I had a mastectomy on August 18, 2010, after chemotherapy. Because tumors in inflammatory breast cancer attach to, or grow on, the skin, a large portion of the breast was removed. In addition, 14 lymph nodes were removed and I had a latissimus dorsi flap procedure. In this procedure, an oval flap of skin, fat, muscle, and blood vessels from the upper back are used to reconstruct the breast. Once again, my family came to my assistance – staying with me to cook meals, take me to appointments, etc.
I went back to work part-time in the middle of September and began working full time in early October. I also began radiation therapy beginning in October. I was able to make appointments after my school workday. I had radiation therapy every weekday for a total of 38 treatments. After the radiation therapy was completed, I had no other appointments for six months.
Life was back to being somewhat normal.
In my next blog, I will talk about the follow-up appointments I had over the course of the next year.
Editor’s note: Betty has fought estrogen receptor positive breast cancer or ER+ breast cancer. There are different types of treatment for this type of cancer. One treatment for this type of cancer is an estrogen receptor antagonist (like tamoxifen). An estrogen receptor antagonist blocks the effect of estrogen in many tissues, including the breast. However, in premenopausal women, tamoxifen thins the bone. Another treatment for this type of cancer is an aromatase inhibitor (like Femara or Arimidex). These treatments block the production of estrogen in body leading to possible bone loss. Any time bone loss occurs, calcium is recommended to help stop or reverse the loss.