SAVI Sister - Valarie K.

Valarie K.

Certified Paralegal
Coppell, TX
Treated with SAVI – October 2013

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My journey started with an email invitation from Baylor Plano Women’s Imaging Center inviting me to a Mammogram Spa Day. I accepted and had my mammogram, then had to go back a few weeks later for a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound for a suspicious finding. The day after my biopsy, I got the call telling me I had stage 1 breast cancer. My diagnosis was DCIS with micro-invasion. Lucky for me the biopsy found all the cancer as it was in a cluster of calcification and not a lump that could be felt. I met with my breast surgeon, Dr. Jenevieve Hughes, who I loved and who got together the team of oncologists that I would meet with before my surgery. Then I had a lumpectomy with two lymph nodes removed.

My experiences with my breast surgeon, medical oncologist, and my radiation oncologist, Dr. Mark Engleman at Texas Oncology, were all outstanding. I was scared when I got my diagnosis but they all spent plenty of time with me explaining what to expect. I would go to them again and have recommended them to others.

Because my cancer was small and found very early, the only treatment option presented to me was lumpectomy with lymph node surgery and the Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation (APBI) with SAVI. Dr. Hughes explained APBI to me and recommended SAVI for brachytherapy. She said this was the best choice for me.
I had not heard of SAVI prior to my treatment so I did some research.

The biggest benefit of SAVI is it is able to send radiation directly to the area where my cancer was found. It can contour away from the chest bones and heart so those areas don’t get radiation. Plus radiation can be done in 5 days, twice a day, instead of every day for weeks and weeks. After the device was placed, it was difficult to sleep comfortably but after two nights I found an acceptable position. My energy level was low but I think it was due to appointments in the morning and the afternoon, plus I probably wasn’t sleeping as soundly.

When I tell people about my SAVI experience they are surprised there is such a treatment option. If your physician doesn’t tell you about brachytherapy or SAVI, you should ask about this treatment option. It isn’t right for everyone but in early stage breast cancer it is an excellent treatment option that every woman deserves to know about.