BC: Early in 2012, I had recently moved to America from Australia to be with my new husband. I was trying to fit in and learn new ways (do you know light switches flip up to go ON in the US?). I established new connections and made appointments with a GP and dentist. It was a couple of months before I attended the routine mammogram my GP suggested. I was contacted almost immediately for another mammogram, then an ultrasound and then a needle biospsy. Within a week I knew I had the dreaded breast cancer. AD: No symptoms, I couldn't feel a lump, I am told I have cancer and must be treated. Unreal feeling. More unreal than being displaced in a strange country. I now feel like I am an alien on a strange planet.
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Contributor
Hi Gwenneth! How scary for you........I hope your treatment options are fully explained and easy to understand and I wish you well in your journey........you are among friends here.... PA
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Contributor
Hi Gwenneth It's weird isn't it, when they tell you that you're sick but you only have their word for it. And then they give you treatment that actually makes you feel sick. It's backwards. I do remember being interested in the upside-down light switches when I was on holiday in America several years ago. And they all seemed to be in an old-fashioned style as well which I thought was odd. Being diagnosed with cancer is hard enough without the added dislocation of being in a new country. I hope everyone will look after you well - I'm sure they will. All the nurses in my chemo room were lovely and friendly and made the experience much better than it could have been. I have been thinking lately about how I would answer the question "what's it like having breast cancer?". The first part of the answer is that it was terrifying, but the second part of the answer is that it was all manageable and doable and people helped me through it and it was not as bad as I would have imagined. I had 4 months of chemo and a unilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. What treatment are you having? Best wishes
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Occasional Contributor
Hi Gwenneth, can't begin to understand how scary it would be to have this kind of diagnosis in a strange country! At least it was found! I had a large lump (2cm) and was told for 18 months that it was benign before it was found that it wasn't! I have now had a mastectomy with an expander inserted and now awaiting reconstruction. I have had no chemo just hormone therapy even though I had a small spread to one lymph node. Don't freak out about treatment, it will all depend on your pathology. Surgery is scary but us women are tough and get through it. It honestly wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. You will be well taken care of and come out the other side of this one hell of a fighter! All the best!
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