gbrower0's Journey with Breast Cancer

Survivor: Breast Cancer

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: over 5 years ago, Female, Age: 61, Stage IIA, HER2 Positive: No, ER Positive: Yes, PR Positive: Yes

  1. 1
    • gbrower0
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    almost 5 years ago
    gbrower0's Avatar

    Oh No

    Felt lump in right breast at the two o'clock position. Had a clear mammogram in February, 2012, and found the lump May 31st, 2012. OH NO!

    0 Comments
  2. 2
    • gbrower0
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    almost 5 years ago
    gbrower0's Avatar

    Mastectomy vs. Lumpectomy

    Decision Point

    Educated myself very quickly by talking to every survivor I know and reading everything I could find. Interviewed LOTS of Doctors in a 3 week period. Decided on a bi-lateral, nipple sparing mastectomy rather than a lumpectomy or a single mastectomy. Very glad I made this decision.

    0 Comments
  3. 3
    • gbrower0
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    almost 5 years ago
    gbrower0's Avatar

    Double Mastectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    Bi-lateral, nipple sparing mastectomy followed by immediate reconstruction (implants, NOT expanders). All went well. I came out of surgery with 5 drains and they stayed in for 17 days. That part was difficult, but the surgery went very well, and I had no major problems.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Agree
    0 Comments
  4. 4
    • gbrower0
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    almost 5 years ago
    gbrower0's Avatar

    Lost my right nipple

    Loss

    Tumor was in the milk duct very close to the nipple. My "nipple-sparing, bi-lateral mastectomy" turned out to be successful for my left nipple only. I will be having surgery to replace the right nipple within the next month.

    0 Comments
  5. 5
    • gbrower0
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    almost 5 years ago
    gbrower0's Avatar

    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    I had the Oncotype DX test to verify that chemotherapy would be of value. My vascular surgeon felt confident that he "got" the tumor and that there were clean margins, but the tumor was 2.5, aggressive, and the stain testing showed microscopic trace elements of cancer cells that might theoretically have escaped into my system. All of my Doctors felt that four rounds of Taxotere and Cytoxan were my best insurance policy. My Oncotype DX score came in high (61) so there was no arguing the reality that chemo was an important part of my total recovery process. Testing also revealed that the tumor itself was triple negative. My Oncologist has determined that I am a "hybrid" because after repeat testing results still showed that the biopsy tissue samples were estrogen moderate and progesterone low, and the tumor itself was triple negative. Not sure if I actually have the best of both worlds or the scariest diagnosis on the planet, but I'm opting to believe that I am blessed with the opportunity to be treated using an AI, plus having the reduced risk factor associated with triple negative following the 5 year recurrence time period. As for chemo, I was terrified, so I tried to control everything I could control. Other than hair loss, I had no real side effects from chemo. I drank tons of water, exercised for 60-90 minutes daily, ate organic, real food (no processed foods), eliminated stress from my life, and slept at least 8 hours each night. My Oncologist and my Oncology nurses felt I did very well. I dropped 40 pounds total (not from illness, just from healthy eating and exercise), and I committed to following Doctor's orders while paying close attention to what my body needed to stay healthy and heal. I completed "graduation chemo" on October 25th. Both post-chemo blood tests have been excellent. My white and red blood counts have bounced back already, and I will begin taking the AI, Femara at the end of November to block any estrogen based tumors. Crazy side note: I drank so much water during my second round of chemo that I ended up in the hospital for 2 days diagnosed with Water Toxicity. I know . . . Just call me the Queen of Overkill! LOL!

    Easy to Do: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
    0 Comments
  6. 6
    • gbrower0
    • Experience with Breast Cancer
    almost 5 years ago
    gbrower0's Avatar

    Femara

    Other Care

    I will be taking the AI, Femara, for 5-10 years to block any estrogen-based tumors.

    0 Comments