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jo.d
jo.d Member Posts: 11
edited October 2016 in Newly diagnosed

Hi All,

Firstly, I'd like to say WOW!!! & Thank You!! What a fantastic network of such lovely, supportive people!! (you don't find that too often on forums)

I have only just found this network about a week ago & have been scouring the posts & finding all sorts of useful info. So I thought it was about time I joined up...in case I want to, you know, actually ask a question or comment...and not just feel like a stalker!!

Just a warning, I do tend to waffle on a bit, so this might get a bit longwinded!! Sorry in advance :) Here goes...

I am a 46yo self-employed hairdresser living on the south coast NSW.  I am married & have 2 kids (23 & 22) from a previous relationship. 

2 months ago (10.11.15) I was diagnosed with early breast cancer....hmm...has it really been that long?

I have stage 1, grade 2 ER+, PR+ & HER2+.

Since diagnosis I have had a lumpectomy + sentinal node biopsy, then 2 weeks later a 2nd surgery to get the clear margins we all need. Thankfully the nodes were all clear. I will start TCH chemo for 18wks & continue on Herceptin for the rest of the year. After TCH, I expect to start radiation for 5-6wks.

Although I feel bloody unlucky at times, I also feel VERY lucky that I have caught this nasty early.

I went to my GP in September & said I want to have a few health checks done...I'm on the wrong side of 40 & want to make sure this body of mine is gonna last the distance. So he gives me a refferal to Brestscreen, along with some others, & off I go for my 1st ever mammogram. About 5yrs previously I had an ultrasound, as I was getting a bit of pain in the right one. Apparently, this was caused by fibroids. So when I got the letter to tell me they wanted another look, I wasn't worried....they've just picked up the fibroids & want to make sure..right? NO!! There's something in the left one & we want to do a biopsy....What!!?!

It's funny really, I was so relaxed about going for the 2nd scan. Telling myself there's probably nothing to worry about, it's just the fibroids...and even if there is, what's the point of worrying, until I know there's actually something to worry about! Then they wanted to do a biopsy! I walked down the hallway from the councellor's office trying to hold back the tears, telling myself " hold it together, all the other women are in the waiting room, probably going through the same as you & you don't see them blubbering like a baby!". So by the time I got there I was sort of ok. Till I saw my mum, that is. I sat next to her & said " they want to do a biopsy" & that was it & I lost it ...just a little bit. Thankfully there was a lovely older lady there who said to me " ohh are you upset love?" I just nodded & said I was sorry & that I'd been so good up until now...till they wanted to do a biopsy. I only cried for about 30 seconds, just that release of the stress I was trying to pretend wasn't there I suppose, but i gotta say, I felt like a 5yo at the time! But really it ended up being such a good thing. All of the ladies then started talking to each other. Before that, my head was in my phone, another in her laptop, 1 a book, another a magazine. Basically, everyone in their own little world, trying to deal with the stress & worry of what we were all there for. Once the ice was broken, we all had a really good chat about all things breast cancer. I even felt comfortable enough after having my clinical exam by the breast surgeon to come back to the waiting room & announce quietly " well that wasn't so bad...he was just a bit hot!" Giggles all round! I suppose this type of connection of the disconnected is one of the reasons this network is such a good thing & why I wanted to join. Worries shared can be worries halved.

A few days later, I went to my GP for the results ( I live 1 1/2 hrs from the breastscreen clinic & didn't want to travel that far for results) & that's when life as I know it changed.

My GP sent me to a surgeon in Sydney who specialises in breast cancer (so good living in a small town & your GP is a mate & plays golf with your dad - you know he's going to send you to the best he knows!) & 2wks later I had my 1st surgery. Another 2wks & I was in for my 2nd surgery to acheive the clear margins we all want & need.

So now I'm sitting here, having spent a lovely Christmas with my family, waiting for the dreded chemo to start on 15th Jan. I'm not looking forward to it....who would?!! But I'm going to keep telling myself it won't last forever & I will come out the other side with very dead cancer cells.

My best friend (who I'm lucky enough to have living through the gate in my back fence) told me of a lady she knew who went through chemo years ago & she visualised the chemo drugs going through her as the old 80's pacman, running around chomping up all the cancer cells. I think I might try that one!

