rocketmom's Journey with Breast Cancer

Patient: Breast Cancer

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: about 7 years ago, Female, Age: 57, Stage IIA, HER2 Positive: No, ER Positive: No, PR Positive: No

  1. 1
    about 5 years ago
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    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    Discovered a lump on the far outside of my right breast. Dr appt, mammo, ultrasound,core biopsy and diagnosis of stage IIA triple negative all within 7 days

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  2. 2
    about 5 years ago
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    Implant chemotherapy port

    Procedure or Surgery

    Glad to have port so we can get started asap on Chemo

    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
    about 5 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    8 cycles of AC-T.Not too bad compared to what I expected (based on TV dramas etc!) Lots of fatigue, generally a day or two each cycle of being wiped out and sick

    Easy to Do: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  4. 4
    about 5 years ago
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    removal of port

    Procedure or Surgery

    About half way through the chemo cycles, I developed a blood clot at the port and in my jugular. Had immediate surgery to remove the port and finished up chemo infusion with IV in arm

    Went as Expected: Not Specified
    Minimal Recovery: Not Specified
    Minimal Side Effects: Not Specified
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Not Specified
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  5. 5
    about 5 years ago
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    Decision Point

    After chemo, I had to decide whether to do a lumpectomy, mastectomy or bilateral mastectomy. I chose the mastectomy. I just wanted the breast tissue to be gone. I decided to have reconstruction at the same time and chose implants

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  6. 6
    about 5 years ago
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    Mastectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    Mastectomy went off without a hitch. Sentinel node biopsy was clean! No node involvement. Overnight stay at hospital and then home with drains

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  7. 7
    about 5 years ago
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    Breast Reconstruction (Implant)

    Procedure or Surgery

    Had expanders put in during mastectomy. Nice to wake up and not be completely flat chested. Went in weekly for injections of saline to expand and to stretch the skin and muscle. Not a pleasant experience at all. Very tight and uncomfortable

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  8. 8
    about 5 years ago
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    Breast Reconstruction (Implant)

    Procedure or Surgery

    Had expander removed and implant inserted. At the same time I had a lift on the other breast. Results of the lift were very disappointing. I couldn't tell any benefit and now I had scarred up my "good breast" with nipple repositioning and "lift".

    Went as Expected: Disagree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  9. 9
    about 5 years ago
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    Decision Point

    While healing from the implant and lift, I had to decide if I wanted to proceed with nipple reconstruction and tattooing. Turned out to be the least of my concerns

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  10. 10
    about 5 years ago
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    Cancer is back/Recurred

    Oh No

    less than 9 months after a clean bill of health post chemo, I discovered another lump on the same side in an area where I thought there was no breast tissue. Wrong, there is no guarantee that the mastectomy gets 100% of the breast tissue and I had a 1 cm tumor making its home in that tiny bit of tissue.

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  11. 11
    about 5 years ago
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    Lumpectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    This time we did surgery first. Two days after the lump was diagnosed, I had surgery. Unfortunately the margins were not clear so we were back in the next week again. This time they took 5 lymph nodes too

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  12. 12
    about 5 years ago
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    CT scan

    Procedure or Surgery

    Nodes were still clear, but I had a CT to look for any other recurrence or metastasis. Thank God there was none

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  13. 13
    about 5 years ago
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    External radiation

    Radiation

    Even though I had an implant, the Drs wanted to do radiation. I had 33 treatments which included 8 boosts. We did the chest wall, supraclavicular area and incision site. I was blessed to not burn. The only issue was fatigue. I just adjusted my work hours and took a nap in the afternoon. I had my treatments on my lunch hour every day

    Painless Experience: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  14. 14
    about 5 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    8 more cycles of chemo. This time I had gemzar and carboplatin. The gemzar burned like crazy when infused and the chemo made me sooooooo tired. My hair didn't fall out, it just thinned out. Honestly, it looked worse than bald, so I cut it all off and went with the wigs anyway. These drugs made me gain quite a bit of weight too. Bummer. I thought chemo patients were thin and frail!

    Easy to Do: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  15. 15
    about 5 years ago
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    enlarged lymph node

    Oh No

    This should have been a time for celebration, but I have an enlarged lymph node in my arm pit. An initial ultrasound shows it to be non threatening, but I'm back in two weeks for another ultrasound and my "normal" diagnostic mammo on the "good breast". By the way the last two mammos on the "good breast" have resulted in needle biopsies too, but fortunately the spots were benign.

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  16. 16
    about 5 years ago
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    Decision Point

    Assuming the lymph node turns out to be nothing, I'm back to thinking about the look and feel of both breasts after the previous surgeries. My implant is still so tight and is very uncomfortable: a constant reminder of the big C. My right breast is larger than the left and as explained before, the lift was a failure. So I think I'll have my implant changed to a smaller implant and have a lift/reduction on the "good breast". Sometimes I think I should just have the "good" one removed too, but the implant has been so disappointing I don't want to go through that. The Drs don't see a risk of the cancer showing up in that breast so I'm going to keep it for now. With that said, if this month's mammo shows anything again, it will make me reconsider.

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