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My Story

Bobbie | age 72
Retired Secretary
Ocala, FL
12 years, 3 months since her MammoSite treatment.

My story begins last year after we moved to Ocala, FL. Because of a misplaced VA card, I (pictured on the right) applied for a new one. That started the chain of events that led to my diagnosis. (After I applied for the new card, I found the one I "misplaced!")

My first mammogram (in several years) was done January 15, 2007. I was called back for another mammogram and ultrasound on February 13. I was told that day I needed a biopsy. It was scheduled for March 27. Five years earlier one of my sisters had a bi-lateral mastectomy. After my biopsy, I had a real strong feeling what the outcome would be.

On March 30, my primary called to tell me he needed to discuss the results of some tests I recently had done. He asked if I wanted to come in or discuss it over the phone. I allowed him to tell me over the phone. I was shocked, but not surprised: with my sister having the bi-lateral and our Mother's twin sister had breast cancer.

I called my sister's surgeon in Orlando for an appointment. I also talked with VA doctors, which were closer to home. In the end, I chose to travel two hours to my sister's surgeon. My first appointment was April 13. We discussed what would be done and possible treatments. Before this appointment, I was sure I would have a mastectomy and possibly bi-lateral just as my sister had (all my primary doctor told me was that I had breast cancer and he was referring me to a VA surgeon). My surgeon said I was a prime candidate for a lumpectomy and very possibly a new radiation treatment -- MammoSite. I had a second appointment with him on April 27 to schedule surgery (I had VA appointments between my appointments with the surgeon). An appointment with the radiation oncologist was scheduled for May 3 to discuss treatment options and what would happen during surgery if it looked like I could have the MammoSite radiation. Surgery was May 7.

Surgery went well. On May 11, the radiation office had me in to check that the placement was correct and things were a go for May 16. A small air pocket was found, but everyone felt it would correct itself before treatment on the 16th. For good measure, I had to have another CAT scan on May 15 to ensure things were OK. A CAT scan the first morning of treatment showed the air pocket was still there, so more saline solution was added. This did the trick. However, when I returned in the afternoon, I had developed a larger air pocket!

No one had seen anything like this before! It was decided I would go back to the surgeon's office and have the balloon replaced with a bigger one. The CAT scan the next morning showed it was a good call and I received my second treatment. It was uncomfortable with the bigger balloon in, but no pain. The rest of the treatments went well. After the last treatment, the balloon was removed. One week later I returned to the surgeon's office for a check-up. He gave me the great news of returning in 4-6 months for another check up.

Because of the problems early on, I was given a CAT scan before each treatment. It was felt it gave a better picture of what was going on than just an x-ray. Despite the problems I encountered, I'd certainly recommend this type of treatment for all that qualify! It was under two months, from diagnosis to the END OF TREATMENT. It is still hard for me to fathom!

I have told everyone that I would have been more devastated had I not been able to continue the MammoSite treatments than I was when told the news I had breast cancer.

Oh, and because I chose MammoSite, I had to have treatment in Orlando so I was close to the surgeon (proved to be important.) Because of twice a day treatment, my husband and I stayed in a motel for all my treatments. Was it worth it? YOU BET!

A suggestion if you are able to go thru with this type of treatment: I found that wearing a sports bra was most comfortable. On the second day of treatment, I asked if I could keep my bra on, unhooking it once I was on the table and re-hooking it before I got up from the table. While I was having the treatment, they also had my head raised, which made it more comfortable. Also, after surgery with the port in, I used nursing pads over the dressing that was around the port site. This helped seepage going onto my bra! I also used the nursing pads over the incision where my bra was rubbing. Sleeping with a pillow between my body and arm took pressure off the surgery site.

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.