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SAVI Sister - Denise C.

Denise C.

Clinical Scientist
Newark, DE
Treated with SAVI – May 2014

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I was having pain in my neck and down my left arm and was scheduled for an MRI. Since I had not had a mammogram in several years, I thought that since I would be at Papastavros Medical Imaging anyway, I might as well get a prescription for a mammogram and get them both done at the same time.

I got a letter saying I had a suspicious mass in my left breast and needed to contact my doctor to make an appointment. When I went to see him, he was shocked to learn that I’d already been notified by US mail about the abnormal mammogram. He had been trying to figure out how to break the news to me that I was facing two serious medical conditions – a C6/C7 cervical spine herniation and possibly breast cancer.

My doctor assured me that he would get me the best doctors in the area. I ended up having a cervical spine fusion and two weeks later, a lumpectomy.

I had nothing but good experiences with all of my physicians. My breast surgeon’s name was Dr. Diana Dickson-Witmer and my radiation oncologist’s name was Dr. Michael Dzeda. They both highly recommended the SAVI and explained that it has been in use long enough to demonstrate that the efficacy of brachytherapy is equivalent to that of external radiation therapy. I was very glad to have just 5 days of brachytherapy with the SAVI catheter rather than up to 7 weeks of external radiation.

During treatment, my energy level may have been slightly reduced, as I did seem to tire easily. But discomfort was minimal—I experienced only twinges of pain most of the time and only had to resort to pain medications a few nights to try to get a good night’s sleep. The need to sleep on my back made sleeping difficult since I typically sleep on my left side.

Overall, I think that the anticipation of the unknown and ‘second guessing’ myself as to whether I made the right choice to ‘get cut on’ again so quickly after my spine fusion surgery, was the hardest part of this experience. Everyone associated with my treatment so far, from the radiation techs to the nurses who assist in the SAVI treatment plan, to the numerous physicians involved have all been wonderful and made the experience as painless as possible given the circumstances. I would absolutely recommend SAVI to anyone and I’d be happy to answer anyone’s questions and do what I can to help someone else through this experience.