Pain can take many forms. As a pretty concrete person, when I hear pain, I first think about physical pain. Since I live with chronic pain, I’m well acquainted with this kind of pain. However, I’m also acquainted with psychological and emotional pain, not just as a woman living with terminal cancer, but also as […]
Most of us who have or have had breast cancer, especially if we are older when we are diagnosed, do not have to face Stage IV. But shouldn’t more be done for those lovely young women whose cancer has spread and they have no hope or seeing their children grow up? For husbands who have […]
Jeg trenger ikke å fortelle deg viktigheten av Pinktober, som er en påminnelse om å sjekke brystene dine, og vær så snill å gjøre det. Men hvis Pinktober er grunnen til at du undersøker brystet ditt minst en gang i året, er det bedre enn aldri, og jeg vil si at Pinktober har oppnådd noe.
Det er noen anbefalinger om hvordan du sjekker brystene dine.
Ikke en kreftreise
Jeg gjorde selvundersøkelsen med jevne mellomrom, men kunne ikke føle noe mistenkelig om jeg lå eller sto. Så jeg ble sjokkert da jeg bøyde meg fremover og så tilbaketrekningen i huden min. Verden min falt helt fra hverandre. Jeg visste bare med en gang hva det var, men likevel håpet jeg at det ikke var noe. På grunn av min sjokkerende opplevelse har jeg skrevet noen innlegg om kreften min. Det har fullstendig okkupert livet mitt, og det har ikke vært en reise. Det var et mareritt, et levende krefthelvete.
Flere mennesker lider
Moren min er 80 og hennes første reaksjon på meg da jeg fortalte henne var: Å nei! Er det slik det skal ende? Min eldste sønn gråt og min yngste sønn med ADHD og Tourettes syndrom ble enda mer hyperaktiv og hadde mer tics. Han var den jeg var mest opptatt av.
Min svigermor feiret julen 2019 sammen med meg og min familie. Hun kunne ikke forstå hvordan jeg kunne være så rolig i ferien. Men jeg sa til henne at jeg måtte være sterk for barna mine. På grunn av besøket hennes ble jeg på en måte tvunget til å tenke på andre ting enn kreften min. Jeg ønsket å lage en perfekt jul, som om det var min siste. Men jeg ble overveldet av følelser om nettene og kunne ikke sove.
Betydningen av Pinktober
Så vær så snill å be familiemedlemmene og vennene dine om å undersøke brystene, til og med menn. Noen få prosent av mennene får brystkreft hvert år også. Undersøkelsen tar ikke lang tid, og det er en investering i deg selv, hos mennesker du bryr deg om og elsker. Å bli diagnostisert så tidlig som mulig er så viktig, og prognosen din er god hvis du er i et tidlig stadium. Hvis det oppdages veldig tidlig, har du kanskje ikke annen behandling enn operasjonen, og bivirkningene er mindre.
I am very sad to day. I woke up this morning full of plans for the day. After scrolling the newspapers on the Internet I discovered that Kelly Preston is diseased after a two years struggle against breast cancer. I met my own fear with anxiety and I could not sit still. All my plans were changed. Instead I have been trying to escape my cancer thoughts with a very long walk.
I took a walk for about 10 km with an audio book to disturb my thoughts. But it failed, of course. I dont even remember the content of the chapter I was listening to. While I was walking my mother rang. She had also become very nervous on my behalf, because she had read about Kelly Preston too. What did I do then? Well, I tried to comfort her with the facts that my lump is out and that the oncologist told me I had an early stage breast cancer and so on. My mother calmed down, but my anxiety raised to a peak I havent felt for a long time. No one was there to comfort me. After my conversation I walked even faster yet again trying to escape my cancer thoughts. I get the same feelings when people ask me how I am doing, and I say I am doing fine. It is just like they dont believe me. I just feel it. People forget that my breast cancer is not someone elses breast cancer. Each and everyone is treated differently.
The anxiety equalizer
Back home I found my writings, some notes I made after my meetings with the oncologists. These words are gold to me and my only comfort. But it takes a while to find this comfort and the calm to ease off the anxiety. During the day I know my writings will. Even though I did not know Kelly Preston, her death had a huge impact on my day. It feels like I am in family or related to anyone who struggles with the disease, or have died of it. In a way that comforts me too. We are many and more to come, unfortunately. We can comfort each other, while each of us comfort our family.
Treatments to prevent recurrence of breast cancer is individual these days. Back in the early 90`s the treatment seemed to be more equal for anyone with breast cancer: Surgery, chemo- and radiotherapy. If I knew back then, what I know today I hopefully would be a very capable nurse. Todays topic is Self-care during radiotherapy. It is just some advice from me as a nurse, friend and cancer patient, and my post tries to give you an insight in some of the short termed side effects of radiotherapy. I guess these advices are universally with some local adjustment, but I hope you will get proper information from your therapists before your treatment.
