My first bout of breast cancer was in 2003 when I found a lump in my left breast. I was 47 years old with no family history of breast cancer - I was devastated.
I opted for a lumpectomy, full node clearance followed by radiation for 6 weeks. I was ok for 7 years (apart from breaking my ankle and enduring 3 operations on it) and then cancer came back. It was picked up on my routine yearly mammogram. A cancerous area of 3cms had grown in a year- same breast, same spot. Thankfully, my body and bone scans were all clear.
So in May 2010 I had a mastectomy and then chemotherapy. The first round of TC combo knocked me for six and I ended up in hospital isolation with an infection and no white cells. I decided not to continue with chemotherapy and my oncologist was ok with that. He said that taking Tamoxifen would probably benefit me more anyway because my cancer pathology was eostrogen positve and hercepton negative.
My hair took almost 3 months before it started to sprout and I was very distressed about being bald for so long. It was around this time I joined the BCNA online network and received much support from my pink sisters. It's been 18 months since my mastectomy and I seem to be ok but will need more time before I have confidence in my health again.
I thought my bad year was behind me! I lost a friend to breast cancer in April, lost my Mum to liver cancer in May and lost my brother-in-law to brain cancer last month. My year was mostly devoted to nursing mum and then sorting out mum's unit in order to sell it (which I did). I had 4 months of extreme dental work, my husband had a gall bladder operation and even the cat had surgery!
I've been on Tamoxifen for 4 years now. However, to be honest, I stopped it several months ago for a break.
I've done this before and inevitably, I get some spotting which leads me to have a pelvic ultrasound. I also needed a well overdue pap test and routine blood tests. Now don't you just love it when you go for routine checkups and come out with all sorts of issues you never knew you had!
Three weeks ago,I lost a friend to breast cancer and 11days ago I lost my dear mum to liver cancer. She was diagnosed 14 months ago and was told she'd only have 6 months to live.She decided against chemo which wouldn't give her a cure but perhaps extra time.Well she got an extra 8mths anyway and we looked after her in her home until the end.My brother and I kept her comfortable and she had a peaceful death with us close by her.
For anyone who has cancer or is a carer living in the Hills area of Sydney,there are 2 art therapy groups about to start next week.They are organized by the Cancer Council and run by trained art therapists.Both groups will commence next Wednesday 30th April 11am to 130pm.If interested ,please ring cancer council,Sebastian King on 93542071 or Jody on 0417482081 or Sharon on 0400427082.
Kellyville Breast Buddies is a support group that my buddy Katriona and I started at the beginning of the year.We have many women in our group now and offer support,friendship and information from BCNA.We also sew drain bags which we put in a gift pack and donate to our local hospital for women undergoing breast surgery.And now we are in the local paper.
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