SAVI Sister - Laura J.

Laura J.

Austin, TX
Treated with SAVI – August 2013

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I discovered a lump in April of 2013. I went to my OB/GYN, who recommended a breast sonogram. After a sonogram, a breast biopsy and two lumpectomies to get “clean margins,” the SAVI device was inserted and my treatments ran from August 5th-9th. I was very fortunate that I did not need chemotherapy.

My surgeon, Dr. Semyon Gambarin, and my radiation oncologist, Dr. Karen Cohen, were wonderful. Dr. Cohen laid out the options clearly to me, including SAVI (twice a day for 5 days with minimal side effects) or full-breast radiation (5 days a week for 6 weeks, with the more external effects). As a busy working mom with elementary-aged children, it was clear that the SAVI option was the best for me.

It was so amazing to have radiation completed within one week! I was done with my surgery and radiation within a month. I completed my radiation treatments on a Friday, had the SAVI device removed that same day, and was back to work the following Monday. I was just slightly more tired than usual. I was actually pleasantly surprised at my energy level, which I expected to be extremely low.

I’ll be honest, the radiation treatment itself was painless. But having the device in for that week was uncomfortable. With prescription pain medication, and the help of a nurse (who did an amazing job with wrapping everything in gauze/padding)—it was manageable. Making sure your padding/wrapping is in the right spot makes a huge difference in your comfort level, as does wearing a mesh wrap and a soft, comfortable bra at all times. You may have to experiment with a couple of different bras to find one that works best with your device.

I think it’s only fair to point out that there were some specific factors that made my SAVI treatment more uncomfortable than it might be for others: 1) I completed my second of two lumpectomies (within a week) and had the SAVI device inserted the same week; 2) I am small-breasted; 3) the location of my device/lump cavity was closer to my chest muscle wall, and was inserted so that the “tubes” protruded from the center of my chest, rather than from the side of the breast (under the arm).

Given the alternatives, I would opt for SAVI again and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone. I was also very impressed that the SAVI device makers sent a rep from Dallas to be in the room with my surgeon during insertion. While I felt very confident in my surgeon, having the rep there to answer my questions about the device was terrific, and she worked very well with my surgeon to get it in just the right spot.

The way I see it, I am a member of a club I never chose to join, but am in the company of some of the most amazing, strong, and courageous women I have ever met.