Lisa’s Story

Site created on February 28, 2018

Hi everyone, this is Lisa & this is my story. My story has been so overwhelming, and has been such an ordeal.

It's been a long road already but it's really just beginning. I have been diagnosed with Stage 3 triple negative, invasive ductal breast cancer in my right breast. The triple negative is one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer. So scary! There is more than one cancerous tumor in the breast which means I will need to opt for a mastectomy and will also need to be treated with radiation. I have already had surgery to place the port in my left shoulder so I am already on chemotherapy treatment (started March 2nd) to help shrink the tumors before I have to have the surgery.

Newest Update

Journal entry by Lisa VerHagen

Wednesday will mark the 30th radiation treatment(6 weeks) for me but that also means it's my very last one. I'm so glad!!!! It's finally going to be over!! I can say it is completely amazing how this radiation works. I have to see the Radiation Oncologist once a week since I started. But I have had to go for radiation treatments everyday after work. I check-in everytime I get there and then I have to walk back into the womens changing area where they have lockers and huge dressing rooms with cupboards filled with robes. Luckily I only have to take my top off. They call me back as soon as they're ready and then I have to lay down on this hard long table where they have the mold of my head & shoulders already placed there. I have to have my arms overhead and then they measure and mark my chest with a marker. It goes so fast though which is a huge plus, (it usually only took 10 minutes). They turn music on and then they all step out of the room & red lights come on overhead on the side of me and above & then this huge machine moves around, then stops and buzzes. They program it to move underneath me too and it does the same. Every other day I had to have a bolus material taped onto me, (this is used to assist in providing the optimal dose of radiation). Currently I am receiving an external radiation boost for the last 5 treatments (The boost increases the amount of radiation given to the area at highest rick for breast cancer recurrence).
I do not see any kind of rays or feel anything whatsoever until after the fact. I thought I was going to be a lucky one because it was going pretty well until a couple weeks ago when my skin starting getting burnt from the radiation. The burns look like an extremely bad sunburn. It's beet red on the right side of my chest & under my armpit and almost up to my neck as well as some irritation on my back. It hurts so bad in some spots and sometimes feels like my skin is going to rip when I move certain ways, it feels so tight. It's very, very uncomfortable to say the least but I made it and am almost done forever! I'm still not sure yet about the reconstructive surgery, but I can't even get it done until I heal from everything for six months. It's such a major surgery so I am just not sure if I want to get it done. I am doing ok not having any breasts, it isn't bothering me as much as I thought it would so we'll see. 
I'm overwhelmed to say the least. It has been such a long journey but I couldn't have made it without such a wonderful support system. I am so very blessed to have you all. I couldn't have asked for a better fan club! :)
I want to thank you all so very much for your love, prayers, support, gifts, time and especially for giving me hope. xoxoxo
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