Since I started this thread, I just wanted to check back in and say that the operation went well, and I'm now at home recovering. Results/treatment plan should come next week, but at the moment I'm just grateful to have passed the first hurdle.
I admit I did get rather anxious on the day (old habits and all that), but the staff were truly lovely, and the anaesthetist promised me her version of a 'gin and tonic' to calm my nerves (that is my blood pressure before surgery).
Thanks again to everyone on here for their encouragement and kind words, I really appreciated that.
PS: I did have tea and toast.
So glad to hear everything went well and that your nodes are cancer free!
I hope you keep recovering well and will keep fingers crossed for clear margins!
I absolutely love the fact that you had your teddy bear with you, and that staff tucked him in beside you after the op.
All the best for you,
Thanks for letting me know about the transport options - I will investigate with the hospital in Edinburgh. Maybe they have a similar service. Would be wonderful.
All the best,
I personally hated Radiotherapy - would go through Chemo again no problem (not that I want ever to be in that situation again )
I can't lie on my back for too long as it hurts and I had to have x-rays done almost everytime.
Lying in that position with my hands behind my head was agony.
There was one time I was there for 35 mins - I was dizzy and all shaking when I got up.
I only suffered minimal skin trouble - under the bad boob - but I was given a cream at the hospital for it - Intrasite I think it was called and large dressing. I also had bad burn on my neck again the cream and dressing sorted that out.
I had mastectomy 30th Aug. But I have to go back for an axillary node clearance. My teddy bear will be coming again!
I had my glasses on so I could see what was going on (can't see anything in focus without them} and my teddybear with me. The anaesthetist was lovely, got a cannula into my vein and next thing I remember is coming round on the ward with my teddy carefully tucked in beside me!
I'm 47 and had a mastectomy and sentinal node biopsy.
Hope your OP went well and you are enjoying your cup of tea.
Rapunzel - regarding getting to the hospital for Rads can you not ask for hospital transport. I know when I was going through my Rads at the Beatson in Glasgow they had a service for People without transport. They where called Friends of the Beatson and would pick up people and take them home again after treatment. Might be worth asking about. I had 19 rads and one planning scan so was there for 20 days (all weekdays)
Just wanted to say thanks for the hugs and many hugs back! I wish you all the best for the surgery. It is lovely that your mum will be there for you. Most of my family are very far away from where I live now with my hubby (they live in a different country, and so do his - in yet another one). It is good to have someone close to support you and be there with and for you when you need it.
I'm sure hospital staff will be kind and help you relax (at least that has been my experience especially with nurses but also with some of the doctors so far).
You mentioned fertility treatment - do you mind my asking how old you are and whether you are doing this privately or through the NHS? I was told I'm on the wrong side of 40 to be able to have any treatment through the NHS, and I still wonder what I'm going to do after surgery. I guess my decision will partly depend on what therapies are necessary to deal with the cancer, but it would be really helpful to know how your doctors/hospital etc. handle the fertility issue.
All the very best for you!
I really feel with you. I keep fingers crossed all will go well for you, whatever therapy is necessary.
My lump is somewhere around 13 mm and apparently not the fastest growing (first time in my life that I'm grateful for being slow), also ER positive. My nodes also look fine but they will take out a few just to make sure. It's pretty standard these days, as far as I know. Results should come in about a week after surgery, and then we'll take things from there.
I was rather amused when the consultant who explained a little about the OP told me that they need to inject a slightly radioactive dye into the breast/tumor to help them find the nodes. Apparently the dye makes your skin go 'blue' (well really more like grey) for about 24 hours or so. My husband, quite rightly, said: 'Well, at least it's your favourite colour.' That made a rather crappy day feel a little lighter.
I'm now focusing on two things: getting the lump out and being offered a mug of tea afterwards (this was mentioned by several of the lovely ladies on this thread and I love the idea). Everything else can wait.
Is there someone who could drive you to radiotherapy and back? I will have to go from Dunfermline to Edinburgh probably by bus (we don't own a car), and I don't know, yet, how many weeks it's going to be. The nurse said something between 3 and 5. I've read it can be a bit tiring, but I guess everyone responds differently, and it also depends on the dosage.
