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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4 thoughts on “Healing from Breast-cancer Lumpectomy update (my)

  1. Your healing process sounds very promising – so does that research trial.
    Hoping the recovery goes all smooth and with the least amount of side effects as it can be.
    Glad your Internet could be sorted too, I’ve been through that kind of story too so it’s unfortunately quite common for all of us living in the countryside. Even moving to the US and we still had lots of internet issues so I guess it’s an international problem 🙂
    Lots of love and healing thoughts
    Susi

    • Hi Susi,
      How nice to hear from you again, and thank you for your warm wishes for healing, and commiseration on the internet problem!
      The trouble is – we become so dependant on it!
      Where I am at the moment (on my hols) I am not connected ( I’m sitting outside a tourist office right now ) – and the number of times I think I need to know something (usually for the writing) and think ‘I’ll just google it’ to remember it will have to wait until I go into town next!!!
      Best
      Ann

  2. I’m glad to hear the upbeat tone of your report – from my own personal experience, having a positive attitude and outlook is a great thing, glass half full, eh? All the best – Christine x

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