Healing from Breast-cancer Lumpectomy update (my)

So here’s a catch-up on the healing process of my breast cancer lumpectomy. I know I promised a stage by stage report, but as you will know, a few spanners fell into the works – and then my blog/internet disappeared for a while. Well, back on track – here are some pictures to join the dots.

May – this was the last one I showed you …wp_20180428_07_30_40_proJune – by mid June the bruising had expanded and went all round the breast – making it swollen and tender.. wp_20180527_08_44_07_crop-proJuly – by mid July the swelling had gone down – but there was still the feeling of a hard knot under the scar – and the scar seemed rather pulled in. wp_20180629_08_21_48_proAugust – by mid August this had ‘filled’ in again and the ‘knot’ seems to have loosened – leaving the nipple slightly looking aside, but the breast feeling smoother.  wp_20180829_08_46_13_august-2018-pro

Now the ‘Other interesting Developments’ I mentioned at the end of my last post.

Well, when I returned to see the surgeon after surgery he said I would receive radiotherapy after my surgery had started to heal, followed by oestrogen blockers – but after I left him I was approached by a research team nurse.

She explained that this hospital were doing a phase three research study into whether radiotherapy did more harm than good in cases where the removed lump was, a, under 2 cms, b, early stage, c, oestrogen receptive, d, non-aggressive. In which case the treatment would be via oestrogen blockers only

I was asked if I would give permission for the lump to be examined for suitability, while I could read up about the research programme and the statistics. Armed with plenty to read I gave my permission for the lump to be tested.

When I returned to the hospital for my first appointment in the radiotherapy department the results were not in, so the research nurse appeared again and apologised (explaining that I ought to have been ‘caught into the research programme’ just after my biopsy – so the lump would have gone straight off) so now they would process me as if I was having radiotherapy … but not go ahead unless I decided not to enter the programme and it was required.

I was concerned about what would happen is I reacted badly to the oestrogen blocker. The common side-effects are to put you back into menopause symptoms. Having gone through them ALL, for five years ‘cold turkey’ (no HRT)  I wasn’t too enamoured with the idea – add to that, I had a friend who had, post breast surgery, reacted badly to oestrogen blockers of various kinds, living in a ‘brain fog’. I was told, that there were a variety to choose from, and that if one did not suit a different one could be prescribed. AND I was told I could begin right away, so that by the time I had to make the actual decision – I might have an idea if they suited me. That seemed like a good idea to me.

At the next appointment in radiotherapy with the consultant radiographer we were joined by the research team. Now I had to make my decision. Did I want to be on the programme?

Now I’d had plenty of time to consider. I had looked at various information; I had learnt that a phase three was considered ‘pre-clinical’ as in the last programme before it became recommended (that it was looking at much larger numbers to iron-out anomalies, but that it was showing great promise)

I already knew that they would be following me up with a mammogram a year for ten years – so that if anything occurred or reoccurred it should be spotted early. That 25% of women who have radiotherapy suffer long term, sometimes life-long, side effects, including marked breast shrinkage, constant pain or tenderness, burning sensations. One in 4 is a high number!

I had initially had a few weird feelings when taking the oestrogen blocker – but after a week these had disappeared. I was getting hot feet at night – but then the weather was quite warm anyway, but none of the other menopause symptoms like full-on flushes or brain-fog that I had feared. I decided to say YES.

However, now I had to give permission for them to look at the results to see if I was eligible. . . .

Ten minutes later they came back to say I WAS – the results from the lump met all the criteria and, when the formula was applied, I was given a 3.2 % chance or re-occurrence, meaning I could go on the research programme.

Since then I have had a bone density scan (as oestrogen blockers also make it more likely to suffer from osteoporosis – though remember I’d be on these anyway)  which came back as ‘normal’ and I now have a GP cancer-care follow up appointment lined up.

The hard scar tissue in the breast has softened, and though the nipple looks a little sideways now, the breast feels good and the cleavage is still smooth (well, as smooth as any at 64 years!)

So, here we are on my breast cancer journey – basically just getting on with it, taking the oestrogen-blocker pill everyday, trying to get back to my pre-2016 healthy lifestyle, exercising, eating well (basically low carb, including fermented foods, a few supplements (like vitamin D [October to May], omega3 oil, gulcosamine, and, of course, the borax maintenance dose and magnesium glycinate for the LS)

AND

Time to get back to writing, to being an author – and editing and running my business. Time to start living life again and trying out lots of new things.

Let me add – this is just my experience. I couldn’t find any early stage breast cancer stories on blogs – so decided that I would do it – for others who want to see what this stage is like ( as opposed to the drastic cases usually written about) Being positive, being informed, and getting on with it, is my way through.

Hope you found something useful – and if you want to share your experiences please do use the comments.

