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SAVI Sister - Karla P.

Karla P.

Medical Office Manager
Alexandria, VA
Treated with SAVI – March 2013

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The day before my 46th birthday I was doing my monthly self breast exam. I found a lump that was nothing like anything I’d previously felt. I scheduled an appointment with my doctor, followed by a mammogram and sonogram, a biopsy, and finally a cancer diagnosis.

I met with a fantastic surgeon, Dr. David Weintritt, and after a lumpectomy, he recommended SAVI as the best radiation option. I had a sense of urgency and impatience and wanted to get through radiation, followed by chemotherapy, as quickly as possible. Dr. Weintritt recommended a forward-thinking radiation oncologist who was experienced with the 5-day radiation option. I went back to Dr. Weintritt to have the SAVI inserted, and since it was done under local anesthesia, I asked him to tell me on a scale of 1 to 10, the level of pain to expect. Being witty and, at this point, knowing my husband and me well, he replied, “I don’t know—I’ve never had it done.” I laughed and he said most women ranked it around 2. He was correct; the surgery was not painful, although I did experience discomfort later in the day. I had to learn to sleep on my back, since I tend to sleep on my side, but with the use of 2 pillows, I was able to rest comfortably. My husband changed the dressing and cleaned the site daily, and the radiation treatments were quick and painless, and I didn’t suffer any of the “sunburn” associated with traditional radiation.

Dr. Robert Hong, the radiation oncologist, removed the SAVI after the last treatment and I was able to get on with my life. I went through 4 months of chemo and am happy to report that I feel well and because of cold cap therapy, I did not lose my hair. Life isn’t quite “normal” yet, but it’s pretty close and I’m grateful that my cancer journey wasn’t any worse. I’m not sure it’s ever great, but faith, attitude, a sense of humor, a strong support system, and the right types of treatment, including SAVI radiation, made this a positive experience for me.