Saturday, 29 January 2011

Your Needs Are Priority

There is no escaping the dark hour of the night. I dread these long nights because I cannot sleep. The bleep of drips and calls for assistance from nursing staff disturb the silence well into the early morning. I am left glaring into the night sky just praying my imposter does not rebel. The operation has gone well with no complications. They unzipped my imposter from my chest and cleaned it up. The consultant decided to keep me in over night as a precautionary measure. He wanted to limit the infection process by pumping me with syringes of anti biotic. The plastic surgeon also dropped my imposter by one centimetre. It now resembles my current breast and is a lot softer. It just needs its cherry to match the other.  I have been told I must book an appointment with my diabetic nurse or GP to be reviewed. This I already knew, but as usual I am trying to escape. Like I said this hypochondriac does not like taking tablets.
My time in hospital gave me a chance to make new friends. The swapping of numbers and the promise of a meet for coffee has become a common occurrence on my journey.  Most of the nursing staff that was treating me are from when I had my recon. They took great pleasure at checking my imposter out. Discussing how neat it was and that my reconstruction is nearly complete.
But in the corner of the room there was a woman not so happy. She had seriously hoped that her reconstruction would have left her complete. I sat with her telling her pros and con’s that sometimes the first roll is not always right. That she would need tweaks like me until she is satisfied?  Yet in her heart of hearts through her treatment like me she wanted her treatment to finish. She had hoped they would get it right first time round.
The issues of having a mastectomy and the reconstructive surgery are not like having a boob job. They have taken the fatty tissue away and left you with a casing of skin. That skin has to be filled with what is at hand. Mine was my back muscle with a small implant to give it shape and fullness. There are different types of reconstruction out there each tailored to an individual person. She had aimed herself at having a pair of pert breasts, but the result left her with zero breasts to speak of. So I explained to her if you are not happy then tell them do not walk away. The woman was tired of the prodding and poking like all BC women, but we spoke into the long hours. I said do you honestly think I am totally happy with my result. She said but yours are fantastic you have no reason to complain. I said yes they are now, but it has to settle. There is risk the implant may move or infection/rejection. I face the same road as you, but you must tell them. Do not walk away from this hospital feeling depressed.
I had spurred her into action. Instead of her doubting her complaint which was genuine to her she had to confront her plastic surgeon. The minute that curtain rolled back you could see a weight of stress had been lifted. The plastic surgeon knew her breast recon was not right, but until she had told the plastic surgeon direct. Nothing would have been done to resolve her stress.
She still felt she was making a fuss by saying I should be thankful I am alive. My reply was direct and that they are listening to your needs. Stop doubting you have a genuine complaint which needs resolving so you are able to move forward. It is no good you leaving the hospital upset and let down. Your needs are priority not the hospitals they are there to take care of you.

Monday, 24 January 2011

I Am Tired of Hearing The Blame Game

I woke up this morning to the headlines on Sky news ‘World health organisation blaming unhealthy lifestyles for high levels of breast cancer in Britain.’ I am tired of hearing the blame game and the government hiding behind these so called reports. Are we so stupid to believe only half the story?
Yes! I agree our lifestyles are a part of the problem, but I argue that behind the word lifestyle is a much deeper problem.
I should not have breast cancer hanging over my head. I walk everywhere and always have. My frame is slim and I weigh in at just below nine stone. My diet is strictly controlled because of the diabetes. I have not smoked a cigarette and my alcohol intake is two glasses every three months.  I am not one for easy fast foods I like my meat and vegetables too much. So what part of my lifestyle is to blame for my breast cancer? Who is going to explain this to me and why?
I can make a valid argument which everyone understands and knows.
That milk is tampered with along with the cereal before I consume it. Bread, the grain has been genetically altered before it is ground down for flour. Most meats have been injected with hormones before being slaughtered. Water rumour has it that the very water I drink has traceable levels of hormones. This cross contamination is there because of the contraceptive pill. This is affecting the fertility in men.  We live in a society built up on easy living and our governments are well aware of the dangers that are waiting to spew forth.
Can it be the poor versus the rich argument? No! Breast cancer affects women across the board.
So what is the truth?
The royals in the U.K are smart. They eat their own home grown produce. They have returned to an independent lifestyle free of pesticides. They even drink spring water from Scotland not Thames valley water out of a tap. Their explanation is to ease the cash flow, but what if they know the contamination of our food is a lot more serious? What would you do? Why stay in a city that is flooded with pollutants. When you can go to Scotland and the pollution is less. The eco argument they use wisely and they do not hide the facts.
My argument is clear there are a number of issues which are feeding the breast cancer rise. But until our government addresses the amount of chemicals within our foods this includes cross contaminants. It will forever leave a loop of doubt in my head.

On a postive note me and my youngest daughter are doing the Race 4 Life.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

My Biopsy is Clear... Ohhh Yeahh!

The Biopsy showed no abnormalities just fibrous tissue, but to me the fact they had solved the pain was brilliant. Now It is my time to move forward and stop worrying.
Ok, so I still have the run of appointments, but those appointments I will treat like my diabetes appointments. They are my MOT for good health and nothing more. 

