jrthesurvivor's Journey with Breast Cancer

Patient: Breast Cancer

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: almost 8 years ago, Female, Age: 69, Stage 0, HER2 Positive: No, ER Positive: Don't Know, PR Positive: Don't Know

  1. 1
    over 5 years ago
    jrthesurvivor's Avatar

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    After almost skipping having an MRI because of the expense, they found DCIS in my left breast. With other suspicious sites noticed, a total of 3 biopsies were taken. I had a lumpectomy which showed unclear margins so a mastectomy was then necessary because of the amount of tissue that needed to be removed. Almost last minute we did a biopsy on my right breast and found dangerous signs (although different from DCIS).

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  2. 2
    over 5 years ago
    jrthesurvivor's Avatar

    Double Mastectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    Rather than have a single mastectomy and have to get frequent mammograms on the other breast, I opted for bilateral mastectomy. They did find cancer in that right breast so it was a good call. Stayed overnight in the hospital, then went home the next afternoon. Getting used to the drains was briefly difficult, but getting used to no breast was harder.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  3. 3
    over 5 years ago
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    Decision Point

    Did I really want breast implants? My doctor doesn't believe in inserting the breast expanders for implants until healing of about 2 months has taken place after the mastectomy. So I had time to think about this. I was seriously tempted to not have the implants, but finally decided that I'd feel less conspicuous if I had them. Having seen someone else's prosthesis, I didn't like that option at all. It's not a perfect solution, but the right one for me. Choice for expanders, then implants was because a) I didn't have enough stomach fat to build 2 breasts from and b) I didn't want tissue taken from my back or buttocks or thighs because I'm very athletic and didn't want things not to work properly or be imbalanced.

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  4. 4
    over 5 years ago
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    Breast Reconstruction (Implant)

    Procedure or Surgery

    The surgery wasn't any worse than the mastectomies, but the expanders hurt much more than I expected. I was very uncomfortable with them and found every arm movement gave me discomfort and reminded me I had these foreign objects on my chest. I had only the initial injection of water into the expanders. I didn't want to be large breasted and I felt that the bigger they were, the more uncomfortable and foreign they would feel. Small breasts suited my frame anyway. This was the worst part of my journey as for pain.

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

    Procedure or Surgery

    The surgery itself was again, not that big a deal. The recovery was fairly easy for me. The discomfort with the implants was more than I'd expected. This surgery occurred a few months after the expanders had been in place.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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