Just found this website, fantastic information! I am a 36 year old (Irish) mother of three young children, diagnosed with breast cancer in February. I had a lumpectomy in March and I have just finished 6 rounds of chemo without too much fuss. I have had great support and have managed the language barrier very well so far. I am based in the Tarn Region - 81. The care I have been getting is excellent.
I have spoken to a number of people that have been treated with breast cancer, however I would love to get in touch with someone who has had a mastectomy recently. I am due to get mine in a few weeks (date to be set this Saturday) and I could do with some honest advice about the process and recovery. I am not getting reconstruction right away, as I must get radiotherapy in the autumn.
Anyone out there that could give me a guiding hand?
Although it is inevitably difficult circumstances that lead people to our Forum, I am very pleased that you have found us and WELCOME!! to the clan.
We have a number of members with breast cancer and I am sure that they will reply to you and give you the guidance that you need.
You may like to know that although there is no official CSF association in the Tarn at the moment, CSF Sud de France does support people in the Tarn and we do have a trained member there. If you think that kind of support could be useful in the future, then please contact the CSF Sud Helpline.
With every good wish
I also have your email address through a friend, will definitely be in touch. I would like to offer my services in the future also for people in this area who might need support. My French is passable, but I have had a very positive experience from all of this, so would be pleased to pass on any help I can.
Meeting surgeon today re dates and details!
Many thanks again
Not sure I can help, I had a mastectomy back in 2006 in Montpellier with lymph node clearance, and things may have moved on. I would guess that the op procedure is much the same and I can honestly say that it was very straight forward. After the first day, it was uncomfortable, not painful, I recovered very quickly, was out of bed the same day and out of hospital four days later. Some people did leave earlier, it depended on how quickly the various drains could be removed. My husband stayed nearby and day two we were walking in the grounds and day three I went shopping in a very baggy shirt to cover the contraptions sticking out. (Husband was being indulgent and bought me a new sewing machine - the benefits of illness - I can't usually get him into a shop!)
The lymph node bit is probably more difficult as your armpit is pretty sore and it felt like I had a permanent large and hard brick under my arm. This lasted a few months and gradually eased, although even now, 6 years on, it feels as if something is always under my arm. This probably depends on extent of the lymph node removal - someone else may help on that.
The exercises are very important as they allow you to regain movement in the arm on the affected side. I would imagine this is especially so if you having a reconstruction. Again, I know there are others who use this site who have had that.
Lastly, being frank, and you did ask, the biggest shock was the news that I would need to be careful with the arm on the affected side FOR EVER!!!! I blithely thought that bits were taken away, a bit of care would be needed and then back to "normal". You may have seen some other posts about lymphoedema. I was advised to stop playing tennis which was the only time in the whole mastectomy/chemo/radiotherapy/tablet performance when I was actually angry about it all. Maybe it has to come out somewhere.
Anyway, I hope others post with their experiences as I know that we are all different, handle things differently, feel pain differently etc.
Good luck, keep smiling and if I can be of any other help or elaborate (although this seems pretty long!) drop me a PM or post again.
Hope this helps
I've already had the lymphs removed, back in March, so have the brick under my arm already and am dealing with the consequences of not being able to use that arm properly again, though no signs of lymphodema yet. I try and exercise it every day and so far, I haven't had any problem. The surgeon did say as I have already had lymph nodes out, the mastectomy should be a breeze.... here's hoping!
Thank you again for that advice, I really appreciate it. I will spend some time looking at the new exercises, I am determined to have a good recovery!
I will keep in touch.
Caroline x (ps - also known as Charlie!)