peachpoppy's Journey:

  1. 1 Procedure or Surgery Icon Procedure or Surgery
  2. 2 Oh No Icon Oh No
  3. 3 Decision Point Icon Decision Point
  4. 4 Procedure or Surgery Icon Procedure or Surgery
  5. 5 Decision Point Icon Decision Point
  6. 6 Procedure or Surgery Icon Procedure or Surgery
  7. 7 Oh No Icon Oh No
  8. 8 Decision Point Icon Decision Point
  9. 9 Side Effects Icon Side Effects
  10. 10 Procedure or Surgery Icon Procedure or Surgery
  11. 11 Celebration Icon Celebration
  12. 12 Drug or Chemo Therapy Icon Drug or Chemo Therapy
  13. 13 Oh No Icon Oh No
  14. 14 Celebration Icon Celebration
  15. 15 Side Effects Icon Side Effects
  16. 16 Radiation Icon Radiation
  17. 17 Celebration Icon Celebration
  18. 18 Side Effects Icon Side Effects
  19. 19 Other Care Icon Other Care
  20. 20 Drug or Chemo Therapy Icon Drug or Chemo Therapy
  21. 21 Celebration Icon Celebration
  22. 22 Procedure or Surgery Icon Procedure or Surgery
  23. 23 Celebration Icon Celebration
  24. 24 Drug or Chemo Therapy Icon Drug or Chemo Therapy
  25. 25 Procedure or Surgery Icon Procedure or Surgery
  26. 26 Procedure or Surgery Icon Procedure or Surgery
  27. 27 Procedure or Surgery Icon Procedure or Surgery
  28. 28 Procedure or Surgery Icon Procedure or Surgery
  29. 29 Celebration Icon Celebration
  30. 30 Side Effects Icon Side Effects
  31. 31 Drug or Chemo Therapy Icon Drug or Chemo Therapy
  32. 32 Oh No Icon Oh No

Survivor: Breast Cancer > Invasive (Infiltrating) Ductal Carcinoma

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: about 4 years ago, Female, Age: 46, Stage IIA, HER2 Positive: No, ER Positive: Yes, PR Positive: Yes

  1. 1
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    about 4 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Lumpectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    After finding a lump in my left breast I was sent for a mammogram and ultrasound, both came back negative for cancer. My surgeon decided to remove the mass anyway. This surgery performed was an exisional biopsy on April 18th. Immediately after the surgery everything looked good and the tissue removed was called a fibrous mass, or cluster of cysts.

    Went as Expected: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
    0 Comments
  2. 2
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    about 4 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    cancer dx

    Oh No

    On April 22, pathology results came back that it was cancer.

    2 Comments
  3. 3
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    about 4 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Breast conservation surgery, or mastectomy?

    Decision Point

    I was told that I was a candidate for breast conservation surgery, or mastectomy, my choice. Due to a strong family history of breast cancer I had already considered elective double mastectomy surgery with reconstruction, and was in the process of investigating this when I found the lump. After meeting with a plastic surgeon I decided that I would prefer to have a lumpectomy first and go through treatment (chemo for sure, not sure about radiation). Then after treatment I would return to have the (preventative/elective) double mastectomy/reconstruction. I thought this would make the next year or so of treatment a little easier on me, and would allow me to have immediate reconstruction which I liked the results of better than with delayed reconstruction. I was told that decision to have the lumpectomy did not have any health risks, as far as cancer remaining etc., because they would be able to get it all. The only risk would be that if they did not get clear margins then a second surgery would need to be scheduled. At this point I had decided lumpectomy. Sentinel Lymph node surgery would happen next.

    0 Comments
  4. 4
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    about 4 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Axillary Lymph Node Dissection

    Procedure or Surgery

    On May 1 I had my sentinel lymph node surgery, which turned into an axillary dissection after 2 nodes were found to have cancer. Pathology reports 2 days later confirmed 2 nodes of 25 were positive.

