On Sunday, July 26, 2016, I noticed my left breast was swollen and red. By Thursday, I had noticed that the lymph nodes in my axillary area were swollen, and my breast was painful. I called my doctor and was seen that night. I was told it looked like inflammatory breast cancer. I was scheduled for a mammogram and ultrasound the next Thursday.
The radiologist said it was inflammatory breast cancer, and I was seen by a surgeon next day. I had a surgical biopsy and was formally diagnosed with aggressive inflamatory breast cancer, stage 3B, with spreading to one lymph node in the clavicle area.
Over the next week, I met with oncologists and had a PET scan, CAT Scan, and port placement. I started chemotherapy on August 23rd with an Adrenamycian Cytoxan dense dose every other week, times four, then a Taxol dense dose every other week, times four. During this time, I lost 35 lbs and could not eat. Nausea was my constant companion.
I had a left mastectomy on December 15th and started radiation at the end of April with 25 treatments and boost treatment every other day. I had some burns at the end.
I am so grateful to my doctor for recognizing the symptoms and not misdiagnosing it as mastitis, as this form of breast cancer is very aggressive. I will be on estrogen blocker for the next 10 years.
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.
Thank you so much for sharing your story, Elizabeth. It gives me hope!