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Before the Mastectomy: Planning for the Future

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Before the Mastectomy: Planning for the Future

Living with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
(#6 in a series)

After surviving the initial tests, the diagnosis of triple-negative breast cancer, and the beginnings of an action plan, Jim and I found ourselves in a holding pattern. As incongruous as it sounds, time was standing still and moving at lightening speed.

Acknowledging the Worst Case Scenario, Working Toward the Best
Having spent many years working in a funeral home, death is not a taboo subject for me. Death knows no rules about age or fairness, and it is a part of life that should not be ignored.

As we went about the details of planning for surgery, recovery, and continued treatment, we also considered the worst case scenario — not in a maudlin or overly fearful way, but for practical purposes. We would hope for, and work toward the most favorable outcome and a long life; we also acknowledged another possibility. I wanted my affairs in order; I wanted my wishes known; I felt better for having done so.

Our conversations about death did us a world of good. Because there was no pretense that the possibility didn’t exist, we were able to get to the real task at hand — living. My husband and I are positive people, and we are nothing if not warriors. We are realistic optimists, and that has always served us well.

Family and Friends Rally ‘Round
As word of my health status circulated, kindness began pouring in. Family from across the miles hit the road in order to spend time with us before surgery. We laughed and hugged, celebrating life and each other. Spirits were high, the weekend as cathartic for them as it was for me.

Friends and acquaintances, even those who were at a loss for words, sent good wishes and prayers. I assure you, the simple kindnesses go a long way.

The weight of all this on a spouse is enormous. It was probably harder to be in his shoes than in my own. He would love me no matter what, this I knew, and my many blessings made it impossible to feel sorry for myself.

Next: Sometimes Good News is Just Not Worse News / Who Gets Triple-Negative Breast Cancer?

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5:04PM PDT on Sep 1, 2011

I was diagnosed with +Estrogen, +Progesterone, -Her2 invasive, in-situ ductal carcinoma last year. It was from a routine mammogram when I was 48 years old. I had my mastectomy a month later. It was doubly hard on my then, 15 year old daughter and 11 year old son. I am glad you are writing about this because I talk to everybody who will listen about my breast cancer and after 4 more surgeries, including my reconstruction in October and chemotherapy, I am considered 98% cured. But I looked seriously at getting my affairs in order and made sure that my children would be well cared for in case things did not turn out as they did. I do not fear death, I have a desire to live life and do what I want to do. My kids, my friends, and my family were so supportive during this time. I went back to work during chemotherapy and that was great therapy. Thanks for sharing and I wish you great health and loving comments.

6:17PM PDT on May 28, 2011

May I don't know if this would help you but I believe I would try the collated silver.

6:06PM PDT on May 28, 2011

TO all of you,both male and female who have,had or fighting cancer of any kind...Keep fighting,,You are in my prayers and will be a shoulder to cry on if needed...I have worked in medical care about all my life..My last job, laboratory in a hospital in Bartlesville Oklahoma.I think I've just about seen it all after fifty years of some kind of patient care. Hugs and Be Blessed....Cure You? I can't,God can ..bring you through anything...Health or Heaven..

6:17AM PDT on Apr 18, 2011

thank you!! for your bravery not enough people talk about this. we are still dealing with my aunt's breast cancer shes had a mastectomy

9:51AM PDT on Apr 16, 2011

You are one brave lady. All the best Ann.

11:50PM PDT on Apr 15, 2011

I fully believe that deodorants with aluminum cholorhydrate and femine hygine products have a great deal to do with breast cancer. I noticed the grey residue those deodorants left on my clothing when I was in high school and stopped using them. I believe many female cancers can be avoided by stopping using those products.
Please sign my petitions:

10:52PM PDT on Apr 15, 2011

Thank you for posting.

2:23PM PDT on Apr 15, 2011

I don't know what "triple negative" breast cancer is. All I know is how fortunate I was when I found out that what I had was STAGE 1 breast cancer. And, I had a lumpectomy, radiation and a medication called "Arimidex".

8:22AM PDT on Apr 15, 2011

I'm with you in spirit, Ann, and hoping the news keeps getting better! Stay strong!

12:16PM PDT on Apr 14, 2011

thank you

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