About Me

- Annie

- My story -

Breast Cancer

You never know whose life you could change simply by talking about your own 

If you landed on this page and you just got diagnosed with breast cancer, be strong! You can do this; I have been right where you are.  

My name is Annie, I am 40-year-old. I was diagnosed with breast cancer on September 15, 2020 and I was in absolute shock! I received a call from a nurse who said: You need to see a surgeon this week!  

With my husband by my side, I looked at the doctor and asked if I was going to be ok, then I heard the words, yes, but you will need to go through chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy! I didn’t want to accept it, but I had no choice, I had to be strong for my daughter and my husband.  

Mbreast cancer is estrogen receptor positive, which means the cancer cells grow in response to the hormone estrogen, it was a 4.5 cm and had spread to my lymph nodes 

1 – Chemotherapy: 

My Hematologist-Oncologist explained to me how the chemotherapy is scheduled, he said that in my case, the first battle is with Taxol, Herceptin & Perjeta and the second battle is with AC (Adriamycin & Cyclophosphamide) which is completely different from what most of breast cancer warriors receive (AC first then Taxol, Herceptin & Perjeta) the reason he said, AC is very strong and it might affect the heart which will lead to stopping the treatment! 

A week before my chemo, the surgeon scheduled me to place a port-a-cath under my chest skin in order to give treatment and draw blood during the chemo. Before using the port, I had to numb the skin with a cream (I used Emla cream) 

Two days before chemo, I decided to cut my hair! I bought a hair clipper and ask my husband to help me. He was really scared, he tried to convince me not to do it but I couldn’t imagine my hair falling during treatment, his hands were shaking and it took him almost two hours to cut my hair like a real warrior!!! 

So here is the schedule: 

Battle 1: 

4 cycles of Taxol, Herceptin & Perjeta: 

Taxol every week (dense dose) during 3 months and every 3 weeks I had a cocktail (Taxol + Herceptin & Perjeta). Three weeks equals one cycle. 

Side effects: The effects of chemo are cumulative; they get worse each cycle.  

TaxolTemporary hair lossnauseavomitingdiarrheamouth sores, muscle/joint pain, peripheral neuropathy, dizziness, or drowsiness. 

Herceptin (Trastuzumab): headache, diarrhea, nausea, chills, fever, heart problems, infection, insomnia, cough, rash 

Perjeta (Pertuzumab): Diarrheahair losslow white blood cell count (neutropenia)nauseafatigue, rash or peripheral neuropathy, 

I personally had the underlined ones! 

You can try the icing which prevents neuropathy and oil pooling to avoid mouth sores. For the rest of the side effects, I tried to eat healthy and went completely plant based! Also … drink a lot of water! 

Battle 2: 

4 weeks of AC (The red Devil) every other week. 

Side effects: The effects of chemo are cumulative; they get worse each cycle.  

The side effects of the combination of Adriamycin & Cyclophosphamide may include: Bladder irritationpink or red urinediarrhea or constipation, hair losslow blood cell counts, menopausal symptoms, mouth sores, nail changesnausea and vomitingtiredness and skin changes. 

Unfortunately, I couldn’t complete the 4 rounds, after the second round I was neutropenic (Even though I’ve been having Neulasta injections to increase my WBC count) I spent 3 weeks at the hospital for lungs infection!!! My doctors decided to stop the AC (As they initially planned), I was so scared because some of the doctors I met while I was hospitalized told me that the solution is to go directly to surgery  I wasn’t really ready for surgery, I wanted to fight hard to get the complete response (or what they call the pCR) I prayed so hard that night that the next day my Hematologist-Oncologist came to visit me at the hospital and informed me that I will be doing another treatment equivalent to the AC. 

I had two more cycles of Taxol, Herceptin & Perjeta (so six weeks of Taxol and two cocktails) 

2 – Surgery: 

The warrior scars that I am wearing with pride! 

Three weeks after the end of my chemo, the day I feared most has arrived! On June 14, 2021 I headed to the hospital for a double mastectomy!! The surgeon recommended a mastectomy, but the fear of the cancer recurring in the healthy breast and the stress of future mammograms pushed me to opt for a double mastectomy with no reconstruction (I don’t want any additional surgery!) 

It took 2 hours to the surgeon to do his work and after that the pain started … I had to take pain killers for more than two weeks. I had the drains for less than a week and it was the second reason why it hurt so much; I couldn’t sleep on the bed at all! Fortunately, my husband offered me a standalone recliner! 

My axillary lymph nodes were removed (Axillary clearance), I was in a lot of pain I couldn’t move my right arm because of the drains! I had to order the drains bag which helped me a lot when moving around the house.  

The nurse came to my house to remove the drains, it was a really torture, they were stuck! I had to go the hospital to see a surgeon. Once at the hospital, the surgeon pulled them out, the three of them. That was a relief, the pain started to decrease the second day. 

During the surgery, they sent the breast tissue to the lab for a pathology report. This report shows if I won the battle against cancer or not, in other words, the report would show if the chemo killed all the cancer cells or there are still some cancer cells. It takes around three weeks to receive the results, and these weeks are the hardest … best time to watch Netflix! 

On July 7, 2021 I had the appointment with the surgeon, I must admit, me and my husband were completely in panic, we were so afraid because this can be the turning point which would change the future for us. The surgeon came into the room, late as usual, with a smile, he said: we received your pathology report and there is no evidence of the disease! I looked at him, cried my eyes out and told him: Do you mean I have a pathologic complete response? He replied: yes! and this is the best news a cancer patient can have! 

3 – Radiation therapy: