Who am I?
I am not a health professional, I am a two time breast cancer survivor. My experience when dealing with my diagnosis the second time around may be different to others.
When I was diagnosed for the second time with breast cancer I was not as surprised as the first time, which was three years earlier. I had been waiting, with anticipation and apprehension, for that magic five year point, but I never got that far. This time my right breast was the problem. Evidently the left breast which had undergone five weeks of radiation once a day after a lumpectomy was cancer free.
I was not offered any medication at all after my first diagnosis. Whether the drugs that block the estrogen from the cancer ( in simple terms) would have prevented me from being diagnosed a second time, is a good question. I was not treated by the same doctors the second time around, and I think treatment options changed.
After my double mastectomy it was suggested, due to the fact my cancer was estrogen positive, that Tamoxifen taken for 5 years, would be a good idea.
I made the decision to go ahead with the double mastectomy, with the help and support of my husband and daughter. We all felt it was the right way to go, for me. At that time I had not been tested for any known cancer genes, but cancer was prevalent in both of my parents families.
My surgeon suggested the breast implants could be done straight after both my breasts had been removed. Looking back maybe I should have researched the operation, but at the time I was dealing with the cancer diagnosis and how my life would progress afterwards. I have no regrets about my decision.
I was sent home after three days at the hospital, along with the tubes each side of my new breasts draining liquid. That first night I was still in pain, and my chest felt very heavy, yet I had no feeling as such. I could not lay down in bed, so spent the night in an armchair, and my amazing husband kept me company, in a chair close to me.
The VON nurses came to take care of me once in the morning and again in the evening. Dave asked if he could help at all so they showed him how to change my dressings and clean the tubes. I have the most amazing husband.
Much to my shock I developed an infection which was very serious, so my breast implants had to be removed after only one month. After the operation not only did I feel sore and ill, my chest area was a mess. Not only did I have lots of scars where my breasts used to be, I had lots of left over skin where the implants used to be. It took me a few days to come to terms with how I looked. I soon acknowledged that I was alive, and that was what counted.
Life Goes On
I decided to return to school for a year just a few months after going through the stress of two serious operations in must under a month. Looking back I know I made the right decision. Obviously I was still coming to terms with the fact I was now back to square one and waiting for the magic five years to ensure I would be cancer free.
Being back at school gave me the chance to keep busy and not dwell on my challenges. I completed the one year course, and at the same time started my first business, Motivational Steps.
Everyone Copes in a Different Way
Everyone copes in a different way when they go through any serious challenge, in this case breast cancer. I have always had a zest for life and whatever challenges came my way I have managed to deal with them.
The first step is to acknowledge we have a challenge, and that means we can move on. Moving on should mean we can deal with our challenges, but if we feel we can’t it’s always a good idea to speak with someone we trust. By confiding in someone it can alleviate our stress and it clears our head a little bit so we can think about our choices. If we hold in our fears this can lead to even more health issues, such as anxiety, sleepless nights, lack of motivation to name a few.
Life After Breast Cancer
There is life after breast cancer, but everyone has a different life to live. No one person is the same, we all have different needs, personalities, lives to live.
By sharing my stories my hope is that help others.
However you decide to live your life after breast cancer, do it for you, do it your way, and live every minute enjoying being alive, I know I do.