ITW n°17: Macha - K (or “Biflette”) fighter.
Macha: creator of the blog Macha Ô Canada
First of all, thank you very much for agreeing to share your K's story, it's really courageous and generous of you :)
Let's get started:
Who are you ?
First name: Macha
Age: 31 years old
Profession: administrative agent in an architectural firm
Where do you live: Montreal (Quebec - Canada)
Can you summarize your story for us as a (K fighter) ?
Diagnosis of breast cancer on October 4, 2014 (beginning of Pink October), mastectomy, chemo, radiotherapy and after???
What K (what cancer - grade if you wish / stage ditto):
Breast cancer (called Biflette to take inspiration from Lili Sohn ) stage 2 grade 3 triple negative non-hormone dependent
When was it discovered? How old were you ?
Barely a month after my 30th birthday
Under what circumstances was it discovered?
In my shower, a sharp pain when touching my breast, I consulted immediately under the good advice of one of my colleagues
If you are currently undergoing treatment, or in remission (for how long?)
During treatment and according to my oncologist, during remission, the treatments are just a formality...
What treatment did you have?
Mastectomy + chemo + radiotherapy
chemo: 4 AC + 12 taxol
radiotherapy: coming in August/September 25 sessions every day (except Saturday, Sunday and public holidays ^^)
operation: complete mastectomy of the right breast with immediate reconstruction by DIEP: basically, we take the fat from your belly with vessels and veins (the plastron), we reconnect everything in the breast and we give you a beautiful abdominoplasty and a new beautiful, brand new navel! I was hospitalized for 6 days.
How did you live the day before, the same day, the days after?
and what were your tips?
The first chemo, I was stressed but after a while, I got used to it, I went as if I were going to take a blood test ^^
I post a photo of myself during each chemo while counting down, it helps, only 5 left! only 3 left! More than a 1!!! Yeah!!!
2/ hospital: nurse / doc / caregiver contact
Pleasant, dynamic staff. My oncologist must be my age or not much older. An anecdote: on my birthday, my friends brought me a huge cake and we shared it with the patients in my treatment room and the nurses, the word got around and the nurses in the treatment wing and from the administrative service also came ^^
3/ alternative medicine, if you have done so
Homeopathy, osteopathy, reiki and soon an acupuncturist (thank you Lili!)
What did you do to clear your mind/clear your head (before chemo, surgery & co)?
I watch a lot of films, series and especially my blog Macha Ô Canada
+ social networks:
What practical tips can you advise us?
Listening to your body and trying not to want to do it, I'm starting to regret it...
1/ beauty: varnish/magic creams/scars & co
A friend bought me a non-greasy oil with vitamins A and E to massage my scars, a real marvel, to moisturize her skin well, especially the hands and legs, our skin quickly resembles that of a molting snake :p
2/ look, your favorite look chemo, hospital, every day to feel good / shopping
Casual, in a skirt, leggings and often printed t-shirt (my favorite ''AMAZING FLYING LAMA'' created by a graphic designer friend from Paris)
3/ daily (sport, food & co)
I cook a lot, I make smoothies regularly, I try to eat a balanced diet but sometimes I have big cravings and I eat chips, hot dogs, pizza... all gluten-free and lactose-free because I'm intolerant... :( The big problem is that with cortisone, I am hungry all the time, I sometimes eat up to 6 meals a day...
What are the nugget phrases (that you remember) that someone said to you during K and that you could have avoided?
1/You will see your hair will grow back even more beautiful, I'm jealous
(well go ahead, shave them!)
2/You're going to see breast cancer, it's curable very well these days...
(oh yes? And stage 4 with metastasis and we know very well that cancer is a cakewalk)
How did your loved ones support you?
For important meetings, my friends were there or at least one was there.
My parents came for a month for my operation, fortunately because I couldn't wash and dress myself...
I shared my calendar of all my appointments with my friends. For the first 4 of AC, I had someone accompany me each time. For the first 5 of taxol, I was also accompanied, then I went alone.
Since my family is in France, I Skype with them regularly and then we talk on Facebook every day.
My roommates are wonderfully supportive!
And what advice could you give to loved ones who accompany a K fighter?
If you have any questions, don't hesitate, but above all don't take pity on me, I don't need that!
What would be the useful (internet) links that helped you during K?
Since I am in Canada, I participate a lot in the discussion forum on the website of the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation, Ruban rose .
What has the K changed in your life…?
When I found out I had cancer, my life fell apart, I was afraid of dying, I wanted to go back to my family, then I got back up and saw life differently.
I put things into perspective a lot more than before, I worry less, I live day by day trying not to think about the future (but it's quite difficult). I lost sight of a lot of people with the news of my cancer but I met so many beautiful people that in the end, I gained in the change.
Free field ;)
tell us what you want (which may not have been in my questions):
The most difficult thing for me, staying in Canada, was to survive, yes, because not being a permanent resident, I am entitled to RAMQ (equivalent to Social Security in France) but I am not entitled to drug insurance... so all the prescribed tablets are out of my pocket... but everything that happens in the hospital (i.e. operation, chemo and radiotherapy) is covered.
I was entitled to sickness unemployment for 15 weeks (60% of my salary) but since the end of March, I have no longer had any income. Not being a resident, I am not entitled to social assistance, nor to help from cancer foundations (except the Jason fund for 16-30 year olds but since I turned 31 in May , I only had help for 3 months) and neither the collective insurance of my job... I had to make a joint effort, ask for help from my friends in France because I could not support my needs. My family and loved ones also helped me. I wanted to thank them once again, without the generosity of all these people, even strangers, I can stay in Quebec.
I got news about my residency, it shouldn't be long (maybe by the time the article is published, I will have it) and what's more, I met a French woman who had her residency permanent by having Cancer at the time of submitting the file, I learned about mine 1 month later. Edit: July 2, 2015, receipt of my permanent residence (for a renewable period of 5 years)!!!------- Thank you again for your testimony and for sharing your K/tips ;) Lots of sweet positive thoughts See you soon Charlotte<:en> <:>