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Thread: Breast Cancer.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    Washington State
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    237

    Breast Cancer.

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    I've always been healthy and lead an active life as a personal trainer and fitness instructor. But, as the odds indicate, one in eight women will end up with breast cancer and that one turned out to be me. It was caught in my annual mammogram (which I ALMOST skipped this year). I'd been called back before, but this time I ended up getting a biopsy that showed I have invasive ductal carcinoma. But...it was very small. So, initially it looked like I would just end up with a lumpectomy followed by radiation. Then my oncologist sent me for an MRI because of my dense breast tissue. That came back with two more questionable areas, one small like the original nodule and the other a larger mass. If the larger mass turns out to be cancerous it'll bump me up to stage II and will mean chemo or hormonal intervention and a mastectomy.
    So....since it's the holiday season, I'm waiting for an MRI directed biopsy to determine what's going on. I'm self-insured so the lag time allows me to access ACA and get a more robust health insurance plan...which is good.

    I'm still busy working out, and doing indoor training as my cardio, but am concerned about how all this will affect my ability to continue my lifestyle. Can anyone give me some words of wisdom or encouragement?
    Vertically challenged, but expanding my horizons.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    Raindrop,
    I don't have any words of wisdom about how to proceed with your lifestyle and fitness activities, but here's a hug of encouragement. There's never a good time to get news like this... Keep us posted and I'm hoping for the best for you.
    2016 Specialized Ruby Comp disc - Ruby Expert ti 155
    2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker - Jett 143

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
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    14,645
    (((((Raindrop))))) I'm so sorry you have to deal with this. There's never a good time, but at this time of year when everyone is already stressed past the breaking point ... Just, hugs to you.

    I was going to wait until next month to "come out" since that will be my five year survival. But here are my words: do your homework, do your research, as much as it may feel like klaxons going off inside your head, you do have time to make a decision that you can be comfortable with and that you won't second guess. Don't confine yourself to industry sponsored information. IIRC you have some medical background? Read the medical journals. Understand each step before you make your decision.

    The last time I talked about it here I got a lot of judgment and hostility, but my feelings haven't changed (in fact they've been strengthened). I don't get to choose to live forever. So to me, the next best choice is to choose quality of life, even if it means a likelihood of less quantity. In the almost-five years since I found my lump, I've run six marathons, training for my seventh, and the only physical limitations I've had have been from a completely unrelated injury.

    My lump is pretty large now, but I have no metastatic symptoms yet. When I do, I'll have some more hard decisions to make. But those are decisions that nearly all of us will have to make, and for some of us, much sooner than we'd hoped. I count myself lucky that I've had such a long time to prepare. I wouldn't have given up my last five years for anything. Eight years really, if I'd done what they wanted after the biopsy.

    It's not a popular choice, but I just want to offer that to you to emphasize that you have choices, you have time to make your choices, and there's at least one person here who won't judge whatever you want to choose.

    Take good care. Be gentle with yourself. Don't rush your decision. Hugs to you.
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 12-22-2014 at 11:28 PM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
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    ((((Raindrop)))) I've no advice to give other than to send you my very best wishes and hopes as you examine your options and make your choices. There is never a good time to deal with this, do keep us posted.

    ((((Oakleaf)))) I understand why you chose the path you have, I've seen so many go through so many choices while on the same path.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
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    13,102
    I have no personal experience with this, but I have known several people who had active lifestyles like yours, who pretty much continued doing everything they did, throughout their treatment and after. They listened to their bodies, so if they were exhausted, they walked instead run, did slow rides, switched to swimming for awhile, and many added yoga/meditation to help deal with the mental aspect. The only true physical limitations were around weight training. Many years ago, I knew a couple of people who continued teaching at the gym during their treatment. Of course, they took some time off, but they did not stop.
    Personally, I think the more you continue doing what you're doing, it will help you make the decisions that are right for you. Good luck dealing with your options.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    I would add one more thought - mostly for later on, as your journey passes beyond the treatment sphere. My husband is a cancer survivor and found that after the medical professionals were no longer updating him on a regular basis he became more depressed than while actively receiving treatment. One of the routes that he and many cancer survivors take to combat the sense of loss of control over your destiny is through physical activity. It also helps with mental health in general, as I'm sure you know. So as you are finding your way back to the new normal, that will be an important part of keeping your spirits up. Hang in there.

