Just Getting Started . . .

Barbara Community Member May 15, 2010
  • Hello,

    I am new to this website.  I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer almost two months ago (routine mammogram).  I had a lumpectomy to remove the tumor (1.4 cm), ER+, no lymph node involvement.   Because of these results, my oncologist suggested the Oncotype DX test.  My score was 8 so my oncologist was not recommending chemo, which is fine by me.  Although it does make me wonder and guess and just hope that the radiation is indeed the only thing that I do need.  I don't want to miss any treatment that would benefit me.  Although according to my Dr. and from everything I read, the chemo wouldn't be very beneficial to me.  Still makes me wonder, but I know I've got to move on.  I started taking Tamoxifen a few weeks ago.  I haven't really noticed any significant side effects.  Maybe some hot flashes - but I can live with that.  I start radiation next week, for the next six weeks.  I guess my question/concern is what should I expect for side effects from the radiation, and also, any other side effects that I should look out for with the Tamoxifen?    I know side effects are different for everyone.  Just curious as to what some of your own personal experiences have been with these.  I keep hearing that the benefits outweigh the side effects.  I have been doing so much reading on breast cancer and it gets pretty scary. I've learned so much these past couple of months - and yet there is still so much more for me to learn.  I'm definitely frightened of the "unknown".  I know I will always be wondering about "recurrence".  That's what haunts me and I'm sure will haunt me forever.  I know the next six weeks will be tough - but I will get through it!  I will survive!

    Peace, and thanks everyone!

13 Comments
  • PJ Hamel
    Health Guide
    May. 16, 2010

    Hi Barbara - So glad you found us. This is a gret resource - both for valuable information, and for the support you'll find from women going through (or been through) the same thing.

     

    First, it sounds like your treatment thus far has been A+ perfect, based on your diagnosis. With what you've done so far plus the radiation, the 5-year survival rate data,...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Hi Barbara - So glad you found us. This is a gret resource - both for valuable information, and for the support you'll find from women going through (or been through) the same thing.

     

    First, it sounds like your treatment thus far has been A+ perfect, based on your diagnosis. With what you've done so far plus the radiation, the 5-year survival rate data, based on women with similar diagnoses, would be in the 95% range - excellent! According to the informaiton you give here, you don't need chemo; in my opinion, it would be more damaging to you than worthwhile. It's always tempting to think, "I'm going to do EVERYTHING possible to prevent a recurrence," but trust me, chemo can be devastating, and its effects can last for years and years - sometimes permanently. You want to avoid it if you can. Please read our post on whether to have chemo for more on that.

     

    Our radiation FAQS, radiation side effects FAQS, and tamoxifen FAQS should be a big help as you start the final parts of treatment. Personally, I saled through radiaiton with no side effects. Tamoxifen gave me hot flashes, and weight gain; but I dropped the weight after switching to an aromatase inhibitor (Arimidex). I assume you're pre-menopausal, thus the tamoxifen? Otherwise you'd most likely be on an AI.

     

    Believe it or not, someday, the first thing you think about when you wake up won't be cancer. And someday - you won't think of it at all. Seems impossible to believe right now, but it's true. Your cancer was caught early; you're having the exact right treatment; your chances of living a long and healthy life are WAY on the positive side of the data. So, don't look back - look forwards. And don't ever second-guess treatment decisions; it's useless, and all it does is make you feel bad.

     

    Good luck with radiation. I know many women experience fatigue, but as I said, the worst part about it for me was driving to the hospital and trying to find a parking place every day! Other than that - piece of cake. Best of luck to you - PJH

    • barb38
      May. 16, 2010

      I had no problem with radiation except I drove a 5 hour round trip daily for 15 minutes of rads. for 6 weeks . Oh well I survived!!!  good luck with everyhing during your treatment .  peace always Barb

  • Barbara
    Jun. 22, 2010

    Hi everyone,

    I'm four weeks in to my radiation and everything seems to be going well.  (I'll keep my fingers crossed for another two and a half weeks).  Fatigue hasn't hit me, thank God!  I've been hitting the gym more often while I'm going through the treatiments, trying to stay ahead of the game.  I think it's definitely working! ...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Hi everyone,

    I'm four weeks in to my radiation and everything seems to be going well.  (I'll keep my fingers crossed for another two and a half weeks).  Fatigue hasn't hit me, thank God!  I've been hitting the gym more often while I'm going through the treatiments, trying to stay ahead of the game.  I think it's definitely working!  I do find that I'm sleeping better at night - which is a good thing!  I am getting hot flashes from the Tamoxifen, but I can live with that.  I attended my first Relay for Life a couple weeks ago.  I can't begin to tell you how emotional that was for me.   It was unbelievable!  It's kind of sad that I had never been to one before now.  Now I'm a Relay for Lifer!  Being diagnosed with breast cancer is a real eye opener . . .