Although I get worried at times (- how sick will I get? Or will I be one of the lucky ones who breezes through? - will my business survive my absence? - will I go through all this crap, just to have the cancer come back?), I do feel extremely thankful to live in age where early detection can make such a difference & my prognosis can be quite good. I have said to many people over the last couple of months that  I feel lucky to have found it early which allows me to be very positive that I will still be alive & kicking 20yrs from now. 

So there it is...the beginning of my turn on the merry-go-round. Hope I didn't bore you too much...I did warn about the waffling (must be something to do with being a hairdresser & being able to talk under water with a mouthfull of marbles!!)

Cheers

Jox

 

 

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  • Rosanna
    Rosanna Member Posts: 284
    edited March 2015
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    Hi Jo

    Sorry and Welcome and Happy New Year.....

    Yeah, it happened and it was me and you and her and her and her....

    You made through the surgery which taken out the worst and nasty part.  The following treatment are for precaution and eliminiation if any.

    I had my chemo Mar - Jun 14, and 6 weeks of Radio ended in Sep.

    It's a heavy cold & flu.  The symphon came up because you were very weak.  Just like cold & flu, it attacked us when we were weak.  Feeling nausea, vomiting, headache, boneache, muscle pain etc etc......

    May I suggest you all you have to do is - keep pleasant and happy.  It simply you are sick and it will gone.  Other than that was put the business aside, find some good way to keep yourself healthy and enjoy life. 

    You may stop working, stop from thinking of it, had a good morning walking, nearby alone, or with friends, or dog..... had a good water, and then breaky with lots of fruit, juicing fresh vegi..... rest a while, a movie, a music time, a reading time...had a lap, prepare good lunch, think about the 2 boys, plan something special for dinner along with all the side effects.  

    If you really feel sick, lying down and let yourself be their for resting and recharging. 

    Most of the side effect will come in to you like roller coaster, it will gone itself for couple days later.

    Here is a wonderful website, that I learnt a lot other than just the doctor sayings.   My mouth care, skin care, nail care etc.... I shaved myself the 1st time chemo.  I hate to see it drop bunch by buch.  Bold head for couple months.  It's good especially now was so hot.

    Be brave, you are not alone.  Sure you can make it.

    Take care and Happy New Year.

    Rosanna

  • Rosanna
    Rosanna Member Posts: 284
    edited March 2015
    Options

    Hi Jo

    Sorry and Welcome and Happy New Year.....

    Yeah, it happened and it was me and you and her and her and her....

    You made through the surgery which taken out the worst and nasty part.  The following treatment are for precaution and eliminiation if any.

    I had my chemo Mar - Jun 14, and 6 weeks of Radio ended in Sep.

    It's a heavy cold & flu.  The symphon came up because you were very weak.  Just like cold & flu, it attacked us when we were weak.  Feeling nausea, vomiting, headache, boneache, muscle pain etc etc......

    May I suggest you all you have to do is - keep pleasant and happy.  It simply you are sick and it will gone.  Other than that was put the business aside, find some good way to keep yourself healthy and enjoy life. 

    You may stop working, stop from thinking of it, had a good morning walking, nearby alone, or with friends, or dog..... had a good water, and then breaky with lots of fruit, juicing fresh vegi..... rest a while, a movie, a music time, a reading time...had a lap, prepare good lunch, think about the 2 boys, plan something special for dinner along with all the side effects.  

    If you really feel sick, lying down and let yourself be their for resting and recharging. 

    Most of the side effect will come in to you like roller coaster, it will gone itself for couple days later.

    Here is a wonderful website, that I learnt a lot other than just the doctor sayings.   My mouth care, skin care, nail care etc.... I shaved myself the 1st time chemo.  I hate to see it drop bunch by buch.  Bold head for couple months.  It's good especially now was so hot.

    Be brave, you are not alone.  Sure you can make it.

    Take care and Happy New Year.

    Rosanna

  • Chorsell
    Chorsell Member Posts: 465
    edited March 2015
    Options
    Hi Jo welcome to this wonderful group of women!! This site was and still is my lifeline and you will always find someone here with a similar story, some useful information or just a hug when you need to vent...

    I am 6 months post bilateral mastectomy, and although I was lucky enough to avoid chemo and radio, my niece who did both juggled her business as a osteopath around treatment and has since returned full time.

    I think the important thing will be to set some realistic expectations and juggle your workload to suit how you feel...

    I would imagine word will travel fast about your diagnosis and for the most part people will be helpful and accommodating around your treatment.

    I hope it all goes well for you and make sure you keep coming back here - all the pink sisters are a wealth of information in relation to managing side affects and personal experiences.

