Site icon Fabienne S. Morgana

Wednesday 26th May 2021 Cancer Clinic

Young cat sitting in a very human manner.
Text: The doctor will be just a minute. 
Me still sitting on the crinkly paper 10 minutes later.
To be fair… this is for humour purposes only. My Wellness team haven’t left me naked and unattended at any point.

Back to the cancer clinic

Once again, back to the cancer clinic to see my cancer surgeon.

This time, with my younger sibling physically present, as opposed to them being on the phone for my appointments.

Have I mentioned how much I appreciate my cancer surgeon?

He acknowledged that I had said that I wanted a bilateral mastectomy and that he was more inclined initially towards a lumpectomy.

Adjust the sails (deploy Plan B)

However, with the discovery of cancer in my left breast as well as my right, the situation was now different.

I mentioned in one of my other posts about how mentally flexible you have to remain because the cancer experience is a constantly changing landscape.

My brilliant surgeon and his equally excellent PA.

My cancer surgeon made me laugh during this appointment which I’m sure was part of his intent. I cannot emphasise how important humour is when dealing with cancer.

You said you wanted a bilateral mastectomy, you were very clear.

I wasn’t convinced and we were in discussion and negotiation about that. Now, with these results – well, your breasts are less trustworthy than I thought they were, and you get what you wanted all along, so now I agree with you.

My Cancer Surgeon after finding cancer in my left breast as well as my right.

I loved and appreciated it so much that he was able to acknowledge exactly what I was feeling – this sense of betrayal.

He communicates with such gentleness and compassion, but with those little touches of humour and insight: I was so privileged and lucky to have him as my surgeon. R has been a great fit for me.

He’s also very dedicated and hard-working and I feel that he went above and beyond what I would have expected. He rocked up to see me on Sunday after surgery for example, because otherwise, he would have missed me before discharge on Monday. I was stunned and touched, and I did tell him that he should be with his family (they were waiting at the park whilst he visited me!) That just seems to be the sort of man he is and I felt very safe with him.

He also works far too hard and will probably never read this but I’ll send it to his PA anyway because she is also amazing.

Your Wellness Team

I cannot emphasise enough how important it is that you feel safe and supported by your wellness team.

It is *vital* for a positive experience.

You are vulnerable, this is all very frightening; no one wants to hear they have cancer, let alone four* of the fucking things!

*This number was later revised to one tumour on each breast and I’m unclear actually on that.. next time I see my cancer surgeon, I might ask him about that.

And these people are going to be inside your body when you are unconscious. And they will have sharp things. They will be removing parts of you – admittedly, overenthusiastic parts… but still… strangers inside my body is an idea that completely creeps me out.

The cancer clinic I attended has a range of specialists that all focus on cancer. When I had to return for a colonoscopy this year, for example, it just seems like there is less to deal with because all the specialists are part of the same cancer clinic.

Treatment plan

So this diagnosis changed my treatment plan from a lumpectomy to a bilateral mastectomy.

My cancer surgeon said that the plastics aspect (reconstruction vs implants) was a discussion to have when I saw the plastics surgeon.

The surgical teams hand over in the operating theatre if you opt, as I did, to have the two surgeries done at once. I confess I do have images of high fives during the surgical team handover, but I’m sure it’s much more professional and orderly.

He arranged a referral to a plastic surgeon and an appointment was scheduled for the Friday.

This feeling of being betrayed by my own body has remained. I have relied on my body so heavily through my 20s and 30s with physically demanding work – the shifting relationship through my 40s has been challenging. Cancer really did feel like a betrayal of my self.

Lockdown #4

And… we went back into lockdown.

All my plans for moving went out the window. I had arranged friends for basically a working bee of sorts across the Thursday 27th May, Friday 28th May, Saturday 29th May Sunday 30th May, Monday June 01st, Tuesday June 02nd. Friends were also arranged the Friday 05th June, Saturday 06th June, and Sunday 07th June.

Lockdown included a 5km limit to travel – and only one of my friends were in that radius. Thankfully, under the auspices of care, they were able to assist my housemate with the move.

In desperation, I even called around some moving companies, as did another friend, but the quotes were pretty confronting, and the reality is that I wasn’t even fully packed to take complete advantage of that kind of expenditure.

I’m honestly still a bit traumatised by the move – I start to feel quite anxious and panicked when I think about it. Or when I consider moving again! I still haven’t unpacked everything due to the deficits I have been experiencing post chemo (more on that later – I got very sick, and it’s taking me a long time to recover).

Lock Downs 4, 5, and 6 had a massive impact upon my cancer experience.

Self checks

Ensure that you are vigilant around your self-examination. Train yourself to check your breasts/testicles routinely, and monitor your bowel habits and your urine output. These are our body’s early warning signs, and we don’t have a lot of awareness of them.

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