Monthly Archives: May 2009

It’s out! and I’m out too!

Got home a while ago…I feel drowsy, tired and sleepy.  I won’t make much sense so this will be a short one.

It went well. I can’t believe how the anesthetic just knocks you down straight away! the last words I heard were: “the time now is twenty to four”. The assistant anesthetist told me that when she goes for an operation herself (apparently she has had many) she likes knowing what time it is when she is knocked down. I woke up asking for the chocolate bar that nick bought me before I went into surgery.

My boob is doing well. It’s not in too much pain and the surgeon did an amazing job! I now have to look after it properly and treat it with love and care.

Having never been in hospital I know now why people complain about hospital food. Foul!

More to come about my stay in hospital another day. Now it’s time for a nap…

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The day!

It’s operation day! right now I’m feeling ok (a bit hungry though). How could I not? Had a great night at the pub with dad and lots of my mates watching the footie….and BARCA won!!!

I think all the anxiety and fear will kick in once I get to the hospital and they change me into the blue dressing gown, and they make me lie down in one of their beds, ready to go into the operation theatre. That will be the only time that I will have been truly alone since my diagnosis. No friends, no family, no email, no blog, no mobile phone…just me and the lump.

See you later guys!

The day before

Hiiiiii,

So my dad woke me up at the crack of dawn to let me know he was on his way to Liverpool street from Stansted airport. I shall not complain as he is coming all the way from Morocco, and his flight was at 2 am (craaaazy time!eh?).  So he had not slept all night. We ran some errands, went for coffee and had some nice lunch. I got very emotional and cried when I first saw him and we embraced. His turn to cry was at the coffee shop later on in the morning.

I am feeling generally ok. Having everyone’s well wishes and receiving cards from people all over the world makes you feel stronger. But there are times when reality hits me. I am having a big operation tomorrow. I will have to recover from it.I will have to have chemo after. It’s not fair. I don’t wanna do it!! My life will change after the removal of the lumps. My body will take over!I’m bracing myself for a big ride.

Here is a pic of my dad and I. We were queing at the post office to send my doctor’s sick note, stating that I’m off for 3 months for breast cancer treatment, to my supervisor.

One more thing…

So about the operation… I forgot to say that I may stay in hospital overnight, but there is also a chance that they will send me home the same day…so that doesn’t leave any time really for hospital visits, flowers and balloons. You can visit me home at some point though!

And finally an amazing performance by le tigre. Love the energy that this song has (it’s a treadmill favourite of mine).

 

operating and treating my lump

Thursday is so close! I can’t believe it, the lump will finally be removed from my insides! I asked the consultant if I’d be allowed to see it, “If you want to” she said, pulling a face that was adding “you weirdo” to her verbal reply. But to me it’s just natural to want to meet my lump face to face! It’s a being that has turned my life upside down. It belongs to me and my body, even if it needs to be taken out (for obvious reasons). If you had a cancerous lump taken out, would you want to see it? what are your views?

Moving on from the lump onto me, the other day I caught myself thinking “I’m scared”. And I have decided there is no room for such thoughts, and no point in having them. If I tell myself that I’m scared then I will be, right? So I turned it into excitement. I am excited that they are taking the lump out because that is the first step towards a cancer-free life. Also, it’s a new experience. Last time I was in hospital I was 3 and it was because a tick was stuck behind my ear, sucking my blood out. Unlike the lump, which no-one knows where it came from, the tick came from my dog. I had the habit of having naps in the garden with him you see…

My growing acceptance and strength has made me realise how far I’ve come in such little time. I was diagnosed on a wednesday afternoon, and by friday I was having my first test (a bone scan to be precise). Being the inexperienced person I was with hospitals, tests and cancer stuff I went along on my own, just like I do when I go to see the gp or the dentist. Bad idea. Since my train was delayed and I feared I would be late, I decided to travel by bus. The first leg of the journey was fine, but then I started panicking about not being on time. Thus I decided that money don’t matter today, and I found myself in the middle of mare street, trying to find a taxi, being drenched by the pouring rain.  No black cabs. “Shit shit shit”. Walk to the taxi company nearby. Rain. As I’m about to cross pavements, on a little side street I spot a black cab. “Yes” I run towards it. “Where are you going?” asked the taxi driver in the most unfriendly manner you can imagine. “The independent hospital”, I replied. I then started to cry, freaked out by the whole situation, realising that I was going to hospital to have my first test to see if the cancer had spread. The trigger was of course the taxi driver’s rudeness. He did a gesture with his hand telling me to move away “I do not know where that is”. Sob sob sob. Then another cab appeared. “What’s wrong darling?”. Sob, sob, sob. “That taxi driver was very rude”. So nice taxi driver takes me in. He knows where I am going. He knows why I am going there. He asked me and I could have said “for a bone scan”, but being inexperienced as I was I told him it was “I was diagnosed with breast cancer two days ago”. He says he’s sorry to hear. We chat. I feel protected in the taxi. Warm and dry, I look at the rain from the window and I stop the sobbing.