    Went as Expected: Disagree
    Minimal Recovery: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
    1 Comment
  5. 5
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    about 4 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    lumpectomy or mastectomy?

    Decision Point

    On May 6 my case was reviewed and it was decided that I do need radiation, even with only 2 nodes positive. This would eliminate the possibility of immediate reconstruction. After weighing risks previously discussed, I opted for a lumpectomy. I will come back at a later date for bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction.

    8 Comments
  6. 6
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    about 4 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Lumpectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    On May 9 I had my lumpectomy. During surgery a second cancer tumor is found and removed. DCIS 0.9cm.

    Went as Expected: Disagree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
    3 Comments
  7. 7
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    about 4 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    more cancer

    Oh No

    New cancer is found during lumpectomy surgery. Also, pathology results come back May 13 saying that "Close Margins" exist. My case is going to be reviewed to determine if more surgery is recommended or if I should start treatment.

    0 Comments
  8. 8
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    about 4 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    more surgery or move on to chemo?

    Decision Point

    The doctors met decided that the best recommendation is for me to have a mastectomy. When doing my lumpectomy, another cancer was found. At first I was told that it was DCIS, but after meeting in person with the doctor yesterday she explained the pathology in more detail and said that a new .9cm invasive tumor was found near my 1.4 invasive tumor site - in addition to the new DCIS. So 3 tumors now. Fear of more cancer, and concerns about what exists on the right side have me agreeing that mastectomy is needed. Then we will know for sure what is there, what we are fighting, and everyone will sleep a little better. They squeezed me in for surgery today at 3pm. It's my daughter's 5th birthday. I'm very sad about that and had hoped that I could make it past today if I did need more surgery. But this is how it's playing out so I scrambled around yesterday to pull a surprise party together a day early. I think it was a success. I'll check back after surgery.

    2 Comments
  9. 9
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    about 4 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Lymphedema

    Side Effects

    Doctor says I have lymphedema and a lot of scar tissue from my axillary dissection. I still have some numbness but when they numbness goes away I have pins and needles pain - and ALOT of tightness. I think I have less range of motion than after the survey, like it's been getting worse, shrinking. They say to start exercises 1 week post surgery, but I was going into my lumpectomy a week after the dissection, so no exercises were done. They are sending me to PT, but I have surgery tomorrow, so I don't know how this is going to work.

    0 Comments
  10. 10
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    about 4 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Double Mastectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    My surgery yesterday was done outpatient, which I was nervous about, but everything went well. I had surgery at 3pm and was released around 11pm. I am home resting and happy that I am in my own bed. Compared to my previous surgeries, this rates close with my axillary dissection, except that was only one 1 side. Unlike the dissection, this time I feel like I have more arm movement which helps with feeding myself, washing face, etc. And I don't have the numbness and nerve pain like with the dissection. I'm still having issues with that. Hoping pathology comes back with no additional cancer in the left, and no surprise cancer on the "good" right side.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
    0 Comments
  11. 11
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    about 4 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Good News - no cancer in right breast!

    Celebration

    Pathology came back from my double mastectomy and there is no cancer in my right breast. SO RELIEVED! This means no more surgery and I can finally move on with treatment. As for the left breast...they found 2 more tumors, one DCIS and one invasive. This makes 5 tumors total! 3 invasive, 2 DCIS. Feeling over the moon that I got the mastectomy! The cancer is now all gone.

    1 Comment
  12. 12
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    almost 4 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    My first chemo treatment (AC) was Friday June 14th. I was a bit anxious how how it would feel, but didn't notice anything. Overall it went well. I had blood draw, dr appt, and teaching session all before the infusion appointment so I was almost too tired to be nervous. The drugs took about 2 hours to get to me from the pharmacy due to a new "system" so by the time I was hooked up in the chair I was pretty ready for it. Side affects were only some mild nausea that first night even with the zofran every 8 hours. Today was even better. Yea for #1.

    Easy to Do: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
    1 Comment
  13. 13
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    almost 4 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Emergency Room!

