Insensitive

1 Dec

This has already been brilliantly summed up by a new favourite discovery Boganette, but I feel the need to add my two cents.

A new breast cancer awareness campaign has been launched by online magazine/blog/girly website NZGirl. The tagline of the campaign is “I’ve got a lovely pair”.

Well. That’s nice for all the lovely young women with lovely pairs of boobs that are healthy and cancer-free but what about those of us that do not have a perfect pair? I find it a tad insensitive.

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Dear diary

8 Nov

I’m at home after my 2nd round of chemo. The first was 3 weeks ago.

It wasn’t fun. Today, as in the first appointment, the nurse had two goes at getting the cannula in for the IV and the first one freaking hurt. I feel kind of bad for the nurses. It can’t be easy when they know they’ve put you in pain after not getting it first time around. Although, as Mum pointed out today, it’s not like they don’t get enough practice (she’s been through it all too with bowel cancer around 6 years ago).

Following the cannula misfire at the first appointment, having been hooked up to the drip and looking at the needle in my arm with said tubes attached a small meltdown ensued. Right then, at that moment, it was real. I was actually getting this poison deposited into my veins (actually at that point it was just fluids, but that’s beside the point) and I was scared and worried about how I was going to feel after this, when my hair was going to fall out, how much it was going to take over my life. Tears started welling and then it all came out. F**k this sucks. Continue reading

Making babies

31 Oct

I’ve been meaning to write this post for weeks but better late than never huh.

During the writing of my last post I was about 2 weeks into IVF treatment. I decided to subject myself to this crappy process (read: needles every day and mood swings every other day) in order to put some embryos aside in case the upcoming chemo wrecks my fertility.

From the 6th September until 29th September I had to inject myself every morning with a hormone called buserelin. Then from the 30th September until the 6th October I had to have the buserelin every morning, and then a Gonal-F injection every evening. Great fun. It didn’t stop me going up north for 10 days though for my sister in law’s hens’ weekend and fabulous wedding. Pissed me off though that I had to leave the wedding earlier than I would have liked just to go home and stab myself yet another time. All for a good cause everyone kept reminding me. Continue reading

No pain, no gain

19 Sep

Wow, it’s been a month since I posted last. There’s been a few things going on. Getting my gammy arm back to normal has been one challenge. I’ve been seeing the physiotherapists at the hospital regularly to try and pull it back into shape. They like to stretch my arm out until it starts hurting, and then pull it just a little further. Not fun! But it has to be done, and for all their efforts, and for my efforts at home stretching regularly, I can now get it straight up and down. Wohoo!! (It’s the little things). I even managed to bust out the YMCA moves at a wedding I went to recently. A wedding that was held despite the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that hit Canterbury in the early hours of Saturday 4th September. It was a gorgeous spring day and a beautiful wedding. Much love and respect to Raukura and Phill for pulling it all together despite all the ups and downs (literally!)

Me with my girls at Raukura and Phill's wedding

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Positive results

18 Aug

I’ve been staring at this post wondering how to start it for half an hour so will just make a bulleted list instead:

  • The tumour is defined as an invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC)
  • It has been classed as a grade 3 (where grade 1 tumour cells are somewhat abnormal, and grade 3 are very abnormal)
  • Positive for oestrogen (ER+) and progesterone (PR+) receptors
  • Probably negative for HER2 receptors (has been sent away for further testing to confirm)
  • Just one lymph node involved out of 18 tested – and it was only a micrometastasis (good)

My surgeon was very happy. She said we couldn’t have hoped for better. It was great to hear that, particularly because I was a bit gutted when she said it was ER+ and PR+. She said it was good because hormone positive cancers tend to be less aggressive than negative ones, and they can treat it with hormone therapy to really kick it’s butt. I’m still not keen on taking hormone therapy pills for 5 years (can’t get pregnant when you’re on them) but will discuss that further with my oncologist and make up my mind once I have all the facts. She did say that you can do a 2 year course, then try to have children, then complete your course after you’ve had your baby, so perhaps it’s not all bad.

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Post surgery wrap up

13 Aug

Surgery sucks balls.

It’s been 9 days now since my mastectomy and I’m still sore, and likely to still be sore for many weeks yet, although it should get better (so they say). I’m getting frustrated by not being back to 100% already. But that’s me, impatient, and known to want everything done yesterday.

But despite my whining, the doctors say I’m recovering well.

After meeting with the nurse, the anaesthetist and my surgeon, they took me into surgery around 9.15 a.m., Wednesday 4th August. I don’t recall being scared or nervous at all, but then again they had given me a lovely little calming pre-med around half an hour earlier 🙂 The anaesthetic technician spent a while trying to find a vein, then wheeled me into theater and the next thing I remember was waking up in the recovery room.

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T minus 8 hours

3 Aug

Tonight we farewelled my right breast with a bye bye boobie dinner at Fuji teppan yaki restaurant. I was surrounded by almost 50 of my closest friends, family and colleagues, which was exactly what I needed. I’m still buzzing from it!

I am trying not to think too much about tomorrow morning’s surgery. I don’t know exactly what time I’ll be going in, but I do have to be at the hospital at 7am! I am not a morning person and that, together with the fact that I can’t have coffee or breakfast in the morning (I’m not allowed to eat past midnight tonight), means that they might be in for one VERY bitchy patient in the morning. I had to attend the preadmission clinic today where I met with a nurse, anaesthetist and house surgeon for more poking and prodding. Continue reading

Testing, testing

30 Jul

This week has been tiring, with more tests and the stress of uncertainty.

To begin with, I had an MRI on Tuesday afternoon. This was to check both breasts to see if there were any other smaller lumps that couldn’t be felt, or picked up by the ultrasound. They also visualise the surrounding lymph node area.

First I had to get an IV in (I hate needles!) and change into yet another glorious gown – although I must admit, the Hagley Radiology gowns have been the nicest so far. So nice, that I got my sister to take a photo – it’s kind of kimono-like don’t you think? Continue reading

We didn’t expect it, but it’s cancer

26 Jul

Wow.

These were the words from my doctor’s mouth. In that moment, my life changed.

I am 27 years old and last Thursday, 22nd July I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

One morning, around three weeks ago, I found a lump in my right breast. I could not find anything that felt similar in the other one, so I went to my GP the next morning. The GP did an exam and then referred me to the hospital to get it tested.

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