Breast Cancer

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pennycsf
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Breast Cancer

Postby pennycsf » Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:52 pm

This is a copy of a post in "Welcome" from beverleyxuk


hello everyone, didn't know where to turn to then my husband found this site in the connection newspaper.
we have lived in france running a business for 6 years and still my French is poor,
in 2010 i lost my beloved dog of 14 years, turned 50 and was then diagnosed with breast cancer phew what a year!
i had the tumour removed and 30 sessions of radiotheraphy and was told i would be ok now, have had 6 monthly mammograms and everything was ok,
this year i went in july only to be told there was something showing on the mammogram and that i would need to have 6 biopsies,
had the results in september that i have cancer again,
ive now been to see the surgeon and my oncologist to be told my only hope is a mastectomy,
i am devastated by this as any woman can imagine, i am really struggling with it, and although they have booked me in for the op next week part of me just wants to run and hide, im terrified, i don't want to lose my breast, just cant think straight,

pennycsf
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Posts: 615
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:19 pm

Re: Breast Cancer

Postby pennycsf » Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:23 pm

Dear Beverley
It must be particularly difficult facing cancer again when you thought all would be well and communicating in a foreign language also adds to the pressure and anxiety. Although I know that this will not allay your fears nor ease the acceptance of the loss of your breast, I am sure that your surgeon and oncologist would only recommend a mastectomy if it was absolutely necessary. I had a mastectomy too because the cancer was so widespread that breast conservation was not possible.

Being afraid is also, sadly, part and parcel of any cancer diagnosis, plus the extra fear of an operation or other procedure. You are not alone in that! The only small comfort I can offer is that people DO cope and I am sure that you will too. Remember that, even without a breast and although this operation will cause some changes in your life, YOU will still be YOU!!

You do not say where in France you are and there may be a CSF Association near to you where you could seek practical help. Also, if you feel that it would help to talk to someone outside your immediate circle of family and friends then call the CSF National Helpline on 05 45 89 30 05 and one of our trained Active Listeners would be very happy to be there for you.

I hope by moving your post to this section it will be picked up by others who have a faced a similar situation. My thoughts will be with you as you work through the next few days.

Penny

beverleyxuk
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Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:04 pm

Re: Breast Cancer

Postby beverleyxuk » Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:42 pm

dear penny,

thankyou for your reply, I live in haute marne , near montier en der.
im struggling emotionally so much with this news, I hate hospitals at the best of times so to have to go back and have yet more surgery when the nurses don't understand me nor I them fills me with such dread,
im really not sure I can do it,

pennycsf
Site Admin
Posts: 615
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:19 pm

Re: Breast Cancer

Postby pennycsf » Thu Oct 10, 2013 5:00 pm

Hi Beverley,

No, I have checked, there is no CSF Association near to you which is a shame. But do seriously think about calling our National Helpline and leaving a message on the answerphone. Someone will be back to you within 24 hours at the latest. You may find that speaking to someone and talking through all this will enable you to put things more into perspective, rather than being completely overwhelmed. Then you could feel better able to cope.

And, of course, no-one can force you to go ahead with the operation next week if you feel that you need more time to think it through. It has to be YOUR decision and I do appreciate how the system seems to sweep you up and leave you feeling that you have no control over what is happening. :?

I am so sorry that I can't offer any practical help but rest assured that the Forum is here to SUPPORT, please do use it.

Penny

beverleyxuk
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:04 pm

Re: Breast Cancer

Postby beverleyxuk » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:10 pm

I just need someone to tell me what it will be like for me to have a mastectomy
, how do I deal with it? how long will I feel pain? will I be able to do everything I can now.
sounds like stupid questions but I really am feeling that im going to cancel the surgery.

goldenoldie
Posts: 193
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:11 pm

Re: Breast Cancer

Postby goldenoldie » Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:47 am

Hi Beverley...I have not got breast cancer, mine is Lymphoma and I have just finished three years of chemo. I cannot help you with the actual op and its repercussions but on the language side I can tell you from my experience that if you try to keep the rapport with the nurses on the "light" side, they are more likely to help you. What I mean by that is try to be cheery with them..make a bit of small talk....maybe (like I did) take a small English/French dictionary in with you and call it Mon Ami..if you do not understand what they say, give them the book and say Trouvez dans Mon Ami s'il vous plait. They probably will think it amusing BUT I have always found they are happy to find the word in French and show you the translation. Most nurses have a smattering of English but will not use it unless you ask. Also gestures help.