I really understand the feeling of being in another world and the longing for a normal life. I sometimes still think I'm going to wake up from a dream, or that someone's going to call and say they've made a terrible mistake. But then I also find that the more days pass since the diagnosis, the more I get used to the state of things as they are now. It sounds odd, maybe, but I'm trying to be as normal as I possibly can while also making sure that I do what feels right and is good for me.
My niece, who works as a psychologist, said that it is important to give way to all kinds of emotions - positive and negative. It's harder to deal with the latter but it's better not to keep them buried. They're part of what happens to you/us, and I've found that they're a bit like the current autumn weather hereabouts: the clouds come, look really rather dark sometimes, and it rains, sometimes hard, and then they pass again, and although maybe the sun looks a little dimmed at the moment, it still comes through and shines from time and time, and I appreciate that.
I wish you all the very best, and please do keep in touch!
Today is one year exactly since I had my OP. I was just finishing a wee cup of coffee and a sandwich around about now this time last year. I got out of hospital at 415pm after the anaesthatist and surgeon had seen me and I had been to the toilet.
This week is one of my best week's so far since Chemo and Rads finished. I feel as though I am getting slowly back to me again. I still have some pains from the Chemo but not as bad as it has been.
My cancer was Triple Negative - no further treatment apart from 6 monthly Zometa infusions for 3 yrs - next one is 08/10
Good luck with your treatment
Like you it was the anaesthitic that terrifies me . I had such horrible experiences as a child with dental ones in the early 60's that the thought of a mask on my face smelling of gas makes me want to throw up.
However, all the ones I have had as an adult have been stuff in the back of the hand and if a tube is involved you are well asleep when it happens.
Also the doctors listen to your fears and explain everything and make it as calm as possible for you
The mug of tea afterwards is the best thing ever!
I personally found chemo to be easier than radiotherapy.
I still had side-effects from Chemo but I found them easier to deal with than radiotherapy as I did not like lying on the one position for so long - as they seemed to have to do scans just about every day during rads which takes longer that just being positioned and zapped.
Like others said you will not know about the tube (you might not actually need tube down your throat - I only had that as the anaesthatist said "as you are a slightly larger lady lol" it was a tube down throat
Thanks for sharing your experience. Goodness, our diagnoses really came at almost the same time. To think about all the other women who are going through the same or a similar thing right now ...
All the best of luck for your operation! Seems things are moving quickly for you. I hope it all goes well.
Keep in touch, all the best,
Yes. I still hope I might be able to avoid it, but if it came to it, and I was sure I had to do it, I would consider it as one step toward recovery.
How about you, do you whether you'll have chemo or are you already having it?
Thank you - that's good to know. I was genuinely wondering when the tube would come into play.
Tea and toast actually sound like something to look forward to. I will hold onto that thought ;-).
All the best,
Many thanks for your reply and for your reassuring words. I very much hope that my experience of the op will be similar
I have to admit, though, that I've also been thinking about that tube (I also gag easily). However, at the moment I'm trying hard not to spend too much time pondering everything that might scare me about the op (and the results of the pathology, etc.) now and just take things one step at a time.
I do confess, though, that the thought of chemo scares me – more than radiotherapy. Still hoping I might only need the latter, fingers and toes crossed ...
I was diagnosed 1yr ago yesterday. I had my Lumpectomy and Sentinel Node Biopsy on 18/09/17.
Like you this was my first ever operation. I didn't think about the op - the only thing that worried me was getting a tube down my throat for breathing - I hate anything alien going near my throat - I sometimes gag when brushing my teeth. As has been said before the nurses etc were all lovely - I remember talking to the anaesthestist (sp) then next thing I was waking up in the recovery room.
I had 6 FEC-T chemo and 19 radiotherapy and finished treatment on 29/03.
