Supporting women whose lives have been touched by breast cancer

Triple Negative Invasive Ductal Diagnosis

by cb

In early 2007 I found a lump in my left breast. I found it quite by accident and as far as I can say it quite literally ‘appeared over night’. I saw my GP immediately. I was given an urgent appointment at our local clinic. I was not worried; why should I? After all aren’t the majority of breast lumps benign?

As the appointment drew ever nearer I began to have doubts. On the day of the appointment I sat in the waiting room and looked around at the other people waiting with me. I certainly wasn’t the oldest nor was I the youngest. That ‘accolade’ went to the young man playing on a handheld computer game.

I had a mammogram first, then the ultrasound, followed by several core biopsies. Before I left the clinic I spent time with the breast care nurse. I was already beginning to think that I may have breast cancer and I wanted several questions answered. I wanted to know ‘what happens next’? ‘Would I have chemo’? What sort of surgery might I have’? At the time they seemed sensible questions to me, but in retrospect I was getting too far ahead of myself.

Two weeks later I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast. Over the next few days I spent all my time on the internet and I soon realised that there is no such thing as breast cancer; only a multitude of different diagnoses and treatments. Well which one did I have? I soon became aware that people were talking about Er & Pr scores. What were they talking about, and why didn’t I know mine? Could I be triple negative? Surely not; I am the wrong age, the wrong race, and the wrong side of the menopause. WRONG!

That was the first and biggest lesson of my journey so far. The world is full of statistics, but it is also full of individuals. I am an individual not a statistic and therefore I did not fit neatly into the statistical model, but I do have triple negative breast cancer. My lump was 2cm, grade 3 and no lymph node involvement. I have had a mastectomy and I am having 3 cycles of FEC and 3 cycles of Taxotere. The chemotherapy is the sum total of my treatment – no radiotherapy.

I have read lots of research about triple negative disease. I have also looked at what is ‘out there’ on the internet, although I read the latter with huge cautionary eyes. The triple negative link on our home page gives a very clear explanation of triple negative disease and Bcpals also has a very active triple negative group with many ‘lay experts’. This is a wonderful resource in terms of information and we also provide each other crucial support and advice. In my short journey I have come to the conclusion that there are few (if any) ‘good’ breast cancers. Moreover, we cannot change what we have been given. So I am going through chemo and I feel confident with my oncologist and my treatment. I have been lucky enough to continue to work and in the main I am positive. I am not unrealistic but neither can I see into the future. So I am looking forward and feel reassured that I will be monitored very closely in the years to come.