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Shelly’s Story (Breast Cancer)

Shelly's Story (Breast Cancer)I am a stay at home mom with four sons. At the age of 38 I went in for a yearly PAP. I had started having mammograms at the age of 35 since my mom also had breast cancer. I missed a year, so my gynecologist set me up for a routine mammogram. She said everything was just fine on the physical exam and the mammogram would give us a good base line.

Instead the mammogram showed multiple areas of concern. I went back in for a needle guided biopsy and an ultrasound guided biopsy. Both came back as cancer. An MRI showed that I had multifocal breast cancer in my left breast, a suspicious area in my right breast, and lymph node involvement. Both my mom and I were negative for BRCA mutations. I had a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. The path report showed that I had two different cancers and one lymph node with cancer. The cancer was spreading in a “stag horn” configuration which is why there weren’t any lumps in my breast.

A month after my surgery I had a chest port put in and started chemo. My first round of chemo hit me so hard that I ended up in the hospital with dehydration and nausea. All of my hair fell out between Christmas and New Years. My second round of chemo also landed me in the hospital. I had my first tissue expansion after I got out of the hospital. The area between my skin and tissue expander became infected, so I went back into the hospital for antibiotics and to aspirate the fluid off of my infected right side.

Those antibiotics seemed to fix the infection, but they also led to C.diff. infections that sent me back to the hospital three more times. I was only to finish four of my six cycles of chemo since the infection in my right breast site came back again along with more C.diff. After 14 days of being treated at the hospital, and several fluid aspirations, we decided to remove the right tissue expander. The expander was coated in bacterial slime from staphylococcus.

I have been able to have the summer to heal and play with my little boys. And now it is back to work having just put the right tissue expander in yesterday. Knock on wood that there are no more complications!!

Shelly
Iowa
Submitted 08/06/2013

The informational content of this article 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.

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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