A lump in the road

Posted by Amanda61 on 15 Jul 2014, 02:03PM

Hi I am Amanda. It has been a challenging few years to say the least. I was just finally coming out of the other side of stress related health issues, a break up of a long relationship, closing down my psychology business, a new relationship, being a single mum of 3 and having no money when "what the Hell.." further tests following a routine mammogram revealed breast cancer!! Mentally fighting cancer was not going to be a problem. as a psychologist I have counselled many clients in similar positions. But in my case I have a very weak stomach - the idea of surgery and hair loss so scary. Fortunately the nightmares ended up being worse than reality!!

Since then (11th Jan 2014) I have had a single mastecomy and a (DIEP) flap breast reconstruction (left side) on 28th May 2014 (6 weeks ago but it feels like so long ago!!). I previously had a lumpmectomy and 3 lymph nodes removed (including sentinel) on feb 14th (st valentine's day - the 1st one I have missed for ages but lucky my partner took me out the night before - I am a hopeless romantic).

Originally the diagnosis was 1 tiny hormone based lump that needed removing and treatment of radiation. But other lumps were found during 1st and 2nd surgeries. My right side was throughly checked before a new diagnosis and treatment plan could be made. After a long wait the right side cleared of cancer although I still had a cyst removed. The funny thing was that after years of not liking my breasts I finally started to be comfortable with my body. Finally after the shock of a masectomy including loss of nipple and a long scar on my tummy (yes I know the roll of fat is gone) it is all good news!!! The cancer has not spread. All 4 lumps were small, low grade and hormone based so NO chemo needed. The cancer came suddenly then gone suddenly!!

So So lucky as I feel I wouldn't have coped with losing my hair plus looking for work and dealing with the mounting debts!! But I am reminded to feel blessed every day that I only have to take Tamoxifen for the next 5-10 years. And that my family, kids and friends including boyfriend of only 9 months have been fantastic during this journey. And that so far in reality the surgery that I feared for so long has gone very well and recovery is good so far.

Now just needing reassurance and guidance  re: getting physically back to 'Normal" and then finding mental strength to look for work (even starting a new career). I am of course so happy that finally health wise things ok but still sad that financially things are very difficult. I am trying to control my stress levels and acknowledge that I've had a big shock .. "a lump in the road'...but that I have got through it better than anticipated and I can therefore do it again with the other difficulties I am facing still..

Comments

Congratulations!

rivergum's picture

Well done on getting through a mountain of surgery on top of all the rest in the last little while. I've just come through the mastectomy and tissue expander side of things after chemo so I'm a fair bit behind you, but looking forward myself to reconstruction later on.

I hope bcna women who've been through the DIEP reconstruction can comment for you on their recovery so you feel confident in getting back into a new job soon. Be kind to yourself. :)

recovery

Amanda61's picture

Thank you for your kind words - really helpful.. YES be kind to oneself.. so very important!! I look forward to some info about recovery. All the best with your surgery and treatment.

Ax

 

 

Hi Amanda

JeanineG's picture

I'm happy to see that after all your trials, you are cancer free. However, I really can relate to your sense of shock - often delayed, I think, when in the midst of dealing with a new and upsetting diagnosis, sudden surgery, pain and the general feeling that your life has been turned upside down.
I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of DCIS in July 2012 and had only 13 days from diagnosis to surgery where I underwent bilateral mastectomies with expander implants. I had a sentinal node biopsy and waited with bated breath for the result. Happily, there was no sign of cancer and I was told I had the "all clear". I was so very grateful and expected to feel only happiness and a sense of relief. I did feel those things, but I didn't anticipate the terrible sense of loss that was quite overwhelming. I had lost a part of me by which I defined my sexuality and I didn't know what to do with those feelings. It has taken me a long time to get my balance back, and some days I feel like I did right at the beginning - totally shocked that cancer came calling and I've lost my breasts. The tears are always just below the surface but I'm getting used to that and trying really hard to connect with my new figure. I completed my reconstruction in January of this year and know that I am lucky to have a good result. However, I don't look like I used to, and as I was quite happy with what I had before, I wonder if I will ever feel that my new breasts are really a part of me.
I tell you all this so you can understand that what you're feeling is normal and common and that it takes time to find some sense of comfort within yourself. I know that I will never feel completely confident that I won't get a recurrence and, as I look at myself every night in the mirror, I have a daily reminder of what has happened to me.
I wish you a complete recovery, good health, and joy every day.
With hugs,
Jeanine
Xxx

recovery

Amanda61's picture

Hi Jeanine

Thank you for sharing your amazing story and your insights were very helpful - I can so relate. What we go through to stay with our loved ones is indeed incredible! A whole new world was opened to me, it was scary and unwanted but full of so many brave people and skilled medical people that I am blown away. I am reassured by mine and all the other wonderful stories of hope that there is always light at the end of tunnel - just got stay focused and determined and remember the love everywhere.

All the best - you deserve it!

Ax 


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