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Archive for September, 2018

Oops, I did it again!

Abandoned my blig, that is. Lets try and summarise the last 2 1/2 years for you.

Well my wish for a happy and healthy 2016 didn’t work out. There was I chugging along with my nursing degree when, at the end of my first year I found a lump in my right breast. I dithered for a couple of weeks hoping I was imagining it and it would go away. Don’t do this, people, because it won’t go away. I was impressed with my GP surgery because as soon as I mentioned the words ‘lump’ and ‘breast’ I had a next day appointment with my preferred GP.

From that day I don’t think my feet touched the ground for a year! I knew that it wasn’t a cyst, cysts don’t hurt and this lump was tender to touch. Obviously I had to go through tests and biopsies, and I needed a breast MRI to make sure my lump didn’t have any friends hiding in my dense breast tissue. There weren’t and once the official diagnosis was confirmed I was booked in for surgery. I had the tumour plus some lymph nodes removed and tests showed that the cancer hadn’t spread beyond the 25mm tumour.

Following surgery I was heavily advised to have a course of chemotherapy before the standard dose of radiotherapy. I was reluctant to agree but decided I’d never forgive myself if the unthinkable happened in the future. Chemo was the most terrible thing I have ever experienced. I still get nauseous if I think about it too much or smell certain drugs. During all of this I insisted on continuing my nursing. I knew it would mean slightly lower grades but I just wanted to carry on and keep things normal. Luckily my oncologist and breast care nurse agreed with me and got involved with the uni to fight my case. Once they had been bested the uni were actually very supportive, giving me extensions on all my assignments and insisting on delaying my placement to allow me to recover from my final chemo.

During chemo I vomited on a daily basis, lost every hair on my body apart from a few precious eyelashes and learnt the art of painting on a healthy face. God I was poorly though – luckily I didn’t end up neutropenic and managed to avoid a hospital stay, although my Dad insisted on taking me down very late one night when I couldn’t stop being sick. They gave me extra strong anti emetics and decided I could go home. Phew! It really was a gruelling time and I nearly gave up but I am glad that I didn’t.

After that ordeal, the radiotherapy was a doddle. I found it tiring, especially the last week (I had a 20 day course instead of the usual 15 days. The consultant was blasting this thing good and proper!) Recovery took a lot longer than I thought it would, and I think it has wrought permanent changes in me. Certain foods I absolutely cannot touch any more as they make my brain tell my tummy to reject them. I get more tired than I used to; although that could be middle age creeping up on me. I cannot force down that last forkful of a meal or again I eject it forcibly. My hair grew back black instead of its previous red- blonde, and for a short period I had curls though they are gradually growing out. My attitude to life is very much to wear your favourite dress, go on that holiday, don’t save things for best as you never know what is round the corner.

I completed my nursing degree, although I am still waiting for my final result. I have a job at my local hospital, which promises to be a good one. I have only worked 2 shifts so far so it is a bit too early to say anything definite. Everybody has been very welcoming and supportive though which is a good sign. Having a reasonable salary at last means that I can finally start planning in the long term, and trying to ignore that unpleasant voice that keeps telling me not to plan, it might all go wrong.

Well that is my whistle stop tour. Here’s hoping I can keep this blog up better than I have been!

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