Tommy's Journey:

Caregiver: Breast Cancer > Invasive (Infiltrating) Ductal Carcinoma

Patient Info: Currently in active treatment (initial surgery, receiving chemo rounds/radiation), Diagnosed: almost 6 years ago, Female, Age: 45, HER2 Positive: Yes, ER Positive: No, PR Positive: No

  1. 1
    • Tommy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrating) ...
    about 5 years ago
    Tommy's Avatar

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    Not much to add. We were totally blindsided, confused, didn't know what to expect.

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  2. 2
    • Tommy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrating) ...
    about 5 years ago
    Tommy's Avatar

    Decision Point

    With the limited knowledge we had at the time, the small amount of information we were able to absorb in a hurry and a feeling of urgancy, we shot from the hip and made the decisions as to what course of action/treatment to take. As it turned out, she made the very best decisions she could possibly have made at the time. Her choices kept her from having to endure the possibility of multiple surgeries.

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  3. 3
    • Tommy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrating) ...
    about 5 years ago
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    Double Mastectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    To ask if it went as expected, I would say from our perspective, we didn't know what to expect. Other than the obvious effect to her physical appearance. The impact it had on daily life was the fact that during recovery she had drain tubes to maintain. After those came out and she went back to work, her morning routine changed. Finding her new routine was an ongoing process.

    Went as Expected: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  4. 4
    • Tommy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrating) ...
    about 5 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Chemo #1 - September 2011 It's about 2 1/2 hour drive from where we live to the cancer center where she receives treatment. To keep the trips to a minimum, her surgeon installed her port and she was wheeled into infusion for her first round of chemo that same day. After 6 hours of being in a chair receiving various fluids through her newly installed port, we were able to leave for the day. We are fortunate to have a group in the area like Hope Lodge. I can't say enough about how helpful they have been during this past year. She did a total of 4 chemo sessions. I'm not sure if they got easier or harder from one to the next. But I do know we learned a lot from the first one. Stay hydrated, take pain and nausea meds BEFORE you normally would need them and above all, STAY HYDRATED. Very important to stay hydrated.

    Easy to Do: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  5. 5
    • Tommy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrating) ...
    about 5 years ago
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    Other

    Side Effects

    Her first chemo was on a Tuesday. It wasn't until Thursday that she really began to feel the effects. By Friday she was down hard. It was a rough weekend. Nausea and aches and pains from the chemo, bone aches and pains from the Neulasta shot on Wednesday. Can't stress it enough. Stay hydrated!

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  6. 6
    • Tommy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrating) ...
    about 5 years ago
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    Hair loss (alopecia)

    Side Effects

    Ah yes. I can't forget the hair loss. 2 weeks to the day of her first chemo session, her hair began falling out. That was on a Tuesday. The following Friday evening, she shaved my head and I shaved hers.

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  7. 7
    • Tommy
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrating) ...
    about 5 years ago
    Tommy's Avatar

    Targeted therapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    The cancer was HER/2 positive. So, for a full year from the time her treatment started, she has to receive Herceptin infusions. The first (back in September 2011) was given to her over a two hour period. Each subsequent infusion, the amount of time was reduced by 30 minutes until the total time of infusion only takes 30 minutes. Meaning, they pushed it faster each time until now it only takes 30 minutes to receive the same amount of Herceptin as it took to receive in 2 hours the first session. This past week she received Herceptin infusion #12. During that visit, she spoke with her doctor about changing the sessions from every 3 weeks to every 4 weeks. The doctor agreed that it was possible and is adjusted the dosage to cover that extra week. So, now instead of a possible 7 more infusion, it looks like she'll only need as few as 4 more to round out a year of taking it. There's a light at the end of the tunnel.

    Easy to Do: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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