Post Op Check Up

Woke Thursday morning still feeling weary, dizzy and a little frazzled. Before getting in the shower, I peeled off the remaining tape covering the wounds on my breasts, the left side is clean and tidy, the right is a little lumpy, but overall they don’t look too bad which is a relief.

After having breakfast, I tried to concentrate on doing some craft work, then tried watching TV, listening to the radio, and working on the laptop, but couldn’t focus on any of it so gave up, put on some calming meditation music and snuggled down on the sofa with a blanket and my book. Needless to say I was soon asleep. I woke a couple of hours later feeling much better, my brain had emerged from its cotton wool fog.

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I had a visit from Rebecca, she and her children lived opposite us for a few months until recently. A lovely lady, Rebecca brought a gift of luxury hand and nail moisturising lotion for me and a bar of chocolate for Ray. Thank you so much Rebecca, Ray and I are very touched by your thoughtfulness.

After having the discomfort of travelling and the soreness of the Seroma on Monday, I had taken Co-Codamol before setting off for the hospital, I’m glad I did, the journey was certainly less painful. It was very busy in the clinic, we waited just over an hour to see Mr Cunnick, and mine was the last appointment of the day. It doesn’t bother me, I understand that the NHS is stretched and always go with the expectation of a wait. We got a coffee each, found some vintage car magazines for Ray to look at and I read my book.

The news is good, the tumours were 17mm and 16mm, so a little larger than the original scan estimate, the margin (the healthy tissue surrounding the tumour) for both was clear of cancer cells meaning that enough tissue has been removed and I do not need to have further surgery. Mr Cunnick sorted out the Seroma which had re-occurred in my right armpit, there wasn’t so much this time, around 40 ml of fluid.

Apparently there are still some tests being done on my tumours for which the results will take a few more weeks, these will determine if I need Chemotherapy. Ray and I were a little concerned as we thought the Lymph Node Biopsies were intended to do this. But to be honest we have been given so much information in a relatively short space of time that it is easy to get things in a muddle, or to forget exactly what has been said.

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Ray & I can’t remember the terms used but basically, these tests will determine if there is a risk that cancer cells have broken away from the breast tumour/s and spread to another part of my body meaning that I will have to have Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can kill these cells and so reduces the risk of the cancer coming back. Mr Cunnick did assure us that he thinks it very unlikely that the cancer has spread, so I’m holding on to that thought.

Mr Cunnick was happy that my wounds are healing well, and after some consideration decided that I will have Tamoxifen to start immediately and to continue for five years with the possibility of extension up to seven years. This may be changed in future as the guidance and Anti-Cancer medication options progress. One of the benefits of Tamoxifen is that it increases bone density which is reassuring, a downside is that initially it will increase the incidence of hot flushes but this should settle down over time.

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I had a few questions for Christina the Breast Care Nurse, I have been a little concerned about being so tired and needing to sleep during the day, Christina reassured me that although I do not feel that I have been stressed, she says the whole process from biopsy through to operation would have been stressful even if I have not been aware of it. She also said that at two weeks post-op my body will be doing the most healing internally now and this will make me tired. I was worried about how much time I might need off work but Christina said that as working on a computer all day involves using all the areas of my body which are affected by the operation I should not expect to be back at work quickly and that when I do go back should start with half days to begin with.

So today I have been listening to my body which has been telling me to relax and have a snooze, I started writing this entry yesterday evening and have been working on it on and off all day. My concentration levels are very inconsistent so everything seems to take ages. So looks like TV and reading it is then!

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