"My name is Cat (short for Catherine). I have recently been diagnosed with Stage IV Bone Mets.
"But my story is pretty long; you see this is my third battle. In 2006, I was diagnosed with Stage IIA, ER+ breast cancer after finding a lump in the inner upper quadrant of my right breast. I elected to have a lumpectomy with rads and tamoxifen (as I was premenopausal). I scored a 0 on the Oncotype test so, 'no chemo'; I continued to take my drugs and get my mammograms religiously. I joined a local support group which really helped me.
"In spring of 2012 I found a new lump in my good (left breast) also in the inner upper quadrant. I had had a mammogram only 5 months prior -- what the heck was this? Breast cancer! A new primary! Another lumpectomy, and rads and this time got a Mammaprint - that scored me moderate risk - so I opted to go for the chemo too. My staging was again IIA - neg nodes - great, right?
"Chemo was initially horrible -- after 1 dose of Taxotere/Cytoxan, I had an extensive rash, 30+ mouth sores, dehydration, needing rehydration x 2, 11 days of diarrhea (the really bad cramps, gross kind), and the constipation, necessitating a change in my treatment plan, and a pause for an extra week in between.The MO changed me to Adriamycin/Cytoxan which I completed with slight side effects (mild constipation).
"My radiation onc suggested that, due to where my lesions were located, I most probably was exposed to a high dose of radiation as an infant when I had pneumonia and this might be the cause. After all I have 22 female cousins, 5 sisters, and no other breast cancer [in the family].
"Again I took my anti-estrogen medications, although I tried them all over the years due to intense side effects.
"Now I left out that in 2012, I started having coccyx area pains. I got PET scanned and bone scanned and all was normal. They sent me to a pain specialist -- he gave me spinal injections of all types with almost no effects, he put me on time-release hydrocodone and I was able to work and function.
"But winter of 2015 I was at my wits end with the butt pain. My oncologist suggested I get my coccyx removed and referred me to a neurosurgeon. I was teed up for CT-guided coccyx removal surgery in Feb.
"Alas in Feb, after the labs, chest X-ray, etc., I got pneumonia and the surgery/procedure was cancelled.
"Then in this summer, after recovering fully and enjoying a nice vacation, I called the neurosurgeons scheduling nurse to again 'tee me up.' She said, 'I think you need a new CT scan of your pelvis (sacrum/coccyx).' I asked my mo to order it via email.
"How lucky I was to get this test! How shocked the MO and I were to have it reveal two small lesions. 'Can not rule out metastasis,' it read. Fast forward a PET/bone scan, finally a bone biopsy, and I got my diagnosis -- ER+ metastatic breast cancer.
"Luckily these 2 (<2 cm) lesions are the only ones so far; treatable with rads.
"I started radiation treatment today. Upon completion of rads in a month I will join a phase 3 clinical trial of fulvestrant and an oral test medicine -- Solar 1 is its name. Pray I get the drug arm, not the control placebo.
"Sign me up! 2 years of clinical trial will whiz by.
"I am the mom of 2, step mom of 2 and nana to 12. I am a registered nurse that works as a sales rep for Baxter healthcare. I have a wonderfully full life. Have visited Europe twice. Have a wonderful husband and pets (dogs, cats, horses) that keep me entertained. I am also the facilitator of a local breast cancer support group for 5 years and have many supportive friends and acquaintances. I have decided to take the radiation month off from work -- I need to take it easy and just get well. I am hoping it will get rid of this awful pain, they tell me it will. I should see improvement in 2 weeks.
"So I dive into reading and knitting and crocheting for my darling grands. And I decided to take an iPhone photography course I wanted to take for a while
"I hope all of you have the best results to your treatments. I wish you all the best.
"Get me off of this merry go round."
-- CatFromFl, diagnosed metastatic in September 2016