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My Story

Bridgette | age 79
Germantown, TN
13 years, 10 months since her MammoSite treatment.

“Let’s meet for lunch” my husband said as we parted outside of our Church where we attended our grandchildren’s weekly school Mass. Vin was heading to our Parish School to teach Bible Study and I was going to Mroz/Bauer Clinic for a routine mammogram.

With a spring in my step I approached the office with thoughts of a good report and lunch out. Little did I know how our lives would be altered on this day, September 29, 2005.

Dr. Christine Mroz looked at my mammogram and was 80% sure it was a cancerous tumor. “Are you sure those tests are mine?” I asked knowing full well that Dr. Mroz doesn’t make mistakes.

At that moment my brain came to a complete halt. I tried to reach my husband who of course had his cell phone off. I then called our eldest son Louis and told him I needed Dad because Dr. Mroz found a spot on my left breast. He immediately contacted the Church office to have him paged. I then went for a biopsy at the clinic.

By the time I completed the biopsy, my husband arrived and we hugged and tried to give each other strength. After being married for 44 years words weren’t necessary. We then joined Dr. Mroz in her “Quiet Room” where we discussed the who…what…and when of my breast cancer. I asked the why and Dr. Mroz said, “If we knew, we would both win the Nobel Prize for Medicine.”

In the “Quiet Room” I learned that my cancer was an 8-millimeter tumor at 6 o’clock on my left breast. 6 o’clock is always a good time for me. I like getting up at that time in the AM and I like eating dinner at 6 in the PM. So 6 o’clock was OK. The rest of the information took time to penetrate the dead brain and now I had Vin’s sluggish brain to help.

Between the two of us we managed to make some definite plans. I wanted the tumor removed as soon as possible. I had a clear schedule the following week, so why not? My thoughts were all over the place. I was then told I may be a good candidate for the MammoSite program. Mammo who????

The surgery was scheduled for Tuesday, October 4 which was 5 days away at St. Francis Hospital. That left me with enough time to have the necessary medical tests and papers filled out, learn more about the MammoSite procedure and get my house cleaned and all drawers and closets straightened (I’m battling cancer and what little brain cells I had left were being used to have my house in Martha Stewart mode…God help me!)

You may ask why I didn’t get another opinion. When you have a doctor the caliber of Dr. Mroz, who I fortunately have been seeing for years, I knew in my heart I didn’t need another opinion.

As we left the doctor’s office I called my daughter in North Carolina. What I didn’t know was that our #1 son had called her and said “Mom has ovarian cancer and will be operated on at Baptist East on Monday.” I said, “Adele listen to me, I have a spot on my left breast and I’m scheduled for a lumpectomy on Tuesday at St. Francis and please do me a huge favor and stay home and care for my grandchildren. Daddy will take good care of me. Somewhere down the line, if I need help you can fly in.” Already my kids were freaking out!

Tuesday, October 4, 2005 I managed to be strong as I walked into the hospital. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be because I did feel very confident and protected. I actually felt God in my midst.

At the hospital, they prepared me for outpatient surgery and my family came to stay with my husband, my two sons Louis and George, along with Angela and Amber. Then my friends Louis and Gloria, Al and Carol, Anita, Dick and Linda. As they passed the nurses station they kept saying “we’re family” and they all squeezed into Room 310.

I prayed that God would give me and Vin the strength and knowledge to get through all this and He did. I was relaxed, asked questions, answered questions and felt confident that I would do well. Surgery went well and Dr. Mroz was pleased that the cancer did not reach the lymph nodes and the lump was .9 centimeters. It was clean and the prognosis was very good. I was fortunate in many ways. My faith was and is very strong, my health was good considering I was 65, and I have a great husband and a supportive family. And I was a good candidate for the MammoSite treatment.

Being that the MammoSite procedure was fairly new, not many people, doctors, nurses and other friends had any knowledge of it. All I knew was that I wanted to give myself the best shot possible. With this catheter that would be placed in my left breast it would cut back my radiation to five days instead of 30-35 days.

The MammoSite procedure is a device that allows radiation to be injected through the catheter directly to the lousy cells that surrounded my cancer area. It took five days at 2 times a day. Not bad considering that many patients I met that were there every day for 30 to 35 treatments.

The times I waited in the radiologist/oncologist’s office for the procedure I chose not to mention what type of treatment I was having. I felt that my bubbly and positive attitude would make others feel bad.

You have to understand that there were times and still are times when I stop and think about my cancer and could have a pity party by myself; When this happens I go out and purchase something for “yours truly”.

Another thing I need to mention is that I did my homework regarding the treatment and who the doctors were who would be treating me.

At first I thought I would have to travel to either New York City or Houston, TX for the best treatment possible. After checking and asking questions, I learned that M.D. Anderson had several satellites in the Memphis area. What was important to me at that time was that I got the best doctors and the most convenient locations for my treatments, visits and so on.

God again was good to me, I have a great team of doctors who I love and feel real comfortable with. Dr. Linda McCafferty, Internist. She has been my doctor for 25 years. Dr Christine Mroz, Surgeon, who I have been seeing for seven years. Dr. Kathleen Kelly, Radiologist/Oncologist and Dr. Brent Mullins, Oncologist, both came highly recommended.

The most important thing I can say to anyone is that your faith will get you through this. When God sent me lemons, I made a lemon butter sauce over veal cutlets. It was and is my way of addressing my breast cancer…head on and with God’s love and guidance.

This profile is solely the words of the person who received MammoSite Targeted Radiation Therapy to treat breast cancer. Note that this profile is specific to this particular person, and experiences will vary.