User logged in as post
I'm a 39 year old, married, mother of three who was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and bone mets back on March 18th. My story is a long one...I'll try to give you the short version.
I originally noticed a swelling in my right breast after an injury at the gym back on January 8th. I went to see my regular doc who chalked it up on a torn muscle that bled out into the breast and advised me to give it 6 to 8 weeks. The swelling continuted to increase the breast began showing signs of discoloration. I was refered to a surgeon who said that surgery would be "too messy" and I should give it another 6 to 8 weeks. Fortunately for me I didn't agree with him and went for a second opinion.
The second surgeon scheduled surgery for the very next day. He found several very large tumors and did a biopsy. By the time I had awoken from surgery he had diagnosed me with stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer. Inflammatory breast cancer occurs in less than 8% of women and is one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer.
I was immediately refered to an oncologist who performed mutliple tests. The end determination was that I not only did I have stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer, I had bone mets in my spine, hips, and upper thighs.
Upon full diagnoses I was scheduled for port surgery and chemo. Within days of my first chemo treatment I was admitted to ICU with blood clots in my lungs. Over 60% of my lungs were filled with clots, which was preventing me from breathing. Laying in that hospital bed unable to breath while receiving a platlette transfusion I honestly thought I was going to die.
When I was finally released from the hospital I had to carry an oxygen tank with me everywhere. In addition I was on all kinds of pain meds including morphine. My bone pain was so intense that I could not even sleep in the same bed as my husband. It sucked and I still felt like I was going to die.
For the past four months I have been getting weekly treatments of Herceptin, a hormone blocker. Every three weeks I also get Taxotere, a chemo med. Every month I get Zometa, a bone strenghting med.
Last week I met with my oncologist to go over my treamtment plan and progression before my chemo treatment. I've struggled to keep my counts up high enough to prevent the need for another transfusion so my oncologist suggested tweaking my treatment a bit. Instead of getting a large dose of chemo every three weeks, he decided to split the chemo dose in three and admister it every week along with the hormone blocker. At that time he also told me that he thinks we will be able to stop the chemo meds a month and a half earlier than he originally anticipated due to the fact that the tumor is responding so well to treatment.
My oncologist and I also discussed my bone pain. I have not taken any prescription pain pills for the bone pain in almost two months now. I hated that doped up feeling the morphine gave me and didn't want to 'get used to it' as the doctors suggested. Granted I wanted to take some morphhine this week after mowing the lawn, but that was my fault. I should not have attempted to mow the lawn...and my husband let me know that in no uncertain terms when he got home from work...lol! My point is I've learned to control the pain by altering some of my activities and no longer need to take the meds.
When I was first diagnosed I did all kinds of research on my cancer, survivor rates, etc. and I scared myself half to death. The girls on this board and my oncologist helped me to see that statistics mean nothing. "I am a statistic of one' and your wife 'Is a statistic of one.'
The best thing you can do for your wife right now is keep a positive attitude and encourage her to do the same. Who cares what the statistics state....they are just statistics. I don't remember where I heard this, but "There is not an expiration stamped on your wife's forhead." Yes, cancer sucks and yes bone mets sucks even more, but it can be managed to the point where you wife can have a decent quality of life.
I don't typically check this particular board. If you would like to keep in touch or just need someone to vent to every now and then please feel free to email me directly at email@example.com. You and your wife will be in my thoughts and prayers.