Let’s face it, some people don’t consider DCIS breast cancer.
The reality is that treatment of DCIS is much the same as cancer – lumpectomy followed by radiation and oral meds (like Tamoxifin) or mastectomy. No, we don’t undergo chemotherapy because the cancer (or pre-cancer as it is also termed) has not spread.
So how are we DCIS patients to feel? Not accepted as breast cancer survivors? As amputees? Misfits? Just because medicine can’t figure out exactly what “box” to put us in, doesn’t mean that we haven’t faced a life changing ordeal that needs to be monitored the rest of our lives. For me, I’m proud to project pink (or purple) because it’s about my breasts.
I was happy to hear from Lisa on my DCISMyStory Facebook page (‘like’ us if you haven’t yet!). She sent me this personal message and I asked her if I could share it with you all on my blog and she enthusiastically agreed. Do you have a story to share or feelings you’d like to explore? Send me an email to: email@example.com or message me off my DCISMyStory Facebook page. I’d love to share YOUR story with the thousands that visit this website each month.
Meet Lisa, 54, from Glen Ellyn, IL
So happy to find this site. I too was diagnosed with DCIS on my left side in June of this year. I had a mastectomy on July 10 with immediate expander placement. I am now 4 weeks post-surgery. I have been very fortunate – no complications and well on my way to healing. But, reconstruction will be part of my life for the rest of the year and probably into 2013. After 15+ years of biopsies and other breast procedures, all on my left side and always resulting in benign results, I was quite surprised to be diagnosed with DCIS this year.
I have been very fortunate to have my husband accompany me to every appointment and procedure. He has been assigned with remembering everything. In addition to his presence, comfort has been key to my recovery… lots of pillows, gel ice pack, and soft cotton clothing. Here is a site all about pillows – . I personally have 5 pillows in my bed. I had to place them all around me – to keep me from moving around too much, to support my back so I could sleep slightly on my side, and to keep my arm in a comfortable position. My favorite down pillow accompanies me everywhere and serves many purposes such as protection under my seat belt, comfort under my arm or support for my ice pack.
I am 54 years old and have faced so many of life’s challenges – I am sure you agree that it is so important to advocate for yourself: Search the internet, ask lots of questions, talk to people you know, find someone who you can talk to about your feelings (scared, confused, overwhelmed), and surround yourself with positive people. I have friends and coworkers that I did not even realize had gone through a similar situation and also so many friends and acquaintances that connect me with other breast cancer survivors. We survivors are wonderful people – supportive, encouraging, and a wealth of information.
I have also recognized that even though we all have been faced with a similar situations, there are so many different variable and outcomes. Words like hormone receptors, HER2/Neu Status, BRCA gene, tumor grade; and all the options for reconstruction that you may or not be a candidate for. It is mind-boggling.
For anyone diagnosed with DCIS that has encountered anyone in their life that doesn’t understand the seriousness of their situation, please read this and pass it on to anyone who thinks it is not a “big deal” – http://breastcancer.about.com/od/Stages-of-Breast-Cancer/a/Breast-Cancer-Stage-Zero.htm.
Thank you, Britta, for your efforts to get our story out there…
Lisa in Glen Ellyn
breastcancer.about.comAfter breast surgery, you may need to do some arm exercises to regain strength and flexibility. Before you get started, talk to your doctor about doing arm exercises after breast surgery. Here are several easy arm exercises you can do, to keep or regain your range of motion.