Thanks so much! You're so right about the dangers of the mind drifting into the wrong directions (and then going round in circles like a hamster in a spooky wheel). Faith in the medical experts is important, and I admit that I have been struggling with that in the past. There's been (still is) quite a lot of serious/chronic illness/es in my family, and therefore I've probably been exposed to hospitals and the possibilties and limits of modern medicine a little too much for my liking in my life so far. Now that I find myself not in the position of the relative of someone who needs treatment but as the patient, I need time to adjust to that role. I know it's normal to be anxious (I just don't like it, but then who does) and, as you say, I've found that keeping myself busy (with whatever works) and trying to do things that feel right/good help enormously. Chatting to other lovely ladies (like you 😉 on this forum is certainly one of the things that helps. I'm going to do my best to avoid imagining the 'bad' scenarios and aim for a little more normality every day. I wish you all the best for your reconstruction!
Thank you so much for your kind words! I also have never had surgery before and that contributes to my anxiety. I will definitely try to keep in mind what you said. Thank you for sharing how you coped in this situation. I'm so glad to hear that your life has returned to being good again! Hearing that really helps.
You are spot on with regard to hospital staff. So far, in particular the nurses who have been looking after me were very very kind and knew exactly when and how to distract me (e.g. during the biopsy).
I'm trying to keep busy (although I find myself being rather more scatterbrained than usual at the moment), and I'm also trying to not think too much about the diagnosis, op, treatments, and so on. Someone else on here wrote that the operation is the first step in the 'fight'. Although I'm not a fan of the 'fighting' metaphers, I know that I need to get rid of the tumour/cells gone bad first and then keep going from there.
I'll definitely keep you posted!
Hi Rapunzel (great forum name btw). I was the same as you. I'd never had surgery before and was utterly terrified of it all. I got myself in such a state that I became convinced that I would not be reunited with my glasses after surgery and this became a major worry. Everything was fine for the two lots of surgery I had (mastectomy and immediate reconstruction which involved a two night stay in hospital and post-chemo I had full node clearance). Both times I was amazed at how easy it was. The anaestheists that looked after me both times were all lovely. They are so good at putting you at your ease. One minute I was ranting about government cuts to the NHS with them then the next I was waking up in the recovery room. So much less traumatic than I expected.
It's a horrible time you are at now but you will get through it and life will be good again.
Let us know how you get on.
Hi Rapunzel, sorry you find yourself here but glad you found us to get the emotional support you need. Its completely normal to have anxiety about both the surgery and the cancer and we can all relate to that. I had a mastectomy and full lymph node removal and I'm pretty much back to normal and now waiting for a delayed reconstruction (more surgery!). I just hand myself over to the medical experts and have faith that all is well. Just try and busy your mind a bit to stop it drifting into dark spaces if you can. I know, easier said than done sometimes. I think sometimes the build up is worse than the event because it gives you lots of time to run through bad scenarios. If you look on the "going through treatment" thread on here you can chat with others going through the same treatment which may also help. Sending hugs. xxx
thanks for replying!
I'm glad to hear your lumpectomy went well. A positive attitude seems to be one of the tricks ;-). I'm working on it. I very much intend to take example from all the brave women like you on this forum.
It really helps to read other people's posts and even just to know that there is a forum one can always go to and share thoughts, questions, and experiences - and be understood. Family and friends have been very supportive so far (I only told some of my best friends yesterday - and in writing, couldn't face the phone conversations ... - most of them live far away, one even on another continent).
I wish you a good recovery from the op and the best possible result for any other treatments that might be necessary!
Thanks so much for your reply! It is a real help to know that other women have faced similar fears. Being anxious has been 'normal' for me for such a long time, but this is quite a different situation to be in. The fact that I lost my mum to BC a little over 8 years ago doesn't make things easier. She was considerably older when she was diagnosed (in her late 50s) than I am now (a few months away from turning 41).
I like the idea of focusing on getting rid of the 'little sod'; I will keep that in mind ;-).
Thanks again! x
I was diagnosed with BC last week. The lumpectomy (incl. taking out up to 4 lymph nodes) is scheduled for 1 October. I am a rather anxious person generally (e.g. suffered from panic attacks a few years ago and still have moments of intense anxiety), and the idea of the operation and in particular of general anaesthesia worries me. On a rational level, I know that the risk of complications is generally low, and I really want to get the OP over with and do whatever treatment is necessary. On a more irrational, I'm simply scared. Did anyone feel like this? And did you find a way of dealing with this anxiety? I'd appreciate any help and advice (and feel bad for being such a chicken).