BellaLuna's Journey with Breast Cancer

Survivor: Breast Cancer

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: almost 8 years ago, Female, Age: 52, Stage I, HER2 Positive: Yes, ER Positive: Yes, PR Positive: Yes

  1. 1
    almost 6 years ago
    BellaLuna's Avatar

    Lumpectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    I had a lumpectomy in July 2009. Margins weren't clear so I had to undergo surgery again. Second time was a charm and I moved forward with the next phase of my recovery. During my recovery from surgery, I ended up with a staph infection on my incision. This setback delayed my chemo start up date. I had an allergic reaction to the drug I was prescribed( Keflex). Once the infectious diseases doctor switched to Avelox(?), the infection left my body, and I was then able to start with chemo.

    Went as Expected: Disagree
    Minimal Recovery: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  2. 2
    almost 6 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    I dreaded chemo, but knew this was something I had to do to regain my health. My chemo treatment was Herceptin, Taxotere, and Carboplatin. I had six infusions and Herceptin for one year. I opted for a port as I didn't want to risk damaging my veins. Side effects ranged from constipation, heartburn, joint pain, loss of appetite, taste buds were jacked up. I didn't need Neulesta shots, but did take steroids before each infusion. Hair fell out, lashes and brows were sparse. I wore a wig and went to the "Look Good, Feel Better" program and picked up some free make up. That was over a year ago. It all seems like a dream now. I thank God I am done with treatment and have moved on.

    Easy to Do: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  3. 3
    almost 6 years ago
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    External radiation

    Radiation

    I underwent six weeks of rads on my right breast. The procedure was quick. It took longer just driving to the hospital than the treatment itself. I applied the ointment the staff gave me at least 3 times a day as I didn't want to peel. I also used an aloe vera natural gel from Trader Joe's. I was concerned about burning and so made sure to apply lotions liberally. I wore a cotton sports bra that was loose fitting and switched to a crystal salt roll on. I did peel underneath my breast. My coopertone tan lightened up over time. The scar tissue left from the lumpectomy hardened further with rads. My Oncologist told me this would happen. I worried about how that was going to effect my breast exams, but came to terms with the situation as I knew rads was part of my recovery plan.

    Painless Experience: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  4. 4
    almost 6 years ago
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    Clinical Trial

    Was not in a clinical trial.

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  5. 5
    almost 6 years ago
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    Side Effects

    Side effects ranged from constipation, heartburn, insomnia, loss of appetite, taste buds were toyed with after each chemo infusion, fatigue, skin dryness, chemo brain, joint pain. Also had a case of urine infection. Was promptly treated with antibiotics by PCP. Experienced muscle contractions on right shoulder blade( surgery was on right breast). I went for deep tissue massage to work out the knot- felt like shingles. Pain eventually went away with time.

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  6. 6
    almost 6 years ago
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    Celebration

    Each phase of my recovery was celebrated with the knowledge that I was slowly making my way to the finish line! At the end of my chemo/Herceptin infusions, I brought the infusion nurses a thank you card, bagels, cream cheese, and fruit to enjoy. When I was done with radiation, I brought a thank you card for the the doctors, nurses, staff and an apple pancake that was delicious! I know celebrate living with my husband and daughter. They were there for the crazy ride and hung in there with me. I leaned on God to help me through this crisis as well. I was also fortunate enough to have an excellent team of doctors working with me. Overall, God was watching my every step towards recovery.

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  7. 7
    almost 6 years ago
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    Loss

    I lost my hair, brows and lashes were sparse. Appetite came and went. I lost weight as well. Most important of all, I lost a very dear friend who I met at the infusion clinic. She lost her battle to breast cancer and was such an inspiration and a beloved friend of mine. I miss her dearly. Her name was Zena.

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  8. 8
    almost 6 years ago
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    Decision Point

    As soon as I heard the words- "You have cancer", I felt like I had been dropped in a river and was being swept away by a current. So much information was coming at me and I was forced to make decisions about surgeons, surgery, doctors, course of treatment. My mind was a whirl and I felt like I was on a maddening roller coaster that won't let up. Things eventually slowed down and I was able to climb out of the hole. By the time I finished with treatment, I felt like I swam the Pacific Ocean, climbed Mt. Everest, and ran the LA Marathon! Thank God I made it to the finish line. I know the race doesn't end with treatment. The course has changed, but the Goal remains the same. I focus on my Temple( Mind, Body, Soul) and remain STRONG!

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  9. 9
    almost 6 years ago
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    Other Care

    I am on Tamoxifen, baby aspirin, and vitamin D. I am also taking a blood thinner to help with a kidney issue that was not the result of chemo.

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  10. 10
    almost 6 years ago
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    Oh No

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

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