Denise's Journey:

Survivor: Breast Cancer

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: over 10 years ago, Female, Age: 45, Stage II, HER2 Positive: Yes, ER Positive: No, PR Positive: No

  1. 1
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
    Denise's Avatar

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    Found a lump in my breast at home when I noticed one breast looked different then the other one. OBGYN was on vaca, saw diff doctor. Said to wait 4 weeks. Went back, saw my doc. "It doesn't feel" like it's cancer to me...those were his words. He said I could get a mammogram for peace of mind. I got one. It didn't provide any peace! July 13 (really?), 2007....cancer diagnosis.

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  2. 2
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
    Denise's Avatar

    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    AC for 3 months and Taxol for 3 months, Herceptin during Taxol.

    Easy to Do: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  3. 3
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
    Denise's Avatar

    Side Effects

    Went on vacation after first chemo (hadn't taken it yet for the summer)...hair fell out. It had been 12 days...no one told me it would be so painful. Was sad. My husband shaved my head on the deck of our cabin. Kids watched from the living room window. Was so crazy to go through. I was constantly sick during AC rounds...Taxol was much easier to tolerate.

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  4. 4
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
    Denise's Avatar

    Implant chemotherapy port

    Procedure or Surgery

    My doctor put ports under the left arm to avoid scarring on chest.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  5. 5
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
    Denise's Avatar

    Side Effects

    Arm kept swelling after surgery...constant sharp pains in whole shoulder and underarm.

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  6. 6
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
    Denise's Avatar

    Misdiagnosed

    Oh No

    Wasn't lymphedema, was DVT (blood clots). Dr put off seeing me for 10 days after surgery...kept telling me pain and swelling were normal. Finally saw me and said yep, normal, ice it. A week after that I was in ER on morphine for pain, they couldn't figure out what was wrong either. Was really sick for a day from morphine. Pain killers make me very nauseous. Next day went to doctor again and he apologized. He said next to no one gets DVTs from a port. Oh, I feel so special. Clots ended up being permanent due to non treatment for so long. Took blood thinners for three years as a result. Oh and I have some nice blue puffy veins sticking out on my arm, chest and neck.

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  7. 7
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
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    Side Effects

    Was constant...couldn't read, sleep...everything was weird to do.

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  8. 8
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
    Denise's Avatar

    Hormone therapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Started Herceptin, took it with Taxol for three months, then for six months by itself weekly.

    Easy to Do: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  9. 9
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
    Denise's Avatar

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    PET scan in August revealed cold nodule in thyroid. Biopsy in October. Found out in November it was Stage IV Papillary Thyroid Cancer.

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  10. 10
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
    Denise's Avatar

    Side Effects

    I had a reaction to the 11th Taxol treatment. The nurses had warned me it could happen. My IVs always took forever because my veins were toast after a few treatments early on since I couldn't have a port. It sometimes took four nurses two hours to stick me. Was horrible. She finally gets IV in, starts all the meds...and I usually got an extra Benadryl and Nausea med because I was always sick and the arm the IV was in usually got a rash after meds started...so all the meds start and no sooner then the nurse said, everything ok...I said yes and started to feel weird. She walked away and everything started to fade in and out. I feel like I was dreaming. I also felt like my chest and throat were getting smaller and I was having trouble breathing. My husband asked if I was ok and I said no, I am not, he said are you serious and I said yes, get the nurse. He yelled for her and I started convulsing in the chair. I don't remember alot, but I do remember the feeling of the air in my lungs becoming more shallow with every breath. I could feel the airways shrinking. Every breath was less air...I remember my onc bending over me and looking me in the eye saying it's ok, it's ok. I shook my head and pointed to my throat...he yelled something and I felt something wash over me and then air flooded back in. And I was out. My husband said about 90 seconds after that I screamed really loud. All I remember is waking up with the worst headache I had ever had in my life. I guess those shots they give you to do whatever give you headaches. I can't remember that name of the shot at the moment. :)

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  11. 11
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
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    Cancer is shrinking

    Celebration

    Chemo worked...tumor was smaller! Yay!

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  12. 12
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
    Denise's Avatar

    Lumpectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

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

    Went as Expected: Disagree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
    0 Comments
  13. 13
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
    Denise's Avatar

    Surgery

    Procedure or Surgery

    Total Thyroidectomy

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  14. 14
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
    Denise's Avatar

    Lumpectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    Did not have clear margins, had another lumpectomy.

    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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  15. 15
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
    Denise's Avatar

    Genetic Testing

    Celebration

    No one in my family had has cancer. I have a really big family....and a daughter. Turns out, was just a fluke...not genetic. Yay!

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  16. 16
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
    Denise's Avatar

    Problem with doctor

    Oh No

    Endocrinologist office staff was horrible. Mixed up instructions for medicines for ablation, office manager was beyond rude to me. I was sensitive to the timing because I couldn't finish breast rads til this was done. She said reschedule might take months. "She couldn't do anything..." And blamed everything on me. I left in tears...called every dr I had and my insurance company. They called the office manager and later that day, the medicine that was so unavailable in the morning became available.

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  17. 17
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
    Denise's Avatar

    Internal radiation

    Radiation

    Had to do iodine ablation (radiation) for thyroid cancer before breast.

    Painless Experience: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  18. 18
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
    Denise's Avatar

    External radiation

    Radiation

    Finally got to breast rads...38 treatments. Little bit of rash, but rad onc was awesome...felt like I had every cream available just in case. :)

    Painless Experience: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  19. 19
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
    Denise's Avatar

    Blood Test

    Oh No

    Rad Onc tested me for some rare disease thing because I had two cancers at the same time. Result was negative...but most people have a distinctive trait in their blood for fighting cancer, mine isn't so strong. I can't remember what he called it, but I have less of the bodies that fight off cancer cells when they enter the body.

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  20. 20
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
    Denise's Avatar

    Side Effects

    MUGA scan showed decreased heart function. Went to cardiologist.

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  21. 21
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
    Denise's Avatar

    Side Effects

    Cardio put me on meds...felt horrible, legs swelled up and developed a dreadful looking rash on lower legs.

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  22. 22
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
    Denise's Avatar

    Misdiagnosed

    Oh No

    Echo showed heart was fine, meds were stopped. Evidently sleeping during a MUGA scan messes up the results...who knew? :)

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  23. 23
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
    Denise's Avatar

    Finished treatment

    Celebration

    All cancer treatment was finished, all cancers were gone. Yay!

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  24. 24
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
    Denise's Avatar

    Hormone therapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Tamoxifen for 2 years.

    Easy to Do: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  25. 25
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
    Denise's Avatar

    Ovarian Cysts

    Procedure or Surgery

    Cysts on ovaries, had to remove and biopsy. No cancer. (years before had same issue, and precancer cells...all were removed and benign)

    Went as Expected: Disagree
    Minimal Recovery: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
    0 Comments
  26. 26
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
    Denise's Avatar

    Hysterectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    Cysts returned year later along with thickening of cervix...had to have hysterectomy to avoid possible future cancer.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
    0 Comments
  27. 27
    • Denise
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 6 years ago
    Denise's Avatar

    Hormone therapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    After hysterectomy switched to Femara...for life. Hot flashes are evil. That is all I have to say on the topic. :)

    Easy to Do: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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