I can finally smile and take hold of the gremlin and kick it to the side. When you get breast cancer no matter what type or grade you fear the outcome. We are all individuals who do not want this disease. I was one of the few that caught it before the real damage could be done. I had been dealt the wrong cards, but my percentage at the beginning although bad has taught me a valuable lesson. None of us know how long we have on this planet so every second is precious.
We all carry the very cells that can turn on us. It is our building blocks, our defence/genes that are our enemy. Cancer is just a word that simplifies all the information given.
The breast cancer lottery is not just a percentage, but a test of endurance. I have not yet been given the all clear, but I must put my energy into other exciting things.
I pray that one day we can go to sleep without the worry. That the researchers find out why our breasts have become ticking time bombs, but for now the support network I'm in has easied a lot of my fears. So if you are in doubt no matter how small tell someone. Do not sit and worry because you fear you will not be taken serious. It is your voice that can make a difference and only you can speak loud and clear to solve it. I did and now although I did not have a recurrance my pain and worry is solved.

I want to write children’s books and illustrate them.
I want to climb Ben Nevis.
I want to design something very special that symbolises breast cancer to me.
I want to go Study and get certificates lots of certificates.
I want to LIVE! And be Sarah again!
In fact I want to do lots of things and nothing is going to stop me!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Pain Free At Last! Amen!

The pain has finally left my body, Oh yes! Oh yes! Oh yes! For a whole year I have grumbled about the pain, but finally I think they have solved it. My stereo wire excision of a lesion in my right breast has taken it away. Oh! The joy and exhilaration I feel cannot be explained.  I am in pain with my breast from the operation, but that pain will in time fingers firmly crossed fade away. I can finally go to sleep without the worry.

The whole operation went really well at the hospital. Maybe I have been too harsh on the hospital. After all they are over stretched.  Before having my stereo wire put in for the operation itself. I was talking with a radiographer outside the mammogram room.  I had seen her for my last mammogram when Lyn came with me and she remembers. We discussed the calendar and how she would like one for the radiology department. She found me to be a very strong willed individual. Who wanted to make a difference in her life? It was a very humorous chat we had with other staff joining in. They were very interested in my story and had looked at my previous history. So to hear I had taken part in a calendar with seventeen other ladies with breast cancer left them gobsmacked, but not surprised.

The wire took a little longer to get in place. I being my wonderful self had a very awkward breast that was not playing ball. The pain I felt due to the repeat opening and closing of the plates was driving me mad, but the staff and surgeon who were doing the procedure were very supportive and understanding. When they finally got the mammogram image they wanted I was stood up.
Really I should of said something, but me and my impatient self said let’s get on with it. Well of cause I vomited and went to faint whilst clamped by my breast. The radiographer caught me and they released my breast quick smart. Why I keep fainting I do not know, but I was determined to get this procedure up and running. They discussed a way to alter the bed whilst keeping me flat and it worked. It was a little uncomfortable, but they were able to lay me on my side and get my breast clamped. She offered me more local anaesthetic and I waved it away. I said my breast is numb enough let’s get the wire in. All the staff loved my stubbornness to solve a very stressful situation. They kept stroking my hand and saying how brave I was. Once they had unclasped me and secured the wire we chatted a little until I had all the colour return to my pale cheeks. The wire incersion was pain free, but they kept repeating you are so brave. I would not say I am brave, but I would say I was determined to solve an issue that had plagued me for a whole year.
When I left the room Steve was there with my belongings from upstairs. He had seen the commotion that occurred and was concerned, but once he saw me laughing and joking with staff he was back to his normal relaxed self.
Steve escorted me back to the ward so I could be wheeled into theatre when ready.  Once there we had a laugh and joke with a nurse and I said he could leave.
He had been up half the night studying so he needed to catch up on sleep whilst Sophia was at school.
The wait was long and my stomach was churning with hunger. When the nurse took my sugar level it was still high from the sweet puff mince pie I hate at 10pm last night, but I can honestly say my stomach is empty of all liquid and grub now. Especially since I was trying to vomit downstairs and my stomach had nothing to vomit with.
After talking absolute nonsense with nursing staff on the ward and making them laugh. It was soon my turn to be escorted down to theatre. It is strange how you focus in on exit each time you walk down that long cold trek. The nurse chats with me to ease my nerves, but I’m OK!

In recovery it took ages for me to return back to the land of reality. My breast was still there with a neatly stitched incision well tapped up. My oncologist Miss S came to see me and reassured me all went as planned. Now it was a case of waiting to hear of the results of the tissue that was taken.
My breast actually felt different somehow. I no longer had the pain in my arm pit or the ache. It was as if the pressure had been released. I felt like jumping off my bed and going home there and then, but I was still groggy. I kept looking at my breast expecting it to return like a long lost tooth ache. Nope it had defiantly gone!
It is still only a few hours and they had packed the area well with pain relief.  Was the reply of one of the recovery staff when I mentioned it? I quietly laid there smiling at the fact the problem had finally been solve. Now I can lead a normal life without thinking about breast cancer. Yes! The results from the tissue have yet to come back, but I honestly don’t care.
It did not take long to be wheeled up onto the day release ward. The registrar came to visit me he told me in more detail what they had done. An area the size of a one pence piece had been removed right down to my breast muscle. The tissue was really dense on examination and they are holding out on results from the Histology lab. All I could say was, but the pain has gone! He said it is early days so wait and see. He was pleased I was a pain free after all this time, but their concerns are on the tissue sample that had been removed. Yes my fingers are firmly crossed for next week, but I'm just pleased to return home.

This is a link showing the wonderful Sharon Fox and the fabulous she has set up centre Plz Plz Plz order a calendar it is worth every penny. The proceeds also go to Macillian and St Giles.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00xjfj6/Inside_Out_West_Midlands_10_01_2011/
http://sharonfoxcancercentre.org.uk/shop/index.php?cPath=38&osCsid=8ac78000a5a1be8c3a266dd3ca8a047f