Check out @missg1984’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/missg1984/status/697880159643422720?s=09
While I sit in hospital having the chop again it’s ironic I am back again where It all started! Hopefully this is the last hurdle of the universe’s plan for me. I finally have time to sit and write my next piece for my blog. Hannah sure does keep me busy I literally do not get a minute with her. Come bedtime at 7 each night I am too tired to even think straight let alone look at the computer to type anything. Thanks to baby brain and chemo brain, I defo feel my mind is not as sharp as it used to be. Thanks for been so patient I know August was the last one. I promise I wont make you wait that long for the next one 🙂
So surgery 1 – 16th September 2014
What a day to have your boob removed – of course I got no sleep the night before
you would swear Hannah knew something was up, she played up the night before, only 4 weeks old so still not fully settled in yet. That night she knew deep down I was stressed but didn’t think I was on the outside. I just wanted the tumour gone I had my game face on me ready and waiting to go. Tough cookie me but even the toughest of cookies still have to crumble sometimes. I was not going to surgery well rested. I stayed in my mams the night before it was easier just to get up and go and leave Hannah sleeping with Supernanny. 🙂 My ma shes some woman !!!
I checked into admissions with my new jammie’s, slippers and dressing gown in tow or (housecoat)as some of you may prefer. Why is it we buy new pj’s for hospital stays talk about keeping up appearances. #pureirishthing.
Think I bought 3 new sets of jammie’s this time for my hospital stay I need to get out more. Seem to live in them these days and no you will never see me at the shops in them. lol
Getting back on track I sat in admissions all day chatting on whats app to the girls keeping the spirits up. I had ran down my battery to quick dam S4 and the shitty battery life on them. There was nowhere to charge it that I could see the lack of plugs was unreal and sure we all need a break from technology. So I sat and watched the telly with flipping Jeremy Kyle and doctors please shoot me now!!! I must have been the last to be called cos I was literally about to start chewing furniture I had been fasting for over 12 hours. I was in there since before 8. I was so dang thirsty I wasn’t called for surgery till 2pm I love my food can’t be starving me like that. Think the longer I was kept waiting the more anxious I got.
The phone rang I heard my name mentioned by the nurse bout time lets do this shit ! the lovely nurse in admissions got my stockings and hospital gown and done final checks on her end before we headed towards the staff elevators.
When I arrived to Theatre area I climbed on the bed and was prepped with the usual heart monitor stickers, blood pressure cuff, mop cap, white knee socks for clotting, lovely disposable knickers, left arm strapped out and ready for cannula god I hate them I feel like a pin cushion at this stage. It is worse after you have had cancer and lymph involvement because you can never have your blood taken on that side or blood pressure read from that arm so beware and the amount of times people go directly to that arm. I am always nearly screaming no cos you do have the tendency to forget. So while chatting to the anesethist final checks and consent of course all done before i go to sleepy land.. I was having right sided masectomy along with tissue expander placement along with lymph clearance cos it had spread there too. I am so lucky to be alive and i thank god every day. I woke up in recovery still very much off my titties i would say ususally but will say tit lol. I was in and out and i was in alot of pain. Do not try be a superhero for the 1st few days its very sore. You have nerves an all cut you do not recover over night, I couldnt chop veg for weeks. I had to have physio and exercise it everyday to build strength back up this is essential. i have full range of movement back in my right arm now. I felt like a man though on one side one boob was gone and my other one still there.
The pyschological effect that has on any woman is a big deal but you get on it and of course I would have to make a joke of it. Calling myself half boy half girl was my way of dealing with it all sure you need to see the funny side of things and sure most of you that know me and i have such a weird sense of humour.
So even though I had a mastectomy on one side and sort of temporary reconstruction on same side. See with a Tissue Expander its an Implant placed under the skin which has a magnet on the front of it, these are not tacked down or secured, so they give you a blue magnet to bring with you every appointment and it goes on your breast and that shows them where to jab you with the 50ml syringe filled with saline its actually quite cool. So I had saline implant placed but it was empty I had to get filled each week to stretch my skin as they had to remove so much with the size of my tumour. yes it was that big I lost not only my breast tissue in the mastectomy my nipple and a good chunk of the skin too. had we of tried to put an implant straight away it would have looked ridiculous. skin stretched they actually would not have been able to close the skin over the implant so I was patient for want of a better re construction further down the line.
