houstonheart's Journey with Breast Cancer

Patient: Breast Cancer

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: over 6 years ago, Female, Age: 67, Stage IIIC, HER2 Positive: Yes, ER Positive: No, PR Positive: No

  1. 1
    almost 5 years ago
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    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    Diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer, stage IIIc, metastisized to lymph nodes; Will need chemo to shrink tumors, then surgery, then radiation, then reconstruction. Caretaker to Mom with dementia and sister with uncontrolled epilepsy. Just can't imagine adding more to my plate now. Lost job due to care taking roll. Unemployed..what next.....

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  2. 2
    almost 5 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    completed 12 sessions of Taxol and 4 sessions of FAC ...Tumors must shrink to become operable No nausea or vomiting: lucky in that aspect. BUT...didn't lose any weight due to the massive amounts of steroid given prior to each session. Had metallic tastes for course of treatment and excruciatingly tired all the time. And of course lost all my hair. Several rashes shortness of breath, mouth dryness with sores, flu like symptoms most of the time, fluid in abdomen, wrecked my liver, peripheral neuropathy,weight gain from steroids, skin changes, thinking problems, memory problems, confusion, sleeping ALL the time, falling asleep at inappropriate times; DEPRESSION; Emotionally, I was a wreck. Mom and sister had to go into long term care facilities, just too tired and weak to take care of them . Worst side effect by far has been "chemo brain". Unable to remember for any period of time, lost ability to reason quickly and well, no more multitasking.....the loss of my reasoning ability and ability to remember has been very frightening. Worried about getting back to work.

    Easy to Do: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  3. 3
    almost 5 years ago
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    Double Mastectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    Had radical right mastectomy with lymphadectomy (removed 15 lymph nodes); total left mastectomy Well, no more pole dancing ....(that's a joke). The drains were the worst. Now the edema is troublesome and had lymph nodes removed on one side.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  4. 4
    almost 5 years ago
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    External radiation

    Radiation

    Completed 31 sessions of radiation easiest part of therapy...only side effects were burns and breaking skin with rashes which they treated successfully.

    Painless Experience: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  5. 5
    almost 5 years ago
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    Anemia (low red blood cell counts)

    Side Effects

    eating problems, fatigue , flu-like symptoms, hair loss, fluid in abdomen, wrecked my liver, lymphadema, periferal neuropathy, constant shortness of breath , mouth dryness with sores, rash, pain, skin changes, bruising, confusion, thinking problems, memory problems, DEPRESSION, osteoporosis, sleeping round the clock; higher blood sugar; hypothyroid; These started with the chemotherapy and continued through surgery and radiation. Still have them now. Completed treatment in January. Was to take Anastrozole due to 5% positive ER - unable to due to side effects...switched to Latrozole...same problem. Will not be taking any oral chemo. Dr advises positive benefit so small not necessary in my case due to poor quality of life with them. I now have a cataract in my right eye from the high steroids doses combined with the chemo and radiation so will have to have that removed. Vision in right eye is very poor.

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  6. 6
    almost 5 years ago
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    Body part/function

    Loss

    Grieved the loss of my breasts. After all the treatment and seeing docs 2-3 times a week they say I am cured. Now I feel like I've been hit by a truck......waiting for the other shoe to drop. I feel cut off and left to deal with this on my own. Worried it will recur somewhere else. Worried I will not get my mind back. Hugely depressed...seeing Psychologist and Psychiatrist...one for depression meds management, one for counseling. Helping. Feeling of isolation is the worst and I am doing it to myself.

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