Karen Osborne

My name is Karen & I live in Ontario Canada. I was first diagnosed in 1996 with breast cancer in my left breast, I had just turned 37. The best course of action that my oncologist recommended was surgery followed by chemotherapy and finally radiation. The doctor recommended, given my age that the surgery consist of a lumpectomy only as the same results would be achieved by conserving the breast than having a mastectomy. It took 10 months to finish the prescribed course of treatment and I returned to work with the federal government. I had 6 months of sick leave in the bank and was on short term disability for the last 4 months. I was prescribed 5 years of tamoxifan which was the standard for pre menopausal women. I needed to be monitored closely while on this as one of the side effects of the daily drug was uterin cancer. After being on the medication for almost two years there were concerns and a total hysterectomy was ordered. I would only know once I woke up if there was cancer or not. Luckily the tumors were benign. I was back to work after a few weeks. I would go for my screenings, mammograms etc faithfully every year. About 8-10 years after I started to feel that something was not quite right again. Mammograms kept coming back as stable. When I complained I was told all they could see was scar tissue. This went on for awhile. In August 2009 I had my mammogram which came back with the same result. In the spring of 2010 I made an appointment with my family doctor as my left breast had become so thick it seemed to have flattened out and my nipple inverted. I was sent for another mammogram. Following that I was sent for an MRI. I was then sent for core biopsy of the left breast, the right breast and the right armpit all areas where tissue was showing as abnormal. Results of the biopsy cancer to all sites including lymph nodes on right side I was sent to see a surgeon. The surgeon reviewed my information and made a physical exam. The "mass" on my left side was so thick it was stuck to my chest wall and muscle. He wouldn't be able to operate until it was loosened. He could operate on the right side but why subject me to two surgeries. He recommended starting with chemotherapy which would reduce the mass and loosen up thus rendering it operable. On May 18, 2010 I had my first round of chemotherapy. I was to get the rounds once every three weeks with a one week rest so basically once a month for about six rounds. I was to see my oncologist just prior to the start of a new round. I saw him between 1 & two and he said he thought it was working. I did not see him between 2 & 3 because this would fall on the July 1 holiday so he felt we could just skip it. When seeing him between 3 & 4 he said no he thought it was not progressing as he thought earlier so he would change the chemotherapy drugs. This time I would receive Taxotere and at the same intervals. Taxotere I was told might cause me some achyness to my joints. About 10 days after the first treatment I felt really flush and achy all over. I was also running a high temperature. I had been told prior that if my temperature went up I was to inform them. I called the pdn nurse assigned to my oncologist and left a message regarding my symptoms. I received a call back and was instructed to go to the chemotherapy unit of the General hospital where they would triage my situation. I was told to bring an overnight bag just in case, this was Friday July 30, 2010. I remember bits and pieces like being put in an ambulance and sent to the Civic Hospital because maybe it was vascular. My memory tells me this was Friday but in fact it was Saturday. I had apparently been kept overnight for monitoring. I awoke Saturday morning with no fever but I had a sore right leg like a charlie horse and I was trying to walk it off in the hallways. My parents relieved my husband so he could go home and shower. I have no recollection of my parents being with me or walking the hallways. My daughter tells me I called her but again I don't remember. I woke up many days later from an induced coma with my right leg being amputated above the knee due to Necrotizing Fasciitis. The amputation was Monday August 2, 2010. No one knows how I caught the Necrotizing Fasciitis but with a compromised immune system one can only speculate the hospital. I was in intensive care for quite some time. I was moved to the oncology ward once I was able to leave intensive care. I stayed one night and was rushed back to intensive care as I had a GI bleed and required blood transfusion etc. Intensive care got me all patched up and healthy enough to go back to the 5th floor cancer ward. I discussed with my oncologist my reluctance to receive taxotere again and it was agreed that we would change to a different regiment. I would receive Taxol. This injection would be given once a week for three weeks and then a week off in between. After receiving the third injection of each round I would receive a Neulasta shot which stimulates the white blood cells and helps to boost the immune system. I would stay in the hospital for the first cycle so they could closely monitor my reaction to the treatment. I ended up catching C-Difficile due to my immune system being compromised. I asked that I be discharged as I felt I would be healthier at home and not susceptible to all of the germs floating around a hospital. I was discharged September 17, 2010. I had no idea how I would transfer from the hospital wheel chair to the vehicle but I was leaving somehow. I went along getting my treatments, getting my neulasta injections until it was deemed that the surgeon could do his job. On one of my check ups with my oncologist I asked the nurse this question: Why, if Taxotere is known to be a harsh treatment was i not given the Neulasta injection? " Her reply was "don't ask the oncologist because he has been trying to get this to be standard from the province but they say no as the shot is $3000.00 each." I asked why I can now get is, her reply was "because you had an event so the province will allow it." She went on to say that never have they had this horrific of an event....