My journey started in the summer of 2016, I was tired, so tired and I knew something was not right.
I had mastitis in my left breast 30 plus years ago and from that point my left breast always felt different to my right breast, it felt blocked and heavy.
I wonder how many breasts jokes I will have to listen to when my friends read this.
At my annual check-up, if and when I remembered, I would mention how my breast felt to my Doctor. This would inevitably lead to a breast check and an appointment for a mammogram. At a guess I had a mammogram every 3 to 4 years.
My diagnosis ranged from an ingrown hair to the onset of MS, thankfully I totally ignored the MS diagnosis.
I also had and still have a lymph node under my left arm that would inflate and deflate like a cheap rubber ring. If only I had known what I know now I would never have had one mammogram, let alone all the mammograms I agreed to.
I would have paid for Thermography
Visit Thermograpy Ireland for more details.
July 2016 brought pain and discomfort to my left breast that woke me during the night. I knew I needed to investigate further so on Wednesday 20th July at 9 am I visited my Doctor. I requested full blood tests and voiced my concerns. At 4 pm the same day I was asked to come back for an ECG. From here on in I was very impressed at the speed of events.
On Tuesday 2nd August I was sent to the HSE, Arklow for an ultrasound of my lower region and an X-ray of my lungs.
Then on Friday 19th August I had my first visit to SVH (St. Vincent’s Hospital) for a mammogram and ultrasound, as soon as they told me I needed a biopsy I knew my diagnosis. I have lost count of the number of mammograms and ultrasounds my left breast had but never a biopsy.
Up until that time my only 2 regrets in life were (1) I can’t sing and (2) I didn’t have more children, now I have 3. I agreed to a biopsy.
I am so, so sorry I agreed to the biopsy, looking back on events I should have said no, got off that bed and gone home and researched my options.
I am still shocked at how quickly it all happened, sit up sign a form, lie down, stab, stab…oh, let’s stab again just to make sure we get a good sample. Not only did I sign my consent for a biopsy I found out later I consented to chemotherapy markers to be inserted into my already sick breast. Why? How? Who said I was having chemotherapy?
So, my lump, which took years to detect was now inflamed, black and blue from being stabbed not once but several times and was definitely a visible tumor. I will also have markers in my left breast for ever.
Now I have had time to digest what happened during my initial care at the hospital I stand firmly in my opinion that biopsies should be discussed in much greater detail and any side effects of treatment and possible problems of examinations explained to the patient at the time. One needs time to understand choices available and consequences.
Below are some interesting reads about biopsy’s, with varying different viewpoints.
After my biopsy I was told to return on Friday 26th August for my results. I declined as I was flying to London on August 25th a long weekend with my children. At least the stabbing did not affect my priorities. Quality time with loved ones or return to the scene of the crime, the choice was simple for me.
On Monday 29th August I was sitting at Gatwick Airport with my partner John, returning from my trip and the phone call came.
An invite to attend an appointment the following morning and make sure to bring a friend. Bingo, that was my confirmation. Cancer, cancer, cancer was all I thought about on that flight home.
So off to the hospital my sister Barbara and I went, to attend a meeting with the surgeon and breast clinic nurse. As I had thought they confirmed a tumor of 3cm (which had grown another 4cm at least, in my case I believe due to the biopsy).
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Grade 2, HER2, ER+
An MRI and CT scan were required to confirm staging and if the tumor was HER positive or negative.
The treatment plan was chemotherapy to shrink my tumor, possible radiation, surgery to remove, maybe hormone treatment depending on the MRI and scan results.
It was at this stage I questioned if I could have a mastectomy without the chemotherapy and the answer was a resounding no. At the time I was bitterly disappointed but now I am grateful the hospital staff said no.
I went home that night thinking, what next?
Now this is the point I ask you for something.
If you have any interest in alternative health for cancer, please, please sign and share my petition.
This blog contains my opinions, my journey and some of my research details. It is not in any way a substitute for the readers own medical advisor. I am not a medical Doctor. I disclaim all responsibility for injury, damage or loss to anyone that reads this and follows any or similar protocols mentioned.