cancer_spouse's Journey with Breast Cancer

Spouse/Partner: Breast Cancer

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Female, Age: 57, Stage Recurrent, HER2 Positive: Don't Know, ER Positive: Don't Know, PR Positive: Don't Know

  1. 1
    about 5 years ago
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    Misdiagnosed

    Oh No

    Discharge from nipple during annual physical indicated followup. Iniital ductectomy missed cancer. Ductectomy did not go as expected. Doctor would not follow up about surgery questions. My wife could feel (tactile) that ther ewas something still wrong. (I could not :( )

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  2. 2
    about 5 years ago
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    Mastectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    Surgery went well. Some home care for surgery, and additional care for surgery site. Recovery from surgery went well, although was quickly followed by chemo. High confidence that tumor (cancer) was islaoted and completely removed. Sentinel nodes negative.

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

    Oh No

    Followup with a different doctor. Additional mamography and MRI inconclusive. biopsy indicated cancer; clear margins were not achieved with biospy. Decided on mastectomy rather than lumpectomy, without reconstruction. Decision on NO immediate reconstruction was made because radiation was to follow- which could damage reconstructed tissue area.

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  4. 4
    about 5 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Chemo went as expected, but was not easy to do, had side effects, and upset daily life. My wife doesn't like needles to begin with, so procedure was no picnic. We were concerned about possible side effects of the injection procedure itself- like the possibility of dead tissue if the chemo leaked from the vein or site into surrounding tissue. ALso fear of symptoms to come. Side effects were as predicted- hair loss, nausea, loss of appetite, loss of energy, general discomfort. Nausea drugs were very effective in reducing nausea- don't remember the drug. Kids (elemenatry school) did VERY WELL in adjusting to the surgery recovery, hair loss, and treatment. We kept them informed along the way as to what to expect, and talked about the cancer and what's going on openly and often. Occasional jokes about baldness- to quote my daughter: "Don't worry Mom, at least yours will grow back. Dad's won't."

    Easy to Do: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  5. 5
    about 5 years ago
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    External radiation

    Radiation

    Radiation went well. Daily trips were inconvenient, but the center was well equipped to make the process as trouble-free as possible- valet parking, regular schedule, very punctual treatments. Treatment of skin discomfort largely controlled with 'Jeans Cream'. Tiredness from cumulative radiation was frustrating and discouraging. Daily life was impacted for extended period of time because she couldn't do as much at home, even for months after treatment ended.

    Painless Experience: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  6. 6
    about 5 years ago
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    Chemo brain

    Side Effects

    Chemo brain, or "chemo fog" continues to be a nuisance.

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  7. 7
    about 5 years ago
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    Tamoxifen

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Five year regimen of tamoxifen. No problem.

    Easy to Do: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Agree
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  8. 8
    about 5 years ago
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    Anniversary

    Celebration

    Five year recovery complete- NO CANCER! No more tamoxifen. Dealing with prosthetic a nuisance. Cancer in general, and breast caner specifically, still a major topic of conversation.

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  9. 9
    about 5 years ago
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    Cancer is back/Recurred

    Oh No

    MRI indicates problem area in other breast. New breast cancer confirmed in second breast. Plan is to perform second mastectomy, followed by double reconstruction.

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  10. 10
    about 5 years ago
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    Finished treatment

    Celebration

    Happy that all surgeries are finally complete- no cancer detected in system. Happy that no more mamographies are required- no more breasts. Happy to be free from using the prosthetic breast, especially when wearing a bathing suit and swimming. Looking forward to a time when she feels recovered, and we reach the 5-year survivor mark (again). Cancer in general and breast cancer in particular is still a common topic of discussion and a daily topic of focus about others who have breast cancer and breast cancer activities.

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  11. 11
    about 5 years ago
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    Breast Reconstruction (Flap)

    Procedure or Surgery

    Surgeries went very well. Cancer was localized and clear margins were achieved. Doctors came down to review immediately after surgery was complete. Second surgery (reconstruction) was long and recovery from anesthetic was very long (and anxiety inducing). Hospital stay was excellent, albeit short. As always, they are interested in getting patients up and out. Recovery at home has been much more difficult than expected. Wound care and drains were manageable, but tiring- a nuisance. It took days before my wife could get out of a chair without help. The swelling was very slow to go down, and the binder (a.k.a. girdle) was both troublesome and uncomfortable. Mobility was far worse than either C-section she already went through. It took 3(?) weeks before all the drains were removed. She required a 'touch-up' follow on surgery with the plastic surgeon to adjust for size and balance and to improve abdominal coverage- previous surgery left what seemed to be a high-hernia bulge. Abdomen is consideraly weaker now, and she still has difficulty getting up from a prone position.

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