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Breast cancer? Me?

(16 Posts)
sweetie3 Thu 05-May-16 12:01:03

Noticed my inner arm started brushing against the side of my breast in a way it hadn't done before, but digging around with my unprofessional fingers didn't reveal anything more lumpy than on the other side. Also had mammogram 6 months b4 as part of trial and under 50, so wasn't too concerned. Decided I'd get it checked even though (like most people) I'm a complete doctor phobe, and prefer not to get my baps out in public.

Dr receptionist stopped me chickening out by finding an appt the day I rang when she knew what it was for. Doctor didn't seem too worried, but referred me to breast unit at local hospital to be on safe side. Got appt after about 10 days. Started with a mammogram (bit squashy but fine), then a close up mammogram, then ultrasound exam - at which point Dr started using the word suspicious and I stopped thinking they'd say it was a cyst or something. Inserted fine needle into this area to collect some cells and place a tiny marker inside- really not painful as gave me local anaesthetic. Then another mammogram to check position of marker. Whole appt took about 3 hours including waiting. Went home to contemplate. For me this was the hardest time of the whole experience.

Another appointment made for weeks time to see specialist for results - still expected them to say they'd just found a lump of cheese in there, but walked into room and faced with team including breast cancer nurse (BCN) & everyone looking super serious. Everyone very kind, patient and keen to explain what was going on (if a bit medical at times) There was a cancerous lump and an area of calcification surrounding it, which must have been what I'd noticed. They gave me option of removal of area (lumpectomy) plus radiotherapy (chose this) or mastectomy - surgery date in a month.

How was I going to tell kids (11,14) and my parents? Decided on casual chat while kids watched TV ("I might need an op to take out a lump the dr found here" total transparency but didn't use c word) Harder telling my parents, but just kept them abreast (haha) of any info and hopefully they could process it all.

On the day it felt great to know it was getting sorted. Started early with an injection of radioactive stuff (no more painful than ordinary injection) to mark lymph nodes for biopsy during the op later (sentinal lymph node biopsy -SLNB). This took ten minutes so went home for couple of hours. Back to hospital for local anaesthetic and thin wire guided in to point to cancer for removal in op,using ultrasound. Didn't find this too painful either and chatted about family stuff while they worked. Waited couple more hours wearing those tight socks and attractive dressing gown, then the op. Never really been under the knife before, so nervous but felt like I was asleep for 5 minutes. Actually took hour and half I think. Will need radiotherapy soon, and maybe chemo, but was able to go home that night. The whole team absolutely fantastic - sympathetic, there to listen and support you and your family. Woke up in morning feeling overwhelming positivity - so glad I called my GP that day.

RainIsAGoodThing Thu 05-May-16 12:07:38

Thank you for sharing. Wishing you good health and happiness flowers

prokupatuskrakedatus Thu 05-May-16 16:58:02

Wishing you all the best. flowers

(I've been there 12 years ago.)

Marshy Thu 05-May-16 17:09:29

Very similar story to many of us on the tamoxigang thread. Well done for getting it checked out. You sound like you're dealing with it brilliantly I was a mess

You know where to find us if you want a chat

mumto2andnomore Thu 05-May-16 18:50:07

Thank you for sharing, I've been there too 3 years ago. Like Marshy said ( hi Marshy ! ) you'd be very welcome on the tamoxigang thread anytime

confusedandemployed Thu 05-May-16 18:52:59

All the best. Congrats on a successful op and here's to a swift and total recovery flowers

hollyisalovelyname Thu 05-May-16 18:53:39

Sweetie wishing you a soeedy recovery

FoolMe Thu 05-May-16 18:54:20

Thanks for sharing your experience...wishing you all the best flowers

228agreenend Thu 05-May-16 18:58:48

Well done on calling your gp. Breast cancer can be scary, but it's not a death sentance. I'm coming up,to four years since discovering my lump, and in many ways don't feel like I've had cancer. I found a lump, and had it removed, simple as that.

Didn't have chemo bit did have radiotherapy. That was fine, apart from made me more tired at night. Life carried on as normal.

All the best to you.

sweetie3 Fri 06-May-16 08:32:51

Wow - thanx everyone who posted! Reassuring to read about other stories too. Good luck to all of you 🍰

FarrowandBallAche Fri 06-May-16 09:06:23

Best of luck with everything flowers

sweetie3 Fri 20-May-16 13:26:22

Surgery went well and now waiting for appt with oncologist. Results showed nodes were clear (yay) but cancer was grade 3 plus they found another one (boo). Diagnosis/initial consultations on NHS and they were great, but surgery done privately through DH work. Now wondering if I should go back to NHS. Radiotherapy will be in same hospital as NHS so can't see advantage. Don't want to disrupt/delay treatment and v lucky to have health ins but never sat well with me. Anyone have experience of this?

CiderwithBuda Fri 20-May-16 13:55:59

I found out I had ductal carcinoma In situ through a routine mammogram in February. Had surgery in March and again in April as they didn't get enough of the surrounding tissue. Starting radiotherapy this week. Mine hadn't spread anywhere but was classed as high grade.

I had all of my treatment on nhs even though we have health insurance as the only difference would have been having the surgery at a private hospital. Our insurance pays out if you use the nhs rather than go private so I'll get some money back and am using it to go see my best friend in Australia later in the year!

I feel a bit weird as I don't feel I actually had breast cancer. It was pre-cancerous. It hadn't spread. They removed it all. The radiotherapy is an insurance policy. But I can't watch anything on tv relating to cancer and although I've had a look at the tamoxifen threads I haven't posted as I don't feel comfortable for some reason. I feel a bit of a fraud. Which is daft.

sweetie3 Fri 20-May-16 14:09:27

Thx for your reply Cider! Really glad u posted as had heard about payouts like this somewhere else - useful to know. Only went private to get surgery done sooner - all the waiting the hardest part isn't it. So now could go back to NHS quite happily, just want to have continuity.

Absolutely not a fraud - you're only looking at these threads if you've had something to worry about. Good luck with radiotherapy. Maybe u can plan your holiday as they zap u!

mrsrhodgilbert Sat 21-May-16 08:44:38

I had all my treatment on the NHS two years ago despite having BUPA cover. If you need rads you still need to go to your local NHS hospital, I don't know what the difference would be. The insurance pay out for using the NHS was £100 a day, 1 day of surgery plus 15 days of rads.

My case was very straightforward, simple surgery and no chemo required. I also felt that I hadn't done cancer properly. But I truly believe that if you have had that diagnosis, in whatever form, you have been a proper cancer patient and go through the same emotional fallout as anyone else. The tamoxigang is for anyone with any cancer, all welcome.

sweetie3 Mon 23-May-16 14:45:46

Thanks Mrsrhodgilbert. All info welcome and really glad you're well now x

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