kmeyerholtz's Journey with Invasive (Infiltrating) Ductal Carcin...

Patient: Breast Cancer > Invasive (Infiltrating) Ductal Carcinoma

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: over 7 years ago, Female, Age: 51

  1. 1
    over 5 years ago
    kmeyerholtz's Avatar

    Physical change that led to seeing the doctor

    Oh No

    A few months before I was diagnosed my right nipple began to "invert". I just thought - what the heck is going on?? Out of curiousity I looked up "inverted nipple" on the internet and read that it could be a sign of cancer. That was my first "oh no" and led me to call my doctor to see about getting a mammogram scheduled as my last one had been about 10 months ago.

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  2. 2
    over 5 years ago
    kmeyerholtz's Avatar

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    Diagnosed with stage I breast cancer two days before my son's high school graduation. It really robbed me of the joy of experiencing this important milestone in his life. I was HER2 negative and estrogen positive. I was tested for the BRCA gene and do not carry this.

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  3. 3
    over 5 years ago
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    Double Mastectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    Because we knew before the surgery that there were at least two tumors a lumpectomy was not really an option. As far as we knew the cancer was only in my right breast but we chose to do the double mastectomy so that I would not have to worry about getting "it" again in the future. I also had tissue expanders placed at the time of the mastectomy which I am glad now that I did. Finally, I had four sentinal lymph nodes removed during this procedure and the preliminary tests showed that the cancer had not spread. Recovery and healing were fairly easy. My one regret that I didn't realize at the time was the loss of sensation I now have with my breasts. I don't think that was ever explained to me.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  4. 4
    over 5 years ago
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    Sentinel lymph node biopsy

    Procedure or Surgery

    see above post

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  5. 5
    over 5 years ago
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    Axillary Lymph Node Dissection

    Procedure or Surgery

    A few days after my mastectomy the doctor called to say that the final pathology tests on my sentinel lymph nodes showed a spot of cancer in the first node. This escalated my cancer to Stage II and required that I have another surgery two weeks after the first to remove the remaining lymph nodes under my right arm removed as well as to have a port inserted for the chemotherapy that would now be required. Also, they informed me that three tumors were found in the right breast - the left breast was clear.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  6. 6
    over 5 years ago
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    Implant chemotherapy port

    Procedure or Surgery

    See prior posting

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  7. 7
    over 5 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    I had fifteen rounds of chemotherapy - the first four were the adriomyacin and cytoxin (sp?) and the last eleven were taxol. My biggest fear was throwing up all the time and I am happy to say I never threw up one time due to the anti-nausea drugs they have me. I had several side effects (hair loss, sore throat, extreme fatigue, etc) but I was also able to work the entire time I was going through treatment. Many weeks this required me flying to places like Florida, Michigan, parts of Canada - I was very blessed not to have to deal with some of the more severe side effects others experienced.

    Easy to Do: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  8. 8
    over 5 years ago
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    Hair loss (alopecia)

    Side Effects

    As much as I dreaded this part I discovered it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I was bald for about 4 months and then my hair started growing back quickly. Matter-of-fact, I have decided to keep my hair short for the time being (was to my shoulders before) because I love the look and the ease of maintaining!

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  9. 9
    over 5 years ago
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    Nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy)

    Side Effects

    This is the most frustrating part of the experience. I am 13 months from my last treatment and have recently gotten most feeling back in my hands but still do not have the feeling back in my feet. I have been told that if it doesn't come back in a year it probably will not. I also recently found out from a nerve doctor that all of my reflexes are gone. Not a big deal but another side effect nonetheless.

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  10. 10
    over 5 years ago
    kmeyerholtz's Avatar

    Finished treatment

    Celebration

    Finished just in time for Christmas!! My biggest disappointment was that the staff didn't seem aware that it was my last treatment so no celebrating at the cancer center but my family celebrated when we got home!

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  11. 11
    over 5 years ago
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    Breast Reconstruction (Implant)

    Procedure or Surgery

    Two weeks after finishing my chemo I had my tissue expanders removed and silicone breast implants placed. This procedure was very easy and my plastic surgeon was wonderful!

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  12. 12
    over 5 years ago
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    Depression/Anxiety

    Side Effects

    I was never diagnosed with depression or anxiety but I certainly felt it after my treatment ended. I would wake up in the middle of the night gasping for breath and my heart pounding. I hated my job which was requiring me to be away from my family every week. I kept thinking - what if the cancer comes back? I ended up going on a leave of absence at this point and after my 12 weeks off - I retired to stay home with my still three year old daughter. I realized my priorities in life had changed and once I made these decisions the anxiety got much better.

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  13. 13
    over 5 years ago
    kmeyerholtz's Avatar

    Nipple reconstruction/aeriola tattoing

    Procedure or Surgery

    The last step in the reconstruction process. While not the "original" my plastic surgeon did an excellent job and I am happy with the results.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  14. 14
    over 5 years ago
    kmeyerholtz's Avatar

    Hormone therapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    I am now taking tamoxifan which is an estrogen blocker. At my next appointment I hope to discuss the side effects of this drug. Nothing major and nothing I know is tied to the tamoxifan but I do have joint and back pain which I would like to know if this is the cause. More to come.......

    Easy to Do: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
    1 Comment