swirlyluv's Journey with Breast Cancer

Survivor: Breast Cancer

Patient Info: Finished active treatment more than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: over 15 years ago, Female, Age: 51, Stage IIB, HER2 Positive: Yes, ER Positive: Yes, PR Positive: No

  1. 1
    over 4 years ago
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    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    When I first found out, I spoke not a word Just stared in shock and absorbed what I heard The canvas lay blank for the journey ahead But I couldn't quite grasp that the "C" word was said So much I assumed how my life would proceed How I'd be a good mom and fulfill my kid's needs For them I would fight, and say NO to despair Without a left breast and without any hair They still saw me as Mom and my husband, my lover How blessed is my life - so much I discovered The gifts and compassion from family and friends Was a gift that the "C word" gives and extends The shock wore away, and now I can give to others the hope - a full life you can live!

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  2. 2
    over 4 years ago
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    Mastectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    Since no muscle was removed, this was a relatively easy surgery

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  3. 3
    over 4 years ago
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    Breast Reconstruction (Flap)

    Procedure or Surgery

    This surgery took a long time to recover from. My doctor would not even consider performing it until my body had healed from all the chemo and radiation. Long term benefits are amazing! He turned my tummy into a breast and what a wonderful perk! They even tatooed a nipple! Now I don't get a daily reminder of the part that is "missing." And since I am a runner, I don't have to try to find a mastectomy running bra! It made me feel "normal" again and healed on a deeper level. But it took several procedures and I no longer have a belly button! So I got a swirly tatoo in place of that. When people (especially young people) notice that I don't have one, I like to tease them and say that I was a test tube baby or I was born on the planet Krypton! who ever thought not having a belly button could be so much fun!

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  4. 4
    over 4 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Chemo was tough on many levels. It was really scary watching the nurses put on industrial strenghted rubber gloves to keep the toxic chemicals from touching them. Yet they would soon be INJECTING this poison into MY BODY! I remember being able to taste the chemical when they "pushed" it into my port. Oh yeah the port. How wierd to have a device installed underneath your skin that bulges out! But it was better than blowing out all the veins in my arm! Nausea and loss of appetite intially was bad. I couldn't even stand the smell of food during the first few days of "Big Red" But truly, losing the hair was probably the worst. It was such a statement to the rest of the world that I was sick...that I had to admit this on a regular basis. But I did have some fun with this too. I am a mousy brunette, with very fine hair. So I decided to get a long red wig and it was beautiful! People would come up to me in the store and tell me I had beautiful hair! I would just say thanks and snicker to myself! It was difficult to take the hair and the breast off at night and have to face up to the truth that the day had hidden. But don't we all do this at night? Wash off the makeup and let our spouses since the real vulnerable self that we truly are?

    Easy to Do: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  5. 5
    over 4 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    One of the funny things about chemo is the affect of the pre-medicine injected each time. When the nurses gave me a MEGA DOSE of benadryl, I would be in mid-sentence and fall straight to sleep! I couldn't help it! I was fortunate to have someone sit with me through most of these sessions and they always got a kick out of my sudden narcalepsia! I always warned them to bring a book because I wouldn't be real great company once the Benadryl was given! Another perk of the Benadryl was it's affect on my poison ivy exposure. Every summer I end up getting a terrible case of poison ivy. When I was on chemo, I barely noticed it!!! Take the perks where you can!

    Easy to Do: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  6. 6
    over 4 years ago
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    External radiation

    Radiation

    This was a daily chore, and just annoying at first. But as the weeks progressed, my skin began to peel and applying aquafor really helped the discomfort.

    Painless Experience: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  7. 7
    over 4 years ago
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    Herceptin

    Clinical Trial

    I signed up to try Herceptin, but ended up in the control group that didn't get the drug. My husband was very upset since he wanted me to have every advantage. I was glad not to have to atake another drug for a whole year! But the study was stopped because the affects from the drugs were so positive, they decided to offer it to everyone on the study. So a whole year of once a week Herceptin. It was so easy compared to the other chemotherapy treatments. And I ultimately agreed with my husband that it was a good ideas to take it. Especially after all the other treatment was finished and suddenly I felt very vulnerable to having a recurrence. It felt like I was still doing something to fight it. 10 years later and NO RECURRENCE!!

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  8. 8
    over 4 years ago
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    Anniversary

    Celebration

    10 years CANCER FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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