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Lori’s Story (Breast Cancer, Depression)

Lori-story-breast-cancerHello, again, Fight Like A Girl,

If you look in the files back in June 2012, you will see my original story .

In 2012, at 46-years-old, I was diagnosed with stage 3 IDC HER2+ breast cancer in my right breast. I did my chemo/radiation and herceptin.

Long story short, I almost made it to my 5 years clear.

In October 2016, my right breast again became itchy/red/sore and very swollen and then dimply or “peau d’orange” (I think is how they say it). Anyway, I was diagnosed again with breast cancer, a very aggressive cancer.

So this time, chemo before surgery was an option or another year of Herceptin. Following that would be radiation. My doctors were unsure of the long-term effects because it was under the 5 year mark from the first 28 treatments in 2012, and now I would have another 26 treatments in 2016, but the good outweighed the bad.

When it came time to talk to the surgeon, I had already decided to have a double mastectomy (I knew the one breast had to go already). I also decided not to have reconstruction surgery.

My surgeon didn’t want to do the double mastectomy, but I told him if he wouldn’t do it,  I would find another who would so he agreed to do the surgery.

With my family and friends by my side, I had the surgery and everything that went along with it ….spinal for pain meds (which I pulled out accidentally after surgery), drainage tubes (which the tube on the left came out after surgery; I didn’t do that, lol). Oh yes, and let’s not forget infections, swelling, and dehydration.

The dehydration came from an RN not giving me my anti-nausea needle after chemo because I wasn’t vomiting. I was just nauseated, so she decided I didn’t need it.  I couldn’t eat or drink so, until my loving sister tore a strip off of them, I was put on IV transfusion for hydration. Gosh I love her; she’s a little spit fire.

It was nice to get my dogs home from the kennel where a very good friend looked after them during my treatment and while I got back to normal.

Fast forward almost a year and thinking all is pretty normal, I had an emotional breakdown.

I consider myself a strong person, and this is very hard to put out there. I struggle with the fact that I haven’t, and I’m really not sure how to deal or cope with my past illnesses, my anger associated with it, and my fears.

I am seeking counselling, but it still feels like it will be a long road.

I am reminded daily by my scars and my constant nerve pain (right breast) and also by my invisible scars that sometimes life is a real b*tch.

But this is a fight I will win, too… It may just take a bit longer.

Ontario, Canada
Submitted 06/26/2018

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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  1. Bonnie Lee

    I have read and am rereading (thanks to chemo brain and memory issues) the book ” Understanding and Loving a Person with Post-Traumatic Disorders” by Stephen Arterburn and Becky Johnson. The first time through, all I saw was me. Now I am seeing the hints and helps to survive it. It is nice to see that there are others who have overcome most of the PTSD. It is a short easy 5o read book.

  2. Lori Degrechie

    Thanks I will look it up

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