I was diagnosed with infiltrating ductal Stage 2B breast cancer with 2.8 cm tumor and sentinel node involvement in 2004, resulting in left side mastectomy and chemo with Adriamycin and Doxycycline. We lived in a small town of about 5000 people when I was diagnosed, but had just started moving to Syracuse for my kids schooling, so chose to be treated in Syracuse at a Community Oncology Practice, and I also received my second opinion at a smaller second community oncology practice. Following surgery, I was on Tamoxifen but in 2005, calcifications were found in my right breast so I had a right mastectomy. The second practice suggested I have a PET Scan in late 2005 which found swollen lymph nodes in my right chest.
Unfortunately, my primary oncologist passed away, but the oncologist at the second practice helped me until I could be reassigned at the primary practice. Six months later, the nodes were not changing despite treatment, so a bilateral oophorectomy was performed. I was switched to Femara until 2008 when I ended up in the hospital.
Initially, brain involvement was a possibility so I was started on Taxol infusion for the nodes in my chest. I had a left pleural effusion which biopsied to be malignant. I continued through different drugs until early 2016 with 2 breaks; 1) for vacation to Thailand and 2) to try and qualify for a trial. During this time, my community oncology practice began to offer imaging services which were very convenient.
In early 2016, scans were clear for 6 months, so no more chemo was needed until I started again in Fall 2016 when the cancer progressed to my liver.
I love the community that has been built in my Community Oncology practice. Many people know my name and I know many of them and what goes on in their lives. The past 13 years battling cancer with 17 different drugs has been made easier because of the community I have at HOA. I am still working 20 hours a week due to the flexibility of both my workplace and my community oncology practice.