Difficult525's Journey with Breast Cancer

Patient: Breast Cancer

Patient Info: Currently in active treatment (initial surgery, receiving chemo rounds/radiation), Diagnosed: about 5 years ago, Female, Age: 62

  1. 1
    over 4 years ago
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    Mastectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    Surgery went very well, and I was off of pain medication of any kind within a week. The worst part was really the drains. I had one of them for three weeks, but I can truly say I felt better and had more energy after the surgery then I had in a couple of years. Evidently the cancer was there long before we found it.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  2. 2
    over 4 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    I became extremely ill after my third treatment after experiencing very few initial side effects. I developed hemolytic anemia and came close to dying. I spent seven days in the Medical ICU having a procedure called plasma pharesis for five of them. Today I am doing much better, but I am still dealing with some side effects from chemo including stomache problems and nail and skin issues. I am grateful to be alive, but really question whether I would undergo chemo again, if my cancer came back.

    Easy to Do: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  3. 3
    over 4 years ago
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    External radiation

    Radiation

    So, just let me say I have sensitive skin. The actual treatments went well, but driving an hour and a half to get them daily for six weeks was wearing. Unfortunately at about week six, I began to have pain and now that I am done with the treatments, I am in severe enough pain that moving is not something that I want to do. I know that I am now in the phase where the radiation is no longer working and I am healing. Thank Goodness!!! I can't wait to get my life back. This has been a long six months. I am looking forward to December when I should feel well again.

    Painless Experience: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  4. 4
    over 4 years ago
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    As an adjunct to my other therapies, I received an infusion that a final trial for FDA approval

    Clinical Trial

    I received the placebo for a new HER2 treatment that was added to my chemo therapy. I was also getting chemo and Herceptin. Unfortunately due to developing a severe anemia and almost dying, I was pulled out of the clinical trial. The good news was that I was receiving the placebo, so it was definitely not related to the new drug. The bad news is they are still not sure what caused this issue for me. It could have been the breast cancer itself, the chemo therapy drugs or something else. We now know for sure it is not the Herceptin, because I have had an infusion of it with no problems. The cool thing about being in the clinical trial is I had my own nurse I could call directly whenever I needed her. This helped me feel less lost in the shuffle.:)

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  5. 5
    over 4 years ago
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    Anemia (low red blood cell counts)

    Side Effects

    This was by far my worse side effect, but I have had so many more. Chemo brain has been the other one that has been very hard to deal with. I have had memory loss and confusion. Of course since I have been known for having an excellent memory and for being a sharp thinker, I still thought I was good at these things. Not cool, because my poor husband would be trying to explain to me that I was slightly off my rocker and I of course did not believe him. Took me awhile, but hopefully I have developed some humility. I have had to ask for help when I just could not figure things out that I normally take care of. So, my message is don't be afraid to admit you just don't know how to do something right now. My brain seems to be slowly coming back. My family is hearing the phrase, "I don't have access to that file," less and less. Other side effects that have been annoying. The skin on my hands and feet became sore and red and peeling. At one point I could only wear one pair of flip flops, and not even them for about a week after every chemo. And of course there was hair loss. I chose to go bald and only wear a scarf or hat if I was going to be in the sun. My hair is finally about a quarter inch long, two and half months after my last chemo treatment. Just in time for winter, my head was beginning to get cold. Hooray for hair! Interesting it is coming in black as well as white. I've never had black hair before.

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  6. 6
    over 4 years ago
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    Physical therapy for lymphedema

    Other Care

    One of the side effects I didn't mention before is Lymphedema in my left arm and chest area. I was aware that this could happen, but had no clue it was a lifelong condition. I have really struggled, because my skin has reacted to main treatment for lymphedema, which is the bandaging. My physical therapist is concerned that I will also react to the compression sleeves. I am hoping that I can withstand a sleeve once we get the swelling down enough. She is recommending a compression pump, and I am working on giving myself the massages to move fluid also. This has really been one of the hardest things for me to deal with. When I received this diagnosis, I finally got angry. It feels like just one too many things.

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