Ronna's Story

Introduction

This is a bit about what I’ve learned from my experiences and about me. I’m just 41 and I believe in angels and God.

I was diagnosed with DCIS, stage zero on June 21st, 2011. Had a bilateral mastectomy on July 27th, 2011 with reconstructive surgery. The MRI founded two other 5mm tumors and after surgery they discovered they were stage one, grade 2. The two Sentinel Lymph Nodes were negative, margins were clean but it was only 1mm away from the skin. I was ER & PR positive, HER2 negative and BRCA 1 & 2 negative. My Oncotype DX test was 29. I had four rounds of chemo, Cytoxan & Taxotere every three weeks with the Neulasta shot the day after. I had six weeks of radiation starting on November 21st with 28 treatments; last one was on December 30th. I started Tamoxifen on November 28th.  My implant surgery was January 30th, 2012. This is my journey and I welcome all those who’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer and those who support them to come with me.

Use the links on the list to the left to navigate to certian sections of the story, or you can click the "Next" link at the end of each page to read my story in the order it happened.

When you get the call that you have been diagnosed with cancer, it can be a blow and you may feel defeated, lost, sad, mad, and alone.

First, take a deep breath and relax, YOU are not ALONE!

Miscellaneous Tips

  • From the very start, take the time to write down all of your medications with doses and always carry this with you because EVERY doctor will ask.
  • I recommend you having a calendar to write all your appointments in. I used my smart phone as well as a planner.
  • I recorded my doctor’s appointments, you will have so much information coming your way that you won’t “hear” all of it nor will you be able to “translate” all of it. I used my smart phone but you can pick up a digital recorder fairly cheap now. After the appointment, I would go home and research what I heard. I would go back and listen to the recording and most of the time the doctor had already answered my questions.
  • I would write questions down because you will forget to ask them. Again, I used my smart phone’s note pad but a pen and a piece of paper work just as good.
  • You will be given a ton of paperwork and I recommend you getting one of those accordian binders with tabs to keep track of it all.
  • Ask for information about your hospitals cancer centers, they have a wealth of information. Mine gave me both the accordian binder and a planner that had pages which included the following: address book, one-year calendar, ten-year follow up calendar, notes, medical history & appointment tracker, symptoms tracker, medical bills and insurance tracker, helpful advice for people with cancer & their caregivers, a list of questions to ask your doctors, dictionary of cancer terms, and a booklet that spoke about breast cancer.
  • When you register for surgery or fill out paperwork for surgery, one of the questions you will be asked is “do you have a living will?” Don’t let this upset you, as it’s a standard question. Personally I think they ask for it to cover their backs if you eat the hospital food. lol
  • Get a “padded or soft” toilet seat. Don’t laugh; you’ll thank me later.
  • Get a pillbox with five or seven days. My husband taped post-it-notes over the “day” with the “time” that I needed to take my medicine and it kept me on schedule every day.
  • I purchased some extra camisoles to wear as, a bra will be uncomfortable with the tissue expanders and it helps to keep you warm.

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