    Oh No

    On Tuesday June 18th, just 4 days after my first chemo I spiked a fever and went to the ER. My port was removed and found to be infected with staph (not MRSA thankfully). After 5 days in the hospital, I am finally infection free and will be released tomorrow to go back home. At home I will need to stay on an IV antibiotic for 2 weeks, that will require a PICC line be inserted. My port site wound was left "open" with packing bandages to heal so arrangements are being made for home nurses to help with the IV and bandage changes. Some of the other excitement: - fever, chills, pain at the port site from the infection - nausea, heartburn, fatigue, etc. from my first round of chemo setting in while in hospital - HAIR - scalp tingling and not able to shower, hair loss is coming soon - Bone pain - neulasta shot from 5 days earlier decided to come forward with a vengeance at 2am - 1st hot flash - 4 IV changes due to veins giving up - heparin shots that are riddling my body with bruises - WBC counts plummeted and I became neutropenic (which wasn't bad because I finally got a private room)

    4 Comments
  14. 14
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    over 3 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Finished treatment

    Celebration

    11/22/13 - final Taxol infusion! Here's where things stand with Taxol: The first few weeks were pretty easy with only 1-2 downish days, not as bad as AC. It felt good to lose the feelings of nausea. I also had pain (muscle/bone/who knows) on the backs of arms, sides of upper back. By weeks 6-7 I was up to 3 down days (M-T-W after a Friday infusion), continued pain spreading to entire back, some swelling of hand, face, feet. Heavy feeling in chest, not shortness of breath, but mild pain when I'd take a deep breath (they watched this closely but it never turned into anything). The pain and chest thing would go away after my down days. Mild neuropathy in fingers/toes. I just had my 12th final treatment, and all symptoms are getting worse with time. I'm now TIRED a lot. Starting Sunday and feeling better by Friday just in time for the next treatment. The PAIN has spread to my legs too. It feel like the muscles in the backs of my legs and arms and ribs in back feel tight and fatigued - after doing nothing. I try to stretch but they tighten back up and hurt. Warm baths are the best for this! Please try it. This helps the neuropathy too. The NEUROPATHY remains in the tips of my fingers, and lesser so in my toes. However, there is also PAIN with it, like someone took a hammer and lightly pounded each fingernail. I can't open packages, make beds, but more from the pain, not numbness. I worry I'll lose my fingernails and that some of this might be permanent. The worst side effect at this point is the SWELLING. I have gained 16 pounds since my surgeries back in May and 90% of it happened during taxol (so the past 4 months). I did lose 6 pounds because of surgeries, so the net weight gain is more like 10 pounds (minus my prosthesis, whatever that weighs). Even so, I am only 5'2" and 10 pounds is a huge weight gain for that height. I feel horribly bloated (9 months pregnant bloated).The swelling has creeped up my arms and legs (it has nowhere to go) and if I don't keep my feet elevated my legs get so big that I lose sight of my knee caps. Ankles have been missing for weeks now. I can't sit cross legged and can't kneel for my exercises. Some other minor things for the record: tastebuds are weird, constantly watering eyes (people always think Im crying), rashy looking skin on hands, heartburn continues, strange dark colors mid-way down my nails, hair growing in (patchy) pretty significantly on head only, barely on legs. Radiation to follow in January, but looking forward to a month of healing.

    4 Comments
  15. 15
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    over 3 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Swelling (edema)

    Side Effects

    Almost 2 weeks post chemo and the swelling in my arms and legs (and a little in my face) is getting really bad. Doctor prescribed Lasix for 3 days, but I'm not seeing much improvement. The good news is that my energy is creeping back up and, to a lesser degree, my fingernail pain and neuropathy are improving.

