I was diagnosed in August of 2009, at the age of 48, while my children were at camp. When they came home a few days later I sat them down and told them my news and prepared for treatment. Although my surgeon was advocating for lumpectomy and radiation, and possibly chemo (depending on whether or not it had spead to my lymph nodes), I was concerned that my remaining breast tissue would be 'harassed' with scans and such. My husband and I did research on my options and I decided to go for a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. This was a very involved ordeal, of course. I had several surgeries following this and took Tamoxifen to treat my estrogen-receptive tumor. I was lucky in that my tumor, though invasive, did not seem to have spead to my nodes. Chemotherapy was considered, but my oncotype number was fairly low (10), so my oncologist recommended that I NOT undergo chemotherapy, and I decided to take her advice. I suffered some depression (possibly triggered by the surgeries I underwent and takingTamoxifen), and so I took anti-depressants (a daily low dosage of Zoloft) for about 5 months. I am allergic to intervenous iodine, so follow-up scans are difficult. I continue to have pretty good health now, (although my thyroid does not work so I am on synthetic T3 and T4 daily and suffer from muscle aches). I consider myself fortunate to be alive and to have been treated for cancer in a time when some elements of healthcare are still in the private sector, which awards on merit. My greatest fear is that when medicine is under further government control we will have greater mediocrity and rationing, which will ultimately make quality medicine unavailable to all of us.
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