Project Description

patsy-case-studyPatsy’s Story–Breast Cancer Metastasis to the Liver

Patsy was diagnosed with breast cancer on October 17, 2007. Since then she has endured a double mastectomy, five months of chemotherapy and finally, the easy part of her treatment, CyberKnife® radiosurgery.

Patsy has been married to her husband Jayme for 27 years. They have an Australian Shepherd named Jake and are the very proud parents of two sons, both of whom are serving in the U.S. Air Force.

In Fall 2005, Patsy started to feel a little different. She couldn’t exactly explain it but she felt overly tired and things that she usually liked to do, like shopping, just didn’t appeal to her anymore. When Patsy visited her doctor, she was told it was depression and was prescribed medication. Patsy discounted the depression theory because she was happier than she had been in years. Patsy and her family were building their dream home, both of their sons were self-supporting productive citizens and she and Jayme had great jobs. Since the doctor didn’t find anything wrong with the tests they had run, Patsy just assumed her feelings were part of getting older and that it was in her head.

Patsy knew she was at high risk for breast cancer. Her mother was diagnosed in 1998 and underwent a mastectomy on her left side. Her mother’s cancer returned the next year on the right side and she had a lumpectomy. In 2002, the cancer returned to the bone and Patsy’s mother lost her fight in 2004. Throughout her mother’s illness, Patsy was fortunate that she could serve as her mother’s primary caregiver. She attended almost all of her mother’s appointments and treatments. Patsy even stayed with her mother in the hospital and finally in hospice during the last weeks of her life. Patsy witnessed first-hand how horrible and devastating breast cancer can be. Patsy was diligent about getting her mammograms, knowing that early detection was crucial.

“I had five mammograms over the three years prior to my diagnosis,” Patsy said. “Breast cancer terrified me!”

In February of 2007, her mammogram showed a suspicious spot measuring 1.9 cm. Patsy received a letter stating the spot was benign but that she needed to recheck it in six months. In September she had the mammogram repeated and learned that the spot had grown to 2.5 cm. This time the radiologist recommended a biopsy.

“I don’t think it is possible to explain how you feel when you hear the words ‘you have cancer’,” said Patsy. “But I can tell you that it pretty much just sucks all the air from your body. I couldn’t breath.”