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Newly diagnosed nurse

Mez_BCNAMez_BCNA Administrator, Staff, Member, Moderator Posts: 408
@MaryMac57 original post moved by moderator from the 'Welcome New Members' discussion to 'Newly diagnosed' category:


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  • iserbrowniserbrown Member Posts: 5,207
    @MaryMac57

    Welcome to the forum where most have the similar reaction of disbelief!

    I have tagged @arpie as she has a list of links that will help you settle in

    A couple of links from the BCNA website https://www.bcna.org.au/understanding-breast-cancer/what-is-breast-cancer/types-of-breast-cancer/

    https://www.bcna.org.au/health-wellbeing/physical-wellbeing/fatigue/

    Best wishes 
    Take care 
  • AllyJayAllyJay Member Posts: 896
    Hi there @MaryMac57 I'm sorry you've had to join our rather motley crew. We're both around the same age (me born 1958), and I received my treatment at a large Sydney hospital.4 X AC chemo followed by 12 X Paclitaxel and Herceptin for a year. Now on letrozole. Diagnosed in 2016 and finished the chemo and surgery mid 2017 (herceptin towards the end of 2017. Still NED so "Up your's" to the Cosmic Clowns who did their best to knock me off my perch. I hope the rest of your treatment goes well and that you find our group supportive to you. It must be a mixed blessing to have 'inside knowledge' about cancer, but we've all become quite knowledgeable ourselves and I think we have a few members from the other side of the hospital bed too. Ally.
  • Julez1958Julez1958 Member Posts: 610
    Hi @MaryMac57
    Being a health professional gives the whole thing another dimension that’s for sure - I am not one but did do a lot of reading ( I nckudingvtgis sure which is very useful) on receiving my diagnosis ( grade 2 stage 2 ER positive lobular cancer - mastectomy , radiotherapy , hormone therapy and reconstruction - age 62 on diagnosis , now 64).
    I did read the blog and book by Dr Liz O’Riordan , a UK breast cancer surgeon who was diagnosed with breast cancer , and found it really helpful .
    Also in the “ announcements” up the top of the page you will see a series of podcasts by Dr Charlotte Tottman , a psychologist who specialises in cancer related distress who also “joined the club”.
    With 1 in 8 women in Australia being diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime there are plenty of medical professionals who will have this experience unfortunately.
    Anyway ,I hope you have as good an experience as you can with your treatment and recovery and you can post anything here - we all “ get it”.
    Take care 🌺
  • MaryMac57MaryMac57 Member Posts: 3
    Thanks to you lovely women for your support. It felt really “daggy” posting earlier today but I feel really blessed and supported just by the 3 comments. Thank you again.
    All the treatment still does feel so weird and yet today after discharge from hospital (again) with complications from my chemo over a week ago, I have agreed to keep going with 3rd and 4th cycles. Somehow I feel up for it and know that what is being offered is so precious in giving me the best chance to live to a happy old age. Also getting some amazing insights about being “the patient”!!!
  • Cath62Cath62 Member Posts: 933
    Hi @MaryMac57, good advice from all the ladies so far. There are no daggy questions here. We have all come here for support, to share stories and learn from each other. Great friendships are formed here too. It's a wonderful community none of us thought we would be part of.

    I am an ex nurse so when I was diagnosed in 2020 I knew the path ahead. Sometimes it is great having medical knowledge and sometimes it isn't. I am sure you will understand that. It is such a overwhelming experience at the start but as treatment progresses it feels better and you are getting somewhere. 

    Best of luck to you. 
  • MaryMac57MaryMac57 Member Posts: 3
    I’ve actually just come home from hospital for the second time with acute diverticulitis. It presented itself after my first chemo 6 weeks ago and hen again after my second cycle even though I had a reduced dose! It really has been awful because the pain was just not manageable at home so hospital, low residue diet, IV antibiotics and morphine for the excruciating pain. Now home again and on strict diet and recovery instructions from my partner as well. No weeding, no housework etc, just recovery. Was I. The verge of stopping chemo but we all decided yesterday to give it another go in 2 weeks time with another 10% dose reduction if I am well enough!!! I really want to get 2 more cycles in as it gives me some better numbers!!! Anyone else had these types of hiccups??? Mary
  • AfraserAfraser Member Posts: 4,021
    edited November 25
    Sympathies!