    2 Comments
  16. 16
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    over 3 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    External radiation

    Radiation

    Radiation started on January 7, 2014. I'm about 2 weeks in and so far so good. I do have some redness starting to show where they have the "bolus" placed on my chest, but outside of that area there is no irritation. The most unusual part of my radiation is that I have to use a breathing machine so that my chest wall is moved away from my heart during treatment. I have a snorkel type thing in my mouth, a nose plug, and very high tech looking goggles that show my breathing and how long I need to hold my breath. No issues with fatigue at this point. Enjoying my new eyebrows and lashes.

    Painless Experience: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
    2 Comments
  17. 17
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    over 3 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Finished treatment

    Celebration

    Holy heck I'm done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (2/10/14) Finished 5 weeks of radiation. Came out with very few side effects (in order of worst to not so bad): peeling/raw/sore armpit, itchy rash, red skin, mild fatigue. Next up: Tamoxifen. Then DIEP at some future date. I'm celebrating today at the hair salon. I can't look at my white hair anymore. Then going to Florida next week. BAM!

    4 Comments
  18. 18
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    about 3 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Pain

    Side Effects

    I'm 3 months post-chemo and still have significant muscle/joint pain. Shoulders are the worst and wake my up at night, but ankles, wrists, hips are all stiff and painful until I get moving then they loosen up. Wasn't expecting to feel this way and getting frustrated with the lack of improvement despite my efforts to stretch, walk, bike.

    3 Comments
  19. 19
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    about 3 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Occupational Therapy

    Other Care

    Started OT once again to try to fight lymphedema and overall body aches/stiffness.

    0 Comments
  20. 20
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    about 3 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Hormone therapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    3/6/14 - Started Tamoxifen. So far so good. I feel no different.

    Easy to Do: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
    0 Comments
  21. 21
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    about 3 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Return to Work

    Celebration

    After much anticipation I finally returned to work today 4/8/14 after being gone since 4/18/13. A lot of faces have changed but the familiar ones were smiling/tearing and it was great to see them. My new team took me to lunch and I'm looking forward to what lies ahead.

    3 Comments
  22. 22
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    over 2 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    CT scan

    Procedure or Surgery

    9/12/14 - Had CT scan in preparation for DIEP. Surgeon is booked through the end of the year, so 2015 it will be. I'll need that long to get up enough courage.

    Went as Expected: Disagree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Agree
    0 Comments
  23. 23
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    over 2 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Anniversary

    Celebration

    I just celebrated my 1 year cancer-free anniversary at Disney World with my family (2/10/15). Thanks to everyone on this site for helping me thru my journey to this point.

    0 Comments
  24. 24
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    over 2 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Depression medicine

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    2/22/15 - Started Effexor last night to combat hot flashes. I was told that it might make my sleepy and to take it before bed. But it didn't. I actually woke up during the night feeling nauseous, didn't sleep well and woke up early. So far this morning I have felt dizzy and lightheaded. Hoping this gets better over time.

    Easy to Do: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
    3 Comments
  25. 25
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    about 2 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Breast Reconstruction (Flap)

    Procedure or Surgery

    4/30/15 was my DIEP. The right flap failed and potentially part of the left. They did 2 additional surgeries, 3 blood transfusions and LEACHES (while in the hospital for 7 days) to save the flap but were unsuccessful. Facing surgery in the next week to correct the right and they are watching the left closely. Very devastating. Tummy looks good tho.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Recovery: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
    4 Comments
  26. 26
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    about 2 years ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Breast Reconstruction (Flap)

    Procedure or Surgery

    5/12/15 - Back in the hospital to correct my failed DIEP. This time (at the recco of the PS) I had the Latissimus Dorsi Flap on the right side only. And also a bit of "clean-up" on the left, where the tissue appeared to be dead. Everything appears to have been a success this time, and I was able to return home on 5/14. I'm staying with my dad until I can actually get in/out of a bed, then I will be back home with my kids. Until then my husband is being my hero and holding down the fort. This procedure is a bit more painful than the DIEP, most likely due to muscles being involved. I could also be feeling the effects of multiple surgeries in a row. Either way, I'm in a bit of pain now but know that it's only a matter of time before I feel better. Taking each day.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
    3 Comments
  27. 27
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    over 1 year ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Breast Reconstruction (Implant)

