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Stage III and very scared

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Forum Name: TNBC Talk
Forum Description: A place to chat
Printed Date: Mar 22 2019 at 1:17pm
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Topic: Stage III and very scared
Posted By: Asovey
Subject: Stage III and very scared
Date Posted: Dec 09 2017 at 12:51pm
I had been categorized as a stage IIB, but after a PET scan it was switched to III because there was indication that a couple lymph nodes were involved.  I was somewhat comfortable with stage IIB, but III scares me to death.  I read five year survival is only about 72% vs 98% at IIB.  We are getting a second opinion at Slone Kettering on the 19th.  Any other stage III that can make me feel better? 

Posted By: 123Donna
Date Posted: Dec 09 2017 at 2:37pm

So glad you are getting a second opinion.  I think it's a great idea to help make the best, informed decision.  I've known many Stage III women who are still here and thriving.  This is an aggressive cancer that doesn't follow the norm or statistics.  I've seen women with small tumors progress to mets and other women on this group with large tumors, nodal involvement who never recur.  So don't give up hope!  Ask questions, get second opinions and hit this beast as hard as you can.

I was originally diagnosed Stage I with a 1.5 cm tumor, clear margins, no nodal involvement.  A year after treatment ended diagnosed with a recurrence, Stage III.  The consensus with everyone was that I was probably Stage III at diagnosis as the cells had escaped and traveled to the internal mammary nodes, but were too small to be detected by the MRI.  I learned that not all tumors drain to the sentinel node(s).  About 4 - 5% drain to other nodes and I happened to fall in that small percentage.  So if it gives you any hope, I'm 7 years since the 2nd diagnosis.  There are many other survivors out there!


DX IDC TNBC 6/09 age 49, Stage 1,Grade 3, 1.5cm,0/5Nodes,KI-67 48%,BRCA-,6/09bi-mx, recon, T/C X4(9/09)
11/10 Recur IM node, Gem,Carb,Iniparib 12/10,MRI NED 2/11,IMRT Radsx40,CT NED11/13,MRI NED3/15

Posted By: Asovey
Date Posted: Dec 09 2017 at 5:05pm
Thanks Donna! It does make me feel better. My doctors seem confident, but I am,scared to,death. Scared what Chemo will be like.

Posted By: SusaninVA
Date Posted: Dec 09 2017 at 10:02pm
Hi Asovey, 
I would have been a stage I with 1.8 cm tumor, but also had two lymph nodes involved.  So I was told that bumped me up to between stage II and stage III.  I will always remember asking my surgeon were the cells in the lymph nodes micro or macro.  When he told me "macro" I remember feeling sick to my stomach.  One of the lymph nodes was actually larger than my tumor.  At that point in time, I felt desperate, and was thinking that things looked really terrible.  However, when my oncologist told me that going through chemo would raise my survival rate up 14 percentage points, I was so grateful.  (I had tumor removed first, then chemo, and was given 77% survival with chemo.) With having surgery first, I have no idea if I would have had any residual tumor remaining, so don't have that info.  Yes, chemo is hard, but very doable.  I wanted to start as soon as possible - and I surprised myself by getting through it.  You will too!  I finished my chemo treatments 2 years ago this past November.  I still get scared sometimes, but most days I enjoy life even more now than before all this happened.  Donna is right - there is no way to tell what our outcomes will be; I researched so much and finally realized one day that I could have an idea of my chances, but have no crystal ball.  This is a wonderful forum - please let us know how you do.

Posted By: Asovey
Date Posted: Dec 10 2017 at 1:05pm
Thanks Susan:  Thanks for your reply.  Every time I hear someone coming out on the winning end, I feel better.


Posted By: gordon15
Date Posted: Dec 16 2017 at 5:45pm
My wife is Stage 3A,  she is stable now, the doctors (California/San Diego/Scripps/Moores)
are calling her "stable" they don't use the term 'NED" but I think it's the same thing.
She is very fortunate, under our Medicare to have a PET scan every 6 months.

She has developed a heart "fast heartbeat" , and the doctors don't know if it was from her chemo,(Adriamycin)  they assigned her a cardiologist, and said if you are Stage 3 or 4 it's important to have a cardiologist.

The cardiologist prescribed her " METOPROLOL " succ 25mg, generic for TOPROL XL.

The last time she felt light-headed, she took the medicine and within 1/2 hr she was fine... she hasn't had any incidents since.

wife: IDC/Lobular Stage2B 2008 lumpectomy/TAC+rads
TNBC Stage 3A/w/metaplastic/squamous Nov2015 Carboplatin-Gemzar chemo/masectomy Taxolchemo+rads 4-16
PET scan stable 9-2016/ 1-2017

Posted By: Kellyless
Date Posted: Dec 17 2017 at 10:13am
Gordon I'm so sorry about your wife's heart issues. Y'all have been thru so much! Good news about her cancer checkups tho.

IDC, 2.2 cm, Stage IIb,lumpectomy 1/30/09 ACx4,Tx4 36 rads
6/1/16 Local recurrence same breast, same spot 1.8cm Carb.4x every 3 wks, Taxol 12x once wk. Dbl Mast. PCR!! Reconstruction fail, NED!

Posted By: gordon15
Date Posted: Jan 02 2018 at 8:21pm
Thanks for your reply. My wife was experiencing rapid heart beat, the doctors are not willing to say it's because of her chemo and radiation, frankly, they don't know, but she had "fluttering" incidents, so, anyway, she went to ER, they brought in a cardiologist (who happeneded to be trained by a woman-breast cancer surfivor) so we consider ourselves VERY lucky, at Scripps, Encinitas CA, ER, they kept her overnight, and then gave her a heart monitor, which in a week, came back that she had incidents of atrial-fibulation, so they have prescribed a blood-thinner, (2x a day at $11.00 per pill) but we found Costco has a price of $6.50 per pill if we join,

The cardiologist does not know if all her chemo including Adriaymycin and radiation to the chest is cause, that's not their call, his mission is to treat immidiate problems, sometimes you have to trust the docs...

wife: IDC/Lobular Stage2B 2008 lumpectomy/TAC+rads
TNBC Stage 3A/w/metaplastic/squamous Nov2015 Carboplatin-Gemzar chemo/masectomy Taxolchemo+rads 4-16
PET scan stable 9-2016/ 1-2017

Posted By: Urdrago
Date Posted: May 13 2018 at 9:27pm
Sorry we are her ladies but am glad you posted how the staging can change .. I too was a II stage dx 3/13/18 and then after PET scan they changed me to III stage. I try not to focuse on it but itís always in the back of my mind. Honestly its how our bodies react to all the treatments, in my opinion.

Posted By: Asovey
Date Posted: May 14 2018 at 9:32am
I was a Stage II in November of 2017. I had a PET scan in the beginning of December and was told there was some lymph node involvement and they went to Stage III. I told my MO I wanted a lymph node biopsy to confirm and so he scheduled it. When I went for the biopsy, they could not find any lymph nodes with the ultrasound. Three different docs tried to find one but none were successful. Needless to say there was no biopsy that day! I am getting ready for my last Taxol this Friday and the mass that was in my breast is no longer palpable. It feels like a normal breast again. I had 4;dose dense A/C treatments and 12 Taxol with Carboplatin every third week. So, donít let a stage III label scare you. It is still very treatable and responsive to chemo. Hang in there!

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