Thank you Colleen!
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Elizm, I am one of those who “only needed a round of radiation”… and no, I’m not ‘clueless about hormone receptors or HER2’. I likely am not as informed as you are because my cancer was different than yours. But please don’t refer to me as ‘clueless’. I regret you have had to endure a very difficult treatment for your situation; and that your friends ‘didn’t understand’. It is truly very unfortunate that you found your friends to be belittling. I’m truly sorry they have made you feel that way. But please don’t follow in their footsteps and ‘belittle’ those of us who are here to support one another regardless of our diagnosed ‘stage’ of cancer, or what the treatment plan is/was for each of us. We are not in competition here to see who has the ‘worst case’ of breast cancer, or the most difficult recovery. Best wishes to all on this forum.
Trixie, I’ve been married for 36 years. Unfortunately it was my husband who told his sister it would be ok for her family to stay with us for a few days when they were in town. It was last year, but sometimes it still hurts that his side of the family just doesn’t understand. I love my husband dearly, but he adores his little sister, she is like his daughter rather than his sibling, and often she comes first… I’ve learned to live with it, but at the time when I was going through radiation treatment, it was very hurtful.
Merry, I sooooo agree with you! But some people REFUSE to be educated. In my case, even several family members refer to my experience as “I was so lucky that it wasn’t worse”. Yes, I am fortunate that it was found at a stage II. But that doesn’t mean that my cancer therefore wasn’t ‘real’. Even my sister in law expected me to host her, her husband, and two teenage kids at our house for a few days while they were in our area on vacation; when I was finishing up radiation. After all my situation wasn’t so bad, my cancer was only a stage II…
Merry, thank you for your sensitivity to each of us. You have certainly gone through much more than I have. My cancer was found and treated at an early stage 2 breast cancer. Because it was found early, I needed only radiation. I was spared Chemo. and am very grateful for that. However, regardless of ‘stage’ of severity, or chances of survival; just having cancer in one’s body is so intense and frightening. I’m weary of being told that ‘I’m so lucky’. I fully agree, Yes, I AM fortunate that it wasn’t worse. But how can a diagnosis of cancer, in any form, really ‘be lucky’. In reality, I feel like I’m just waiting for it to be found again somewhere else in my body. I feel like, if my immune system didn’t find and destroy the cancer cells in the early phase of breast cancer, why would I have confidence that cancer isn’t lurking, unknown, somewhere else in my body? I am finding that I just keep my mouth shut, I don’t talk about, or express those fears, because… after all… ‘I’m lucky’: And I should “just get over it”… I am soooooo grateful for this group of women here on this web site! Thank you to each of you for your understanding.
I also had a stage 2 cancer but did have one sentinel node involved. I have tried anastrozole. My side effects were not pleasant with joint pain and cognitive function issues. Anastrozole caused me some pretty severe memory problems to the point that I thought I was sliding into dementia. Then my oncologist switched me to Tomoxifin, the joint pain was better, but I still experienced brain fog. My oncologist has been wonderful through this whole process, and recently changed my meds again to Exemestane. I’ve been on that for a little over two weeks and so far, so good!!! It seems that all of the breast cancer medications have some potential side effects. Do some research on each of them. There is a LOT of information available with just a google search. If I had an alternative choice with the same reduction in recurrence, I wouldn’t take ANY of the meds!!! My Ob/gyn found the lump in my breast during routine annual exam, and referred me for a biopsy. The biopsy revealed cancerous cells. I was diagnosed as stage 2 following surgery as a sentinel lymph node was involved. I then sought out the very best oncologist I could find in my area. I am very open and honest with her about my feelings, side effects, etc. She is the expert, has made oncology her life’s work, and I feel I need to listen to her expertise. Communication with your oncologist is KEY to a healthy recovery and ongoing management of this dreaded disease. Until cure is found, we must be willing to put up with the best effort and judgement available to us by our oncologists. Also, there is nothing at all wrong with seeking out another oncologist if you are unable to communicate well with your current physician. Your best care is a team effort between you your oncologist, and their staff. Good luck to you!