Recovery afterwards was tough I had new baby I could barely hold I couldn’t unscrew bottle caps, chop veg, tighten her bottle lids simple little things we take for granted. I was kept in hospital for a week for my own benefit, they said with new baby I will be doing to much as soon as I was out which was 100% true cos I am that type of person. It was so tough spending nearly a whole week away from my 1 month old Hannah. I remember crying in the hospital because i got so frustrated with myself for not been able to hold her properly and I was missing her so much. I felt really down and of course you do not want your baby in the hospital full of germs at 4 weeks old. There is no greater love than a mother and their child!
I never understood that til now and i would move heaven and earth ten times over for Hannah. I gave in and got Doyler to bring her into me on day 4 I checked with docs was it OK for her to be in they gave the go ahead. I got so upset as I couldn’t hold her properly it was so uncomfortable I had to just sit there and let her lie on my knees all I done was stare at her little face and kept touching her cheek as I wasn’t going to see her for another few days. God it was awful and of course I was a blubbering mess when they were leaving! Bloody hormones fecking main reason I got into this mess in the first place lol !! God dam you Estrogen 🙂
I was sent home with 1 drain left in on the right side this was my new accessory for the week everywhere I went so did the drain it was collecting fluid following the Mastectomy so that you don’t get a build up in the area after the procedure. It’s standard and all depending how your body is at eliminating waste so to speak. I had to empty my drain myself and measure the liquid with a syringe and track how many mls each day so we knew it was reducing each day. The drain was like a little clear size grenade hanging off the side of me. It poked out through my clothes, I had it pinned to my top, word of warning do not pin to knickers or trousers !!! It gone thrown over my shoulder when in the shower or resting on a soap dish sometimes I even pinned it to an earring so as not to let this thing pull at the side of me ! I later found out your not supposed to have them raised above you but sure look it was only for showering and that and no harm came from it. Once the output from the drain was minimal I was straight onto my breast care nurse pleading to get it out of me. I was walking around Avoca handweavers with my drain in tow when I got the message to say come on in and we will remove it for you. YES!!!
Had I of been able to drive at that stage I would have broke the speed limit !!
P’s removal of your drain is not for the faint hearted. Please make sure you take some pain relief prior to removal 😉 my skin had started growing over it that’s how good I was healing up. But it is over before you know it.
So during my two week break from hospitals /doctors / midwifes.
I done what I could in preparing my body for what lies ahead. I was ready to stare Cancer in the face.
Envelopes were shooting through my letter box from Vincent’s for various appointments. Hannah had been delivered no time was been wasted! The doctors had requested I have further tests. They need a bigger picture and with me pregnant at the time of diagnosis they were limited in what scans they could do. They had to check and see if cancer was present anywhere else in my body. What were we up against?
We were called for a meeting in the Breast care office Me my partner Breast Surgeon and Breast Care nurse. We decided it was best to go surgery route first we needed it gone ASAP. I was having surgery in the hope I would avoid chemo. I was so wrong !! I had went in with my decision that I wanted both my breasts gone I did not want to be sitting in this office again going shit it is now on the other side. No way! I want them gone now.
I had received my Gene test results the morning before so I had 24 hrs to ponder one boob or two. I tested positive for BRCA2 gene which increases my risk of developing breast cancer to about 85% and also a 34% chance of ovarian cancer. I had been saying since my mother tested positive. If I did I was going to have them both removed and get new perky boobs then hell ya but thought I had at least another 10 more years left with my ole nipples
But this was a totally different situation my left breast is going to be done as a preventive and my right side to get all the cancer out as soon as possible. I would be having a double Masectomy at 30 years of age!!
