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...no, I'm a Gemini

by Anonymous

21 August 2016 at 11:11

21 August 2016

Its been a busy week for me this week and it seems to have gone really quickly too.

I was back at the hospital on Thursday for my 3 weekly bloods, weight (I had lost some weight again this week..yaaay) and then in to see the Oncologist.

I got to see all the internal pictures of me that had been taken over the course of my treatment, I even got to see pictures of my tumours before and after chemo, it was really interesting.

My Oncologist seemed as excited as I was that Monday will be my last dose of chemo, we talked briefly about what happens next.

I finally get my PICC line removed, although I will no longer be having chemo, I will still have to pop back to the day unit every 3 weeks. I have been given herceptin with my chemo from the start and I need to continue to take this drug for a year, which means 3 weekly visits to the hospital until around March next year. As they will be removing my PICC line, it now be injections in my upper leg, which will be a lot quicker, but not that great for me, I am hoping I will be a lot calmer about this injection than I was the last time they tried to give it to me, just like my daily injections from the District Nurse (which will also stop in a couple of weeks time), I am hoping it will be something I get used to.

Although I will only usually see my Oncologist every 3 months from now on, I will be seeing her again when I am back for my herceptin injection in 3 weeks time to discuss another injection I will need to have; bisphosphonate.

I will have a total of 4 of these injections over 2 years. Chemo can sometimes weaken your bones, according to the cancer research website bisphosphonate maybe use to;

Prevent or control bone thinning (osteoporosis)
Reduce the risk of bones breaking
Reduce the level of calcium in your blood
Reduce pain

On Friday I was back at the hospital again this time to see my surgeon. The surgeon was really pleased with how my tumours had responded to chemotherapy, infact, like my Oncologist, on examination, he found it difficult to find them and he said it may be possible to get away with just a lumpectomy, but didnt want to get my hopes up until he was sure, so I was back in for another mammogram.

Unfortunately, although the tumours had responded well to the chemo, now instead of being big lumps they were in sort of bits which meant in order for the surgeon to be sure he had removed everything, he would have to remove a large area of tissue, so mastectomy was still the preferred route.

We had a very good chat about the fact that I was considering a double mastectomy without reconstruction, but he was against doing this. He suggested I should only go ahead with what was necessary at this time and I should take some more time to consider anything else, as he felt I might regret it later if I didnt.

We did spend quite a lot of time talking through the pros and cons and he was very open and honest about his reasons, which I really appreciated. At the moment I am down to have a mastectomy without reconstruction but he has left the options open and we can change this decision on the day of surgery if I change my mind and decide to go ahead with the double mastectomy instead.

The nurse, who was also with me during the meeting with my surgeon, then showed me some photos of the actual scarring etc, which really helped me to understand what I was going to look like after surgery, she also gave me a soft front opening bra, with appropriate padding, to wear temporarily after surgery until I am fully healed.

As I will not be having reconstruction, I was shown some prosthetics, which I have to say although look a little different, feel remarkably real, I will be measured and given my very own after surgery, then it will just be a case of popping it in my bra, you have to buy bras with special pockets to put it in, but apparently they are widely available these days.

The surgeon then talked to me about timescales, my surgery is going to take place on Thursday 29 September, which is a lot sooner than I had expected, but apparently my bloods look good and they can usually do surgery as early as 6 weeks after last chemo if everything looks good.

I have to be at the hospital for 7am!!!! I am not allowed to eat or drink anything, other than water the night before.

Because I live alone they may keep me in overnight just to make sure I come round from the anesthetic OK, but if I can arrange for someone to be at home with me at least for the first night, as I will still be a little wobbly, I will let me go home the same day.

According to the surgeon I could potentially be up and about within 3 days and fully healed within 6 days. Which I found pretty amazing really.

There are no stitches to have removed, the stitches are all internal and disposable, the wound is glued together and held with those little plaster strips, thats it.

As I am also having the lymph nodes in my left armpit removed, I will have to have my arm measured incase of any swelling post operation, I was also advised to only have my blood pressure and blood tests now done in my right arm, and not to use my left arm for any heavy lifting, basically my left arm is now out of bounds for anything other than normal activity. Apparently the lymph nodes are like filters, when they are removed, the body normally finds other lymph nodes to filter through, but sometimes this doesnt happen and fluid can build up causing swelling, which isnt good, this can happen months after they have been removed, so it just something I will initially need to keep my eye on.

At some point after surgery I will be booked in for my radiotherapy, but no dates have been confirmed yet.

So, although it was a long day and there was lots of information to take in and consider, it was a pretty positive day for me, I was really pleased about the healing timescales as I had been told it would be a lot longer and I wasnt looking forward to being laid up and having to be looked after, but it looks like things are going to be fine in that respect.

I am sure on the day of surgery things might be different, but at the moment I am feeling very relaxed and positive about the operation.

And of course I am over the moon that Monday is my LAST batch of toxics!!!! If I had the energy I would be skipping my way up the hill to the hospital tomorrow.



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