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My Story

Linda | age 65
Special Education Teacher
Fairbanks, AK
11 years, 9 months since her MammoSite treatment.

I am 54 years-old, the mother of 5 children and the grandmother of 8 living in Fairbanks, Alaska. I buried a 13-month-old son who died from spinal meningitis and a 14-year-old son who committed suicide. My family and I were finally engaged in a happy productive life again after many years of prolonged grieving from a suicide. Then boom, in August of 2007 I was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ. The tumor was positive for estrogen and progesterone receptors and positive for HER-2/neu. I had a lumpectomy in November; the tumor was aggressive and prolific which meant I had to have another surgery to remove tissue all the way to the chest wall as well as all sides where the 3.5-centimeter tumor was removed. I decided to have the second surgery in AZ because 4 of our 5 children live there and medical care is superior to Fairbanks. My children were very happy because they just didnít trust that life wouldnít throw them a curve ball again. I had my second surgery December 27, 2007. It was successful. All of the margins were clear this time. I always knew that I would come through this ok and still am sure of this today. As mothers we would all bargain with the devil to be the one with a tragedy rather than watch our children suffer, so the news that ĎIí have cancer was easier for me to swallow than hearing one of our kids has cancer. My kids were reassured after spending time with me during recuperation and it helped my healing to know they were not worrying about me. I had already seen the oncologists in Fairbanks and I was scheduled for 55 radiation treatments 5 days a week with weekends off. Sound like something you would choose over 2x a day for 5 days? We donít have MammoSite here so I had my AZ surgeon find a cancer treatment center she recommended in that area. I saw them and set up treatment prior to the second breast surgery. In January of 2008 I had the balloon and catheter placed in the tumor site and began MammoSite radiation January 10th and finished up January 16, 2008. The surgery to have the balloon placed was very minimal to recover from. The radiation was effortless. The only side effect I had was extreme fatigue. I slept for 2 hours after morning treatment and 2.5 hours after afternoon treatment and was still ready for bed by 8:30 or 9:00 each evening. Getting the balloon and catheter out was a quick stabbing pain and then over. Healing from that incision was hardly noticeable. The radiation caused a fibrosis that lasted for two months after treatment ended. Hot showers worsened the inflammation so I avoided hot water on the breast until very recently. The fibrosis made some sleeping positions uncomfortable so it was good to keep the effects of the fibrosis down. I am so happy that I was a good candidate to have MammoSite radiation.

This episode in my life has been very hard on my dear sweet husband. He really wants a way to fix this for me. That poor 58 year-old has taken to vacuuming, cooking, and laundry like I never thought I would see. It has done my body so much good to see him with a vacuum in his hands if ya know what I mean. He comes into our bedroom checking on me constantly to see if I need anything and even screens phone calls.

I look forward to talking with new friends who have so much in common with me as a woman, mother, and cancer patient.

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.