Debby Hopp was diagnosed with a type of early breast cancer called Lobular Carcinoma In Situ or "Stage Zero". She had a lumpectomy followed by several years of Tamoxifen treatment.
Diagnosis: Stage 2 Breast Cancer Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
After my lumpectomy I didn't worry too much about breast cancer because I wasn't at high risk for recurrence, with no family history, so I just had annual mammograms. I was busy working and raising 2 boys. After an abnormal routine mammogram, I had an ultrasound and biopsy that confirmed the invasive Grade 2 Carcinoma. My cancer is called "Triple Positive" - estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and Her2 positive - which helped guide the treatment approach.
Treatment: Double mastectomy; 12 months of chemotherapy; 6 weeks of radiation; ongoing oral therapy
When I met with my Oncologist she gave us 2 options: one she called "chemo light", which would be fairly easy to tolerate with fewer side effects; or a more aggressive chemo regimen which induced fatigue, shortness of breath, hair loss, neuropathy, nausea, etc. but had a better chance of survival. Thankfully I chose the harder course of chemo because during surgery it turned out the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes.
Over the next 18 month I would undergo radiation, 2 surgeries and chemotherapy. There were lots of doctor appointments, blood work, tests such as PET and bone scans and ECHO procedures to monitor serious side effects. I did have to stop my chemo a few treatments early because of unexpected serious side effects.
What made all this more challenging was my journey took place in the middle of a pandemic. I was immune compromised so I had to be extra careful about infections, my husband couldn't accompany me during appointments or surgery and there was the on-going stress of coping within a Covid-19 world.
I am doing well and a proud cancer survivor! I still see my Kaiser health care team (surgery, oncology, physical therapist, neurologist) as I am still living with some ongoing issues such as lymphedema and peripheral neuropathy. I am very grateful for my support community of family and friends that were there with me every step of the way with a helping hand, bringing home cooked meals and care packages.