WTF is right as your prob thinking, you can imagine it’s a big decision to elect to have both your breasts taken off as well as pregnancy hormones, a new born and my mother. How the fuck was I still standing at this stage? The stakes are far too high. I had just had a beautiful baby girl she needs her Mom.
My MRI (Magnetic Resoning Imaging) was done on both breasts just before my 1st surgery I was warned that it may be painful the way you are positioned for the MRI on your breasts, you are lying on your stomach poking your breasts to square shaped holes covered in yet another blue gown. I had just delivered Hannah 2 weeks previous so they still felt like melons! I could not breast feed due to the Tumour so you can imagine they were pretty full. Any other time I could of fit two boobs in one of the holes LOL. Your lying in this position for 20 mins with your arms above your head. The MRI shows how large the cancer is and whether it involves any underlying muscle and if it is present in any lymph nodes.
I tested positive for the Cancer having spread to my lymph nodes, muscle and surrounding tissues ( fuck you cancer ) how many were infected We don’t know. I was still at this stage in turmoil with myself and everyone around me as my mum was going through chemo at the time. I seen the effects it has on your body first hand with my mother. I was not having Chemo!! No way was I putting that stuff in my body. The hair part wasn’t bothering me it was the poison they put in your body. I was looking at all my options. I said to the surgeon I want them gone. Both breasts get rid now Take them both might as well take the other one while your there. Risk is to high with the Gene. They were advising me against it as I had just had a baby this is big thing emotionally as well to deal with alone along with having your breasts gone . I didn’t care I had made my mind up anyone that knows me knows that I am stubborn bitch, so I wasn’t backing down with the breast surgeon. I want them gone. I do not want to be back here next year. My breast care team still advising me not to go through with it as they would have to remove lymph nodes as well. Recovery is a bit longer. I wont be able to lift Hannah up at all. We left the office that I would think about it. I was still adamant.
It was advised that as we are opting for surgery route first we need to know how far it has spread in the lymphatic system. I would need a Sentinel node biopsy 1st to see how many nodes were affected by cancer. This was scheduled for 9th September 3 weeks after giving birth no time like the present eh !
The day of my 1st surgery it is done as a day case. They inject a dye into your breast where the Tumour is, this goes automatically through your lymphatic system as your body try’s to process and eliminate it. It was pretty fecking sore and it’s full of radioactive dye!! Lovely but I get to be put asleep during it, nice aul rest for me 😉 The dye will show up the doctors once they make an incision under my arm and they then just cut a bunch of nodes. I had woke up and recovered grand feeling hungry and a bit sore nothing too major few pain killers and paper stitches I was grand. Come on I just had a baby 🙂
So we met with breast care again on the Friday following my day case surgery I am telling you I may have well had set up camp in Vincent’s at this stage. But they had results back from my sentinel node biopsy. 36 Lypmh nodes in total removed and 7 tested positive. He then said my tumour had increased in size since the last time he examined me. Remember it started out size of my baby nail it was now like a bloody golf ball. So all I can think in my head were they squeezing the boob of me while I was under. I know its there job but come on. Its how I roll.
Great news my tumour had been flipping spreading like wild fire throughout my breast. My surgery was originally schedule for 23rd Sept it was moved to the 16th what i had to get stuff organised it was Friday i was going to be going to hospital for a week and have my breast whipped off. The thought hadn’t even entered my mind about what it will look like after it was just get this cancer out and off me now. I didn’t care Read more
My name is Grace Vickers. I was diagnosed with Breast cancer at age 30.
High Grade Stage 3 Ductal/Invasive lobular breast cancer in August 2014
Totalling a whopper 5 inches in size !! Shocked does not even come close!!!
I am here to share my journey in the hope that If I can help someone then my work is done.
I don’t look at my diagnosis as a hindrance or all doom and gloom.
Staying positive is essential in kicking cancers fat ass to the curb!!!
I believe that everything happens for a reason and that is what makes us stronger as people.
So hope you enjoy reading my posts.
I apologize in advance for the use of some profanity.