ITW n°109: Caroline - K fighter (breast).
Let's get started:Who are you ? Caroline 37 years Bank employee Dumbéa New Caledonia Why do you agree to share your story today? I share my story because when we join the clan of “k fighters” we need all these testimonies which give us lots of real-life information and not that of oncologists or nurses and also because it gives hope . What are your qualities (in a few words)? I am someone who has a certain strength of character, I don't give up, I am curious, enthusiastic. What are your passions (in a few words)? As I am curious, I have lots of little passions, reading, the field of health has always intrigued me, nutrition, the functioning of the body, psychology….sport, my dog and my cat. What K (what cancer - grade if you wish / stage ditto): I was discovered to have infiltrating cancer in my right breast in June 2016, grade 1, I had just celebrated my 37th birthday. Under what circumstances was it discovered? My ex-husband had just left me two months earlier, I discovered it alone after realizing a deformation of my breast, it was not detectable on palpation neither by my gynecologist nor by the radiologist, not visible on the mammogram, it was nevertheless 20mm, it was the ultrasound and the biopsy which confirmed the diagnosis. If you are currently undergoing treatment, or in remission (for how long?) I am currently waiting for radiotherapy and then hormone therapy. Can you summarize your (K fighter) story for us ? After the discovery of the tumor in June 2016, I had a lumpectomy at the beginning of July 2016 (4 days of hospitalization), following the anapathology, it was discovered that all around the initial tumor there was a large number of millimetric cancer cell foci. My gynecologist therefore told me that it would be necessary to do a mastectomy as a third step (after chemotherapy) to reduce the risk of recurrence, the risk being too high in my case. What treatment did you have? I started chemotherapy at the beginning of August 2016 with 3 courses of FEC 100 and then 3 courses of Taxotere. At the end of my chemotherapy at the end of November 2016, I was allowed a little over a month of respite while waiting for my mastectomy with immediate reconstruction, which I had to do in France with a specialist. , this intervention is not done at my home. And I can never thank my gynecologist enough for offering me this reverse sequence which is less traumatic than a simple mastectomy. I had my mastectomy with immediate reconstruction by prosthesis, a week ago on January 4, 2017 at the beginning of January 2017. Radiotherapy is planned within 6 weeks maximum. What tips directly related to K do you want to share? (your feeling with the doctor, your good treatment organization plans, anything that seems useful to you ;))? My gynecologist was my main point of reference, much more than my oncologist with whom there was no dialogue and whom I saw 5 times in total, whom I did not feel involved at all, a computer would have done the same work. For each chemo I did a three-day fast (one day before, the day and the next day) to minimize the side effects but I also took homeopathic treatment and did acupuncture. I have no benchmark to demonstrate the effectiveness of all this because I did it systematically each time, but I am sure that for me it brought me benefits throughout the treatment and better live all of this. For the FEC 100 cures I had some nausea, fatigue, slight mucositis, hypogeusia, and I was a little out of breath all for a few days each time. For the Taxotere cures I had the beginnings of mucositis, fatigue, some pain in the legs, hypogeusia, painful skin for a few days after the cure and watery eyes a little over a week later for one week. I did the cooling helmet during the first chemo and paid close attention to my hair which I did not want to lose and which was my main concern…. But as predicted by the oncologist, they fell off en masse on the 17th day precisely, so I had anticipated anyway and bought myself a wig and scarf. Being quite stylish, I bought several to go with my usual outfits. . As soon as I knew I was going to have chemo, I researched everything I could about it on the internet, I also bought the Mister k fighting kits for tips and I got a tattoo eyebrows immediately (I loved mine that I groomed regularly, and I wanted to maintain the same shape and thickness). What practical “well-being/beauty” tips can you advise us? The day before each chemotherapy I did my fast, the fact of controlling all that motivated me a lot and allowed me to show up for each chemo without having too much apprehension. The nurses were very nice and gave advice but the poor ones were always at their best, so I always paid attention to the infusion time (especially with epirubicin which is not done on a pump, and for which I had a bad experience). For the nausea that I still had, I used peppermint essential oil on a tissue that I breathed in, it was very effective and I took it with me on the day of chemo because when We're there, it smells like chemo products and just that smell made me nauseous. For the mucositis my ENT gave me Fungizone, liquid bicarbonate and Aspégic 1000 mixture to make myself and to make as a mouthwash (it only lasts two days hence the practical thing of having each of the separate elements and to do it yourself, it avoids going back to the pharmacy every two days), it was very effective (unlike bicarbonate alone), I also took antifungal essential oil capsules, and I sucked ice cubes during chemo (a little before and a little after) I took care of my nails at the beginning but the 4 coats never managed to dry at home... so I only had Evonail at the end. My nails had already split quite a bit but it didn't go any further. I continued to exercise throughout my chemo, after the treatments I just adapted the durations and days. I tried to continue to pay attention to my diet, except sometimes after the taxotere treatments. With the cortisone I had cravings and to cheer myself up I gave free rein to my cravings. Were you concerned about the views of others, were you afraid that their views would change? What did you do to counter it? The looks of others did not bother me, I continued to be the same, coquettish with makeup, dressed, accessorized (even more so on the day of chemo as if to try to thumb his nose at him) People kept telling me I looked good for six months. What are the “nugget”/footed phrases (that you remember) that someone said to you during K and that you could have avoided? The sentences that I remember the most: “Oh don’t worry, breast cancer is treatable today” yes yes of course we agree. “You are going to have brand new breasts” yes and if mine suited me!! And this one is cute: “Aren’t you warm with your winter hat inside the house? » no it's okay, since I have more hair. How did your loved ones support you? My loved ones have been there for me and accompanied me every step of the way, it's never normal for a mother and father to see their daughter sick. And my mother has been with me through every chemo. And what advice could you give to loved ones who accompany a K fighter? Stay close, so they don't make a ton of it either. Continue to live normally and do things together, enjoy the little joys. Because we worry about them too, we don't want them to be sad because of us. Do you find out about K on the internet? I got a lot of information on the internet but I always paid attention to my sources, I avoided the forums, and the times when I got scared I immediately closed the computer and changed my mind. . It did me good, it gave me the opportunity to be an actor in my illness, to have a semblance of control and to know what we were talking about with the doctors, surgeons, nurses... What has the K changed in your life…? The ka changed a lot of things and at the same time not much. Physically I will never be the same again, apart from the hair which must grow back, I now have scars which will always remind me of my fight, I left one breast there. Psychologically it's a fight and I learned to understand the medical world, even though I had never had to deal with it to this extent. I have even more confidence in myself, strangely enough, and I can stand up to the medical community if I think they only see me as a number. It allowed me to see in a new light all the people around me, who supported me and to know for each person why. Free field ;) tell us what you want (which might not be in my questions): I still have radiotherapy, and one or two more surgeries to finalize the reconstruction of my breast. I know that after all this the return to a normal life is going to be difficult, I realize my priorities and I really want to share my experience with the people who are in the “cancer” system.
Thank you Caroline for this very precious testimony, we are thinking of you.
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