TracyS's Journey with Breast Cancer

Family/Friend: Breast Cancer

Patient Info: Currently in active treatment (initial surgery, receiving chemo rounds/radiation), Diagnosed: almost 5 years ago, Female, Age: 47, Stage 0, HER2 Positive: No, ER Positive: Yes, PR Positive: Don't Know

  1. 1
    • TracyS
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    over 4 years ago
    TracyS's Avatar

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    When I found out that my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer I literally said "OH NO!" My sister was already having untreated depression problems and was juggling so many issues at home, I was afraid that she wasn't going to be able to handle breast cancer on top of everything else. Although I had nothing to do with her getting breast cancer, I felt very guilty because I kept telling her "You'll be fine, it's not going to be cancer." I felt like I let her down even though I couldn't have prevented it from happening.

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  2. 2
    • TracyS
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    over 4 years ago
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    Course of treatment

    Decision Point

    My mom, dad, younger sister, brother-in-law and I all accompanied my older sister to her team meetings with the cancer doctors. It was a very long day, especially for my sister. I'm glad that we were all there with her to hear what each doctor had to say and to help answer questions. My sister's mind was on overload and there were a few key questions that she might not have asked had we not been there. After talking with all of the doctors and hearing their recommendations, we were there to help my sister talk through the options and rationalize which plan was best for her. I strongly recommend to anyone out there to take someone with you to your doctor appointments, even if it's just for support.

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  3. 3
    • TracyS
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    over 4 years ago
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    Lumpectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    My sister's surgeon was absolutely wonderful. She explained everything done to the tiniest detail and answered all of or questions. My sister was in quite a bit of pain as expected and, fortunately, my mom and I live close and were able to help out with everything. We did know that there was a possibility that they may have to do a second surgery, but we were hoping and praying that wasn't going to happen.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  4. 4
    • TracyS
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    over 4 years ago
    TracyS's Avatar

    Lumpectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    Unfortunately, after the excised tissues were studied, we found out that they didn't get enough marginal good tissue around the cancer cells, so they had to go back in and take out more tissue. This was a hard pill to swallow for my sister and it worsened her depression even more. Thankfully, the second surgery did the trick and she didn't have to get any other surgeries.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  5. 5
    • TracyS
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    over 4 years ago
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    External radiation

    Radiation

    My sister's treatment plan included 6 1/2 weeks of radiation. We were advised about all of the potential side effects of radiation, but, again, we were hopeful that the side effects would be minimal. Although she didn't endure the worst side effects, her skin is very burned and painful and she is experiencing major fatigue. With only three treatments left, we're hoping she will be pain free very soon. Chemotherapy was not part of my sister's treatment plan and I know some people think, "oh, she JUST has to do radiation." I assure you that "JUST radiation" is a lot to handle in itself. I am thankful she didn't have to endure chemotherapy, but I'm still so sorry that she had to live through the painful side effects of radiation.

    Painless Experience: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  6. 6
    • TracyS
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    over 4 years ago
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    Finally getting needed treatment for depression and anxiety.

    Celebration

    Of course I'm certainly not happy that my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. However, in battling through some of my own health issues during my life, I've learned to always keep an open mind and open heart in order to see what good could possibly come from such a devastating thing. In doing so, I've realized, as has my sister, that without the breast cancer diagnosis, she would have never gotten the treatment that she desperately needed for her depression and anxiety. I finally have the sister that I grew up with back in my life and it makes me so happy. In addition, the relationship between my sister and my dad has gotten so much better as my dad has been there for her every step of the way. I am a strong believer that good things can come from bad circumstances and as hard as it may be for you, I urge you to look for those good things in every circumstance of your life. When you find yourself asking "Why?", turn that around and ask yourself "What am I supposed to do with this?" You may not figure it out at that moment, but one day something will "click" and you will say to yourself "Ahhh, that's why!"

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