Nancebeth's Journey with Mixed Tumors, Breast Cancer

Patient: Breast Cancer > Mixed Tumors

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: over 5 years ago, Female, Age: 47, Stage I, HER2 Positive: No, ER Positive: Yes, PR Positive: Yes

  1. 1
    • Nancebeth
    • Experience with Mixed Tumors, Breast...
    about 5 years ago
    Nancebeth's Avatar

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    On November 4, 2011, I went to the gynocologist for my yearly exam. I got the exam, and a prescription for my yearly mammogram. I hadn't been snce the end of 2008 for a myriad of reasons but also I was pretty good about doing my self exams so I wasn't that concerned. On December 2, I went for my mammogram. On December 6, I received a letter when I got home from work. The letter was from Wuestoff Hospital letting me know my mammogram was abnormal. What the XXX was I supposed to do with this information at 8:00 p.m. on a Tuesday night?! Well, I did a little self exam and I felt a small lump...or at least I thought I did, but I also thought maybe I was just being paranoid. I talked to the nurse at my doctor's office the next morning and was scheduled for a spot compression mammogram and ultrasound on December 16. On December 23, I found out that my results were inconclusive and I would need to be scheduled for a breast biopsy. On December 30, I had my breast biopsy. I was told my doctor would have the results on Wednesday, Jan 4. Of course I called the doctor's office the afternoon of January 4 and left a message for the nurse. The nurse called back and said the results were there but my doctor was on vacation. She said that she could not give me any results over the phone and since I already had an appointment for Monday, January 9, he would talk to me about it then. I was prepared to wait all weekend to hear my results. What I was unprepared for, was his partner, a woman I had never seen or spoken to, to call me on Friday and tell me OVER THE PHONE, that I had breast cancer. Yes, his partner called me on Friday, January 6, and told me that my results had been given to her and she thought I would not want to worry all weekend so she thought it best to tell me OVER THE PHONE that I had breast cancer and "your doctor will discuss it further with you and refer you to a surgeon on Monday. It looks like it is treatable though. Have a good weekend.Who tells someone they have cancer over the phone?!?! Anyway, I went to see my doctor on Monday, January 9 and he explained that I have invasive ductal carcinoma, grade 1. He says it is very treatable, it was caught early, blah blah blah and he refers me to a surgeon. Over the course of 2 weeks I met with 3 general surgeons, 2 plastic surgeons and an oncologist. I talked to breast cancer survivors...some who had lumpectomies and radiation and some who had masectomy of the affected breast and some who had bilateral masectomy. Some had reconstruction, some did not. I did my own research. I made the decision, based on many factors, to have a bilateral masectomy and immediate reconstruction. I was very confident in my surgical team and I know I am going to be fine, physically. I have known my plastic surgeon for 35 years! Thank you Dr. Danny (you will always be Danny to me) Kapp for being so reassuring and making me feel as comfortable as possible. I had my surgery on Friday, February 3.

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  2. 2
    • Nancebeth
    • Experience with Mixed Tumors, Breast...
    about 5 years ago
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    Decision Point

    I made the decision to have a bilateral masectomy with immediate reconstruction. I never thought twice and I am happy with my decision.

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  3. 3
    • Nancebeth
    • Experience with Mixed Tumors, Breast...
    about 5 years ago
    Nancebeth's Avatar

    Double Mastectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    I had my bilateral masectomy and immediate reconstruction on Friday, February 3. I can't say too much about the masectomy itself because I had immediate reconstruction. The whole procedure was insane!

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  4. 4
    • Nancebeth
    • Experience with Mixed Tumors, Breast...
    about 5 years ago
    Nancebeth's Avatar

    Breast Reconstruction (Implant)

