SAVI Sister - Renee B.

Renee B.

Office Administrator
Baltimore, Maryland
Treated with SAVI – January 2015

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In May 2013, a mass showed up on my mammogram. It was biopsied and the results showed it was benign, so I thought I was off the hook. Fast-forward to October, 2014 at my mammogram, what was tested in 2013 has grown 2mm and they were concerned about the shape of the mass. This biopsy came back positive. Needless to say, I was shocked.

When discussing treatment options with my surgeon, Dr. Meghan L. Milburn, she recommended a lumpectomy and that a full mastectomy was not needed. She told me about SAVI, which I had never heard of before; she felt that I was an excellent candidate for it and discussed this with my Radiation Oncologist, Dr. Navesh Sharma. I found it all very intriguing!

Dr. Sharma told me about the SAVI website, so I showed it to all my friends and family. No one I spoke to was familiar with it. The website was a really good source of information and provided a great explanation of how it worked—the video is a great aid too.

Obviously all of this was new to me (from surgery to treatment), but I never felt alone as I navigated my way through what felt like an endless amount of appointments and procedures. SAVI was highly recommended by both Dr. Milburn and Dr. Sharma and they really made it all so easy to understand. I was very happy to be a candidate. Now that it’s all over, I feel like, ‘Wow, did that really happen? That was a cakewalk!’

The biggest benefit is that my treatment was over in 5 days! The alternative was potentially 6 weeks of treatment, 5 days a week, with side effects like ‘sunburn’ and other skin issues caused by external radiation treatment.

In my experience, I had no pain during catheter install, no pain during the treatment, and definitely no pain when it was removed. I mention this for anyone that is concerned about that. When you are having your treatment, you get hooked up to that machine (I have no idea what it is called), and you just lay there—you are not even aware that anything is happening to you! It’s all very seamless. I brought my iPod to listen to music, which really helped pass the time during treatment. I would just veg out and I could almost fall asleep during treatment, like forced relaxation!

During my week of SAVI, I did have some fatigue but it was nothing I couldn’t live with. In an effort to avoid developing a seroma or Lymphedema, I was on restricted duty with my left arm due to lymph node removal, so friends would stop by to help with household chores, wash my hair, bring dinners, etc. But I was able to work from home in between my treatments. I could only sleep on my back, which was not always easy for me, but these negatives really mean nothing. It is such a small amount of time to be uncomfortable, so when you consider the alternatives, why wouldn’t you go SAVI?!

I am so fortunate and very happy that my doctors were able to offer SAVI to me as an option. I would highly recommend SAVI to anyone—I actually did to my cousin in New York who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. I really can’t say enough good things about SAVI.