    It will be a roller coaster so be kind to your self - accept the help that is offered and ask when you need help... You are not alone

    Big hugs

    Chrisxxx
  • Chorsell
    Chorsell Member Posts: 465
    edited March 2015
    Options
    Hi Jo welcome to this wonderful group of women!! This site was and still is my lifeline and you will always find someone here with a similar story, some useful information or just a hug when you need to vent...

    I am 6 months post bilateral mastectomy, and although I was lucky enough to avoid chemo and radio, my niece who did both juggled her business as a osteopath around treatment and has since returned full time.

    I think the important thing will be to set some realistic expectations and juggle your workload to suit how you feel...

    I would imagine word will travel fast about your diagnosis and for the most part people will be helpful and accommodating around your treatment.

    I hope it all goes well for you and make sure you keep coming back here - all the pink sisters are a wealth of information in relation to managing side affects and personal experiences.

    It will be a roller coaster so be kind to your self - accept the help that is offered and ask when you need help... You are not alone

    Big hugs

    Chrisxxx
  • Chorsell
    Chorsell Member Posts: 465
    edited March 2015
    Options
    Hi Jo welcome to this wonderful group of women!! This site was and still is my lifeline and you will always find someone here with a similar story, some useful information or just a hug when you need to vent...

    I am 6 months post bilateral mastectomy, and although I was lucky enough to avoid chemo and radio, my niece who did both juggled her business as a osteopath around treatment and has since returned full time.

    I think the important thing will be to set some realistic expectations and juggle your workload to suit how you feel...

    I would imagine word will travel fast about your diagnosis and for the most part people will be helpful and accommodating around your treatment.

    I hope it all goes well for you and make sure you keep coming back here - all the pink sisters are a wealth of information in relation to managing side affects and personal experiences.

    It will be a roller coaster so be kind to your self - accept the help that is offered and ask when you need help... You are not alone

    Big hugs

    Chrisxxx
  • jo.d
    jo.d Member Posts: 11
    edited March 2015
    Options

    Thanks Guys,

    As I said, I am (we all are) bloody unlucky to have to go through bc & it's awful treatments, but I also feel so incredibly lucky at the same time. Not only for catching it quite early, but for also having some wonderful people in my life. 

    One of these is  my amazing daughter (22yo) who has given up her exciting new life in Sydney to move back home & run my business for me.

    She finished her apprenticeship with me about a year ago & moved up to the bright lights of Sydney earlier this year. Luckily for me (again), she was working at a very dodgy salon, so I didn't feel too bad in suggesting that she might like to help me out for a bit. Of course, if she was working for a good salon, I would never have dreamed of asking, but it seemed like a good solution for both of us at the time. And in my naivety, when I asked her, I really thought it'd only be for about 2 months tops. Hahaha Joke of the moment right there!! I do feel a bit guilty that my sickness has affected her life so much as well (I remember excitedly moving to Sydney around the same age), but she assures me she is fine with it & is actually having a blast running the show instead of being the offsider.

    The benefits for her will be a lot more experience as well as down the track when I am feeling better & able to work more, she will have the time to find a quality salon in Sydney instead of jumping into any old job just because she needs the money.

    The benefit for me is I will be able to take the time I need to recover & return to work at my own pace. Of course, before this arrangement came about I was beside myself. I have spent the past 9 years running a successful business & I had visions of it crumbling away. I really think it was one of the biggest fears I had at the time. Especially as everything is so uncertain & you don't know how much the treatments will effect you. My salon runs appointment 2-3 months in advance to make sure all of the regulars have their spot, so it was really doing my head in not being able to make their appointments for them with any amount of certainty. One of my doctor clients used to laugh when making his appoinments & say it was harder to get an appointment with me than some of the specialists in town.

    I still worry though if the clients are happy (I have 30yrs experience & she has 4!), I can't help it, that's just the perfectionist coming out. And I must say, she really is quite a talented young hairdresser, so I probably should leave that worry at the door & get on with the job of getting myself better.

    Thanks again

    Jo x

  • Cook65
    Cook65 Member Posts: 733
    edited March 2015
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    Jo I wrote quite a large response. Don't know where it went. The only thing that showed was waffle away. Can't remember what I said now
  • Liztay82
    Liztay82 Member Posts: 213
    edited March 2015
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    Welcome waffle away I say I have now completed all treatments now I have my first mammogr comming up this month so it's been a year