I was diagnosed with breast cancer the beginning of February 2012. A year before I went to my doctor with complaint of a cyst type lumpy mass on the right breast They did a mammogram and a few sonograms and said nothing was there My doctor felt it and insisted it was a cystic breast and probably a few cysts together She re-checked the next month and told me nothing was there.
Then this year came and I went for my exam and said that I thought that the same cyst had moved closer to the surface of the breast and possibly was bigger. She felt it and looked at it on her small in-office sonogram machine and said it was still nothing but decided to stick a needle in it and do a needle biopsy. Two days later she called and said there were abnormal cells and got me in for 3 core biopsies. She was extremely surprised to find my cancer.
After that I had multiple mammograms and sonograms but my 3 centimeter tumor was NEVER picked up on either They finally saw it on an MRI with contrast where it lit up like a light along with another much smaller one in the left breast. They said my mammogram and sonogram had been the exact same for the last four years and nothing showed up.
I had a bi-lateral mastectomy on FEB. 17,2012. I had invasive ductal carcinoma on the right side. The sentry node had it in it, but the next 18 nodes were negative. The tumor was 3 centimeters and there was blood vessel involvement. Other side was stage 1. I had reconstruction done with water bags, and have had four chemo treatments with
Taxotere and Cytoxin, the last being two weeks ago. I now have to go for preventative radiation, 28 treatments. And then finish the reconstruction three months after that.
I am 67 years old and will also be taking Femara, which I hope is easier than the chemo.
My main concern for everyone is that the mammograms and sonograms seem to miss many cancers in many women and I think the public should be warned somehow. I kept up with all of my maintenance on my body like clockwork and look what happened to me.
I am adding more to my story. It is now the 19th of September, 2012. I did my 28 treatments of radiation. It was more difficult than I thought and from the end of the second week on until the final treatment I was pretty badly "sunburned" and up near my shoulder around the collarbone the skin opened up and the burn went through to my back. It has gone away but I am still a bit itchy and sore sometimes where the expander is.
I had a port put in for my chemo which gave me a lot of trouble. It turned at the beginning and I couldn't start chemo on the correct day because the nurses could not access it. After that it was close under the skin and irritated. When I went for my radiation consult' the doctor was very upset that it was put on the side where I had lymph node involvement. The surgeon that did it refused to put it on the other side (left) because he said it was easier on the right! So I had to get the port out before radiation so I did. My radiation doctor wanted to do rads on a certain date and the stitches were in the way so she took them out four days early. The second day of rads the skin pulled away from my chest wall (I guess) and filled with fluid. The rads doctor told me not to worry about it. The day after my last rad treatment the area became painful and inflamed. It was drained and then two days later it burst open itself. It was a staph infection and turned into MRSA. I was lucky....it didn't get into my bloodstream and cleared up in about three weeks. But the hole it caused is still open and I have to dress it twice a day. It went deep and they told me it will still be a few months before it closes. So, of course, I have to wait for it to close up to get the rest of my reconstruction.
Other than that I am now fine waiting for my hair and nails to come back and my toes and feet to feel normal but I can say that I feel really like myself again and am very happy that I was given the chance to get better. And I have God to thank for it.
Oh, one more thing. I am on Femara for five years and am now on it for four weeks and have had no side effects so far. I have my fingers crossed!
“Breast cancer affects one out of every eight women in their lifetime.”spread the word