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Cake decorating and breast cancer

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Maybe some of you remember that for a year now I've been planning and building my new, licensed (almost) bakery onto the back of my garage. I've been doing all of the finish work myself the last two months, with time off for the ICES Convention, and now just need to do the tile backsplash to be ready for all of the final inspections. My Ag. inspector should be here in the next couple of weeks.
A few days ago I was told I have breast cancer. The surgeon said it's DCIS, practically not cancer at all, and that after he removes it I might not even need radiation. That was yesterday. Today while talking to the center that did my biopsy I learned that it's more advanced than he said, even though I'd been incredibly distinct in communicating to him and every other professional I've seen that I'm an information junkie and it's crucial that I be informed--in detail--about everything they know, everything they suspect, and what the possible courses of action are.
Tonight I got a copy of my pathology report and found that everybody has been lying to me. It isn't "not really a cancer"; it's an intermediate stage with fast-growing cells that are about to break loose--if they haven't already (there are other suspicious areas). On top of that there's cancer in the lobules, not just the duct--BIG, BIG difference, and again not a word from anyone even though they were looking at that very report.
Ok, I could go on but I'm ranting and I apologize. Back to the title of my post. Depending on the extent of my surgery, which I now have no clue how radical it will be, what is this going to do to my arm? I'm right-handed and this is my right breast. If you've had breast cancer surgery and still decorate, how extensive was your surgery? Has it limited what you can do? I'm especially concerned about being able to knead and roll out fondant, but there's also the fact that these cakes are heavy! Please somebody tell me your story.
post #2 of 28
Wow.....

I so can not help you, but I'll pray for you!
Cake decorating ROCKS!!
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Cake decorating ROCKS!!
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post #3 of 28
Holy cow! I really am at a loss for words.
Please take time for yourself. I have a good friend who just kicked breast cancer in the butt, but I think that your case is ENTIRELY different. That being said, I think that EVERY case is entirely different.
You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Eat Smart... Eat Cake!!!
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Eat Smart... Eat Cake!!!
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post #4 of 28
My aunt had hers removed, and I don't believe it caused her much hassle in the long run. As long as the cancer hasn't spread into muscle tissue, then you'll probably be fine. I mean, you'll have a recovery period like you do with any surgery, of course. But you probably won't have limited mobility past your recovery period.

May I also suggest you get a new oncologist, posthaste?

*big, big, big hugs*
post #5 of 28
I worked at a cancer center and never saw anyone that had an arm damaged by the surgery. My SIL had cancer in the same area you are talking and she doesn't have a problem moving her arm or lifting. The only problem is she had after the surgery is swelling in the breast area and did therapy for that. It has gotten significantly better and this doesn't always happen. My other SIL had a radical mysectomy and she doesn't have trouble with her arm either. You will probably have some healing time, but it shouldn't be long term if at all. Remember don't take what someone else says though because every case is different and we all heal differently. Just take one day at a time and my thoughts and prayers are with you. I had thyroid cancer last summer and my son had lymphoma when he was 10 and is now 34. There is so much they can do now, so keep a positive attitude and fight it. Let me know how you are doing or if you want to rant I'm here. auntiecake@gmail.com
post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thank you very much, and yes I do so appreciate the prayers. It seems that the arm is affected more by removal of axilliary (sp?) lymph nodes than anything. The literature I have warns about lots of things that have to be avoided for life after those nodes are messed with, and heavy lifting is one of them. Anyone care to define "heavy lifting"? I'm 55 and commonly hoist 40-50 pounds. If I have full strength for fondant work that will help a lot, but gosh darn it that's my hammering/drilling/troweling/weeding/lifting/endless cornelli-lacing arm!
post #7 of 28
You are in my prayers.
Wife to Nick
Mommy to:
Drew-14, Jay-9, Rhian-6, Kaleb-4, and Sonny Marcelo Acosta (who's in heaven) July 24, 2008 You will always have my heart, and Nicholas 2
http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=ddmmx5vd_16gmqtmrg8 Appetizers
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Wife to Nick
Mommy to:
Drew-14, Jay-9, Rhian-6, Kaleb-4, and Sonny Marcelo Acosta (who's in heaven) July 24, 2008 You will always have my heart, and Nicholas 2
http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=ddmmx5vd_16gmqtmrg8 Appetizers
Reply
post #8 of 28
Keep a positive attitude, remember that life is full of problems but God is always our problem solver. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
After Jesus, there is nothing better to ease the pain than a good piece of cake!!!
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After Jesus, there is nothing better to ease the pain than a good piece of cake!!!
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post #9 of 28
My Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer last October. She had her sugery, did chemo and radiation and is doing fabulously! She doesn't decorate cakes, but she is an avid gardener/canner, she also bakes breads and is an all around hard worker and it's not slowed her or changed anything in the long run! The only difference I see between last summer and now is that her hair is shorter!

