Posts tagged ‘Breast Cancer’

April 25, 2013

Tickety Boo(bs) and Pay It Forward

My surgeon topped me up today. We forgot to take a camera so TB took a quick snap on his phone…yes the one that’s rattled around in his pocket for four years and has dust under the lens. So, apologies for the poor quality picture.

ports

Here you can see the needles in BOTH ports which are under the skin. A syringe filled with saline is attached to the end of the tube and hey presto…boobage! I will have one or two more tweaks over the next couple of weeks and then wait with bated breath as the newest breast settles. Then, when I’m happy with them both, I will have the ports removed. Some women leave them in but mine show so I’ll let them go. The left breast will always be a little more pronounced at the top as this has been subjected to radiotherapy which has caused the muscle to tighten around the implant. It’s really only noticeable in certain garments, hence wearing a bra today so I could see how it looked as it was being expanded.

My surgeon has given me a new nipple on the latest breast. At the moment it looks a bit iffy but will look better when the wound has completely healed. However, I will have the option to have a nipple constructed on the first side to match or to have the existing one smoothed out instead. Watch this space. (Watch my nipples…ooer)

Oh and see those hands? Those are the HIS hands…the man who has given me two wonderful boobs back. I have no idea how to thank him so I just smile insanely. I will pass on my good fortune to whomever and whenever I can. I am a firm believer in Pay It Forward, the national day of which happens to be today, but I like to do it every day.

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March 24, 2013

Fig rolls and Herceptin

Last week I had another intravenous Herceptin dose.

Herceptin1

I took Jacob’s Fig Rolls (which are vegan and the best and less calories than most biscuits) to have with the hospital coffee. They do look after us in the chemo suite…endless cups of coffee and biscuits but I can’t be sure their biscuits are vegan and their sandwiches definitely aren’t. This time it only took three hours.

I also saw the pharmacist who explained the procedure for having the next fourteen doses administered at home. I think this is a fantastic service but he seemed to be almost apologetic about it. I get the feeling many patients see this as a cop out by the hospital but I see it as a caring way to make this treatment easier for me.

All things being well, I won’t be going to the chemo suite again. I shall still see the staff there as my oncologist appointments are in the same department.

When I got home I had this :o)

Gin

I love Fevertree (and Waitrose) tonic water as it doesn’t have sweeteners in it. All the others, even the Fat Tonic Waters have saccharin or aspartame in and I don’t want that stuff in my food and drink…it also tastes vile. There are a lot of things I don’t want in my food and drink. To this end I try to avoid processed or intensively farmed/grown produce. I’m buying organic when I can (Jeez that stuff’s expensive sometimes) and, as ever, I make our meals from scratch.

I’ve been advised to avoid dairy as this contains too many hormones which have been given to the cows to increase yields. Lucky I’m vegan then and knew all this and wouldn’t want to have something which had caused the cow to suffer anyway. Lucky I also don’t eat any animal flesh as this is so full of growth hormones it’s scary. I’m being given drugs to block all these things where they occur naturally and I don’t want to introduce unnecessary extras.

TB has downloaded to his Kindle (there must be a verb for that…Kindled) Eat & Run by Scott Jurek. He’s an ultrarunner (wow…there’s an actual word for him) and a vegan. TB is wondering if a vegan diet will improve his triathloning…well, yes, of course it will.

My fingernails are getting worse…hey ho.

Three days till I have my boobs evened up…

November 24, 2012

Sans Nipple…

Here it is…the moment I’ve been waiting for…the first sight of my scar and I am so pleased.

This is the first time my surgeon has seen it, too and he was very pleased.
There’s no fluid, very little bruising, the implant hasn’t moved. the port hasn’t moved
and the scar is wonderfully smooth. Some of the areola has been saved and this will be used to make the new nipple and a new areola will be tattooed around it. Good, huh?

This photograph was taken after I’d had another 40ml of saline injected into the implant.
The breast will settle in time and look less like a football!
The injection and fill-up didn’t hurt at all; in fact, we were all laughing about it. However, by the evening, the tightness and stretching of the muscle was very painful but this has now eased and the painkillers helped.
Next week, I’m having the final top up…not 40ml, I don’t want to poke TB in the eye.

EDIT: Just in case you were wondering, I will be having the other breast worked on so it will match!

November 20, 2012

Two weeks on…

Here I am two weeks after my mastectomy. The dressings are off but the steristrips are still on…they will be removed in a couple of days and I will get my first glimpse of my scar and nipple free zone!

Having an immediate implant, although painful and uncomfortable (with more of that to come as it is inflated gradually once the swelling has gone) has, for me, been wonderful. My implant is under the muscle so is causing a fair bit of pain but this will eventually subside. A delay in reconstruction would have made it a longer, more painful process as the skin would need to be stretched and I’m not good with pain.

Hmmm…I’ve mentioned pain four times in the paragraph above.
Lord, I am such a wimp!

November 11, 2012

New boobage!

Wehey…back home and out of bed! Time for a catch up, too.

The view from my hospital window…perdy, no?

