Lauriez's Journey:

Survivor: Breast Cancer

Patient Info: Living with cancer as a chronic illness (undergoing adjuvant therapy), Diagnosed: about 13 years ago, Female, Age: 62, Stage IIIC, HER2 Positive: No, ER Positive: Don't Know, PR Positive: Don't Know

  1. 1
    • Lauriez
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Lauriez's Avatar

    Misdiagnosed

    Oh No

    My diagnosis came when the hospital called to tell me they were working on old files and needed to know the date of my emergency biopsy. That's when I found out that a year before my regular mammo showed a significant tumor. No one had notified me.

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  2. 2
    • Lauriez
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Lauriez's Avatar

    Mastectomy or bilateral, and type of reconstructio; whether to leave teaching that year in the first week of school.

    Decision Point

    My decisions were complicated by my separation just that month after 30 years of marriage and a child about to go to high school for the first time.

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  3. 3
    • Lauriez
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Lauriez's Avatar

    Mastectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    A week after the mastectomy and reconstruction more cancer was found, so my reconstruction was destroyed, more mastectomy was then done. I was then immediately rushed into chemo and radiation, so cannot have an implant. I live without a breast on one side, as a single woman who is trying to figure out how to date this way.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Recovery: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  4. 4
    • Lauriez
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Lauriez's Avatar

    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    I went through a long regimen without companionship, rides, and follow up at home. Hospitalized many times for dehydration. On six different anti nausea drugs and heavy antidepressants.

    Easy to Do: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  5. 5
    • Lauriez
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Lauriez's Avatar

    External radiation

    Radiation

    It was hard to drive myself daily for four months, 2 hours round trip to the hospital. Radiation wasn't hard, but I was very embarrassed by my scarring and deformed, unreconstructed breast. I also experienced severe fatigue and depression but was also very happy not to be throwing up and to be looking forward to my hair growing back.

    Painless Experience: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  6. 6
    • Lauriez
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Lauriez's Avatar

    Other

    Loss

    I feel, still after 8 years, the loss of my breast which can't be reconstructed, on one side, sensory feeling on the other side from a lumpectomy, and the normal look of my arm now that I have chronic severe lymph edema. I struggle to lose the weight gain from the cancer drug (arimidex) I'm on for 15 years. I also lost my marriage and then, immediately, my kids to empty nest. I live far from family and find it very hard to adjust to my disabled arm, injured shoulder during a cancer surgery.

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  7. 7
    • Lauriez
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Lauriez's Avatar

    Lymphedema

    Side Effects

    Lymph edema requires weekly treatments and bandaging at the hospital, a 3hour process with travel time, then 24 hours of working around a cast on arm and fingers. Worst part is the difficulty of finding clothing that will fit two very different sized arms.

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