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More cancer.

ChevvyChevvy Member Posts: 28
Another diagnosis... crikey, back again. Looking for someone to tell me I'm not loosing my marbles please, lol.  This online forum provides me with so much strength, I feel guilty that I can't offer much support yet to those who write in, but I gain much strength from reading your stories. I completed bc treatment last October, started tamoxifen November, diagnosed brain "infection" February after taking a fall so bad broke my cheekbone and split chin open, diagnosed stage 2 melanoma cancer April, PET scans surgery, recovery, 1st yearly mammogram & u/sound since diagnosis and show 15mm enlarged lymph node same side as original bc. Drs doing a "watch and wait"... not sure if I like that but their the drs...now just diagnosed stage 3 melanoma and undergone more surgery. Bloody hate whinging but can I just say...this is starting to break me now. This crap cancer is springing up everywhere and if I talk to anyone I feel burdeoned with guilt that I'm making it all "more than what it is", especially when I know others out there suffering health conditions so much more than I am. . I work in community care, disability/mental health...have worked throughout all of this... have always been so mentally strong and confident.  Now I'm starting to doubt and second guess myself, quite probably because everything feels like its out of my control. Has anyone else experienced anything similar... feel like I'm loosing my mind yet anyone around me would think I was calm coping and completely sane, lol... 
Thanks so much for reading. 😊

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Comments

  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 5,575
    Golly gosh, @Chevvy - you’ve had a really rough trot, that is for sure xx   I hope you’ve recovered well from your fall - that was really bad luck  :( 

    With everything you are going thru, you are definitely not losing your mind ..... it is just going a million miles an hour, trying to compute all that is going on xx

    With your melanoma, has immunotherapy been mentioned at all?  There have been leaps and bounds in that area in recent years. Maybe ask about it if they haven’t mentioned it?

    You are amazing to have worked all thru this - but don’t forget to look out for yourself as well xx  If you get anxious or stressed, definitely chat with a Counsellor or social worker at your Cancer Centre, or chat with the helpline here, too xx

    take care and all the best xx
  • ChevvyChevvy Member Posts: 28
    👋just recovering from the surgery arpie, havent seen my oncologist yet to discuss immunotherapy or any of that, appt in a cpla weeks. Am quite blessed her speciality is in breast and melanoma.. what's the odds of that.. my surgeon tells me cancers not related but I have to wonder if it is, particularly with an oncologist who has chosen to specialise in the two. Maybe just bad luck. What I can say is I'm walking lopsided and with heavy limp, lol... left boob still huge from radiotherapy,  left cheek still swollen from fall as didnt heal properly, left shoulder sags from 1st melanoma surgery, left leg missing half my calf from recent melanoma surgery... if one didn't know better they'd think i was staggering drunk as all surgeries to left side. Some days wish I was !!!
    Thankyou Zoffiel for encouraging me to believe my marbles are in fact in tact. I did mention to Dr my thoughts,  just wanted to stick me on anti depressants.. unfortunately have allergies to all ssri's so thats not an option...wish it was..felt like I was making such a fuss. Think it comes from the industry i work in, spent so many years advocating, and "fixing" things for everybody else feels like i should be able to fix it for myself. You both might be on it with the counsellor idea 👍 thanku girls xo
  • cranky_grannycranky_granny Penrith NSWMember Posts: 347
    @Chevvy
    You would be forgiven for having a downer with everything that’s happening 
    we all do at some point. I’ve made use of the Councellor and it was a great help. Everything she taught me during our sessions i use some all the time and others i put back into practice again when things get tough. 
     BCNA network is a great place to let of steam because nobody judges you 
    Take care and make some you time 
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 4,851
    Goodness me @Chevvy
    You've certainly got yourself in a medical pickle and understandably a highly emotional state.
    Don't fret, you're not losing your marbles, you've drawn the short straw. 
    Doctors doing a watch and wait on the lymph nodes.  I recently had my annual mammogram and was asked when did I have my vaccination as they find if it's recent the lymph nodes are enlarged.  Perhaps your body is trying to defend!
    Please don't feel isolated.  That's what the forum is about, like minded to help you through. Vent away!
    As suggested by others a Counsellor may help with coping mechanisms 
    Take care


  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 5,575
    How good is that ..  that your Onc is well versed in both BC and Melanoma!  WIN!  My surgeon was both a BC and Thyroid Specialist .. so I was wondering the same, if they may be related somehow too?

