update #63: Ok, so apparently...

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....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

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)
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)

Last edited by VTmom; 07-12-2013 at 07:07 PM.
{{{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.
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I hope the best outcome for you VTmom!
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{{{{VTmom}}}}

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

Congratulations on the grandbaby!
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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.
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Quote:
When are women going to face the fact that they donít know their own bodies as well as men who have heard things?

Don Langrick
Bonsai Culturist
(((VTMom/GrandMom)))

Don't have any answers for you, but you are in my thoughts and prayers.
VTmom and curlypearl like this.
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!
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(((((VT/Grandma)))))
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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.
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(((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!!
VTmom likes this.
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.
Originally Posted by mrspoppers
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! 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??
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)
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!

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I don't have anything really useful to add but I'll be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.
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.
Originally Posted by mrspoppers
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! 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??
Originally Posted by VTmom
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.
Quote:
When are women going to face the fact that they donít know their own bodies as well as men who have heard things?

Don Langrick
Bonsai Culturist
Love your attitude! That should help your recovery IMO. All the best!
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Prayers, healing vibes and wishes of strength and endurance - you can fight this !!
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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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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 !!
{{{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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