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Barbara’s Story (Metastatic Breast Cancer)

barbaras-story-mbcOn April 15, 2015 I went in for surgery for a tumor on my femur bone. After surgery, my family was informed that the tumor was cancer. Shockingly, they told me it was breast cancer that had spread to my bones. Metastatic breast cancer. I have had mammograms since I was 40 years old. The most recent did not find the cancer in my breast until after the surgery and diagnoses. I had a very tiny tumor in my left breast. Treatment began and consisted of a hormone inhibitor called Letrozol, which I am still taking, and radiation on several spots including my femur.

Things were going very well for 4 years. I started having severe pain in my leg. I saw a surgeon who thought the pain was coming from the metal they put in my femur when they removed the tumor. So, we planned surgery to remove this metal. On January 6th, my 61st birthday, I had surgery. When I woke up, my husband informed me they did not remove the metal. They discovered more cancer, osteosarcoma. They said it was caused by the radiation I had in 2015.

Now COVID-19  is rampant and I have to go through chemo and then surgery. I had 2 rounds of very strong chemo and got very sick and was hospitalized 2 times. The doctors discussed my case and felt it would be best to do surgery, and the surgeon wanted to remove my leg. You could only imagine my horror. I said I did not want to lose my leg and asked them to do everything possible. Surgery was long, but it went well. My left femur and part of my knee were removed and replaced. My oncologist wanted to get me back on chemo as soon as my leg healed. Well, that didn’t happen. A part of my leg that has radiation did not heal. I went in for 2 more surgeries to remove the infected tissues. This left my leg very stiff and tight, but thank God I still have my leg!

My leg finally healed and I’ve been working with physical therapy. I will be followed and have scans every 3 months. Everyone tells me I am an inspiration to them, but truth is I am scared. I love my family so much and I don’t want to leave them. I live each day with a positive attitude and a smile on my face. I thank God everyday for today. No one knows what tomorrow will bring. I want to grow old with my husband and that’s what keeps me going. I will never give up.

Thank you for reading my story.

Submitted 11/04/2020

This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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