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Carol R.

Retired Teacher
Scottsdale, AZ
Treated with SAVI – September 2010

 

My mother had breast cancer 20 years ago. She had a double mastectomy, followed by radiation and chemotherapy. I helped take care of her after she got out of the hospital, so I saw firsthand the side effects of the radiation and how difficult it was for her. And everyone I know who has had conventional whole breast radiation has dealt with the same side effects – the sunburn, the fatigue. It was not something I wanted to go through.

When I was diagnosed, my surgeon, Dr. Elena Sibley, presented me with the full range of treatment options, including conventional radiation and brachytherapy. For me, it was a no-brainer to choose SAVI. Fewer side effects, less time, and less overall radiation delivered to my heart, lungs and chest wall. Physical activity is very important to me – I ride my bike 10 miles a day, I walk, I hike. I’m a very active person. So to have seven weeks of treatment where I would be so fatigued was not what I wanted. But five days? I could do that.

Before I even had surgery, Dr. Robert Kuske, my radiation oncologist, spent 90 minutes with me and my very concerned daughter explaining everything conceivable about the treatment and thoughtfully answering all questions.

The best part about SAVI was that it allowed me to have control over my life. I had no side effects or pain during the treatment. I kept thinking, “I should be feeling tired,” but I wasn’t! Pretty much the only thing I couldn’t do during my week of treatment was swim, but I did everything else. I rode my bike 10 miles one night. I hiked the mountain preserve for four and a half miles. I walked three miles. My life was my own. My cancer did not take over my life. My treatment fit into my life, but it didn’t overtake it. And that was a very important distinction for me.

Ten days after finishing my treatment, my husband and I are about to embark on a 4,000 mile road trip to visit my mother to show her how well I’m actually doing. People can’t believe we’re doing it so soon after my treatment, but I feel great! I love SAVI!