The radiotherapy stops the growth of the cancer cells, or kill them. The therapy will also have an impact on healthy cells, but they will gradually recover. It is very common to become tired, because your body is trying to get rid of the waste that is produced during the radiotherapy. I can`t stress this enough, to get rid of the waste it is so important to drink 1.5-2 L of water everyday. This is good self-care during radiotherapy.
It is also important to do something that gives you energy. A daily walk helped me to avoid the sofa, along with some of my hobby projects.
I know that it is easier said than done. But if you can reduce the amount of cigarettes to a minimum that would benefit you. Smoking reduce the oxygen saturation in the cells, and cells with little oxygen react poorer to the radiation. You may put a daily walk into your schedule to increase the blood circulation. In the long term this would strengthens your immune system.
The skin may become red, itchy and sore. Some develop radiation dermatitis and ulcer. To prevent these problems you can cool the breast off after each treatment. Just wring a cloth in cold, clean water and lay the cloth over the breast. Afterwards you can let the breast air-dry, before you apply a water based moisturizer without any perfume. Note that it is not recommended to use a moisturizer right before the radiation on the treatment day. Some companies make very good moisturizers meant for people with dermatological problems, also the radiated skin. I would recommend products made by La Roche-Posay, but I assume you will find good products from other merchants too.
If your armpit needs radiation, don`t shave the armpit and use roll on or perfume. The hair will protect the skin.
If you experience skinless areas, you should not apply a moisturizer, because the skin will become even more irritated and itchy.
You can take your shower. My hospital used a skin marker to mark the radiation field, but it bleached or almost disappeared during my showering. They constantly had to do the remarking, but I didn`t like that. The therapist came far to close to me, and with the threats of Covid19 I decided not to shower that often as I wanted. Anyway, use a shower soap without perfume and which is pH neutral. It is also important to use lukewarm water and low pressure. I would advice you not to towel your skin. Just gentle pat the skin dry or even better, air-dry before you put a water-based moisturizer on.
Personally I didn`t have a bath in the bathing tub or a swimming pool during my treatment period. Chloride makes your skin dry and itchy, and the water in the bathing tub will become polluted.
If you are having a sun bath, you have to protect the skin, for at least a year. The skin gets easily sore and sun burned, and may get pigmentation. Use colorful clothes and a high sun factor 30 to protect your skin.
To prevent a sore skin is to use clothes made of cotton or silk. I preferred cotton, because it is easier to get than silk. Rubbing will make your skin even worse. I experienced that it was unpractical to use a bra during the therapy, and it can be smart to let the air in to the breast.
If you in addition, get radiotherapy to the lymph nodes to the neck and the radiation field includes trachea, the mucosa tissue may become dry and sore. You may therefore experience dysphagia. My self-care tips for you are to avoid hot foods and drinks, spicy and sour food. You may need painkillers to ease off the pain. If you are having problems to eat I suggest you talk to the radio therapist.
During my therapy I experienced that I could not stretch my arm properly. When I should place kitchen ware in my cupboards, I had to stand on my toes to reach the shelf. My solution was actually to exercise every day. After a few days these problems was not a issue to me anymore. I have mentioned it before, but it is very important to get out of the chair and sofa and do something that gives you energy, no matter what. This is good psychological self-care during radiotherapy.
I hope you can use some of my advice for your self-care during radiotherapy. It is actually rather important to continue being kind to your self.
My breast cancer treatment plan is not really settled. And why is that? The reason is caused by one tiny micro metastasis in one of seven sentinel nodes extirpated during my surgery, and not five as I may have mentioned in a previous post. I was operated BCT with sentinel node January 16 th. My BCT and sentinel node surgery
My surgeon is not conclusive when it comes to chemo therapy. So if it didn’t was for the micro metastasis, 3 weeks of radiation would be enough. In addition I need anti hormones treatment and Zoledronacid (Zometa) every 6 month for five to ten years.
Chemo therapy or not?
First of all, my tumor was 4 cm instead of 2.5 cm as the radiologist told me according to the MRI scan. I was in chock to be honest and really disappointed, and at the same time happy. Since there was only a micro metastasis the cancer has not spread in my body through my lymph system. My blood samples were also fine, so the size of the tumor and the micro metastasis are two reasons to have chemo my surgeon said.
The reason not having chemo is my tumor grade. It was graded as grade 1 which means that it is not so aggressive. At least that is some comfort to me.
A friend of mine told me when she was operated for breast cancer back in 2003, she experienced exactly the same dilemma as me. So when it comes to micro metastasis, nothing much has changed during the years. February 17th I am going to have a meeting with my oncologist. I don’t have much of an option really, because of the insecurity and my fright for a recurrence. I got to have the chemo therapy. How would I dare not to?
