Here is another inspiring story from Annette. Thanks for sharing Annette and all the best!
And if anyone else would like to share their story, please contact me. Andrea
How did I feel when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer for the second time?
This was a very sad time for me as firstly the shock of being diagnosed with BC a second time and secondly being told over the telephone that you had BC!! I was very upset of course. The GP who works with my doctor, just blurted it out over the telephone. I was so shocked and she was a woman!! I couldn’t believe she could have been so insensitive. She rang me back after I hung up on her. I just hung up again as she was trying to apologise for her mistake. At this stage I was crying, my son who is 20, was home at the time and who I have practically brought up on my own became upset also. About 15 minutes passed and a support worker turned up on my doorstep, sent from the GP who had rung me. She continued to tell me that the doctor was sorry and all this. I listened to her and vented my opinion about her behaviour also. It took me quite a while to get over the situation.
Anyway, getting on. I was very upset to find I had BC again. The first time being in 2009. The BC that time was contained in one area. I had mastectomy and reconstruction in one operation. I started wondering how come this has happened to me? There is no history of BC in my whanau. I was the first. So to have it happen again was a real blow to me. How my second diagnosis came about was also traumatic to me. I had a mammogram in Feb 2011, just routine mammogram, a cyst was found and removed with a needle. Can’t remember the name of that procedure. Then in Nov 2011 I discovered a lump and was referred back for mammogram and CT scan where it was discovered that I had advanced BC, the surgeon advised me that this had been there for at least 7 months. I couldn’t help but wonder whether it should have been picked up in the mammogram in February.
Things just skyrocketed then, biopsy done, went to see surgeon in Tauranga all in a week and scheduled for surgery the following week. I had a second mastectomy / reconstruction on 8 December 2011.
I must be quite a healthy person because after both operations, I was up and about the day after. I am not going to lie down and let this get me!! My attitude has a lot to do with how I handle things I believe. I am a happy person and a survivor of BC. I am determined this is not going to beat me!
I have a very supportive friend. He takes me to all my appointments, chemo and is just a great person to be around. I choose not to go to support groups as I went once after my first operation and found it to sad. Everyone’s stories are different and I didn’t think a group would be beneficial to me. In saying this though, I am finding my own support people e.g. cancer society, oncology nurse who I ring sometimes for advice, my whanau and a couple of people who I know have been through this and give me great support.
How did I get myself back from breast cancer?
- Firstly I exercise regularly, just gentle walks if I am feeling tired and a bit more vigorously if I am feeling okay. Most of the time I am feeling okay so it is good. I feel the drugs going through my body as I exercise and I think this is a good thing. I have also joined Pink Pilates and this helps with the Lymphodema in my arm (from having 8 lymph nodes removed) and learning breathing exercises and good posture techniques!
- My diet has changed quite a bit since being diagnosed. I eat more fruit and vegetables, nuts, yoghurt, fish, licorice (which seems to help with the toilet problems), ginger ale / beer for nausea. Eating these things has given me more energy also.
- Thirdly, I talk about how I am feeling. For example when I am feeling nauseous or having a ‘down’ day, I find someone to talk too. This helps heaps.
3 tips for getting through breast cancer
- Having someone to talk to when you need them.
- Regular exercise.
- Having faith that I am going to be well at the end of treatment.
I hope my story will help others through their journey. We have to be positive and enjoy everyday, everyone and not let this get us down. Kia kaha koutou katoa!