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    Clinical Trial

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    Drug or Chemo Therapy (Tamoxifen): I took tamoxifen for five years following my radiation as my cancer was ERT positive. The most troubling side effects were hot flashes, and potential concern for other side effects (e.g., possible uterine cancer). However, I consider myself incredibly fortunate that I did not need to undergo chemotherapy, and fortunate that I tolerated tamoxifen well and hopefully increased my chances of survival through this course of treatment.

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    Celebration (Every "looks good" mammo and MRI): As most breast cancer survivors I know, the concern about reoccurrance really never goes completely away. So, every time I have a clear mammogram and especially a clear MRI, I celebrate. As with my skin check ups, following the recommended follow-up protocol is what gives me peace of mind (mostly) on a daily basis.

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    Radiation (External radiation ): Throughout radiation (6 weeks), I was able to continue working out at a gym near the hospital and maintained largely my normal life. I think the biggest burden was driving to and fro every weekday (which did require a shortened work day). I was a somewhat fatigued by the radation, and had some local irritation, but all in all it was not very difficult for me, thankfully.

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    Decision Point (Double mastectomy??): Following my lumpectomy, I sought a second opinion regarding whether I needed chemotherapy. After my exams with the breast cancer team at another Philadelphia hospital, I was shocked when they recommended a double mastectomy for me because of my dense breasts and "I would be hard to follow." Hearing this (while alone) was quite a shock (particularly given the relatively low risk of my cancer). I reflected on how different things might have been if I had gone to this hospital first, and not sought a second opinion. My personal approach to my healthcare is to be as proactive as possible, yet to be as minimalist as is prudent. This experience strenghtened by belief that all patients should have access to the decisions available to them so they are able to make the most appropriate choice for them as an individual (which for me was the lumpectomy).