SAVI Sister - Cynthia R.

Cynthia R.

Radiology Technologist
Midland, TX
Treated with SAVI – December 2013

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It was a shock, like it is with everyone, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2013.

I researched my options to beat this disease. I was very lucky in that I had yearly mammograms so my tumor was caught early, while it was still small at 1.1 cm x 1.3 cm. I opted for a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy. When the lymph node results came back negative and the tumor was classed at stage 1 and estrogen positive, I was able to consider following up with radiation and an anti-estrogen pill for 5 years.

Being in the radiology field for 25 years prompted me to do more research on the effects of external beam radiation, which affects the surrounding heart and lung tissues. I discovered that I could have internal radiation by way of the SAVI catheter.

My surgeon, Dr. Sandeepa Musunuru with Midland Surgical Associates, inserted the SAVI in her office under ultrasound guidance with local anesthetic. I felt a little discomfort and some pressure due to my dense breast tissue but nothing too unbearable. I started my radiation treatments the next day under the care of Dr. James Corwin. Thus began my twice a day, 5-day friendship with the CT scanner to check placement each time and my wire hookup to my ‘octopus’ friend. I lay there for 8 minutes as it sent a little radiation seed down the wire into me and then back out and then back in and out down all the 8 wires. I felt nothing.

At the end of each session, the small wires protruding out of my breast were taped up under my arm, I put my bra back on and went home to resume my normal life. I had a little soreness sometimes, but nothing that a pain pill didn’t take care of and most of the time I didn’t need one. I learned to sleep on my other side or my back and took a bath just before my appointment when they would be changing my dressing. My SAVI was removed after my final treatment and came out easily with just a little local numbing of my skin. It was so much easier than 6 weeks of external radiation would have been. I would recommend this to anyone who can qualify to have it.