char123's Story


“My name is Charlotte and I live in Pennsburg, Pennsylvania. I happened to find myself diagnosed with TNBC in January 2010. I was still faithfully going to my doctor at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia since April 2001 when I was diagnosed with my first breast cancer, it was not TNBC but ER/PR+.

“I was finished with tamoxifen and Aromasin at this point. I was devastated. It was the same breast and I had had a skin-sparing mastectomy with reconstruction in 2001, and 2002.

“My doctors ran the tests twice to confirm we were dealing with TNBC. It was a small skin tag in the mastectomy scar. In the scar! How could this be? The doctor felt that the parts of my tumor that was not ER/PR+ perhaps lived there dormant for 9 years and then started to grow. I was told I should have chemo and then radiation for sure. I was told this is rare but happens. The reason it probably happened was because in 2001 the standard of care in the US did not involve radiation when you had a skin-sparing mastectomy with only 2 positive lymph nodes. So I was not offered radiation. It was common to do the radiation in Canada and they then discovered that 10% of us who did not have the rads in the US with positive lymph nodes had recurrences. So here I am one of the unlucky ones.

“Off I go to chemo, AC 4 rounds and the Taxol 4 rounds. I was very afraid and my experience went something like this:

“The first two rounds of AC were not too bad, they gave me great meds and I cannot say enough about the chemo nurses at Penn. I worked every day to try and keep my life somewhat normal. Just after my second treatment my life partner and I flew to Ft. Lauderdale as we normally would and had a nice time. It was actually funny because most of the restaurants hid me in the back, away from the customers, I h…

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