How are you today? This for me was definately the worst part of the whole journey, the waiting for everything to get started. In my experience though the anticipation is much worse than the reality.
I was diagnosed in May 2007, mastectomy and node clearance in June and I started my chemo in July, about 4 weeks after surgery. Then rads about 5 weeks after the end of chemo. I also had Herceptin and I’m currently on Tamoxifen until 2012, so I’ve had the whole lot!
Like you I was apprehensive about the mastectomy (I decided not to have reconstruction) When they were changing the dressing I made myself look at the scar and in all honesty it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be. I was a bit tearful at times, grieving for what I had lost I suppose but on the whole I was fine with everything. My wonderful husband helped me through it as well as my beautiful little girl, whenever I felt a bit wobbly through chemo I looked at her photo and reminded myself why I was going through all this. You can do it.
I wish you all the very best for Thursday. If I can give you some advice, take all the pain killers that are offered, I didn’t have any pain but still took the tablets to keep on top of things. Take a front opening blouse/shirt for coming home, I stupidly had a Tshirt with me and it was a struggle to get it over my head after the op!! The physio should come and see you the day after the op to show you the exercises you should do to get the movement back in your arm. I found them really alarming and thought I’d never be able to do them but I did after a while, just do a little bit at a time, just what you can manage at first and then gradually build up, you’ll get there. All I could do 2 days after the op was circle my shoulders but it is important to do something, easy does it though.
Chemo and rads is all do-able, there are plenty of lovely people to help you through it. I found the chemo nurses some of the most wonderful people I have ever met, no worry is too trivial. I think an important thing to remember is that we are all individuals and we all react in different ways to treatment but that there is nearly always a solution to side effects so if you are concerned about anything speak to your breast cancer care nurse and they’ll be able to help you.
Also I know that you probably feel overwhelmed at the moment and very frightened but it helped me to take one thing at a time, firstly to focus on the surgery and recovery, then the chemo and so on, I tried not to look forward too much (not very easy at times!!)
If you have any questions at all I’ll try my best to help.
Big hug, you can get through this. I’ll be thinking of you on Thursday.