The result! 

So Thursday came and my phone rang…

It’s the breast nurse.. we fed back your information and feelings, and your surgeon examined everything to them..and they agree that full surgery is the best thing for you!

Well I could have cried! I don’t want to spend the rest of my life worrying that it’s still there hiding in tissue. At least this way if it does come back its just really crappy luck!

She asked if I could go see the surgeon that afternoon. So off I toddled to the hospital again.

The surgeon was lovely and wanted to explain that it wasn’t her and that she wanted to look at all options. Apparently the decision makers had also suggested an immediate dermal sling reconstruction and had I considered it. 
I politely refused. Many reasons that implants had never been my choice – the risk of problem with radiation, the fact I would need them replaced regularly, the fact it retains the very tissue we were trying to remove..and the big one.. it would mean weekly hospital visits to be inflated like a leaky tyre! 

It sounds silly but I’ve done so much hospital visits I want to have my surgery have my rads..and be done. Have our holiday, relax.. deal with a life that isn’t based around cancer.. then when I’m ready I can start the reconstruction process. If I am going weekly for a pump up there is no “end of treatment”

She agreed and the consent form was signed. Practically a walk in the park..only half a sheet of a4 side effects..compared to the a3 chemo ones it’s all good. Oh she says we can also bring the op forward to the 15th

That’s next week? I could avoid thinking about it when it was 2 weeks away but next week?! Ermm

I’m handed an appointment card full of appointments.. hickman line removal, pre op, bloods, admission….OMG this is actually happening.. and really really soon!

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It’s a funding issue! 

So I got a phone call from my breast nurse… she needed to ring and tell me that there was a possibility that I wouldn’t be having a bilateral surgery in 17 days.. say what?! 

Then came the fatal words..”it’s a funding issue” it’s turns out that because the majority of my left breast is healthy with some suspicious.. but not biopsied.. areas that the decision makers in the trust felt that they couldn’t provide the funding to remove healthy tissue. Or if they did the bilateral they may not fund a reconstruction both sides..

Say what again! I was literally speechless. Would this not hugely increase the odds of reoccurrence.. well yes..and would I not look a total prat?! I am a HH – there are no HH prostethics.. and I cannot be reconstructed to that size.. seriously I would look like frankentank boob. 

And that my friends is when, as they say,I lost my shit! I was calm and polite but made it very clear exactly what I thought about the trust putting funding above my survival rate.. and what did they expect me to do with one flat and one HH – stuff it with a small bald man? Flop one side over comb over stylee? Seriously! I told her that should they decide I could have both then I wanted to discuss my other treatment options..


She said she would take my concerns back to the team and that she understood my feelings. I also made it VERY clear that should they decide to protect their “funding” …I would make it very loudly..and publicly.. known exactly how that left a mum of 4…

She said that she would feed the info back.. not to make any rash decisions and she would ring me Thursday with the answer..4 whole days.. 2 weeks before surgery.. man and they say avoid stress! 

Well that escalated fast!! 

So today was the day of my oncology appointment with Dr Love God

One question that had been playing on my mind was that I understood when people had surgery to remove the cancer then chemo to “mop up” but I had done it all arse about face… did I face the prospect of chemo again? The Dr promised me I would not have any more chemo for this cancer. Yippee

I also asked him about my prognosis. I wanted to know what my chances were of it coming back. This , said Dr 50shades, was a bit more tricky. Normally the surgeon would remove the offending tumours and measure them, test them,chop them apart.. stick it all thru a database and the computer would spew out my probability.. however these results would be somewhat skewed.. we know the cancer has shrunk my main tumour.. so what should be the probability of a 9cm tumour..maybe be measured as a 5cm one instead..he said given the size, the node involvement etc he would suggest 75-85% of reoccurrence up to 5 years .. balls that’s a bit higher than I was hoping 

However, and here is his saving grace as he was nearly losing his status and being demoted to Dr death…with the bilateral surgery that risk is hugely reduced! Yay right answer Dr .

He was a little annoyed as there was no appointments showing to see my surgeon but he assured me his had sent his secretary “to follow the surgeon around until they got pissed off and made an appintment” and that someone would ring me Monday with a date. Eeek 

With a final cheery wave to the chemo team I headed home. As I got home my mobile rang and for once it was no one offering me ppi – altho as a side note the life insurance cold callers soon shut up when you tell them you have cancer! .. anyway it was the Secretary.. the surgeon would see me this afternoon could I go back now. 


The appointment with the surgeon wasn’t great. I cried , again. I think the enormity .. not just of my boobs!..but of everything was a lot to take in. We decided a delayed reconstruction would be best. For several reasons, the decision is mine and I wanted to have our holiday, lose some weight and ultimately being as it had taking me 6 months to deal with the diagnosis I felt I would need some time to deal with losing my breasts too before substituting them 

Bit like rebound relationships…I was concerned if I replaced Mr myboobs straight away with Mr falseboobs I wouldn’t ever fully deal with the life Mr myboobs and I had built, the fun we had, the places we had been, the jiggly way he sagged.. ahh such memories.. or it is mammaries? 

We discussed recon options and I think I will chose a diep – using the skin and tissue from my flabby stomach to create new breasts. Figure might as well redistribute it there is enough to go around. She also grabbed a handful of back fat and advised there was enough to make a “decent pair” there too.. thanks love now I feel really great .. her later comment of but there isn’t enough fat on my arse or thighs to make a decent size didn’t help redeem her that much.

