joeyfowkes' Journey with Breast Cancer

Survivor: Breast Cancer

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: about 8 years ago, Female, Age: 58, Stage IIA, HER2 Positive: No, ER Positive: Yes, PR Positive: Yes

  1. 1
    almost 5 years ago
    joeyfowkes' Avatar

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    Such a surprise. No family history. I found a mushy area in my right breast, but no actual lump. I had a mamogram 9 months earlier and it had found nothing. When I recommended that we check out the mushy area, they did a mamogram and untrasound and quickly found that right next to the mushy area was a cancer tumor. Total shock.

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  2. 2
    almost 5 years ago
    joeyfowkes' Avatar

    Lumpectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    Developed a pinched nerve in my right arm from the surgery. Also, clean margins were not attained and since they found invasive cancer in my ductal and lobular...and in 3+ of my lymph nodes, I got the dreaded call a week later telling me that more surgery was necessary.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Agree
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  3. 3
    almost 5 years ago
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    Double Mastectomy

    Procedure or Surgery

    Good blood supply into the right side was not attained, so I came out of surgery with a large spot of deadening skin. It required topical application of nitroglycerin throughout the day, for 3 weeks. Then, another surgery. Some lymphodema in my right arm and alot of scar tissue. I was warned of the blood supply risk, but never expected it to happen. I lost skin approx. 3"x3". Large enough to eliminate expanders from being a reconstruction option - ever. :(

    Went as Expected: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Recovery: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  4. 4
    almost 5 years ago
    joeyfowkes' Avatar

    Single mastectomy was recommended.

    Decision Point

    But...with the feeling that things were turning our to be much more advanced than expected, I opted for a bilateral mastectomy.

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  5. 5
    almost 5 years ago
    joeyfowkes' Avatar

    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    chemo was tough. As much emotionally as physically. I had Adromycin and Cytoxin for 8 weeks (every 2 week infusion x4) and then Taxol for 12 weeks (weekly infusions). Only two issues - second A/C infusion I had swelling in my chest and raised veins. They thought the AC might have leaked but after port tests and other tests, they determined all was well. No explanation for whatever happenned. Second issue was second infusion of Taxol - at 7 minute mark, I gasped for air and was having a reaction to the infusion. They slapped me full of steriods and benedryl and just made sure that they upped doses of both for future infusions.

    Easy to Do: Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  6. 6
    almost 5 years ago
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    External radiation

    Radiation

    Very bad burning in last couple of weeks. Long term tightness - ug!

    Painless Experience: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  7. 7
    almost 5 years ago
    joeyfowkes' Avatar

    Bisphosphonase

    Clinical Trial

    Clodronate - bone strengthener. 3 year, oral, trial. Just completed Dec 2012. No side effects from meds.

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  8. 8
    almost 5 years ago
    joeyfowkes' Avatar

    Reconstruction

    Decision Point

    Still not sure what I will do, if anything. Can't do expanders due to skin loss so I am left with flaps from the stomach or back. With bilateral needs, I'm not sure I want to do either one.

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  9. 9
    almost 5 years ago
    joeyfowkes' Avatar

    Finished treatment

    Celebration

    Finally finished clinical trial and treatments. Living life!!!

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  10. 10
    almost 5 years ago
    joeyfowkes' Avatar

    Procedure or Surgery

    Skin repair surgery. Minimal pain from the surgery, but I had to be wear a tight wrap for a week or so. Then, the tightness and scar tissue set in.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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