    Procedure or Surgery

    I had my bilateral masectomy and immediate reconstruction on Friday, February 3. LCT brought me to the hospital and was joined by my other Laura. They have now become Team Laura. Later in the day they were joined by Brian, my brother's best friend, who I have known since I was 8. The three of them waited while I had my surgery. It was a grueling 6 hour procedure (not for me, I was asleep...lol). So I woke up in recovery to see the faces of my friends and of course, my plastic surgeon, Dr. Danny Kapp. I was loopy but alive and apparently I made them all kiss me goodnight before I fell back to sleep. On Saturday morning I woke up feeling like I had been shot in the chest. Not that I know what that feels like. But having almost 8 pounds of breast tissue removed and then 1400 total cc of implant shoved into your chest hurts like nothing I had ever felt before! It hurt to breathe! Luckily I had a morphine pump :-) I was discharged on Sunday, to the surprise of my nurses and a lot of my friends. But if you really know me, you know I wasn't staying "down" any longer than I had to. I had a schedule of extended family and friends taking care of me for the first two weeks after I was released. I hated depending on others for every little thing. I have a lot of trouble asking anyone to help me and here I was, needing someone to wash my hair for me! I was miserable and in a lot of pain. I slept quite a bit and when I was awake I rested, read, and watched tv. Two weeks after my surgery I got my last drain out and was allowed to shower. The nurse told me to buy a couple of front closing sports bras so I would be comfortable and would not have to wear the surgical bra anymore. I went to Target and could not find what I needed. So, I went back out to my car, and I just lost it. I was sobbing in my car...I wasn't even sure why I was crying but I could not stop. It was the first time I had really cried since the day I heard my diagnosis. I think I was trying so hard to be strong in front of my family and friends. Well, I guess it all caught up with me. Luckily Brian came and rescued me from myself and brought me to Wal Mart and I was able to get what I needed. The next day was the first shower and once again I broke down. I stood in the shower, looking at the ceiling (I had decided early on, after seeing photos online of breast reconstruction, that I was not going to look at my new "breasts" until the reconstruction was entirely complete, including nipple reconstruction and areola tattoos. I would do anything in my power to not look at the breasts!) and sobbing uncontrollably. I was ugly crying; the kind where you can't catch your breath. I finished the shower, still crying, wrapped up in a towel and called my friend Sean. I went on and on about how I was ugly and deformed. He calmed me down and told me I am beautiful. After the third week, Lori came to visit and she wanted to see the breasts, so I showed her. She told me they looked great, very symmetrical. That was on a Friday. On the next Monday I decided to look. They are very symmetrical although the right one is more swollen than the left. I can tell that once the reconstruction is complete, they will be very cute breasts. However, right now, they feel foreign on my body. They are still very high up on my chest and still pretty sore. It feels like my chest is kind of on fire, like when you work out really hard and your muscles burn. And yes, I know I am lucky to be alive, and of course I am thankful and happy that I caught it in time, and was able to have the surgery and eventually be cured.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  5. 5
    • Nancebeth
    • Experience with Mixed Tumors, Breast...
    about 5 years ago
    Nancebeth's Avatar

    Breakthrough

    Celebration

    I had been so concerned about treatment and healing I think I forgot to just live. I mean, I am alive and so happy to be alive! I gained new perspective on life and am living it to the fullest.

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  6. 6
    • Nancebeth
    • Experience with Mixed Tumors, Breast...
    about 5 years ago
    Nancebeth's Avatar

    Implant chemotherapy port

    Procedure or Surgery

    I had my port implanted laproscopically and it was a relatively easy procedure, however, I had a LOT of pain, swelling and bruising. After close to a month it is finally pain free.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  7. 7
    • Nancebeth
    • Experience with Mixed Tumors, Breast...
    about 5 years ago
    Nancebeth's Avatar

    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Chemo sucks. Pretty much sums it up.

    Easy to Do: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  8. 8
    • Nancebeth
    • Experience with Mixed Tumors, Breast...
    over 4 years ago
    Nancebeth's Avatar

    Targeted therapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Started Tamoxifen and it sucks. Everything is dry, my skin is cracking, my lips are so dry they hurt. I am getting rashes from it. I am tired, cranky and irritable. I have ot flashes so bad, I keep a change of clothes with me for when I sweat through my clothes.

    Easy to Do: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  9. 9
    • Nancebeth
    • Experience with Mixed Tumors, Breast...
    over 4 years ago
    Nancebeth's Avatar

    Breast Reconstruction (Implant)

    Procedure or Surgery

    I needed to get my left implant replaced as it had deflated and pulled away from the chest wall. Apparently this is not uncommon in mastectomy patients. I had the surgery on Thursday, Nov 1 and stayed one night in the hospital. Came home Friday afternoon and was running a 101.5 fever. The fever broke last night and I feel a lot better today. I am very sore and swollen and bruised but my pain is manageable. Compared to the radical bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction I had in February, so far this one is a breeze.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  10. 10
    • Nancebeth
    • Experience with Mixed Tumors, Breast...
    about 4 years ago
    Nancebeth's Avatar

    Hospitalization

    Other Care

    I was admitted to the hospital last Tuesday, 2/25/13 with an extensive case of cellulitis on my left breast. It appeared suddenly on Monday morning as a small red area towards the bottom of the left breast (both are reconstructed implants) and by Monday night, the red area was covering most of my breast, it was hot, and painful and sensitive to the touch. My PS admitted me to Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center and I started on IV antibiotics. I was there for 3 days/2 nights. I follow up with one week of oral antibiotics.

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  11. 11
    • Nancebeth
    • Experience with Mixed Tumors, Breast...
    about 4 years ago
    Nancebeth's Avatar

    Surgery

    Procedure or Surgery

    The chemo caused necrosis in my knee and I underwent a Makoplasty partial knee replacement on May 7. The surgeon said it went well, however, the pain is brutal. I was in the hospital for 4 days and it took one full day just to control my pain, as I am very sensitive to medication.

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