Best – Ann

ps If you are reading this on email and would like to comment just click onto the title and it will take you to the actual blog – so you can comment there 🙂
If it is the first time you have written a comment don’t worry if it doesn’t appear immediately, your first comment has to be verified (to keep the spam-bots out) and I do this personally – so I am sure to see your comment – thanks for reading – Ann

pps – if you are reading on the email and can’t see a video when it says there is one – again , please go to the actual blog by clicking the title – then it should appear 🙂

Remember – reviews of books are a great way to say ‘thank you’ to an author if you like what they write  🙂 Thank You

 

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Into the Internet Black Hole

What? Oh Hello!  Where have I been?
LOST – Lost in a black hole called black-hole– ‘our service provider didn’t organise things properly’… As in, we have moved … all the way to … next door. ‘Oh, yes, it is all organised,’ they said, ‘we will cut your phone off at the old address and have you connected (new line required) and all you will have to do is take the equipment – plug it in – and there you are – only one day disconnected’

They said.

Oh, you’d like to know who? TalkTalk.

Now, I had only recently gone over to them, mainly because BT were being really intransigent. It seemed that I had to take out a new contract with them as we would be moving to a new address, so we would be seen as a new customer … however, as we were already with them at our present address we were not eligible for any of the reduced rate offers open to new customers … because we were a current customer.

UM? So on one hand we are a new customer but on the other we are not? Talk about having your cake and eating it … that is BT – not us!

So we looked around – and took recommendations – and checked prices – and rang and asked questions. And switched to TalkTalk. All went well and smoothly initially, their router arrived, we plugged it in – it worked fine, phone continued as usual … until the move about a month later.

First someone at TalkTalk didn’t actually book OpenReach to come and do the line connection when the move was ordered. Fortunately, as we hadn’t heard anything we chased TalkTalk up. Apparently the notes were there – but the booking hadn’t been made. The operator then said he’d booked it for the day of our move – 1st May. However, we later got an email from Open Reach confirming an appointment to connect us up on the 9th, however we had organised to move out of the old house on the 1st, so the move went ahead. (meaning – 1 week without phone or internet – instead of one day)

On the 9th of May, in the  last half hour of the afternoon slot, an engineer turned up. He connected up everything in the house, went to connect up outside and then told us – he couldn’t. It seems that Open Reach (a different part if it)  hadn’t done some of the preparation work. He said he would report it and that we should see someone within a couple of days, but that we needed to tell our service provider to get them to pass on the problem, and to tell them ‘it needed two men and a cherry-picker to take the new cable through the trees’.

We contacted TalkTalk to tell them, they said ‘we will order an engineer to come to connect you’ whereupon we told them what the engineer had said, they said ‘we will order an engineer’. We were given a booking time, Friday that week – no one turned up at all.

(two weeks without proper internet – or phone.)

So back to TalkTalk – trying to make sure they really understood that it was preparation work that was needed.

Eventually, another (single) engineer arrived, saw the problem – but he DID arrange for the work to be done the following day. Then we should have been connected!  Or not!

 (three weeks without internet or phone connection)

It seemed there was some kind of problem in the actual line further up towards the village. He put in a request for it to be looked into … and nearly a week later … we were actually connected. (four weeks without internet or phone)

Nearly a month after the move! On top of that they have not retained our old phone number! The one we’ve had for over 40 years.  This because … when I eventually got high enough up the ladder to speak to someone who could ask WHY BT wouldn’t let us keep our number – it turns out that the County Council hadn’t notified Royal Mail that the address we had verified two years ago was verified – and so didn’t appear as a ‘proper’ address to allocate a phone number to – unfortunately getting to this point meant that by the time this was sorted out and Royal Mail had added us to the verified address list – we were now so long disconnected that TalkTalk could not now apply for our old number back! You just couldn’t make this up!

The number they have given us is just weird – no location has a number starting with 2 in the whole of the Liskeard area code!  So, rant over – I now face making sure all our contacts have this new number.

wp_20180622_13_27_06_proLastly, just as we get online again, my dear mother, who has been in poor health for a long time with sever vascular dementia, lost her ability to swallow.
Imagine – no one knowing our new number yet trying to call us!
Since then I have been in a different black hole – this one created by the whirlwind of seeing someone very close pass away and organising all that must follow.

 

So, dear, patient readers – thank you for being there and for reading even though this blog has been beset with long pauses and gaps this past year or so.

PS

I will update on my healing process and other interesting developments soon …

Best Ann

ps If you are reading this on email and would like to comment just click onto the title and it will take you to the actual blog – so you can comment there 🙂
If it is the first time you have written a comment don’t worry if it doesn’t appear immediately, your first comment has to be verified (to keep the spam-bots out) and I do this personally – so I am sure to see your comment – thanks for reading – Ann

pps – if you are reading on the email and can’t see a video when it says there is one – again , please go to the actual blog by clicking the title – then it should appear 🙂

***

Remember – reviews of books are a great way to say ‘thank you’ to an author if you like what they write  🙂 Thank You

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