novastorm's Journey with Breast Cancer

Survivor: Breast Cancer

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: about 8 years ago, Female, Age: 66, Stage IIB, HER2 Positive: Yes, ER Positive: Don't Know, PR Positive: Don't Know

  1. 1
    about 5 years ago
    novastorm's Avatar

    Sentinel lymph node biopsy

    Procedure or Surgery

    Sentinel node biopsy went fine--and discovered that cancer had spread to all 5 nodes removed.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Agree
    0 Comments
  2. 2
    about 5 years ago
    novastorm's Avatar

    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Because my tumor was very aggressive and sitting very near the chest wall, my treatment began with chemo to shrink the tumor. Chemo was carboplatin, herceptin, and taxotere. I didn't have terrible reaction to it, but definitely experienced sour stomach for about a week after chemo. That was taken care of by a prescription antacid. I was able to go to work, to the gym, and in general live my life during chemo (every 3 weeks for 6 treatments). I found that the day after chemo, I always felt great--on a steroid high. By the 3rd day after treatment, I was like a dishrag, limp and lifeless. From that day on, though, with every day, I felt better and better. My husband described it as a roller coaster from treatment to treatment. But I never felt that I couldn't handle my active life. Key to chemo: drink lots of water the day of, and the days after chemo.

    Easy to Do: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
    0 Comments
  3. 3
    about 5 years ago
    novastorm's Avatar

    Hair loss (alopecia)

    Side Effects

    Once my rapidly thinning hair was buzzed off, I was OK. I think the anticipation was worse than the reality. I did get a wig to wear, but wore it once only. I decided that my baldness was other people's problem, not mine. So, I had no problem going to work, the gym, or a restaurant with my husband with no head covering.

    0 Comments
  4. 4
    about 5 years ago
    novastorm's Avatar

    Dry eye

    Side Effects

    Probably the most insistent side effect of chemo was dry eye. From very early on, my eyes watered what seemed like continually. I would be in a meeting at work, and tears would be rolling down my cheeks. Bright light, wind, and dry air exacerbated the problem. My eyes developed an infection from always dabbing at them to wipe away the tears. This, for me, was the worst side effect of chemo.

    0 Comments
  5. 5
    about 5 years ago
    novastorm's Avatar

    Lumpectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    Surgery came after chemo. I opted for a lumpectomy. During surgery an additional 10 lymph nodes were taken. The biggest issue for me was the drains. From the beginning, one of the drains got clogged, and I developed a hematoma which needed to be surgically removed. After surgery, it was discovered that completely clean margins had not been obtained. So I went back for a third time to remove a bit more. Clean margins!

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
    0 Comments
  6. 6
    about 5 years ago
    novastorm's Avatar

    External radiation

    Radiation

    Radiation was a piece of cake. My appointment was always on time, and it took no more than 5-10 minutes to complete. It had no impact on my life.

    Painless Experience: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Agree
    0 Comments