Right, the more serious stuff…

My surgeon has a neat set of different coloured pens and I assume he simply cut along the dotted lines. Actually, the blue line around the nipple and down and then the one underĀ  my arm is where he cut. He was able to cut within the line around the areola so will be able to use it to reconstruct the nipple, lessening the amount of tattooing needed. The red outline is the implant and the little red box is the port for inflating with saline. The blue Xs are where the drains exit and I had a third one but cannot remember where it exited.

Here I am two days after surgery. Two of the drains have been removed. All I can see in this photograph is the tummy which has mysteriously appeared. It can’t possibly be anything to do with Mssrs Green & Black, can it?

Here are the drain bags. I had to take these everywhere with me. It was good to come home with only one left. ToyBoy is emptying it each morning for me as it is quite tricky to do with my numb fingertips.

I also had to wear, and continue to wear, these super sexy surgical stockings…

Trust me…this is a lentil bake with swede and mashed potato. YUM!

I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus. There’s a tightness across my chest, which I guess is the muscle being stretched by the implant underneath it and a soreness inside as well as where the incisions have been made. I have antibiotics, iron, paracetamol, tramadol, ibuprofen and in the hospital I also had oramorph and man, do I need it all!

But so far, I’m happy. The shape looks good. The implant has already had saline put in it and will have one or two more inflations. I have a Becker Implant, which acts as a stretcher too so will not need replacing unless my radiotherapy causes the muscle to tighten uncomfortably around it. When all the swelling has gone it will be about twice the size of my other breast so I will need a prosthesis for two or three months until I can have an implant to even them up.

Having an immediate implant has been such a good thing. I wish I’d known this was possible right from the start as it would have saved some anguish…I’d been told it couldn’t be done until after radiotherapy. My one criticism of this whole process is that the members of my team don’t always talk to each other.

Now the only thing playing on my mind is whether or not I should opt for a mastectomy on the other side, too. At the moment, I think it would be easier than maybe having to go through chemotherapy ever again.

November 5, 2012

Thunderbirds are go!

Today’s blood test was fine and surgery is tomorrow!

All packed and ready to go. Yikes…

October 31, 2012

Halloween blood…

My blood test results from Thursday show that my counts
(neutrophils, white cells, platelets and some other things with strange names)
are currently too low for next week’s surgery. I’m having another test on Monday. So…..

COME ON BLOOD, GET YOUR FLIPPING ACT TOGETHER!!!

September 17, 2012

Mine’s bigger than yours…

Mr Sheep (that name took some thought) comparing his bandages with mine…lightweight!

Catching up with The Archers Omnibus.

All being well, I should be going home tomorrow.

I’ve missed TB more than I thought possible. He’s spent several hours each day here
but when the lights are dimmed I miss holding his hand as I fall asleep.

September 13, 2012

Sheep, sun and rebel rousers…

I have to keep my chemo veins stretched which is much easier to do if I warm them first
and now I have this wheat filled chap

Here’s Mr Sheep, about to be zapped!
Thank you, Jonathan…for you kindness and conversion of virtual hugs into the real thing.

For the last few days I’ve felt really bad. This docetaxol is evil stuff but I’m hoping evil is as evil does when it comes to killing of the cancer cells.

Last weekend was beautifully sunny and hot and although I felt dreadful, my spirits were lifted by the gathering my neighbour had in herĀ  garden. There was much laughter and singing of Polish songs and everyone was having such a good time a little of it rubbed off on me. The festivities ceased before dark ( I was hoping for more rousing ditties!) but my smile remained.

I could do with a bit of rebel rousing now…I’ve been in bed all morning, mostly asleep which I like because then I can’t feel the pain but I’d rather be in the kitchen baking. Soon, I tell myself, soon…

September 5, 2012

Need a builder? Call me quick x

I took a massive dose of steroids last night as instructed and was bouncing off the ceiling. I took another massive dose this morning and will take another this evening. So, if you need your garden landscaping or a kitchen extending overnight, I’m your man. Give me a call and I will be round faster than a fast thing!

Docetaxol incognito because it’s light sensitive.
Interestingly, one of its side effects is me being light sensitive so need sunblock (sun?), shades, dark nails…

Monday was my first infusion of Herceptin…had to spend six hours at the hospital as it’s nasty stuff and they
need to monitor me to make sure I have no adverse reaction, which I didn’t.
Tuesday was an ECG as Herceptin can cause heart damage, even failure, so that will act as a benchmark
for regular checks; also had pre-chemo blood test.
Today. was my first infusion of Docetaxol, my new chemo drug.

At about half past midnight last night, after we’d exhausted all the television options (isn’t there some awful crap on there?) I said we should go to bed as TB needed to sleep even if I didn’t. After about half an hour in bed he asked (with a smile) if I was going to stop talking so he could sleep or should we get up again. Can’t help thinking now that I missed an opportunity for some all night luuuurve…

And a huge Thank You to Captain John and Mrs Captain for helping out with the children on Monday. Being able to have TB with me for a couple of hours made such a difference.
xxx