What I shared on Facebook on Friday 23rd July 2021 as my Cancer Journal Number 12.
These cancer journals were my ongoing strategy of keeping people up to date without having to share the same information again and again. I would write, and then I would get specific friends to act as beta readers, and that was helpful. Then I would post to Facebook, send the same message by email, What’s App, SMS, etc. It saved a lot of emotional energy for me, and that was becoming vital.
⭐ Cancer Journal ⭐
Friday 23rd July 2021 (12)
So.. the outcome is a bit of a mixed bag, Gentle Creatures.
My cancer surgeon took 5 nodes on the left and did 2 biopsies, and took 6 nodes on the right and did 3 biopsies – all the biopsies are clear.
They seem very happy with the surgery as I have mentioned previously.
So that’s the good news.
Left breast cancer more advanced than expected
In terms of the more ambivalent news, one of the cancers removed was found to be Stage 3 Breast Cancer.
That was a bit unexpected; everything had indicated that the cancers were all ranging from intermediate / Stage 1 / maybe intermediate to Stage 2.
Robert Taveski (my cancer surgeon) will now refer me to an oncologist by the name of Dr. Richard de Boer who he works with regularly.
There will be both endocrine therapy and chemotherapy.
How that will look remains to be seen. I can expect to hear from him and Richard by the end of next week.
We are going to pursue genetic testing as well.
Additionally, I am giving serious thought to having my ovaries removed as a precautionary measure.
Less cancer-y than I was, but still a ways to go yet.
And I think I just have got my first period in 10 years – I guess removing the Mirena (IUD) a month ago (under advice from my surgeon), and then being on blood thinning injections for a week in hospital will do that.
Just for the record, Gentle Creatures, clexane injections *hurt*. Nothing even approving the pain of the injections into the areola before surgery however.
You can imagine how happy I am about this right now.
To add to my current level of frustration, the house cleaners have cancelled because of lockdown. Bah humbug.
On the plus side, I have organised for someone to come and help me wash three times a week for the next month.
This was something that was suggested when I was in the hospital. I was asking the Breast Care nurse about what kind of support services were available to me after discharge. She put me onto Monash Health Post Op Care, and they arranged for a personal care assistant to visit three times a week for five weeks. Was it weird to have a stranger wash me? Yes. Did it help? Also yes.
It is important to note that you have to actively engage in your care and be proactive to access all the available support. If I didn’t ask the questions, make the phone calls, etc I would not have accessed all the help available.
‼️ I honestly don’t know what my emotional landscape is going to be over the next few weeks, so I will simply say this:
🚫 I anticipate being very emotionally unavailable, so if I am insensitive or fail to engage, apologies in advance, but right now, my focus is on me, my self-care, and the care of my household (my housemate and the cats).
⛔ Once we are out of lockdown, I may well welcome visitors again, but I’ll let you know – I’m probably only going to up to see one person a day at most, and it will typically be in the afternoons I suspect. Again, please stay away if you or anyone close to you are sick or have been unwell in the last 14 – 21 days.
💣 A friend raised Delta variant hot spots; so just check them as well, because if you have been to a Delta variant hot spot, we should skip any visits just to be safe. X
📍 I have pinned the post with the announcement about my diagnosis and the boundaries I want to work with, so if this post is the first you have seen, please refer to that pinned post.
⭐ This is the twelfth of my Cancer Journal entries, if you are interested in the others, I have put links at the bottom of this post.
🌹 Be kind, Gentle Creatures, tend your gardens, take time to eat the roses, and walk your boundaries.
❗ Check your breasts, check your testicles.
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.
Related blog posts
- The hospital week: first week post-surgery
- Wednesday 14th July 2021 (Cancer Journal 11)
- Sunday 11th July 2021 (Cancer Journal 10)
- Monday 05th July 2022 (Cancer Journal 9)
- Monday 21st June 2021 – Surgery Date (Cancer Journal 8)
- Plaster Cast
- Thursday 03rd June 2021 – the worst meltdown
- Sunday 30th May 2021: Cancer – telling your colleagues
- Friday 28th May 2021 (Cancer Journal 7)
- Friday 28th May 2021 Plastic Surgeon
- Wednesday 26th May 2021 Cancer Clinic
- Tuesday 25th May 2021 Left Breast Diagnosis
- Friday 21st May 2021: Biopsy, Left Breast
- Tuesday 18th May (Cancer Journal 6)
- Monday 17th May 2021 Arranging the biopsy
- Saturday 15th May 2021 (Cancer Journal 5)
- Wednesday 12th May 2021 (Cancer Journal 4)
- Friday 07th May 2021 (Cancer Journal 3)
- Cancer surgeon
- Sunday, 02nd May 2021 (Cancer Journal 2)
- Saturday May 01st 2021 ( Cancer Journal 1)
- Facebook post
- How to tell people you have cancer.
- Deciding strategies
- The Camus Question of Choice
- The Follow-up Tests
- The phone call.
- Check your breasts