    I had what was described as mild diverticulitis several years ago (before bc) and if that was mild, I’d do
    almost anything to avoid acute! Hasn’t occurred since but my greater care about keeping my innards as healthy as I could paid off during chemo, with little or no digestive issues. Trust it improves very soon! 
  • TomobunTomobun Member Posts: 16
    Sorry to hear that, Mary.
    Hope you will recover from diverticulitis soon and get mentally stronger.
    I'm also kind of in denial about my condition. This situation I'm currently in is just like a 'nightmare'.
    I had a syncope episode and was hospitalised for 2 days when AC finished. There was a trolley full of cytotoxic kits and a purple bin near my hospital room door. I looked at those cytotoxic PPE and a bin and felt like those stuff belonged to another patient. I still didn't want to accept that I was one of those oncology patients.
    I cannot wait for the treatment to be over, and hopefully, I can return to a 'normal' life.
    You might think the same, Mary.
    We will get through this chemo etc., and recover quickly so we can go back to nursing again :)
  • AllyJayAllyJay Member Posts: 896
    I hope you're on the mend now, Mary. I didn't have diverticulitis but I did have a total nightmare during AC chemo. I was hospitalised for a total of 56 days over the 12 weeks (4 doses), with horrible febrile neutropenia (even with the neulasta injections). I also had an awful raised rash from head to toe and ulcers from a - Z in my digestive tract. Also got acute pancreatitis and had a liquid lunch with Count Dracula twice (two units of blood each time) due to severe anemia. My last dose was delayed by eight days and reduced by 25%. I got through 12 X Paclitaxel (and herceptin) without further hospital admissions. I was glad I stuck it out as the post surgery pathology showed a total pathological response with no live cancer cells found in either removed breast or nodes. I hope thing go better for you now...it does end.
  • jennyssjennyss Member Posts: 1,657
    Dear @MaryMac57,

    from jennyss in Western NSW
  • arpiearpie Member Posts: 6,371
    Hi @MaryMac57 - so sorry to see you join our select little club ... the one you never thought you'd join ..... Gosh, you've had a hard time of it, already too :(  xx I hope the diverticulitis settles down, also hope no other complications occur with your chemo xx

    When you have a moment - jump onto this thread - it has a heap of info about the forum & different areas on it (even funny bits) as well as art & craft, gardens & pets etc xx
    https://onlinenetwork.bcna.org.au/discussion/23477/a-big-welcome-to-all-our-new-members#latest

    Liz O'Riordan was mentioned earlier ..... here is a link to her Blog (on page 3) as the original link doesn't appear to work now.  She was a breast surgeon who was diagnosed herself & then had a recurrence - and like you, she found the whole thing much different from what she'd expected, even with her years of experience, wielding the scalpel & her own advice to her patients!
    https://onlinenetwork.bcna.org.au/discussion/18227/liz-oriordan-breast-surgeon-with-bc-recommended-to-read#latest

    As you are in the Northern NSW area, feel free to join the 'Rural, regional & remote Group' - where we share any info on being reimbursed for travel & accommodation expenses during your treatment xx. Some philanthropic groups also donate towards some rural patients, too.

    Take care, all the best with your ongoing treatment xx
  • AbbydogAbbydog Member Posts: 346
    Dear MaryMac57,
    I'm terribly sorry for your recent bad luck.
    I'm a similar age 61 on diagnosis, now 64. I'm also a RN, but not in Oncology.
    I had stage 2, grade 3 BC, Hormone sensitive. SMX with Axillary clearance, 20 weeks Chemo and 5 weeks R/T
    now on AI's for 5-10 years. 
    I have also have a history of Diverticulitis, but luckily no recurrence during Chemo.
    Do they say it is a coincidence, or a cause?
    I hope that you are better soon, so that you can get on with treatment.
    Ask any questions of us.
    Don't forget, we have similar and different experiences.

  • MaryMac57MaryMac57 Member Posts: 3
    Thanks Abbydog, well they say that the chemo caused the flare up after each dose. Now I am waiting for my 3rd cycle but commenced a bowel anti inflammatory (Mesalazine) and am feeling much better after nearly 2 weeks on it. I do have some anxiety about heading back in to the chemo storm but I have managed to find some courage from somewhere to go again!
    Feeling a bit flat today as I am in that waiting period and feel a bit sorry for self today!!! 😏😩
  • AbbydogAbbydog Member Posts: 346
    I am glad that you are feeling better on Mesalazine.
    Wishing you all the best of luck as you proceed with Chemo.
    Will you be finished at 4 treatments?
    Are you currently working? Or on sick leave? Or income protection?
    It is very different being on the patient's perspective. I'm also a nurse.
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