moonmaiden's Journey:

Patient: Breast Cancer > Invasive (Infiltrating) Ductal Carcinoma

Patient Info: Currently in active treatment (initial surgery, receiving chemo rounds/radiation), Diagnosed: almost 5 years ago, Female, Age: 57, Stage I, HER2 Positive: Yes, ER Positive: Yes, PR Positive: Yes

  1. 1
    • moonmaiden
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    over 4 years ago
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    Oh No

    Husband left me a year and a half ago. I am in the middle of suing him for desertion. My hormones went wonky, and things just didn't feel right. I figured I should take advantage of having health insurance while I still had some, as I have to worry that I will lose it in the divorce. I went for a well woman physical, and the tests came out weird. Dr ordered further tests, including an mri to see if I had a brain tumor. As I went through the testing, words like cancer and tumor kept popping up. Went through one by one, pap came out weird, but not cancerous. Whew! Uterine lining was weird, but also turned out to be non cancerous. Whew! Cysts on both ovaries, but they weren't worried about it. I was producing milk in the middle of being perimenopausal, and not pregnant. They did an MRI to see if my pituitary gland had a tumor. Test after test that was scaring me to death, but came out ok time after time, my brain was described as "picture perfect". Then came the mammogram. First I had ever had. That was when the real fun started. A whole bunch of "Oh no's" since June. I was first typed as stage one, and had the surgery to remove the tumor, they didn't seem too concerned due to the size of the tumor, and didn't think it would need more than a lumpectomy and radiation. They removed three nodes and found them clean. Then they analyzed the tumor, and found it to be HER2 +. I was doing the best I could to try to cope with that I have breast cancer, at least things didn't sound so bad at the outset, and I was feeling more or less positive of the outcome prior to that. Now all of a sudden I have to have chemo, and weekly treatments with herceptin for the next year, and hormone blockers for the next 5 years after, and things are no longer looking as positive as they had before the HER 2 diagnosis. I was already in deep emotional trouble as it was due to my husband and all the horrible things he did, it hasn't improved my outlook at all. I'm on 2 antianxiety drugs, an antidepressant, and high blood pressure meds just from the stress, and that was before the cancer diagnosis. The only part of my normal life that I had left was my work, and that is being taken away by the cancer, between the surgeries and the chemo side effects, my work is physical, and I have limitations imposed on my activity level, assuming that I even feel good enough to do so in the first place. I missed work due to the breast surgery, and now have to curtail my activity levels a great deal since I had a port installed, I'm not even supposed to be doing housework for 4 weeks, let alone do any of the stuff associated with my regular work for a good 6 weeks. I can't make plans for anything because if I do a doctor's appointment or yet another test, or yet another surgery or whatever comes up, or my activity is restricted. With my husband leaving me I never needed the cash more than I do right now, but I can't work for it, let alone fully enjoy my job because it's what I love to do. My entire life is gone. I'm in a whole world of oh no.

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  2. 2
    • moonmaiden
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    over 4 years ago
    moonmaiden's Avatar

    Lumpectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    Had a lumpectomy and sentinal node biopsy. I don't know how to gauge my experiences with respect to expectations, recovery, or side effects, I have never been seriously ill before in my life. As for the impact to my daily life, the scarring is minimal, I guess, I have been relatively lucky in the way of how much has been removed, but having to spend 3 weeks unable to work and with little other means coming in, and not being able to enjoy my life or even do housework, I feel pretty impacted. Now I've had a port installed recently and have to be careful how much I lift, and how much I stretch or it will break inside my vein, it has impacted my life a great deal, and I am stuck with this appliance in me for the next year or more. It makes me wonder if I should have thought more about just putting up with the needle in the vein. It has been a problem as everything has to go into the arm which is also the arm I write with, but in thinking about the long term impact of having to baby an appliance now and what effect that has on my ability to work in the long run, now I am wondering if I made the best choice for that. On the other hand they tell me the appliance is a better choice for the over all health of my veins during chemo. I'm screwed if I do and screwed if I don't.

    Went as Expected: Not Specified
    Minimal Recovery: Not Specified
    Minimal Side Effects: Not Specified
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Not Specified
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  3. 3
    • moonmaiden
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    over 4 years ago
    moonmaiden's Avatar

    Just about everything on the list.

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    I felt much better before chemo. Really pretty well for someone who is being told on a regular basis that she is seriously ill. Now my entire mouth and throat feels like it has been burned by too hot pizza cheese. Everything tastes terrible, I make my food choices by what tastes less terrible. Some days it is all I can do to gag down anything. I'm not getting good nutrition at all these days, and more often than not replace a meal with a boost or ensure shake. I haven't had nausea, but have had a great deal of intestinal upset, constipation, feeling like my intestines are burning or inflamed. The effects of the steroids affect my mind and mood as well as my body profoundly, it is awful when they wear off. My brain is affected by the drugs, I'm foggy and have intense mood swings. I don't feel like doing much of anything. The drugs to stimulate my white cells make my bones and joints ache as though I have the flu all the time. I have just had my second round of chemo, after the first one it took a good week and half before I started to feel human again, and now I am back to feeling just awful. Claritin helps with the joint aches a little, but I am still taking acetaminophin for some relief. I'm having headaches on a regular basis, where I wasn't before starting chemo. My hair started falling out Friday a week ago, and I spent most of the following week spending a couple of hours getting ready in the morning and more or less gluing what hadn't fallen out together with hairspray. After a week of hair falling out everywhere it finally got to a point where it was too thin for me to make it look any good, and I asked my girlfriend to come and help me shave what was left of it off so it would at least be a little easier to put the wig on. People are being kind and telling me that the wig looks good, but I hate it, I don't look like myself, and it is itchy and awkward feeling, I keep tugging on it all day. There is nothing at all easy about chemo.

    Easy to Do: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  4. 4
    • moonmaiden
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    over 4 years ago
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    numerous effects on the list.

    Side Effects

    I have a whole bunch of the side effects on the list. The most frightening is the shortness of breath, in particular when I woke one day last week, and literally couldn't catch my breath at all.

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  5. 5
    • moonmaiden
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    over 4 years ago
    moonmaiden's Avatar

    Just about everything on the list.

    Loss

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

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  6. 6
    • moonmaiden
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    over 4 years ago
    moonmaiden's Avatar

    CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine)

    Other Care

    Being a new age type of person, I know some new age type of healers, and work with a couple of them. It at least helps to improve my spirits some, if nothing else. Also need to contact some of my friends to seek some "herbal chemo relief", as it does help some when I can get it, and does help with appetite issues and pain relief.

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  7. 7
    • moonmaiden
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    about 4 years ago
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    External radiation

    Radiation

    They put me into radiation right after getting out of chemo, I was just starting to feel better from the chemo, now I'm tired again, and have missed a lot of work between all this and the surgery. Mostly fatigue and depression getting to me. The area being radiated is itchy and a bit swollen. It could be worse, I met one lady there who is in chemo and radiation at the same time, I can't imagine how awful that is.

    Painless Experience: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  8. 8
    • moonmaiden
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    about 4 years ago
    moonmaiden's Avatar

    CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine)

    Other Care

    I was fortunate that there are a couple of Reiki practitioners volunteering where I get my radiation, had a treatment on Tues, will have another one this morning.

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  9. 9
    • moonmaiden
    • Experience with Invasive (Infiltrat...
    about 4 years ago
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    Return to work.

    Celebration

    I plan to return to work this weekend, hope that I can handle it. I think being back will help with my recovery if I can keep my energy up.

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