So yeah, it’s funny how quickly you become accustomed to having breast cancer.  This is my life now and this is what is waiting for me:

1) Lumpectomy on thursday. They take out your lump, plus 2cm around it. If those 2 cm are cancer free, that’s it. If they are not, then they will take a bigger chunk which could lead to a mastectomy or complete removal of my boob. They are also clearing my armpit’s lymph nodes.

2) 6 weeks later I will start chemo. I am very happy about the timing, as it’ll be after nadia’s hen weekend, the blur concert in hyde park and nadia’s wedding in france. The chemo is FEC (more info here http://www.cancerbackup.org.uk/Treatments/Chemotherapy/Combinationregimen/FEC#6878). I will have it for 18 weeks, and I feel quite lucky that I got this particular treatmen. I go in one week a month for a day, stay in hospital for a couple of hours while they inject me with the poison. Then I rest for 3 weeks! I am hoping that once I get into the routine I will carry on writing my phd. I am excited about finishing it now! perfect activity for rainy days. I shall be finished with chemo mid november. By then I will feel very tired, and I expect those few months to be hard and nauseous. But I have christmas to look forward to!  Oh and I will be bald by august. Bald and beautiful, oh yeah ;-). Will I be able to pull the “cancer chic” look ? (as fausto and I call it)

3) radiotherapy. Don’t know so much about this one. I think it will start like a month after chemo, so just before christmas? after christmas? and I think it’s for 4-6 weeks?  more details to follow.

So all in all I shall be done with treatment sometime in january 2010. Then give me 2-3 months to recover (hair, energy levels…) and I will be out and about and dancing all around once more.

The next train on platform 1 will be the…

If you ever happened to be in dalston kingsland station and I was there too,  more often than not I would be standing on platform 1 waiting for the westbound train. This train took me to my most common destinations: my friend’s homes and their local pubs, university, town for an evening of fun…My brain was so programmed into rushing down to take the westbound train that once when I had to take the eastbound train from platform 2 I automatically went to platform 1. As the train approached I walked in, unaware that I was going in the wrong direction. I kid you not. It was only when I got to highbury and islington, my usual stop, that I realised I had made a mistake ( and that I had added an extra 20 minutes to my already late schedule, arrrgh!).

Nowadays I find myslef day in day out on platform 2, ready to take the eastbound train to Homerton hospital. As I was sitting on a bench in the platform the other day, I looked across to platform 1 and I realised how symbolic that is of how life can just unexpectedly change direction…I used to travel west, now I travel east. 

While my westbound train carried certain anxieties about my future (where should I live? what should I do? should I or should I not?) my eastbound one now carries new ones. All my future fears have been replaced by a very present concern: the overcoming of illness. This does not meant that any of those worries about the future have disappeared. It just means that at least for now, they have been replaced by others: fertility, embryos, treatment, side effects and ultimately survival.

Surgery date!!

Hiiiiii!

I am one happy girl (with a massive headache due to the many hours spent at the hospital). My operation date is thursday 28th of May! Yeah. The lump will be out by then! I go in at 12 pm. They get you ready for the operation and then you just wait for your turn.I cannot eat or drink anything as from 7 am, so my plan is to get up at 6 and stuff my face! 🙂 I have never had any surgery so this is all new to me and it has not yet sunk in. My dad is coming over the day before the op, to look after me. It feels good to know my papa will be here! he will no doubt bring a lot of humour into it!

So about the surgery…Best case scenario is that I will end up with a wonky breast that will be fixed at a later date (after chemo and radio). In the meantime, they will give me a breast prothesis which truly resembles  a chicken fillet ( I had a feel of a lookalike version of my future bit-of-tit). This is done so to the outside world I have a well-balanced pair of boobs. You can also have stick on nipples, to put on your prostheses, but I think I will give those a miss. Worse case scenario is a mastectomy, that is, getting rid off the whole boob, and then doing a complete reconstruction. But since that is not yet an option I won’t even go into it.

I’m exhausted at the moment. I spend so many hours at the hospital going from one specialist to the other, from one waiting room to the next. My head is constantly being filled with information, facts, weird names, possible side effects,choices, and finally with further appointments to be had… I used to never answer the phone if it was a private or unknown caller. Now I haven’t got that option. When the number on the phone screen is hidden that means is a call from the hospital. Deep breath… “hello?”…”Is this Rosa?”…”Yes it is”.

Today Fausto was with me again, which helps me cope with it all. A lot. To be fair I’m already sick and tired of this cancer stuff and this is only the beginning! It’s oh-so-boring. Can’t wait to start shopping for wigs! that somehow feels bloody exciting now!