PTauntie's Journey:

Patient: Breast Cancer

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: almost 7 years ago, Female, Age: 59, Stage II, HER2 Positive: No, ER Positive: Yes, PR Positive: Yes

  1. 1
    • PTauntie
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
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    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    Well this was a shock to say the least. I always had my mammogram on time every year. Four years prior they did a second set of more magnified exrays on my left breast, and said that this was my new baseline. Every year I would get a little nervous, but not really. This time was no different, until they had me go do a second set again on my left breast again! I tried not to panic. Then came the call, "the dr. would like you to come in today if you can". He said, "they found something, it could be benign, but we need to do a biopsy to know for sure.I could see the "mass" on the screen. I was really nervous now. My follow up was a week later and somehow I knew it was coming. He tried to be gentle telling me "they found a little bit of cancer", but all I heard was "cancer". After that, I fell hard and fast into a depression and I felt like I have never felt before. It was out of my control, I had cancer and I was "doomed". I returned to the doctor about three weeks later after I had such anxiety and could not sleep, could not be left alone, had no appetite, and I was so grim and blue. I got onto an antidepressant and I felt so much better within a weeks time. Once I felt better, I could make decisions and plan for my treatment/s.

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  2. 2
    • PTauntie
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
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    Lumpectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    My surgery went very well and my recover went well also. Unfortunately the tumor was a little larger than first thought; It went from a stage I to a stage II and there was another one in close proximity and it was a stage I. My breast was large enough so they were able to get both with one section removed and more than enough healthy margin. They removed one ancilliary node under my armpit and it had a 1 millimeter spot of cancer in it, which fell below the range for additional removal of more nodes.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  3. 3
    • PTauntie
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    I had a choice to go for a lesser treatment of chemo, but I chose the most aggressive plan of treatment because although my prognosis was and is very good, I had only one chance to hit anything that might still be out there however microscopic, with everything I could. so I had four months of chemotherapy and believe it or not, it was not as bad as I feared. My fears were so great, I was so scared. But I got there and it was a very comfortable environment, eveyone was so pleasant and compassionate, and I tolerated the treatments very well. I was only feeling sickly for about two days following my treatments each week. I did get tired easily and did a lot of sleeping, but that is normal. I kept a positive attitude and I think that made a lot of difference. I had a good support system, my partner Mark was very supportive and took over for me wherever possible, cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc. All in all I did very well.

    Easy to Do: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  4. 4
    • PTauntie
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
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    External radiation

    Radiation

    Radiation was a breeze. It was painless, I did not experience much burning of skin (like a sunburn), I did experience itching and used the wonderful creams they gave me. I sailed right through it. I did experience some fatigue, which is normal, but all in all it was no biggie. The people who gave me my treatments were awesome, friendly, compassionate, and it was a pleasure to see them every day.

    Painless Experience: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Agree
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  5. 5
    • PTauntie
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
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    Flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, sweats)

    Side Effects

    I did experience a low grade fever for several days after each chemo treatment, but it would come back down and I was normal for a couople of days then back in for another treatment.

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  6. 6
    • PTauntie
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
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    Constipation

    Side Effects

    I did experience this while on Chemo so I took Senokot and it helped.

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  7. 7
    • PTauntie
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
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    Chemo brain

    Side Effects

    I found out what they were talking about when the said "chemo brain". I did get forgetful and I did use funny words for things. I had to crack up all the time and laugh at myself because it was pretty funny. It did not last for long afterward about 6 months or so.

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  8. 8
    • PTauntie
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
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    Hair loss (alopecia)

    Side Effects

    Yep, lost all my hair, everywhere! It was great not to have to shave my underarms or my legs! I did not have to worry about those pesky "goat hairs" on my chin and neck, and I was as clean as a newborn baby without the waxing you know where! LOL What was wierd was losing my eyelashes and my nose hairs and my eyebrows. That was odd! but witha little creative makeup, I looked passable, and I got three wigs to use interchangeably when I went out into public. At home, I was "au-natural" and I must say I was a pretty good looking bald woman! LOL As soon as it came back in I stopped wearing the wigs. It came back in super grey, and curly, and really soft. People said I looked like an over 40 model which was a very nice thing to hear!

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  9. 9
    • PTauntie
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
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    Nausea/Vomiting

    Side Effects

    I did feel nauseous and like I was going to barf for a couple of days following my treatments. At first I felt great for the entire week inbetween the treatments. but then my side affects started and got gradually more intense as I went through all the cycles of treatment. For the first couple of days after I felt ok, but then day three and four were rough. Then I would start to feel fair again just in time to go back for another treatment. But all in all I tolerated it very well.

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  10. 10
    • PTauntie
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
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    Other

    Side Effects

    Oddly enough I lost both my big toe nails after chemo. It took a long time for them to grow back in and they came back in funny shaped. It is taking them a long time to grow out to normal shape and I trim and trim them. Hard not to be able to wear sandals for two summers in a row, but as with everything else, it is all temporary! that is the thing to remember.

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  11. 11
    • PTauntie
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
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    Anniversary

    Celebration

    I celebrated the one year anniversary of my becoming cancer free and it was a great day!

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  12. 12
    • PTauntie
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
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    American Cancer Society Relay for Life April 2012

    Celebration

    I participated in the 2012 ACS Relay for Life in my hometown and it was a very emotional experience for me. Mark and I went and walked the survivors lap and I was all choked up and teary eyed as I walked that lap thankful to be alive and able to participate and give back. That was a my 17 months anniversary. I am at 22 months now and will have my 2 year mammogram in November 2012. I feel good, I feel normal, I feel alive and I feel so grateful to have survivied.

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