RitaE's Journey with Breast Cancer

Survivor: Breast Cancer

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: over 7 years ago, Female, Age: 62, Stage I, HER2 Positive: No, ER Positive: Yes, PR Positive: No

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

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    In March 2010 I went for my yearly mammogram. The technician took more shots then normal,but I didn't think a thing about it. Then I received a call that said it was inconclusive and I would need an ultra sound. While they were doing the ultrasound I could see the mass in my breast. I asked the Dr. whats the worse scenario, and he said you have breast cancer. I knew then without a written report that I had breast cancer. I went home and cried. No one in my family has ever had cancer, how could this be! I then went on the internet to find out everything I could about breast cancer and it scared me to no end knowing what could be my prognosis! I already had my mind made up on what I would do and what I would not do, which was a mistake! I reacted emotionally and didn't logically think it through. I feel that is a normal response!

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  2. 2
    • RitaE
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    RitaE's Avatar

    Lumpectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    My surgery was painless and even when I awoke in the recovery room, my first question to the nurse was do I have a drain? The Dr. had prepared me that if it had spread to my lymph nodes they would remove them and I would have a drain. This was one of my biggest fears. So after hearing that I was thrilled and ready to go home!

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Agree
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  3. 3
    • RitaE
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    RitaE's Avatar

    Targeted therapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    During radiation, the hardest thing for me was to leave work every day at the same time and get to the radiologist for 5 minutes of radiation. Having dark skin, I was fortunate I didn't burn. The biggest side effect was fatigue. It took me 6 months to get my energy back. The actual procedure is painless and the people that do radiation are angels on earth!

    Easy to Do: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  4. 4
    • RitaE
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    RitaE's Avatar

    Axillary Lymph Node Dissection

    Procedure or Surgery

    5 days after surgery I received a call from my surgeon who told me that when they sent my lymph nodes to the lab the cancer had metastisized. My interpetation of that is that it spread throughout my entire blood system, so I went into panic mode. I went on line again and did as much research as I could and had a list of 20 questions for the surgeon. He calmly answered all my questions and scheduled the next surgery. The removed all the lymph nodes and installed a drain, which I was dreading. But having it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. Just inconvenient. The drain remained in for 4 weeks and then I was allowed to go back to work. I refused chemo therapy, so they ran a genetic test on the tumor called Oncotype DX. This showed my reoccurrance to breast cancer was very unlikely. So then I proceeded to have 5 weeks of radiation.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  5. 5
    • RitaE
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    RitaE's Avatar

    External radiation

    Radiation

    The only real side effect I had was the fatigue. I went to radiation at 4:30 every day for 5 weeks, and by the time I got home at night, I had to lay down. The procedure is painless. It is more of an inconvenience then anything.

    Painless Experience: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Agree
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  6. 6
    • RitaE
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    RitaE's Avatar

    Other

    Clinical Trial

    I did agree with the first surgery to become part of a clinical trial for breast cancer. During the lumpectomy they removed bone marrow from both hips which was painless because it was done while I was under anesthesia. I have a 29 year old daughter, and I hope by being part of this clinical study, there will be a cure or known reason why so many women get breast cancer.

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  7. 7
    • RitaE
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    RitaE's Avatar

    Hot flashes

    Side Effects

    I was put on tamoxifen after the surgeries, and it put me into menopause. I had hot flashes every 15-20 minutes all day and all night. I had a hard time multi tasking, and remembering things. It also has caused ostopenia in my hips. With every medication you take after breast cancer it will have some kind of side effect. I have tried Arimidex and that caused bone and joint pain, and now I am trying a new medication called Aromax?(not sure on the spelling)

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  8. 8
    • RitaE
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    about 5 years ago
    RitaE's Avatar

    Finished treatment

    Celebration

    I am done with treatments, but do see my surgeon and oncologist every six months. I still get nervous every time I have a mammogram, but I think that is normal. I have had 4 friends diagnosed since I have gone through treatment. Every diagnosis is different, so it is hard to say what people will go through. I have tried to watch my diet and exercise to get my body healthy. I am using yoga as therapy for my mind. Every year I walked in "Making Strides for Breast Cancer" because a dear friend of mine lost her mother 10 years ago. She now is undergoing treatment for triple negative breast cancer. So I continue to walk and raise money for the cure.

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

    Can't dwell on what has happened

    Decision Point

    I used to worry , what if?? Now I try to enjoy each day as it comes along. No one is guaranteed any time in this life. Try to make the best of what you do, love your family and be kind to others. I try to make a positive difference in people's lives!

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