I was diagnosed on August 17, 1998. I first notice a small bit on my left bust and thought at that time it was a flea bite. That's what it started out to be so I waited a couple of weeks, to get hold of my Dr. By then my bust was very warm and had a red rash on it. Plus on top of that it was itching and getting very big.
When I went in to see my Dr. he checked my bust and found a lump, so he sent me down to have a mammogram done. During that time I had a funny feeling that something wasn't right. I waited for them to tell me the results and the tech there told me that they had found three small spots and that they suspected it to be cancer. Well that just blew my world apart and at that time I said no you don't know what you are talking about. The tech said that they would send the report back to the Dr. and that the Dr. would give me a call. He called the next day and wanted me to go to a surgery Dr. and have an ultrasound done. It took me two weeks to get the courage up to go to this Dr. When I went I took my best friend Robin with me to hold my hand as I would have not gone because I was so scared. The nurses were really nice and talked with me and then I met the Dr. He explaned what he wanted to do and I got to see the tumor on the screen. By this time it had grown from a pin point to the size of a quarter, so he wanted to take some samples from my bust. I didn't watch at this time but could watch it on the screen, he had given me a shot to deaden the area and then put the needle in. He took three samples and sent them into the lab to get check for cancer. That was the longest week I have ever waited. At this time my husband was out of town and I had to tell him over the phone what was going on. The next week I got a call from the Dr. to come in and I went in to see him and he told me that it was IBC. He wanted me to go over and see Dr. Goldberg the next day. This was Monday and so Tues I was over there again with Robin to see Dr. Goldberg. He explained what they wanted to do and so that day they started me in on Adriamycin/Cytoxan. Before I had my chemo they had me go and take a Bone Scan plus blood work to find out if it had spread. At that time it hadn't. Then I was sent back over to the surgery Dr. to be told that they had to put a port in. So they put me on the schedule for surgery in the hospital. I went in the next week and had the port put in and they waited for a week before I got my chemo. I had 6 weeks of this chemo and during that time I started losing my hair, so I got it cut except for some hair down the middle. That was my racing strip and my goal to keep it until my hair start growning back. I was really sick to my stomack during this time of chemo. After those 6 weeks I went back to my surgery Dr. who was and he took a look at my bust and told me that he still couldn't do surgery. One reason was because there was not enough margins around the rash to do the surgery. And he was afraid if he did it now that the rash would come back. So I went back to ONC and he put me on Taxol for 8 weeks and my rash and the bigness of my bust started going down. Then on January 24 I went in for surgery and he took my bust, when I woke in my room I was really sick to my stomach. The poor nurse couldn't figure out how to stop the sickness until we both got to talk about the pain pill and sickness pill. That they were giving it to be both once it was stop I was better. I spent 2 days in the hospital and two drains that were a pain, but they had to be there. I was finally allowed to go home and sleep in my own bed. I had learned in the hosptial how to measure and empty my drains. Both came out almost at the same time and really didn't hurt that much. My husband was a great support for me during the chemo and surgery, he was always there for me. I had some problems when the drains came out with the fuild coming back a lot of times. And a lot of visit to the Dr early in the morning or late at night. And having to put in two drains to get the fuild out. During this time I notice that a rash had started on my scar so I went back to surgery Dr. and he took another sample and it turned out that my skin rash had come back. So they sent me over to the radiation people and they started me in on radiation. I had about 2 weeks of radiation. When they got me there they told me that I would get a small sunburn on my scar and that they would give me something for it. They weren't kidding about a sunburn it is now a tan. I finished with the radiation and had a week off before I went back to ONC and saw Dr. Goldberg. He suggested that I do the stem cell replacement, because it would give me a chance to get rid of the cancer. That was another blow to the system and I wasn't ready for that. So they gave me some paper work to read about it. And then they started me back on the Taxol for 6 weeks until my paper work could go thru. During that time I talked to lots of people and learned a lot of things about it. At that time I wasn't ready for somebody to almost kill me and then bring me back from death. By the time the paper work came back, the Dr. had changed his mind about it. He asked me if I would like to go on with the hard chemo and I said yes. So he put me back on Taxol for a couple of days and then started me in on the Herceptin. This had to be done in the hospital for the first time, so that the nurses could watch for any problems. I was then sent home very sleepy. I went in once a week for the Herceptin/Taxol for 8 weeks and then was taken off because of an infection that had started up. It took about 3 weeks of being on meds at that time to get rid of the infection (I thought) then when I was put back on it the infection came back. So was sent over to the hospital for a Muga Scan to see if my heart was ok. It was. Then back to the Dr. and was put on Navelbine for 1 week and more infection. Finally got it under control after more meds. Now I have been off chemo for a month and had my blood work, Bone Scan, Muga Scan and CT Scan and they have come out clear.
My chemo will start up again this next week and will continue for 6 months off and on. Sometimes I get really afraid that this cancer will come back but I've made it this far and will continue to fight if it does come back. But it won't.