I am among the women who was first diagnosed with breast cancer that was Stage 2 with nothing in the sentinel nodes and then 2 1/2 years later found out the breast cancer had spread to bones, liver, lung (Stage 4). The first time I didn't want to know anything about women whose breast cancer had recurred and metastasized. It was too scary. The reality is that many of us (~30%) will have a recurrence.
My oncologist once told me ... I may worry about a recurrence on a daily basis and it may never happen. What if I live to be 90 years old? I would have worried everyday for 48 years! Life is for living.
Yes, while I do not spend a lot of time worrying about it, of course, I occasionally think (sometimes even worry) about recurrence, never as breast cancer, but as a metastasized cancer spread to my OB/GYN organs or bones. That said, I believe myself to be an optimistic person and feel that being so helps me live a happy & healthy life. I believe I got breast cancer (against my own knowledge and better advice) I took Hormone Replacement Therapy while holding down a high demand, professional job and trying to manage a tough and symptomatic menopause at the same time. My own fault as I taught women's health and knew better and played the odds and lost.
There is no family history of breast cancer (my mother is one of seven children, three of whom are women; I am one of 19 first cousins of which five of us are women; I've second and third cousins; great and very great aunties; and no history of breast cancer. That's why I believe I contributed to my own breast cancer by taking hormones PLUS my cancer was the type that grew/fed on hormones. What a dope -- or what an optimist with no common sense. I now live carefully, take no breast cancer risks, follow treatment recommendations (although I stopped taking hormone treatment after 2 years as I didn't think I could live an additional 3 years (literally) with the pain, depression, cognitive impairment, and other problems caused by the hormone suppressant and, given the odds (and 50% of women on hormones also stopping from side effects), it seemed the wise thing for me to do (it's an absolutely individual choice to be made from an informed perspective). I sort of "de-toxed" for just about 5 weeks and, now, in my third month without the hormones (and I'd tried all available hormone medication before giving up), I finally feel like myself again, with significantly less pain (although I still have pain including the herniated disc I had before cancer from my pregnancy 30 years ago), and a return of my intellectual curiosity and cognitive functioning. I plan to get a part-time job (I've done this before for 2 years) teaching college/graduate school online as well as selling my wonderful and valuable pottery collection through eBay to help myself financially. Despite working for social security pay for 45 years, my take-home monthly social security income is $1484.00 leaving me with a very very tight budget (rent currently is $950 and I hope to reduce that either by sharing or moving into a senior subsidized apartment if I can qualify). I am frugal and happy these days, more interested and able to socialize (but wanting more friends after more than 3 years of isolation from chemotherapy and then hormone treatment); and I look forward to the future so, I guess the bottom line is, I do not spend much time thinking negatively of the future but instead am now thinking positively of the future and how to reach that positive future in the coming years! "Shelley" (nickname)
This is what I would love to do. When I see someone with a depression that they don't feel good leaving there home, I wish there was a group of us lady's that could go visit them, take them shopping, and show them that we can live life after cancer. I wish we all lived by each other so we could actually help one another physically. I love this site because it really does help talking and I learn so much from others. But a real hug or someone to get you out of your house would be so much better!!
Since I don't have money to go traveling and visit people, all I can say is picture your life as you want it and with a lot of hard work, positive thinking and prayers it can happen!!
Take care my BC friends and thanks for sharing your stories.
I have a list I pray for daily and I just added a few names to my list!!
Yes, I think you're right. We're all worried that we may have a recurrence. Headaches, body aches, bowel changes .. everything is a reason for worry.
My mother had breast cancer. We waited while she took the chemo and radiation treatments we then waited the 5 years she was taking the pills. Once the dr. told her she was free and she could go on with her life and not worry my parents went on a trip to California and Arizona to see my older sisters. On their way home my mom got blurry vision. Went to dr. once they got home and she has bone cancer. She is going through treatments again. This worries me because I just had a masectomy on the same side my mother had hers. I am 13 years younger than she was when she had hers. What am I in for