Re: Breast cancer with Lymph node involvement?
You might get even more response if you post this on the breast cancer board, but I do have a bit of experience that I want to pass on to you.
First of all, it definitely does sound like breast cancer. A lump that is hard, fixed and unmovable is much more likely to be a cancerous lump than one that is soft and squishy or moveable. Can you contact the Susan G. Komen foundation and see if you can get some financial support to get the necessary tests done ASAP...and that would probably include surgery to remove the lump and all the necessary pathology to determine exactly what type of breast CA it is (there are many types, and treatment depends on determining the type.)
Secondly, since you are describing lumps in your jawline, you are probably right that they are lymph nodes that have become involved, although there is some small hope that they could simply be swollen or infected salivary glands, and since you do have an autoimmune disease, that might predispose you to that sort of infection although, to be honest, it does sound more like metastasized breast CA, although obviously I am not a doctor and I could be way wrong...wouldn't that be nice!
At any rate, the other thing I want to pass on is that my mom was diagnosed with THIRD stage breast CA in 1985 (back in the dark ages of breast CA treatment)...and through treatment she lived another 8 1/2 years. Her oncologist told me after she passed on that he hadn't expected her to live another 6 months, but she had a great attitude, kept doing chemo and radiation whenever it recurred, and through it all, she never missed a day of work (until just two months before she died)...and that was 25 years ago! Treatments today can be much more specifically targeted, and many more people are getting complete cures, so do try to keep that in mind and try to keep your spirits up.
But do call anyone and any organization that can help you get and pay for treatment. Another possibility is to go to whatever hospital near you that you would want to be treated at and see if you can qualify for something called "uncompensated care"...ask them at the breast cancer center, too. Also, I would tell your professors, in private, a bit about what you're going through and ask if they can give you a bit of slack in terms of meeting deadlines or having meetings with them, as you both need and want to get into these appointments ASAP, whenever they can schedule them.
Oh, and just for the record...I, myself, am a 2-time cancer survivor. The first time, cancer of unknown primary (they could not find the primary), 3rd stage as it had metastasized into lymph nodes and beyond...treated in 2001 and no recurrences. Second time, transitional cell carcinoma (bladder CA), first stage, treated with surgery only in 2005, no recurrences. I wish you all the incredible luck that I had, and may you survive this and go on to live a long, happy and healthy life.