My Journey so far...
Hi, my name is Viviana, I have 2 children and an amazing husband, and I was diagnosed with breast cancer in July this year and here is my journey so far.
My sister Rosanna and I had our routine 2-year mammogram at the Indooroopilly Breast Screening Clinic on 15/7/19. I had no visible or tactile signs of a lump, but three days later I received a follow up call to attend the Chermside Breast Screening Clinic on 25/7/19 for more testing as they had found a ‘shadow’ in the Mammogram.
On the 25th at the Chermside clinic I had a second Mammogram plus an Ultrasound and Breast Biopsy. 5 days later on the 30/7/19 I was diagnosed with Invasive Breast Cancer – a 17mm mass in my left breast. There was no sign of lumps or shadows in the previous mammogram from two years ago. There had also been no history of Breast cancer in my immediate family.
When we were told I had breast cancer, Gary and I looked at each other and said “how did this happen?” We had just returned from cycling 1,700kms from the South to the North of Italy a month earlier, feeling the fittest and healthiest I have ever been. Not feeling sick, didn’t feel any lumps in my breasts and my GP had also done a health check with no evidence of any lumps. Then we said to the doctor ‘so how do we fix this?’
Following the cancer notification appointment on the 30th Gary and I drove straight to my local GP to get a referral to see a Breast Surgeon. We met with my Doctor on the 1/8/19 who explained exactly what would happen prior to during and post-surgery. She was excellent.
Surgery was booked in for Tuesday 6/8/19. It turned out that the cancerous mass was actually only 12mm long. I had an overnight stay at the Wesley Hospital. After surgery I was told I had Stage 1, Grade 3, Invasive Breast Cancer - Stage 1 because it was confined to my breast – thank goodness, but Grade 3 unfortunately meaning it is the most aggressive/ fastest growing breast cancer. The other good news was that the follow-up testing of the removed mass showed that my Doctor had removed all of the cancerous cells – the perimeter of the excised tissue was clear.
My mother succumbed to Ovarian Cancer 4 years ago, and my Auntie in Italy had 3 breast lumps removed over a period of 10 years. Auntie Florinda is now 89 and in good health. My Doctor suggested I undertake a Genetic test to rule out family genetics as the cause. Again, fortunately, the test results were clear. The implication should the test have been positive was the potential for my 3 sisters and their daughters, plus my daughter Melany and son William to have inherited the mutant genes.
My Doctor suggested that because of the grade 3 test results of the cancerous mass it was most likely that I would have to go onto a course of chemo. She then referred me to an Oncologist who we met with at 8.30pm on a Friday night on the 16/8/19 to discuss my Chemo treatment plan. He was also very clear and concise with his explanation of what would happen during and post the Chemo treatment plan. He was very detailed about what I could expect, how I would feel, the side effects - of which there are many, and when I would lose my hair - to the day.
The first dose of the first course was booked for Tuesday 27/8/19, however the day before of the Chemo treatment I had to undertake further tests. The following tests were completed on the Monday and Tuesday morning before the first dose. It involved an overnight stay at the Wesley Hospital:
- Bone Scan 22/8/19
- Breast Hookwire Localization Inside Radiology
- CT scan
- ECO cardiograph
Port-a-cath inserted under the skin on my chest for intravenous treatment
The various tests plus the port-a-cath twilight surgery, and the two chemo injections - yes there were two different kinds of chemo injected into my body, on top of the earlier general anesthetic breast cancer surgery was very taxing on my body, even though I was fit and healthy, and had undertaken a special eating plan to prepare my body for the trauma it was about to experience.
Tuesday Chemo Treatment No 1: This involved the injection of Adriamycin & Cyclophosphamide, anti-nausea drug to counter the effects of the chemo, plus the Endone that was administered to reduce the pain of the two surgical procedures. I was also dehydrated from all of the relocating from room to room throughout the hospital to get the tests done. All of this resulted in my blood pressure dropping and the nausea being exacerbated by a reaction to the Endone. I just did not feel very well at all. I cannot commend highly enough the doctors and nursing staff at the Wesley. They were/are brilliant.
