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SAVI Sister - Jean B.

Jean B.

Natural Resources Regional Director
Shawano, WI
Treated with SAVI – April 2014

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There was no lump, just a regular mammogram, which showed a spot. I had a biopsy on Valentine’s Day and three days later I was given my breast cancer diagnosis.

My surgeon, Dr. Colette Salm-Schmidt, told me about SAVI partial breast radiation the first time I met with her, and I decided then and there I would have SAVI if I was a candidate. Dr. Salm-Schmidt was straightforward, smart, personable but business-like, and willing to answer my questions and discuss my next steps, rather than simply tell me what would happen to me.

My radiation oncologist was Dr. Lingstra. He was wonderful, caring, fun, professional and also allowed me to have a say in my treatment. I was offered whole breast radiation, followed by an anti-estrogen pill for five to ten years. But I brought up and pushed for SAVI. Dr. Lingstra didn’t bring it up because apparently I am outside of the required age groups for that treatment.

Although I am apparently younger than the typical patient, it was the best decision for me. I had radiation twice a day for five days, and no “sunburn.” I’m very fair skinned and sensitive to burning, so whole breast was a frightening idea for me—and the thought of having it for 6 and a half weeks was so overwhelming.

The first treatment exhausted me. After that, everything went very well. I had good energy. Comfort was occasionally nowhere to be found, but that was to be expected with the device sticking out. Getting my bra on and having the bandages stay in place were a fun exercise, but you quickly adapt to that as well.

I would absolutely recommend SAVI to a friend. I would tell them that placement of the device and removal can be uncomfortable, but the alternative of six plus weeks of radiation, skin burns and worse made it no contest. My discomfort lasted maybe 24 hours. I’d take that over the alternative any day.