So just like that, I was given a date of 21st July.. 3 weeks and bobs your uncles fanny’s your aunt, and my boobs are going to be in a bucket somewhere… shit that escalated quickly! 

Chemo reflections (aka shit I have cancer!)

The admission this time was very different to last.. not for my treatment but for my ward buddies. Gone were the Margarets, and in their place were 3 other women. All 3 were waiting for their place in a local hospice … this was a real wake up call.. suddenly you are faced with different cancers at different stages and I suddenly realised this was pretty serious

And I cried..big snotty sobbing tears. A nurse came over and asked if I was ok and if I needed anything.. between the dramatic sobs I managed to blurt out “I’ve got cancer!” Erm yes she said, frantically checking my chart to see if I was newly diagnosed.. she looked confused and asked if the Dr had been in and given me some bad news? No I said I was diagnosed in January … she looked confused and it made me laugh. I guess it did seem a bit wierd having a moment 5 months post diagnosis.

I got over my breakdown, with the help of ice cream.. for my sore throat obviously! And I realised we all deal with our issues in different ways – me? I’ve tried to carry on, see the light in it..but the bay of doom as I named it.. those ladies were dealing with it a different way.

They had chosen to have a cancer off.. seriously it was like cancer top trumps in there.. rating on age at diagnosis, how many rounds of chemo, how many secondaries.. and then bizarrely arguing over which one was bad enough to die first.. one lady was convinced it would be her as her mother died from the same cancer…it later transpired her mother was 98 at the time of her passing! It was funny at the time but looking back its actually quite sad. 

Reflecting on my chemo..you know I didn’t do badly! I expected , as per Dr sexybuns graph of shittiness to feel mainly crap with the odd day of ok …but in general I felt ok with the odd day of feeling close to death. 

Don’t get me wrong there was some shocking low points but I coped, I moved on.. and as promised I did it all wearing some gorgeous dresses. 

So now with appointments looming for oncology debrief and surgery I’m ready for the next step..

You can have the boobies cancer.. But the style stays mine!

Last chemo!! But don’t celebrate just yet!

June 10th… this day marked the final day of Chemo! I had survived..so far at least. I had lost my hair and my eyelashes (apart from one who is still holding in there!), I had a hickman line, my skin was peeling and my nails were falling off. But I had got there.. 6 cycles, each 3 weeks in length, 3 EC 3 docetaxel – check me out! 

The day was marked by the gods as being particularly cheerful.. of course it absolutely pissed down and I debated calling Noah and seeing if the ark could give me a lift in! Oh and the zip of my dress broke as I walked thru the doors of the chemo unit.. thanks gods.. well played! 

I had brought cakes for the nursing team to celebrate it being my last one, so we all had a munch of that with a cup of tea whilst the poison stuff went thru – its all very civilised you know.. and that was that last chemo, appointment to see oncologist in a week and off I went..wow what seemed so far off back at diagnosis had actually flown by. I was on the home straight…

Or so I thought …

I went away for the weekend straight from chemo, in hindsight a stupid thing to do but hey I have a life too. I attended the dog bite and behaviour conference held by the lovely (and very tiny) Victoria Stillwell. When I am not being a gorgeous vintage bombshell I run a dog rescue and along with my friend and fellow trustee we went on a weekend jolly. The course was fab but OMG was just tired. Even a hug from Anthony  Head didn’t revive me .. altho it did make my twin very jealous so every cloud and all that. 

The last day of the conference I really struggled, I was very warm, I was tired and my mouth was getting sore.. this did not bode well. I drove home and went to bed.. and stayed there all day Monday too.

When I woke up Tuesday I didn’t need a blood test to tell me I was neutopenic again.. I hauled my feverish, hairy mouthed body back to the unit and was admitted to the oncology ward again. 

Same process as last time – iv antibiotics for a few days, then a cold appeared! So now a cold had floored me twice.. work that out.. cancer I can fight.. a cold wins lol 

Neutopenic! Admission 1!!

So basically chemo attacks all the cells in your body, it doesn’t seperate cancer from good cells just blasts the lot and hopes it’s not enough to make you die.

This means you become very very susceptible to infection very easily. This is what happened to me.. and my body just wasn’t strong enough to fight it without help.

The following morning I was moved up to the oncology/haematology unit. It’s a custom built unit with special air flow and everything.. bit like a posh hotel.. but NHS and filled with cancer patients.

I was on a bay with the 3 Margarets.. what are the odds. Everytime a Porter or the blood guys came in and went now then Margaret all 3 of them popped their heads up and went yes! They were very lovely but it did feel a bit like being stuck in a episode of Howard’s way! 

I was hooked up to an IV and given antibiotics every 4 hrs in the hope it would beat the mystery infection into submission. 


On day 3 I woke up with a streaming cold… Dr McDreamy did his rounds and went aha! That’s the problem. Only me could be hospitalised for a cold! 

Once my bloods showed my levels were slowly increasing I was allowed home with a high dose of oral steriods.. ready to be hit with the chemo stick again.. one more to go!!

Fundraiser

Check out this page on Facebook for details of a fundraiser happening now for York Breast Friends

https://m.facebook.com/yorkbreastfriendsfundraiser/

Post updates coming soon I promise!!