    Sharon
    2016 Specialized Ruby Comp disc - Ruby Expert ti 155
    2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker - Jett 143

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
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    From others I know who've gone through breast cancer treatment, I think you may ending up changing your workouts or taking a break from them during the treatment -- it will be important not to overdo things if you're feeling tired or have to let things heal. But exercise will be an important part of your recovery, especially if you end up having the mastectomy.

    Re: Sharon's comments, one of my neighbors has been involved with a support group and sports activities for breast cancer survivors through the hospital where she had her surgery. There are probably similar support services in your area. And, he may have cheated at cycling, but Lance Armstrong started his foundation to help cancer survivors deal with the type of problem she mentions, as well as others (such as financial or insurance issues). They also have some materials to help keep track of treatments. Many people have found their services to be helpful, so it might be worth looking at their website if you haven't already.

    Best wishes to you and your family as you go through this.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    237
    I really, really appreciate each of your answers and support. I'll return and post when I know more about what is the result of the new areas of suspicion and what my plan is. Yesterday it was actually sort of warmish and dry so I got out on my bike. Wow....so much better that riding on the indoor trainer.

    Weight-training is my workout of choice so losing that ability, even for a little while will be difficult. But, as I've told my clients, when your body is attempting to heal, it isn't trying to grow muscle at the same time. I just wonder how chemo will affect that.

    Anyway, thanks again so much for your support and suggestions.
    Vertically challenged, but expanding my horizons.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Sillycon Valley, California
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    If it's any help, I was able to do very light workouts in between chemo sessions. I work with a trainer, she was able to tailor our sessions. Sometimes they were only 1/2 an hour, but that was enough to keep me feeling good.

    Now my big wish for you is that you end up with a very simple procedure and no chemo/radiation/etc. Prayers and blessings to you.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Best wishes and hugs for simple procedures and if possible no chemo/radiation. You will find your exercise path because already you live how much it benefits you.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Houston
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    I know nothing, but I wanted to wish you the best and I think I speak for everyone when I say we're here if and when you want to talk about whatever.
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Newport, RI
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    I just wanted to offer my support since I've also been there. I had a lumpectomy and radiation three years ago, and am on tamoxifen for 5 years. I rode my bike to radiation many times. I wasn't really affected by the fatigue until after treatment was done, and even then I still was able to exercise. I didn't miss any work (but I work part time). I didn't have chemo so I can't speak to that, but radiation wasn't bad. I was lucky to go to a really nice and mellow place for treatment, and that made a big difference. If I had to drive in urban traffic every day for six weeks it would have sucked, but you can get a Cancer Society volunteer to drive you to appointments if you need.

    My best advice is to be very gentle with yourself. Relax your routine and give yourself as many breaks as you need. Get massages, eat good food, don't do anything you don't want to do. Treat yourself like a princess.

    You're going to be okay. This is scary but it will soon be over. You're in great shape so that will make everything easier.
    Last edited by redrhodie; 12-24-2014 at 06:42 AM.
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    northern Virginia
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    Quote Originally Posted by thekarens View Post
    I know nothing, but I wanted to wish you the best and I think I speak for everyone when I say we're here if and when you want to talk about whatever.
    Yes!!!

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
    - Red Trek 6000 mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver Trek 2000 road bike
    - Two awesome and worn out Juliana saddles

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    3,473
    Yep--wishing you well, Raindrop!
    "My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved;I have been given much and I have given something in return...Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and an adventure." O. Sacks

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,940
    I can only speak about what my mom went through during her chemo for ovarian cancer. She was VERY active and was able to stay active during treatment. She modified a bit and took it easy the days she did not feel up to it, but for the most part she skied, and went to the gym and did yoga.

    We will all keep you in our thoughts. Sending some heaving vibes right now......

 

 

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