Laugh's Journey with Invasive (Infiltrating) Ductal Carcin...

Survivor: Breast Cancer > Invasive (Infiltrating) Ductal Carcinoma

Patient Info: Finished active treatment more than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: about 17 years ago, Female, Age: 76, Stage II, HER2 Positive: Yes, ER Positive: Don't Know, PR Positive: Don't Know

  1. 1
    • Laugh
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrating) ...
    over 4 years ago
    Laugh's Avatar

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    I was just getting ready to sign divorce papers ending a 35 yr. marriage when I found out I had cancer. It was impossible, I kept saying. I've been taking care of myself with regular examinations and even the mammogram, one month earlier, was normal. (PS) that Co. is no longer in business). My mother had been diagnosed at age 69 but she never even paid attention to that fact, even while she saw the tumor (as large as an oversized beetle on the surface of her left breast) and refused to go to have it checked out . Boy, I had to drag her to my OBGYN. This part of my story became a footnote, "Oh No! " aren't my words today, since now I recently had my first heart attack, and because I learned that it's my attitude that will help me get though anything with being open to listen to what's needed, incl. taping the Dr's information. and reviewing the potential side effects with your current medications all are both time consuming but very important. In this phase also, I had to look at what surgeon would really pay attention to my needs and respond to my questions directly and thoroughly . As a result, I went to three Surgeons and it was the third and the furthest from where I lived that I chose. Her first exam she did with her eyes shut, before she even looked at the exray. One very important question I had was, since there might have been lympth nodes that were also now cancerous I found out before the surgery from a test where samples were taken and Yes, I had several Lympth nodes that were. This is were I'll stop now. But I must add that due to the lack of research into Lymphedema, which is deemed as not as serious nor do all Oncologists bother knowing much about that, therefore, women are left in the dark.

    0 Comments
  2. 2
    • Laugh
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrating) ...
    over 4 years ago
    Laugh's Avatar

    External radiation

    Radiation

    Yes, in the beginning of the Radiation I had enough energy to drive about 3 times a week and my daughter took me for the rest. My Radiation Oncologist was excellent and stayed during each treatment which was to be for about 2 months. (Mind you, I'd already had a full year of Chemo, and the surgery went well. but it was the last day of Radiation and the only day my Radiologist wasn't there. And behold I found out the right side near my neck leading toward my collar bone was completely red and burning. Little did I know that several months later, right around 9/11/01 that my metabolism had so slowed down and my thyroid was now almost burned out but since my meds weren't able to be shipped by air, due to the attacks to the US, as a result, by Christmas I already had developed Lymphedema. (incl. fever and swelling). This is a critical area to discuss. There is really little research about this problem yet I've learned it can be life threatening as well. When I had the tumor removed the Surgeon also removed all 15 lympth nodes due to 5 having had cancer also.. In retrospect, I've looked at all the weeks and months leading to that day, when I woke up both feverish and with my arm swollen. It was sometime in mid July-August when I took a series of classes for Breast Cancer Survivors and over all it was helpful and I remember the main speaker had mentioned Lymphedema and not to lift heavy items however little did I know, nor anyone else that pulling on elastic bands to strengthen upper arms could also be a problem for someone such as myself since I had most of my thyroid burned out, although unknown then. Since those days, I've gone though many treatments for Lymphedema and the massage and the elastic glove sets in various sizes and I can say that the infections and fevers did occur. Now, this isn't a complete solution to Lymphedema but for me it has brought the freedom of not having to wear the elastic arm and glove sets, (Only In High Altitudes ) is it very necessary. I found one Dr. in all of L.A. County that does a surgical procedure, which isn't perfected yet, but for me, it seems to have stablized it growing more, due to the fact that it creates flow from the veins closest to lymphatic ducts which is done during micro-surgery. (It's called Venus Anastamosis Surgery). As I've said, it isn't a complete solution but for me I believe, we as women have choices, it's our bodies, I'd looked into so many other possibilities and they were either so expensive or to large to put in an apartment. I've had this surgery since May 2005, And I still will get swelling and redness, due to easily getting infections and no lymph nodes to protect me, but it was the same with the elastic gloves/sleeves and the lymph massages of our other areas of our body. One of the challenges of this surgery is that the surgeon cannot tell how near the lymphatic vein is to the lymphatic duct. I've often wondered if there was a way to exray or inject dye to see if there's a possibility to have enough connections to do the surgery. But, lending my voice to others who may have discovered other techniques would be so interesting to hear. As the saying goes, Seek And You Shall Find!

    Painless Experience: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
    0 Comments
  3. 3
    • Laugh
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrating) ...
    over 4 years ago
    Laugh's Avatar

    I'm Still Celebrating after 12 years.

    Celebration

    The biggest lesson I've learned in life is to ask for help! Cancer was my first teacher twelve years ago, so very many side effects, one minute fine, next minute sick to my stomach or having fever or when my simplest meds, Compazine twisted my lips, and legs to one side and the Dr. in ER gave only a small dose of benedryl so the next day, the same happened again. This time I used what I had and it worked. Leftovers used to be my favorite but not during cancer /chemo. I had so many tooth problems too. I was at times unable to drive and had at times 2 Dr. appts. in one day. Each one end from the other. HeeeelllllP! Another challenge was asking a visitor to take out the garbage down the steps or pick up a meal before their arrival. What I'm celebrating about is How Attitude Can Heal! Yes, experience does help if I'm able to look at it as open as possible. Not to ignore my feelings but to nurture them with love and understanding. Since Cancer in 2000, now I've also been diagnosed with Macular Degeneration and I'm legally blind in my right eye. Now, I also do not drive anymore and this year in June I had a heart attack. Is life easy? Who says it is?? I choose to do what I love doing and that brings not only joy for me but to others as well. It's a tradition I inherited from my grandmother who raised me. She used to bring laughter to even the most complaining relatives. She would ask each one to make a silent wish and turn their cup with the thick remaining grounds on the bottom onto the saucer. This is an Armenian tradition that I continue to do today. As a matter of fact when I was first diagnosed with Breast Cancer an interview I had done in Pasadena Ca. was published at the same time I had received my first chemo and after reading several cups at home the next time I went for the next dose I told my oncologist that I believe the tumor has shrunk and she was shocked. It had shrunk from a walnut size to a pea. I believe joy and laughter shared is the best way to heal!

    0 Comments