    I do hope you are having a GOOD BREAK (so to speak] this time, to recover as well as you can ....  I feel for you - it will all feel so weird for a while, as you have had some pretty serious surgery surgery on  3 fronts in recent time xx. Make haste slowly xx

    yep, definitely put yourself first this time, and do what you have to do to get well again xx  you’ve been thru a heap of stuff and deserve a break xx
  • ChevvyChevvy Member Posts: 28
    Ooooohhh, that's interesting.  Had 2nd Pfizer jab about 10 days before the mammogram.... no one has mentioned that connection.. will definitely ask that question at next appt. 
    I should try a counsellor... do feel a bit of a fraud doing that as I work in psych and feel like I should have all those answers.. just can't seem to fix myself, lol.. but certainly that path seems to have been beneficial to many on here...
    Thanku lovely ladies for listening to my rant. 
  • ChevvyChevvy Member Posts: 28
    Oh, maybe all onc's have a couple of specialities, would make sense. I was just lucky to already be with one that had interests in the melanoma then. Pity she didn't have an interest in how to get Jack Daniels and coke intravenously fed into me, lol.
    Yep, having a little break. Went back to work after the surgery but then booked 2 weeks annual leave. Think my "head" needs a break more than the body does, and haven't had one since this all started last year. Too blooming stubborn before now. Used to go to work, drive myself to treatment,  then drive myself back to work, regardless how crappy I felt. Refused to give in to it.. perhaps in hindsight not a healthy coping mechanism. Am definitely hoping few weeks off might help the head/thoughts.... time will tell.. do feel work is a good escape tho as keeps head busy. 🌻
  • Julez1958Julez1958 SydneyMember Posts: 187
    Oh dear you have had a bad trot.
    After my breast cancer diagnosis I was referred for a PET scan ( due to the size of the tumour) and it showed up something suspicious in my thyroid.
    I was referred for a thyroid biopsy which showed a tiny completely independent cancer ( not a metastasis of the breast cancer).
    The mental state I was in during all that was pretty bad but once I actually saw the thyroid specialist and we had the plan to remove the thyroid ( had this done a month after my radiotherapy finished) I felt a lot calmer.
    As many have said on the forum, a cancer diagnosis does really mess with your head and professional counselling can help .
    I think for me I had always regarded my self as “ bulletproof” and hardly ever took a sick day at work , so I was grieving the loss of my bulletproof self.
    One thing I have learned is that you need to look after yourself and some times I play the “ cancer card” if I just don’t  feel up to doing something.
    Although the Covid 19 business had been hard, the fact that my breast cancer diagnosis was 12 months ago means I have had less activities I have had to say no to ( who wants to go to a party or pub when you are randomly crying at the smallest things).
    Things will get better but it will take time.
    Sending virtual hugs.
  • ChevvyChevvy Member Posts: 28
    You hit the nail on the head with the whole 100% bulletproof thing, that is so where I think it all stems from. I've always considered myself bulletproof and so do the majority of those around me, probably cause of how I've presented. Yep, sure does mess with your head before you even get in to the whole cancer thing.. so sorry to hear you also had a 2nd diagnosis,  the bc would have been bad enough. Do hope you are well on your way to better health now and no more little nasties turn up. Take care, thanku for your wise words. X
  • AllyJayAllyJay Member Posts: 839
    Yes, some oncologists have interests or more knowledge of specific cancers. My oncologist, also known to me as 'The Ice Princess", specialises in breast an bowel cancer. At the large Sydney hospital where I was treated, she saw her breast patients on a Tuesday, and the bowel patients on the Thursday. Now it happened that I had to see my rheumatologist on a Thursday, and that week was supposed to see her for my six month check up on the Tuesday. I tried to change my appointment from the Tuesday to the Thursday so it would mean only one trip to see both doctors. This was 2017, so prior to covid. The twit on the phone told me "Sorry, but Dr X only sees her breast cancer patients on a Tuesday...Thursdays are for her bowel cancer patients". A reminded her that it would be the same doctor in the same office, in the same department and that I would sit in the same chair. Could my file not be sent to her for the Thursday? "No, she explained to me very carefully, the breast and the bowel are in sepearate parts of the body"..duhhh..and then repeated her mantra about the days. So I threw her a curveball and asked her,'So, if I have both breast cancer and bowel cancer, both separate cancers at the different ends of my body, would I have to see her on the Tuesday for my breasts, and then return on the Thursday to discuss my bowel cancer?"...She replied with "I'm not sure...please hold while I go and ask someone..." Needless to say...I hung up then wiped the sprayed tea off my computer screen. But seriously, I hope your oncologist can get you sorted and that you get some rest from this bastard of a disease.
  • Cath62Cath62 Brisbane Member Posts: 510
    Hi @Chevvy, wow what shit it all is and you are not loosing your marbles at all. It's very stressful indeed. I have had 3 melanoma over the last 20 yrs and then breast cancer. I am 59.