Most hospitals now run a Pain Management System and should explain that they will ask you how bad your pain is on a scale of 1 - 10. Its up to you to tell them how bad it is and they will give you painkillers to suit. They usually also mention that if the pain gets worse, you are at liberty to call for a nurse and tell her. Its not like the "old days" in the UK where you only get painkillers twice a day. (thank goodness)

As Penny says please use the Helpline....there are telephones in the hospital so you could contact them from your bed.

Good luck and do not forget...we are here to help you where we can. :)

biggles
Posts: 109
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 3:16 pm

Re: Breast Cancer

Postby biggles » Fri Oct 11, 2013 12:01 pm

Hello Beverley,

I had a mastectomy in 2006 :( , it was my right breast and I am right handed. I will tell you how it went for me and perhaps that will help with some of your worries.

Apart from being terrified of having ANY operation, the op itself was pretty straight forward. The staff were super and are expecting you to be frightened, so are very gentle and reassuring. After the op (on a Monday) a nice chap came and gave me a massage which was lovely. I had a couple of drains which made life a bit complicated and I was in hospital til Friday that week, some ladies who had the same op left the day before but I was still leaking fluid into one drain and stayed the extra day. There wasn't any serious pain, more a kind of stiffness and I was given exercises to do to help with that. The day I left I saw the scar for the first time and it wasn't anything like as bad as I feared.

To give you an idea of how comparatively easy it was for me, my husband stayed in a hotel nearby (I went to a hospital 2 hours from my home) and the day after the op we walked in the hospital grounds together, the following day I only had one drian left in place so I wore his baggy shirt which hid it and we went shopping for a new sewing machine! :D As soon as I was home, life resumed pretty much normally in that I could cook etc., but you mustn't lift things with the operated arm. I started driving again too quite soon, in fact, as soon as I was confident enough. I can't remember how long the dressings stayed on, a nurse came to the house every other day to check and change them. I went back to hospital two weeks or so later to see the surgeon, I think the dressings came off completely then when he had checked that all was well.

I left hospital with a cotton prosthesis and a prescription for a proper prosthesis when the wound had healed - I think I got that around July with the op in May - I was pleased to have the "real thing" as I had shoulder ache from NOT having a breast on that side and felt I was all lopsided. I have not had a problem with a prosthesis, I was offered reconstruction but it was not for me, that is a very personal decision.

What causes more of a problem is not the mastectomy but the removal of lymph nodes under your armpit. I guess you had that when you had the previous surgery in 2010 so will already have an idea. It leaves you with a risk of lymphoedema so limits a little what you can do with the arm on the operated side. And also, I believe, depends on how many lymph nodes are removed. Being right handed, I did stop playing tennis and I am more careful when carryong heavy things BUT I dig the garden, do the shopping, swim, play table tennis etc. exactly as before.

I am now 7 years on and it would be foolish to pretend that I can forget I had the op, but I can honestly say that it has no effect at all on my daily life.

Also, if you look around on the Forum - maybe use the search facility by putting in mastectomy - I am sure that there have been many others who have posted their experiences and worries and some funny tales. :lol: There is certainly a story of a new type of breast reconstruction called, I think, DIEP.

I hope this helps a little, do post any questions and I will be pleased to reply.

Thinking of you and sending a hug,

Biggles ;)

Jann
Posts: 16
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:00 pm

Re: Breast Cancer

Postby Jann » Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:30 am

Hello Beverly

I am sorry I did not pick up on your post before now. How are you? I, like Biggles, had a mastectomy at the end of 2009 on my right breast. My story is very similar to Biggles. I have had Diep reconstruction this year and I have also been taking Arimidex since the mastectomy. I too will be happy to answer any questions and give support where I can.

All the best
Jann


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