My diagnosis was discovered through a routine mammogram! So ladies, don't put off your annual mammogram.
My only indication that something might be abnormal was an ache in the left breast. It would ache on and off for app. 24 hours, and then go away for 3 weeks. (I first thought that I did too many pushups in my exercise class!) But it came back a second and third time. I was already scheduled for my annual PAP where the doctor did a physical exam of my breast--and didn't feel anything either. But the mammogram came back abnormal.
I had a stereotactic core needle biopsy on the suspicious site, and was diagnosed on April 25, 2011 with infiltrating ductal carcinoma--high grade--cancer. Next, I had an MRI, which showed a second suspicious area. The biopsy on that site was negative for cancer. The doctor informed me that I was a good candidate for breast-conserving surgery because of several factors: only 1 small tumor, ample breast tissue, and we caught it early. I was scheduled for the partial mastectomy on June 24, but my pre-op labs, done only 1 week in advance, showed an abnormal EKG. The surgery was postponed while I saw a cardiologist, and completed several stress tests. My heart is fine. My comment to my surgeon was that a 1-week window did not allow for any margin of error on labs. It was hard to be scheduled for surgery, have everything at home taken care of, and then cancel the surgery.
My surgery was on July 15, 2011. They removed a 3 cm tumor--much larger than expected.
Because of the size, and that it is high grade, my treatment plan includes chemo and radiation. I had my first chemo treatment on September 2. I felt fine for a few days, but on the 4th day had flu-like symptoms. Pretty much stayed on the couch for the 4th and 5th days. The only hard part was getting diarrhea, but immodium took care of that! I now get a shot for seven days post treatment of Leukine, which is supposed to help boost my white blood cell count.
I finished my chemo on November 2, and then began 33 radiation treatments in January. I am now finished with radiation, and taking a pill for 5 years called Letrozole (Femara). I am having a few side effects, but hope my body will adjust eventually. I feel great, and I am back to all normal activity. Just looking forward to my first hair cut!
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