     My first melanoma was diagnosed when I was 38. I have a massive scar on my shoulder. It was stage one so no other treatment. I have been seen by a dermatologist since I was 30 as I have lots of moles and both my parents had melanoma. 

    Then at 39 another melanoma on my back. A similar big scar and again stage 1. I see the dermatologist every 6 months except if melanoma then every 3 months for a yr and the back to 6 months  

    At 40 I nearly died from a superbug that cut off my airway and I developed septicaemia. I ended up in intensive care for 5 weeks and had a tracheotomy for that time. It took me a year to get over it.

    I thought well that would be it. At 49 I got another melanoma which was stage 2 regressive melanoma on my back. Another massive scar but all gone and no other treatment. Then at 58 I got breast cancer.

    There is a link between breast cancer and melanoma. I did gene testing and luckily I don't have BRCA 2 gene which links these cancers. So I guess I am just one of those people....

    I have noticed at each cancer diagnosis I have had very big stresses in the preceding 12 to 18 months and the other thing I noticed is that my vitamin D levels have been extremely low prior to diagnosis.

    My oncologist put me on Vitamin D at 4000 units initially on the bc diagnosis and now I take 2000 units per day.

    Each time I see the dermatologist I feel lucky if I get out of there without a biopsy. I have had over 30 biopsies for moles that have been dodgy. At least half of the moles they have done biopsies on have been abnormal cells so it's great they are out.

    It is hard to deal with all this stuff. My BC was early and diagnosed in April 2020 but it was aggressive cells, grade 3 but stage 1. No lymph. I have 2 surgeries for the BC, 4 months chemo and 1 month radium and now take tamoxifen. It's exhausting really. 

    It all plays on my mind sometimes. I am ok. I take everything one day at a time and one appointment at a time. I walk nearly every day and try to be mindful, living in the moment. I find joy in simple pleasures. I don't work any more. It just all got too much for me for many reasons. But I am ok. 

    You will get through this. Ask about immunotherapy as there is good work going on with it and melanoma. Get those constant skin checks which I am sure you will. Be kind to yourself and put yourself first. Sounds like you give alot to others, especially with your job. Now its time for you. Maybe a bit of counselling can help. I did get some. Didn't need too many sessions but it helped.

    Take care. Sending you a virtual hug.🌻
  • Annie CAnnie C Member Posts: 773
    Your story has made my day. I have gone through the morning chuckling at the thought of it. I read it at 05:30 this morning, in bed with my first cup of coffee of the day. It is priceless.
    Like you I had to wipe coffee off my tablet screen and lucky that it is bed sheet changing day - the coffee went everywhere!
    Throughout my many years of living remotely in the Kimberley I have met many "D**kless Doctors" who have come to "save" us (and usually bu**ered off after a few months, well hello, have you given a thought as to how we have managed before you arrived!
    The best I can relate to with appointments, is the two appointments with two different specialists, a day apart, in Broome - a round trip from home of 440kms. And no, the specialist booking clerk refused to change the appointments to the same day because " you might not come to both appointments on the same day and that's two appointments wasted!"  



  • ChevvyChevvy Member Posts: 28
    Thanku for all your replies and stories lovely ladies. Sounds like we've all been greeted with a bit of madness somewhere along our travels. I think the "loose marbles" in my head are rolling a bit slower today after all your help. 😊
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 4,851
    Dear oh dear!
    I realise how fortunate I am. 
    Have appointment with Breast Surgeon for review, 4 October.   Was seeing Oncologist in September but rang and asked, could I see Michael,  Oncologist on 4 October.  No worries was the return text and don't fret if John,  Breast surgeon is running late.....
    One trip only into Melbourne 


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