Hi everyone. I hope you are all doing well. It recently dawned on me that I feel more comfortable on a hospital ward than anywhere else...what the?? It's unbelievable how the words " you have cancer" can change your life.
2.5 weeks ago I had breast reconstruction surgery where the surgeons cut my lats to create pockets for expanders to go in. I had the last drain removed on friday and the stitches are coming out this friday. I am very happy with the results, even with the swelling.
When i was in the hospital I was frustrated that some of the nursing staff didn't understand why I wanted to know how much fluid was in the drains, what my blood count was, etc etc. For me these were milestones, it meant I was recovering. I had a lot of anxiety and was very distressed when it came time for the drains to be removed as the memories of the drains from last year were fresh in my mind, the feel of it and the sound it made. 2 nurses said to me that they couldn't understand why i was so worked up about it. I couldn't believe it! I even made the sound effect of the drain being removed for them. There were other nurses who were an immense help and talked me through it, breathed with me and made me feel at ease. Interestingly when these nurses removed the drains it didn't hurt. When i was coaching I would say to sales consultants, the day you wake up and dread the thought of going in to work is the day you should think about a doing something different as the dread turns into hate and the hate comes out in the quality of work you do and will have an impact on your dealings with other people. Some people really shouldn't be in the jobs they have.
On a lighter note the best thing about everything thats happened in the last year is that I've spent most of it in my pyjamas. What a great feeling. A bit like hugh hefner without the playboy mansion, bunnies and smoking jacket.
Have a great day ( :
... View more
Has anyone had breast reconstruction? I had a bilateral breast reconsruction a week and a half ago and can't wait to have the last drain removed as well as all the steri strips that seem to be holding me together. How long did it take you to recover? I had my lats removed and attached to my chest cavity + expanders. I'm still not used to having anything on the chest and I'm hoping it won't feel so awkward sooner rather than later.
... View more
I finished chemo and radiation early this year and do find it difficult to make decisions at times. During treatment my ability to have a conversation, make a decision, retain and recall information was dismal. I found this to be very challenging and it had an enormous impact on me. I remeber one particular day I was at the local grocery shop and I was walking from one end of the shop to the other trying to decided whether to buy chocolate or biscuits. I think I was there for about 20 minutes just walking to and fro. In the end I picked up some random item as it was easier than have having to make a decision.
I am now undergoing hormone therapy and every 3 weeks I have a dose of herceptin. 2-3 days after treatment I become very emtional and frustrated as I can't make decisions. I turn into the worlds biggest sook. I have been taking st johns wort on the bad days and it helps a lot.
How are you feeling?
... View more
I have been extremely impatient. I'm going to be bridesmaid for a friends wedding soon and my hair should be long enough to look like a pixie style. If not I plan on moving around all day so that I look like a blur and people won't notice the very short hair.
I saw a plastic surgeon today as I am scheduled in for breast reconsrtuction next month and I'm feeling impatient about that. A friend recommended that I read "the power of now" which is about being in the present moment and I have found it helpful in overcoming the angst associated with cancer.
Julie I agree with you about having a laugh. It's a must to get through this. The day I had a bilateral mastectomy I went up to the reception desk at the hospital and said that I would like to check in to my room. I'll probably do the same thing next month. Shaving your head again will help with the fuzz.
... View more
Hi Lydia, I lost my hair twice during treatment as chemotherapy was split up into 2 lots of 3 as I was recieving different drugs. Before I started chemotherapy I knew I would lose my hair so I took control of the situation and had my hair cut short into a bob and then a few weeks later cut into a short pixie style. Tweleve days after the first chemotherapy my hair started to fall out, this was was very confronting, even though I was expecting it to happen. That day I went to a hairdresser friend and she shaved my head. After finishing the first round of chemotherapy I had to wait 4 weeks before I started 5 weeks of radiation and then waited another 4 weeks before starting the next round of chemotherapy. During that time my hair had started to grow back and I was very happy about it. It didn't even occur to me that it would fall out again, silly I know. So when it did fall out again I was devastated.
I had borrowed a wig from the tracey scone wig library in darlinghurst and wore it a few times. I found it uncomfortable and was paranoid that it looked like I was wearing a bad toupee. Early in the year when it was hot I wore scarves. Friends that I hadn't seen in ages who didn't know I had cancer thought I was just channelling audrey hepbrun sashaying around town looking glamorous in a scarf and large sunglasses. I also bought a couple of 1920's inspired hats from individual wigs. I wore them constantly during winter. I had strangers coming up to me on the street, in shops asking where I got the hat from, one lady ran after me to tell me that I looked great in the hat. Because I don't look sick people assume I'm being fashionable. Haha.
There were days when all I wanted was to look "normal". To leave the house without wearing something on my head.
My hair started to grow back 5 weeks after finishing treatment and it grew out fuzzy looking. I didn't want to have a fuzzy hair so I shaved it again. After a few weeks it started to grow back again this time without the fuzz and it looks great. When a baby is born in the Indian culture the parents shave the babies head to get rid of the baby fuzz and I think there's some other mystical reason as well which I don't remember. Anyway next time you're out and you see an a person of Indian heritage have a look at their head full of hair. ( :
It does get better.
... View more
Hi! I hope everyone is well. I am pleased to say that I have finished chemo and radiation and am now onto hormone therapy. I'm getting closer to the end!
My hair has started to grow back and I'm hoping that I'll have a cute pixie do by the end of september when I will be a bridesmaid for a friend. I too find that friends and family see me and think I look "normal" because I wear makeup and go for a walk everyday or to the local shops. I've had a couple of people tell me that I'm being lazy because I've said that I felt tired. I got very angry the first time that I heard this and very quickly told the person that the tiredness I felt had nothing to do with going out till the wee hours of the morning, that it was because my body had been through hell.
I'm booked in for reconstructive surgery oct 23rd, which is 1 year and 1 day since I had a mastectomy. I feel like I've come full circle.
Has anyone else had reconstructive surgery? What was your experience?
... View more
Last week I woke to a beautiful morning and decided to go for a walk to black wattle bay. On my walk I was thinking about a friend in S.A so I decided to text her a "hello". After a few texts between us I took a picture of the anzac bridge with the harbour bridge in the background and sent it to her. Her response was "life's not fair!", my response to that was "life's not fair but you make the most of it." I didn't hear back from her.
Everyone one of us is different and has had various experiences with cancer. After reading everyones post I feel the common thread amongst all is that we choose to live.
As we continue to live we may have days that are best forgotten and others that are worth remembering. For myself I never questioned "why me?". I always ask "when will this pain end?"
Since my diagnosis I have learnt a lot about my self. I am stronger than I thought, I am more positive than I thought. I am loved and I love.
So I think it's not fair that everyone can't experience this growth and knowledge.
... View more
I am on tamoxofin and go in for herceptin once every 3 weeks at St Vincents. The only noticable side effect I experience is hot flushes. I can be freezing cold one minute and then burning up the next. I would like to have children one day, I'm 35, and have spoken to my oncologist about this. He has suggested that I be on tamoxofin for 2 years because of this. For me, anything that can lessen chances of the cancer returning is a good thing.
... View more
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.