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SAVI Sister - Mary H.

Mary H.

Disabled/Domestic Engineer
Puyallup, WA
Treated with SAVI – June 2013

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In December 2012, my mother, sister and I went for our yearly mammograms. Then we went out to lunch. We had started a few years ago making it a girl’s day out—any female over 18 is welcome to join us for lunch, so my daughter, granddaughter and another sister came with us.
A week later, I received a letter saying I needed to come back for another mammogram. The radiologist showed me the pictures and said I needed to come back for a biopsy, so I did a few weeks later. They said my regular doctor would call me about results, but I didn’t hear anything so I assumed nothing was wrong and forgot about it.

Two months later, I went for my regular checkup and remembered to ask him about the results. He said “It’s cancer.” I was shocked. No one in my family had ever had it. My sister gave me the name of a doctor she had seen a few months before for a problem she had (not cancer). I was lucky and got in to see her. Everyone said she was the best. I thought I would need a mastectomy, but the doctor said a mastectomy would be overkill.

So, a few weeks later, I had a lumpectomy. The biopsy showed stage 0, with no lymph glands involved so no chemo, which made me happy. But I would need radiation. I heard horror stories about radiation, but when my radiation oncologist said I could have SAVI, which requires only 5 days of radiation and has fewer side effects than whole breast radiation, I jumped on it!

I had to have another surgery so they could remove a bit more tissue just to be sure they got it all, then they put the SAVI in. It wasn’t too bad, just hard to cover because it was put in from the bottom, underneath my breast. I had it put in on a Thursday and started treatments on Friday. It was uncomfortable at first, but my daughter helped me with an easy, fast, comfortable way of wrapping that included wearing a camisole. After that, it was a breeze! The treatments were two times a day for only five days. The nurses laughed at me because I was counting down from the first to the last treatment. I was quite glad to get the SAVI out, but I only had minimal side effects. I was back to my normal activities within a few weeks. I was so happy to have my treatments over in just five days! It would have been way too hard on me, my daughter and my dogs to go through 6 weeks of treatments every single day.