I am currently undergoing neoadjuvant (before surgery) chemotherapy for Stage IIIb breast cancer. It is also an invasive ductal cancer (IDC) and is constrained only to the breast and local lymph nodes. That makes it known as locally advanced breast cancer (labc).
I had a PET scan that revealed the amount of lymph node involvement. The cancer was nowhere else in my body at the time.
I started chemotherapy on Valentine's Day and I will have a total of eight sessions. I have completed six and should have my next one on July 11. My last chemo will be around August 1.
So far, the chemotherapy has been quite successful! My tumor (originally over 5 cm) is 88% smaller than it was at diagnosis. I am now a candidate for a lumpectomy rather than an automatic mastectomy.
When I have surgery (around the end of August), the doctors will remove what's left of the tumor and some of the surrounding tissue. They will also remove some of the axillary lymph nodes under my arm. If the surrounding tissue and lymph nodes are clear of cancer, the surgery will remain as a lumpectomy. However, if the biopsy reveals cancerous conditions anywhere, then a mastectomy will be done.
Radiation may follow.
Cancer is a difficult journey. Your mom has about nine months ahead of her where she will feel quite out of control of her body. No one can say that things will be "okay," because we're not gifted with seeing the future.
However, there's no reason to suspect that she won't be okay. There are millions of breast cancer survivors in the world . . . why shouldn't your mum be one of them?