My surgeon told me that they are thinking about four rounds of chemo EC90. I will loose my hair, but that doesn’t matter in the long term. So this is what I know for now about my breast cancer treatment plan.
I would love to say happy new year, but instead it is a unhappy New year with breast cancer.
My Christmas was destroyed after I felt a lump in my right breast Sunday December 8. I visited my doctor who was very busy with a fellow doctor and the new data program they had installed in the office. She examined my lump and the axillae and told me she would send me to a mammography. She ended my visit with: “I am not worried about your lump. Do you have Stripe/instant pay?”
After a few days I got the letter from the hospital where I could have my mammography January 9. Oh my God I thought, I can not wait that long. I thought I would be better knowing, but I was wrong. I visited my hospital and begged them for a mammography. My conclusion is no matter what I did would be right, so the Christmas would be destroyed anyway.
My emotions have been a living rollercoaster spiced with hope and fear, sickness, stomach pain, sleeping problems, panic attacks, anxiety and depression. You know the feelings you got when you are having tunnel sights as I call it. In some occasions the tunnel sight is spiced with blue lights. Like the one I normally get when I am about to faint. To reach out for help I was searching around on WordPress and discovered www.cancerbus.com.
So thank you Ilene <3 You saved my Christmas. And now you know why I messed it up.
My tumor was 18 mm on the ultrasound and the surgeon measured it to be approximately 2 cm x 2.5. For me that is a large lump, but not to the surgeon. She called it small and because of that she wants me to have a MRI the January 15. I must say I was relieved. What concerned me more is that I do not know yet how aggressive the cancer is, and whether it likes hormones or not. But I leave that thought for now, and celebrate my surgeons optimism.
My surgery is January 16 and I must say I am looking forward to get the tumor out. Personally I want to get rid of the entire breast, even though my surgeon recommend a breast conservative treatment (BCT). After that we have to wait and see. I guess there will be chemotherapy, but I just have to walk one step at a time. In Norway the prognosis for breast cancer are really good, so I will hold on to that thought too.
I found a lot of help in Ilene Kaminsky’s web site “The cancer bus”. After I wrote to her my feelings calmed down a bit, and my panic attacks were not constantly turned on. At least it felt that way. Ilene tip me about Karin Sieger’s podcast and web site. She is a psychotherapist who will help you with your emotions. We are many out there.
I have written a lot about my hobbies. But after I discovered the tumor I could not find any rest in any of my hobbies like knitting and crocheting, because I start to overthink. So knitting has not been of any help mentally. Hand knitting is mental hygiene The best thing to disturb my thoughts are audiobooks, radio or people.
I will have many ups and downs so I must say it is a really unhappy New year with breast cancer.
Do I have breast cancer? Well, the radiologist seemed pretty sure, but I got to wait to January 2. before I know for certain. Then the team at the Breast diagnosis center will decide what kind og treatment I need. This waiting time is so very long. It feels like an eternity. I keep panicking all the time. What I fear the most is that the tumor should spread to the lymphoid tissue in the mean time, and how and what to tell my children….
First I took the mammography . And after that I went straight to the ultrasound room. I understood something was wrong when the radiologist used the ultrasound in the armpits or the axillae. She did not say anything before she decided to take three ultrasound guided biopsies. Afterwards I found out that they had found an 18 mm tumor on the ultrasound. The surgeon measured it to be 2 x 2.5 cm tumor.
After the mammography, ultrasound and the biopsies I talked with the surgeon. The only thing I know is that there will be a lumpectomy, a breast conservative treatment. When the surgeon told me this I became a little more optimistic. They did not find anything suspicious in the lymphoid tissue in my armpits. But even though I think I will go for a mastectomy. I doubt I will undergo a plastic reconstruction afterwards with more anesthesia and another recovery period. I am feeling to old for that, and I don’t want to be treated with radiation afterwards. That is the prize for doing a breast conservative treatment.
I am now feeling sick and I living in a bubble. The blood has dropped down to my feet and the wall of a dark tunnel is making the world narrow. It is like a rollercoaster of feelings. Every feelings you can think of. What I think of the most is my children, but I guess I should try to leave these thoughts for now. At least try to be positive. I want to give my children the perfect Christmas, so I need to come out of my bubble as quickly as possible. It helps to distract your mind. I try to listen to audiobooks and music, just to distract myself. Knitting and crochet are out of the question at the moment, because then I start to think all these negative thoughts. So right now this is not mental hygiene……
It is always smart to examine the breasts. Some doctors say once a month and others say every second month. The most important thing is that you do. My problem is I don’t remember when I examined mine the last time.
To make my story short I discovered my tumor after I was having my shower. I could not feel any tumor but when I bent over to dry my legs I saw an entrapment in my skin. Then I started to pinch myself. That’s when I felt it and I completely lost it….. Do I have breast cancer? Well, I am pretty sure of it.