Lroethler's Journey:

Patient: Breast Cancer > Invasive (Infiltrating) Ductal Carcinoma

Patient Info: Living with cancer as a chronic illness (undergoing adjuvant therapy), Diagnosed: over 12 years ago, Female, Age: 63, Stage IV, HER2 Positive: No, ER Positive: Yes, PR Positive: Yes

  1. 1
    • Lroethler
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrati...
    almost 5 years ago
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    Found lump

    Oh No

    12/2004 - found lump under right inner side of breast, no health insurance! Waited six months until I had health insurance in June 2005 to see doctor. Then got laid off work.

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  2. 2
    • Lroethler
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrati...
    almost 5 years ago
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    Lumpectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Agree
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  3. 3
    • Lroethler
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrati...
    almost 5 years ago
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    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    2005, Invasive Ductal Cancer, ER+, PR+, HER-, early stage (1.6cm tumor), no nodes.

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  4. 4
    • Lroethler
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrati...
    almost 5 years ago
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    Sentinel lymph node biopsy

    Procedure or Surgery

    In retrospect, I wish I'd had the axillary node biopsy instead of the sentinel node biopsy. The latter only uses the node(s) nearest the involved breast. Since I'm now stage IV, it's likely that there were nodes involved that weren't observed because they weren't part of those removed in the sentinel node procedure.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  5. 5
    • Lroethler
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrati...
    almost 5 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    I still experience side effects of chemo, even after seven years: neuropathy in my feet and severe osteoarthritis throughout my body that my doctors suspect was accelerated by taxol. Would I change that and skip chemo? No. I'm now stage IV and have lived seven years cancer-free. Had I not had the chemo, I might be dead now.

    Easy to Do: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  6. 6
    • Lroethler
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrati...
    almost 5 years ago
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    Hair loss (alopecia)

    Side Effects

    I shaved my hair completely off as soon as it started falling out. It was a very freeing exercise. My sister sent me a collection of my deceased mother's hats and I had fun wearing them plus some scarves friends gave me. My hair came back in fine, just slightly thinner than it was before but originally it was very thick, so no one really notices.

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  7. 7
    • Lroethler
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrati...
    almost 5 years ago
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    Nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy)

    Side Effects

    This is the worst because I still suffer from it. During taxol treatment my hands and feet were affected but now it's just my feet. It can be quite painful at times. Gabepentin helps some but it never completely goes away.

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  8. 8
    • Lroethler
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrati...
    almost 5 years ago
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    Fatigue (tiredness)

    Side Effects

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

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  9. 9
    • Lroethler
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrati...
    almost 5 years ago
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    Side Effects

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

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  10. 10
    • Lroethler
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrati...
    almost 5 years ago
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    Thinking problems

    Side Effects

    I don't think I've really ever regain my full cognitive abilities. I definitely notice the difference pre-chemo brain and post-chemo brain. It may be small but it stands out because the work I do demands fast thinking and the ability to resolve problems quickly and correctly.

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  11. 11
    • Lroethler
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrati...
    almost 5 years ago
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    Chemo brain

    Side Effects

    Thought I was losing my mind; couldn't remember anything! Was really rather silly.

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  12. 12
    • Lroethler
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrati...
    almost 5 years ago
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    External radiation

    Radiation

    So tired! Everyday; more tired than when in chemo. Had I just had radiation, it might not have been so bad but chemo had already worn me out. Even with a "break" between the two, radiation treatment wore me down completely.

    Painless Experience: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  13. 13
    • Lroethler
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrati...
    almost 5 years ago
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    Hormone therapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Aromatase inhibitor drugs made my joints ache! Docs switched me to tamoxifen but that caused uterine bleeding so we stopped it. In total I had five years of hormone treatment but now they are beginning to recommend ten years. I wish I'd continued, despite the possibility of uterine cancer: a year after I discontinued Tamoxifen, the cancer has spread to my bones.

    Easy to Do: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  14. 14
    • Lroethler
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrati...
    almost 5 years ago
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    Finished treatment

    Celebration

    10/2011 - finished hormone treatment

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  15. 15
    • Lroethler
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrati...
    almost 5 years ago
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    12/2012 - CT Guided Needle Biopsy, right shoulder

    Procedure or Surgery

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Agree
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  16. 16
    • Lroethler
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrati...
    almost 5 years ago
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    Other Care

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

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  17. 17
    • Lroethler
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrati...
    almost 5 years ago
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    Cancer has spread/Metastasized

    Oh No

    Seven years cancer-free and suddenly my life is once again thrown into chaos by this disease. I did every thing right: lumpectomy, radiation, chemo. There were no nodes involved in my surgery. No one, not one of my docs expected this. But here I am - an "outlier". One of the small percentage of early stage women who despite everything must accept cancer as an unwelcome guest in our bodies until it beats us into acceptance. No matter what we do, it's hiding in there somewhere, ready to strike again. Our only revenge is to live well and enjoy life despite it.

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