    Procedure or Surgery

    10/1/15 - Had surgery to replace my expander with a silicone implant on my Lat Dorsi side. Very happy with how it looks and the recovery has been much easier than my previous surgery (surgeries). I have noticed some muscle weirdness since now my back muscle is in front. Hoping this becomes more normal over time. Also had my DIEP side "revised" to remove fat necrosis and to fill in areas that had been open wounds that healed and left holes. To fill in they did fat grafting which ended up being liposuction, so I have very small incisions on my hips, and pretty significant bruising on my thighs where the fat was taken from. I think this will all heal up and not be noticeable. I'm a little disappointed because I feel that this side is still smaller than the other, and I had hoped that this procedure would have made it equal. So I think 1 more surgery will be needed :( The last revision was done to my stomach to taper off the ends of the DIEP incision, which puckered out slightly. I'm very happy with this now that they lay a little flatter. It's a CRAZY long scar, but I am hoping after the color and sensitivity fade that it won't be so gruesome.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
    0 Comments
  28. 28
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    over 1 year ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Breast Reconstruction (Flap)

    Procedure or Surgery

    2/9/16 - Had a fat grafting procedure, once again, to my left DIEP side to increase size for symmetry and to fill in holes left from partially failed DIEP. So far the recovery has been easier than any previous surgery, or maybe I'm just getting better at this. The one negative is that the left side still looks smaller, so I think another surgery will be needed. I was told that they can't put too much fat in at one time because it may turn hard or dissipate and be reabsorbed in your body.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
    0 Comments
  29. 29
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    over 1 year ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Anniversary

    Celebration

    2/10/16 - Today marks 2 years cancer free. Feeling good and so thankful for all the support I have found through family, friends and all of you here on What Next.

    0 Comments
  30. 30
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    6 months ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Infection

    Side Effects

    11/11/16 - Woke up in the middle of the night with pain in my upper left arm, which has lymphedema. Also noticed a rash. Ended up in the ER where they treated me for cellulitis infection, but also discovered I had 2 blood clots in my chest (Thrombosis of both subclavian veins)! I was immediately taken off tamoxifen because that could cause clots. But it is unusual for those clots to be in the subclavian veins, usually they are in the legs or lungs. So I am also being tested for a clotting disorder (antiphospholipid syndrome). I have to take blood thinner injections (Lovenox) for the next 4-6 months, then figure out what to about a replacement for the tamoxifen. A very scary ordeal, but I feel like a dodged a bullet by finding this now.

    3 Comments
  31. 31
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    8 months ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Depression medicine

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    10/8/16 - Decided to try another drug to combat nagging joint pain, which has gotten worse over time and keeps me up at night. This time it's 20mg Duloxetine (generic for Cymbalta). The first day I had a bit of nausea, which has gotten better. Now I just have an empty feeling in my stomach that comes and goes. It also makes me feel very sedated/groggy, similar to how I felt on Norco. Within a few days of taking it I have already noticed a big improvement in my joint pain - which is SUCH a big relief after suffering for so long! And as an added bonus my hot flashes are pretty much gone, and my overall body temperature feels more normal (as opposed to always being hot). We are going to reassess in a month and decide if it's working, but so far so good.

    Easy to Do: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
    0 Comments
  32. 32
    • peachpoppy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    about 1 month ago
    peachpoppy's Avatar

    Blood clots and infection

    Oh No

    11/11/16 - I went to the ER with pain and a rash in my left arm (which has lymphedema) they began treating me for an infection. They also discovered bilateral blood clots in my veins by my collarbones a.k.a. thrombosis of both subclavian veins. I had no symptoms of having a blood clot, so I feel very lucky that these were found. After much testing for possible causes they have determined that it was caused by the Tamoxifen I was taking. I immediately stopped taking it and will be moving to a different drug.

    0 Comments