A major side effect of the ingestion of chemo is the decimation of red and white blood cells - the energy carriers, and the infection fighters. As a result another procedure I had to undertake, on the Wednesday after the chemo, was the injection of another drug to enhance the growth of new white blood cells. I could have done this myself at home, got someone else to inject the drug, or pop back up to the hospital to have it done by a nurse. However, I was spared all of this given my low blood pressure and the nausea I was encountering following the chemo treatment. The nursing staff told me to stay in overnight so they could monitor me and then I could have the white blood cell producing injection done by the medical staff on the Wed morning. I was discharged about 1 pm on the Wednesday 29th, went home but was nauseous for the next 3 days. So, all of the traumatic stuff happened from August 6 to 29.
My Chemo treatment plan for the next 18months
- Adriamycin & Cyclophosphamide - 4 treatments - 1 every 3 weeks for 12 weeks.
- Paclitaxel once a week for 12 weeks
- Radiotherapy starts when Chemo finishes - every week day for 6 weeks
- Herceptin starts at the same time as the radiotherapy and is once every 3 weeks for 52 weeks - end date March 2021
I am so lucky I have the most amazing awesome support team around me.
Starting with my devoted and loving husband Gary, sisters Rosanna, Maria and Anita and their families. My children Melany, William and step children Rachel and Paul with their spouses Craig and Kara and 3 little grandsons William, Mack and Charlie.
Place Graceville my second family have been fantastic supporting me on my journey. I have not been able to work thus far with all my surgeries and treatments. Thank you to my business partners Peter and Brad and to everyone at Place Graceville for covering for me. Special thanks to the Pink Committee - Chantelle, Laura, Karen and Gary for putting together this event in honor of me to make breast cancer awareness and to raise money for research.
Another support group of special friends is the Graceville Bike Community (GBC). As you may well know Gary and I are avid cyclists and have a close-knit group of supportive friends that have been a tower of strength to us. There are 4 ladies in the GBC that have in the past and currently battling breast cancer. Again, I am so lucky to have these ladies in my life where I can talk to them and compare treatments and the struggles of Chemo. You know who you are! Thank you thank you.
If you can please donate to my cause I would be so appreciative and thank you all very much in advance.
Place Graceville's Pink Breakfast
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so here at Place Graceville we decided to host a “Pink” Breakfast to help raise funds for Breast Cancer research.
As some of our community may already know, that we have someone very dear to us who has just been diagnosed with Breast Cancer back in July and is currently going through chemo. Viviana Eaton is our inspiration for hosting this “Pink” Breakfast.
Our tickets to the Breakfast sold out within a couple days, but if you would like to get involved we have a donation page and would be greatly appreciate any donation. All donations will go to The National Breast Cancer Foundation, who are Australia’s leading national body funding game-changing Breast Cancer research.
Click 'Donate' to make a secure online donation and help us reach our goal. Every donation, big or small, will help us get there, so please don't wait and donate today. All donations over $2 are tax deductible and you will be issued with a tax-deductible receipt via email as soon as you make your donation.
We really believe research is the best way to improve how Breast Cancer is diagnosed, managed, treated and to prevent deaths.
Get everyone involved, because together we can put an end to Breast Cancer.
We thank you for your support!
Stats - It is estimated that 19,371 women and 164 men will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer this year, that is 19,535 Australians. In fact, 53 Australians are diagnosed every day, 8 women lose their life every day, and more than 3,000 will lose their life this year, however it is important to remember that due to ongoing research most survive Breast Cancer.
Thank you to my Sponsors
Place Graceville Pink Breakfast
Kym & Maria Obst
Jane Williams (oconnor)
Hire A Hubby Sinnamon Park
Anthony + Mel Obst
Sally & Rowan
Cyd From Savenio