    Hope everyone is doing well.

    Barb

  • miriam
    Jun. 10, 2010

    Barbara,

     

            This web will really help you, just what it is doing to me.   Thanks to PJ and to all sharing their experiences and comments.

     

                                                                           ...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Barbara,

     

            This web will really help you, just what it is doing to me.   Thanks to PJ and to all sharing their experiences and comments.

     

                                                                            Miriam

     

    • Barbara
      Jun. 24, 2010

      Thanks Miriam,

      I also find this website extremely helpful!  I check in every couple days!  :)

  • Barbara
    May. 19, 2010

    Thanks PJ, Barb and EB for your responses.  I am post-menopausal.  I will be meeting with my oncologist today and will question him why Tamoxifen vs. AI.  He did mention earlier at one of my appointments something about switching the Tamoxifen to a different drug down the road.  I have several questions for him today!  :)

    Thanks again!...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Thanks PJ, Barb and EB for your responses.  I am post-menopausal.  I will be meeting with my oncologist today and will question him why Tamoxifen vs. AI.  He did mention earlier at one of my appointments something about switching the Tamoxifen to a different drug down the road.  I have several questions for him today!  :)

    Thanks again!

    Barb

    • PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      May. 19, 2010

      Latest data: better outcomes have been shown with going with an AI up front, and continuing for 5 years; or switching to tamoxifen after 2-3 years of being on an AI. You might mention this and see what he says; maybe he has a reason for thinking an AI isn't best for you. But if his only reason is that "you should start with tamoxifen," then I think his info....

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Latest data: better outcomes have been shown with going with an AI up front, and continuing for 5 years; or switching to tamoxifen after 2-3 years of being on an AI. You might mention this and see what he says; maybe he has a reason for thinking an AI isn't best for you. But if his only reason is that "you should start with tamoxifen," then I think his info. is out of date... PJH

    • Barbara
      May. 21, 2010

      Hi PJ,

      I didnt' see your response till after I saw my Dr.  His reason for the Tamoxifen right now is because I'm in between the pre and post-menopausal stage.  What are your thoughts?

      Thanks.

      Barb

    • PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      May. 21, 2010

      Then he's right - until you get through menopause, tamoxifen is the drug you should take. Once you're through (and a blood test will determine this), then you'd switch to an AI. Hope the tamoxifen goes smoothly for you - PJH

    • EB
      EB
      May. 19, 2010

      I saw my oncologist today and will be starting on Femara for the next 5 years.

      He told me this drug did not have the same side effects as Tamofexin(spelling?)

      There might be joint pain especially in the hands, possibly some naseau. He said most post menapausal women handle this drug pretty well.

    • PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      May. 20, 2010

      Well, there you have it - a plan! Please read our aromatase inhibitor FAQS for lots of "news you can use." Good luck - PJH

  • EB
    EB
    May. 18, 2010

    I had a lumpectomy for a 1.3 cm tumor and then did the mammocite radiation. I did not have a problem with the radiation. My oncotype dx test score was a 10.

    Was also ER/PR positive and no nodes invaded. The doctor recommended chemo treatment for 4 rounds of tc. I opted not to have the chemo and will be on some type of medication for 5 years. I find out which...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I had a lumpectomy for a 1.3 cm tumor and then did the mammocite radiation. I did not have a problem with the radiation. My oncotype dx test score was a 10.

    Was also ER/PR positive and no nodes invaded. The doctor recommended chemo treatment for 4 rounds of tc. I opted not to have the chemo and will be on some type of medication for 5 years. I find out which medications tomorrow. I hope I made the right decision but second quessing will only drive me crazy. Good luck with your treatments.

    • PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      May. 19, 2010

      EB, I would have made the same decision, in your shoes.You're absolutely right - you made your decision, it's right for you, now stand firm with it! Best of luck with the drugs - PJH