You'll be in my thoughts and prayers! Much love to you and your family!
post #10 of 28
i'm praying for you handymamma.....
post #11 of 28
Just what you needed now, right? icon_sad.gif

You are to be commended for your engagement in your own diagnosis and treatment. Some persons are so overwhelmed, they don't want to hear all the details, and they just let the doc decide everything.

I'd guess that fatigue will be the symptom that has the biggest impact on you over the next year, rather than any long-term nervous or muscular issue. The surgery and/or other treatments, the logistics/mechanics of spending time in medical care, and the emotional stress can deplete you. Take good care of yourself by being careful not to over-commit to too many cakes.

Everyone here at CC will be here for you, so don't hesitate to post.
post #12 of 28
Thread Starter 
Very wise insight and good advice, Dawn. Thank you.
post #13 of 28
Take heart, handymama, this is a beatable disease. I havenât had it myself, but in the last two years my great aunt (103 years old), my aunt (72 years old) and four women at work have been diagnosed with various stages of breast cancer. Two had mastectomies, three had lymph nodes removed, and all had chemo (red devil) and radiation. And you know what? ALL OF THEM ARE DOING FINE.

This was the second occurrence for my aunt (she had a double mastectomy 25 years ago), and her last radiation treatment was two weeks ago. She is almost back to her old self. She is tired and a little burned where she received the radiation, but she is back in her garden lifting potted plants and lugging around big bags of mud.


So keep working on your kitchen. And when youâre ready to make cakes again, your bright, shiny new kitchen will be waiting for you!
post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 
I had a partial mastectomy on the 29th of August, and the current piece of yuck was successfully removed. I still have a very sore booby, but I'm back to all of my usual activities. I've found that it's very difficult to get accurate--or even any--information from my surgeon, and that info from other doctors/sources is conflicting. The bottom line seems to be that I'm in a high risk group for recurrence, and that of those that do have a recurring cancer 50% are invasive. Gross. My family Dr. is sending me to U of M cancer center to try to get some more definitive information (I live at the tip of the little finger in Michigan; U of M is about 4 hrs. downstate).
On the plus side my bakery is 99% done and I've started moving things in. My inspector can't get here until Sept. 29th, but told me on the phone that if I have cakes to do it's fine to go ahead and do business--so I'm at least quasi-legal! I think I've talked to her on the phone and asked questions so much that she knows how totally anal I am, and she just assumes it's all up to code. I have no orders, but frankly I've been so busy building and dealing with cancer that I'm not sure I even remember how to do a cake. At least I still remember that I like doing them! So for now I try to continue on with life without cancer/cancer treatment/cancer doctors consuming my every waking and sleeping thought--but it's not easy.
I'll try to post a couple of photos of my bakery in the next day or so. In the past I've never successfully uploaded to a post, but there's always a first time!

Blessings,

Nancy
post #15 of 28
I'm thinking of you.
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