Claudia's Journey with Breast Cancer

Patient: Breast Cancer

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: over 10 years ago, Female, Age: 61, Stage IIA, HER2 Positive: No, ER Positive: Yes, PR Positive: Yes

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

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    I had mammograms every year since I was 50. I had just seen my Ob-Gyn the month before. Cancer never showed up with either. Noticed dimpling and I saw Ob-Gyn, who referred me to a breast surgeon. Diagnosed with Stage IIA-B. Said it could have been there 5-10 years. My husband was not involved in any of my diagnoses, etc. When I had the ultrasound, and they kept "beeping" on more masses, then called in the manager to confirm, all I could ask was, "Am I going to die?" and all the tech would say was, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." I've never felt more alone in my life.

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  2. 2
    • Claudia
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Nobody ever called me to let me know to get a port. Finally, after waiting, I called my breast surgeon, who replied, "Oh, you didn't know that?" Had dose dense chemo in my hometown. My sister and son went with me--not my husband.

    Easy to Do: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  3. 3
    • Claudia
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Claudia's Avatar

    Misdiagnosed

    Oh No

    Doctor took MRI early to see results of chemo. First, she indicated it didn't work, then she realized the MRI was taken too early.

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  4. 4
    • Claudia
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
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    Changed doctors

    Decision Point

    After that, I had no more confidence in my doctor and asked to be referred to MD Anderson

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

    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Finished chemo at MD Anderson.

    Easy to Do: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  6. 6
    • Claudia
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Claudia's Avatar

    Depression medicine

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    With little to no help at home, I became very scared and worried. I could not talk about my cancer with my husband. He withdrew. I needed HELP! Received help with depression and saw psychiatrist there to deal with the cancer.

    Easy to Do: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  7. 7
    • Claudia
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
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    Double Mastectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    Chose to remove other breast as well for surgery. I was SHOCKED to find out not only was I flat but CONCAVE. Severe body image issues. Felt like a freak.

    Went as Expected: Disagree
    Minimal Recovery: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  8. 8
    • Claudia
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Claudia's Avatar

    Chemo brain

    Side Effects

    Suffered not only from chemo brain (which is better but not much) but from severe body image difficulties.

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  9. 9
    • Claudia
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Claudia's Avatar

    Decided first to wait before reconstruction. Also decided to educate as many people as I could so they wouldn't have this experience.

    Decision Point

    When I came back to work, I held presentations regarding breast cancer to educate others on what I didn't know, what was NOT normal, and what to look for. My biggest concern was to let people know that ONLY YOU are your BEST ADVOCATE. Don't count on others to "lead you through."

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  10. 10
    • Claudia
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Claudia's Avatar

    Psychosocial and finally reconstruction

    Other Care

    Decided on reconstruction two years after mastectomy. Was hurt that my husband went with me to MD Anderson (never went before) to tell surgeon what he wanted my "new" breasts to look like. Couldn't believe how disappointed he was.

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  11. 11
    • Claudia
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    Claudia's Avatar

    5 years cancer free

    Celebration

    I am treating myself to a cruise with an exercise group in February to celebrate!

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