thinking you have cancer in your body with the possibility of it ending your life. I think she would want you to be in her corner, knowing you fully support her final decision even though you may not agree. You might want to consider joining a support group for family of cancer patients or join her at a cancer support meeting. I’m sure they would have suggestions to help you. It sounds like she’s done the research & is pretty determined so the sooner you get on board with her decision even though you don’t agree, the sooner you can be that rock to support her. Right now it sounds like she’s in defensive mode & arguing with her about is only going to make her shut down with you discussing any of it. You sound like a very caring husband so I’m sure you wouldn’t want to alienate her while she’s going on this journey. She may be taking you with her but ultimately it is her journey & decision to make. Best wishes!

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@gpigford Hi, how are you today? I'm very happy you're here. You've come here instead of your wife. May I ask why? Did you think we would support your decision as opposed to your wife's decision? IMO opinion the person who has to have the treatments, biopsy, and medication side effects. Is the Decision maker. I'll try to make this as short as possible. BTW, times have changed and so have treatments. In 2006 I was ER/PR positive stage one. I sat next to my husband on the back porch swing while the surgeon delivered the news of positive for breast cancer he was in the middle of giving our options when my husband said we want a lumpectomy. I was still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I had BC. For whatever reason most likely because he was a breast lover and I had some good ones ; ) Like a zombie, I did whatever. I can tell you that I, me, myself, and I alone had horrible pain and side effects. My husband was and still is a very loving man. But he could not walk my walk. It had to be me who went to bed every night knowing cancer was growing inside me. I thought I was a poster child for breast cancer with clear margins and no lymph node issues. My oncologist was scheduling me for the Survivorship program – see you in 6 months. Until a chat room told me to ask for a tumor test. Back then the Oncotype test was not typical (cost was $4,985 out of pocket). I was scheduled for port surgery within a few days then many tests such as a heart muga etc. all within the 10 days before my first round of Red Devil chemo & a 2nd bag chemo I can't remember name of. Let's not forget the 2 huge pills of steroids before each treatment and an IV bag of steroids. I spent over 12 years having every 6-month 3-hour diagnostic mammograms, seeing the oncologist so for me it was every 3 months with something to do with cancer. After 10 years of Arimidex which ruined my hips to this day along with the Neulasta shots, Cancer was never out of my mind. So I had 2 years of just annual regular screening mammograms. Then the original Radiologist said highly suspicious and had another biopsy wham bam thank you ma'am easy decision stage 2 this time Hello Mastectomy. I So Wish I had Done it Then not 15 years later. I was younger, and stronger then, and more health resource options were available now after the pandemic the hospitals are so understaffed and overworked. I do resent my breast-loving husband but he is happy I'm still alive after all he saw me go thru! Respect her wishes PLEASE and No Blow Ups. It is not good for her!!! Best wishes and Many Many Prayers for you both.

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If the shoe were on the other foot and you had prostate cancer or testicular cancer, would you want your wife encouraging you not to have surgery or radiation as it could potentially harm your sex life?

Would you be comfortable with your wife having separate conversations with your doctors about your diagnosis? 😞

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