22yrsurvivor's Journey with Breast Cancer

Survivor: Breast Cancer

Patient Info: Finished active treatment more than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: about 26 years ago, Female, Age: 68, Stage II, HER2 Positive: Don't Know, ER Positive: Don't Know, PR Positive: Don't Know

  1. 1
    over 4 years ago
    22yrsurvivor's Avatar

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    I was stunned when the diagnosis of cancer was made. My marriage was going downhill at the time, and although my husband of the time was with me at the dr appt, I suffered the realization totally alone. He couldn't even bring himself to hold me as I cried in the dr's office. The support I would receive would come from my four children and friends.

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  2. 2
    over 4 years ago
    22yrsurvivor's Avatar

    Mastectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    Along with the mastectomy, I had all the underarm lymph nodes on that side removed. I also had reconstruction (flap) about 2 years later. It took that long to get my strength back after having a hysterectomy. I asked the surgeon for a "Dolly Parton" job, but as he used tissue and fat from my tummy, I didn't have enough! I am now building tummy fat just in case I need it for the other breast! Before I had reconstruction, I wore a prosthesis. The funny thing about that was, it would never stay on the side it was supposed to be on. As my children were horrified to see, the prosthesis would continually slide to the middle of my chest! My children began to tease me about being a "one humped camel" and that became my nickname until the day I had reconstruction! My kids were wonderful!

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  3. 3
    over 4 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    My chemotherapy was every month for only 6 months. The impact it had on my life was intrusive. My husband was not supportive (telling me my scars looked like Frankenstein's bride). We are now divorced. I have four children, who were responsible for keeping my spirits up and I feel, really gave me a reason to "keep going". They were there for me and kept me laughing all the way through! Sadly, my oldest daughter who was 16 at the time, bore the brunt of the responsibilities of the house. My husband did not share in keeping the household going, or even being there for the children. Although it was a low point in all of our lives, my kids and I are even closer than I believe we would have been had we not gone through this together.

    Easy to Do: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  4. 4
    over 4 years ago
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    Nausea/Vomiting

    Side Effects

    The first thing I experienced was an overwhelming FEAR about getting chemotherapy. I had more symptoms than just nausea. The nausea lasted about a week after treatment. I also experienced tiredness and anemia. The chemotherapy also created a "taste" in my whole mouth similar to a metallic taste. I continued to volunteer at my children's school and I really think it gave me strength and ability to fight every negative aspect of my treatment. I also lost all my hair, but went out a bought a stylish wig and didn't care who knew! It was fun to put the wig on the head form everynight, and not have to re-style in the morning! Definitely a positive! Funny story - I live in FL so my kids and I went to the beach frequently. One of the things that became a routine for the kids was, because of the sea wind, chasing my sun hat AND MY HAIR down the beach after it flew off my head! Another side effect I had was because of the fact of using my tummy tissue for re-construction. I got a tummy tuck in the process, but the flat muscle that covers the tummy was "folded" so there was no muscle for sit-ups. My children thought it funny to knock me backwards on my bed and giggle watching me struggle to sit back up! Rotten kids! We laughed and laughed!

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  5. 5
    over 4 years ago
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    Finished treatment

    Celebration

    A strange feeling hit me on the day of the last chemotherapy treatment. I suddenly looked around me at all the other people receiving treatment next to me and felt I had nothing in common with these people. I was going to be free! Then, a woman who was new to the chemo routine sat down next to me. She was very scared and it reminded me how scared I had been the first time. The treatment center wouldn't allow family to sit with you and she wanted her sister with her. She ended up getting sick, just from her anxiety. I began talking to her, trying to soothe her nerves. I finally realized that I will ALWAYS have something in common with these people! Some will successfully "beat" this and some of them will lose the battle. I felt very Blessed to have this experience and come out on the positive side. My friends, kids, and family and I celebrated when I completed treatment. I also remember being elated when my hair began to grow back. Ladies, there is a positive to the hair loss. The hair on my legs and underarms never did come completely back and is still very thin in both areas! Yay! The celebration of my remission is an on-going celebration. Each year I am cancer free, I marvel at God's goodness.

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  6. 6
    over 4 years ago
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    Relationship

    Loss

    While my cancer did not cause my divorce, the lack of support from my husband certainly opened my eyes. He treated me like a stranger who was inconveniencing his life and style. He was a high-powered executive and I think my illness was "cramping his style", if you will. My children truly are my heros throughout my entire battle. I have soooo many funny stories about how they helped keep my humor about it!

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  7. 7
    over 4 years ago
    22yrsurvivor's Avatar

    To help others through this experience, if I can.

    Decision Point

    Your website is exactly what I was looking for. I hope I can help someone keep a sense of humor, and still be completely honest and serious about helping them through all the feelings (mental and physical) of cancer.

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