In 2010 I lost my husband to cancer. A few days before his passing I had a routine mammogram and the spots were discovered. Few days after his funeral I had a follow-up mammogram and ultrasound and it was concluded that the spots would just be observed. Two years later cancer developed. I wanted the bilateral mastectomy at that point but my surgeon at the time advised against it. With hindsight I should not have listen to him. He did not get clean margins the first time had to go back and do it a second time and had to take muscle. It was an extremely difficult recovery. I followed up with the radiologist and did 30 some odd rounds of radiation. The radiologist also had me begin the clinical trial. In the clinical trial they tested me for HER2, found I was positive +3, it was aggressive. Being in the trial made me very fearful so I withdrew with the knowledge my cancer was fed not my estrogen or progesterone at that time but by HER2.
I found my medical oncologist, who was referred by a friend when I requested a second opinion for my treatment plan. I like the medical oncologist and chose to make him my primary cancer doctor. He recommended I take tamoxifen for five years. But I had every reaction to that drug that you can have. He took me off that drug and gave me anastrozole. It’s only side effect was bone loss. I did develop osteopenia. As I do with everything I researched the drug and found it does target HER2. I took it for almost two years confident it was helping me. And I believe it did.
While visiting my daughter in Ohio earlier this year I discovered a suspicious area had developed again in my breast. I visited my oncologist once I return home. He assured me he was 99% sure it was nothing but we would do the diagnostic mammogram ultrasound just so that I would have peace of mind. However, after the mammogram the radiologist came in and told me I needed to have a biopsy. Plus there was suspicious spots identified in the other breast that they would again watch. Biopsy concluded I had cancer again, triple positive +3 this time. Oncologist recommended the mastectomy because the cancer I had would continue occur over and over and eventually develop somewhere else. This was my only option for survival. If it was invasive I would have to have chemotherapy, herceptin and I was dreading it. But would have done it. I want to live!
I found a different surgical team this time around. After my bilateral surgery, the radiology report revealed the cancer was contained noninvasive and they got it all. As my oncologist said, I am cancer free. There is no where for the cancer to return because the breast were removed. And I don’t have to have any more treatment. I get to live. I call that a miracle!!!
I believe him because he had everything to gain financially by giving me treatment for the next five years. But he is honest and told me I do not need to have it or deal with the side effects. I respect his expertise in treating my cancer. It’s imperative you find a medical team that you trust.
I am now in the reconstructive phase. And looking forward to living a full complete life. Thankful for what I’ve learned. Looking forward to helping as many women as I can who are going through this nightmare. Rejoicing I get to live!