crosstrainer's Journey:

Survivor: Breast Cancer > Tubular Carcinoma

Patient Info: Finished active treatment more than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: almost 14 years ago, Female, Age: 60, Stage I, HER2 Positive: No, ER Positive: Yes, PR Positive: Don't Know

  1. 1
    over 4 years ago
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    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    I had had many benigh breast lumps (fibroadenomas and cyst) removed beginning in my mid-20's, so when, after my ultrasound, the doctor told me it was cancerous, I thought "are you sure this is what you intended for me, God?" Believe it or not, my first surgery (in 1985) was done by Dr. Susan Love! in Boston, early in her career and early in my journey with breast lumps! I was told by a different surgeon in the 90's that there was no correlation between fibroadenomas and breast cancer, which I have come to learn is not true. So, I guess I shouldn't have been suprised..I am grateful for the fact that I was under the care of a surgeon for my benign lumps, as it was my surgeon who said, "I just won't feel comfortable with you until we do an MRI", and my cancer was first identified on MRI, confirmed by ultrasound and needle (some needle!) biopsy.

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  2. 2
    over 4 years ago
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    Lumpectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    I had a lumpectomy and sentinal node biopsy (which was thankfully negative). While the surgery went well, it always amazes me how we never prepare for the ups and downs of recovery, yet they can be the most difficult. Two days after surgery, I noticed that I had no feeling in my armpit (where the node had been removed). I immediatedly called the doctor (of course, it was a weekend...), who said that can happen because they move nerves around. He also told me that it could take up to a year to resolve or the feeling might never come back. I never did regain feeling under that arm, but it just is what it is.

    Went as Expected: 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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    Double mastectomy??

    Decision Point

    Following my lumpectomy, I sought a second opinion regarding whether I needed chemotherapy. After my exams with the breast cancer team at another Philadelphia hospital, I was shocked when they recommended a double mastectomy for me because of my dense breasts and "I would be hard to follow." Hearing this (while alone) was quite a shock (particularly given the relatively low risk of my cancer). I reflected on how different things might have been if I had gone to this hospital first, and not sought a second opinion. My personal approach to my healthcare is to be as proactive as possible, yet to be as minimalist as is prudent. This experience strenghtened by belief that all patients should have access to the decisions available to them so they are able to make the most appropriate choice for them as an individual (which for me was the lumpectomy).

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  4. 4
    over 4 years ago
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    External radiation

    Radiation

    Throughout radiation (6 weeks), I was able to continue working out at a gym near the hospital and maintained largely my normal life. I think the biggest burden was driving to and fro every weekday (which did require a shortened work day). I was a somewhat fatigued by the radation, and had some local irritation, but all in all it was not very difficult for me, thankfully.

    Painless Experience: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
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  5. 5
    over 4 years ago
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    Every "looks good" mammo and MRI

    Celebration

    As most breast cancer survivors I know, the concern about reoccurrance really never goes completely away. So, every time I have a clear mammogram and especially a clear MRI, I celebrate. As with my skin check ups, following the recommended follow-up protocol is what gives me peace of mind (mostly) on a daily basis.

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  6. 6
    over 4 years ago
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    Tamoxifen

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    I took tamoxifen for five years following my radiation as my cancer was ERT positive. The most troubling side effects were hot flashes, and potential concern for other side effects (e.g., possible uterine cancer). However, I consider myself incredibly fortunate that I did not need to undergo chemotherapy, and fortunate that I tolerated tamoxifen well and hopefully increased my chances of survival through this course of treatment.

    Easy to Do: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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