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Leanna Shaberly

Leanna S.

Retired Librarian
Northwest Ohio (Treated in Phoenix, AZ)
Treated with SAVI – November 2006

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When I was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer, I was referred to Dr. Robert Kuske. I learned that he was well known as an innovator in treating breast cancer.

When I first went to see Dr. Kuske, he talked to me for quite some time about my choices, including SAVI. He wanted to be sure I understood my options. He also told me that if I chose SAVI, I would be the first woman ever to be treated with it.

He explained to me that SAVI expanded and improved upon past innovations he had helped to develop for treating breast cancer. I remember thinking that SAVI seemed like such a futuristic treatment for a farmer’s daughter like me.

I was particularly interested in the brachytherapy approach because I have known two people who had experienced severe radiation burns from traditional external-beam radiation for cancer. I knew I didn’t want to chance going through that.

I was so lucky to have SAVI as an option. During my treatment, I could do almost anything I normally did. At first I had arranged to have my neighbors drive me for the insertion and the first treatment. But after the first one, I knew I could do this all by myself. In addition to driving to and from my appointments, I could go get groceries and things like that. (I was told not to run my sweeper during those eight days – such an excuse to not have to do housekeeping! I was also told not to sleep on my right side, where my SAVI was located — such an excuse to go shopping and buy a reclining chair!)

I was also happy that I didn’t have to go through the several weeks of treatment that external beam radiation can take. Five days and it was over. And I’ll say again that I was so glad I didn’t have to worry about radiation burns.

I was delighted to be the first SAVI patient. It’s been nearly four years since I was treated with SAVI, and I certainly have never regretted the choice I made.