ITW n°37: Sarah - K fighter.
The talented Sarah, 31 years old, my favorite meeting <3, in remission from a breast K and author of the sparkling book " Sarah 30 years old, my cancer is not even afraid!" tells us her story today!
it's yours ;)
Let's get started:
Who are you ?
First name: Sarah
Profession: Actress and humorist
Where do you live: Paris
Why do you agree to share your story today?
I need my story to help others.
What are your qualities (in a few words)?
kindness, joy of living, sociable
What are your passions (in a few words)?
Playing, on stage and in front of the camera, writing, traveling, reading to escape
What K (what cancer - grade if you wish / stage ditto):
Breast K – taken early
When was it discovered? How old were you ?
Under what circumstances was it discovered?
I went to my gynecologist for a routine visit, while feeling my breasts, she felt a cyst in my right breast.
If you are currently undergoing treatment, or in remission (for how long?)
I am still in treatment, on tamoxifen (5 year treatment).
Can you summarize your (K fighter) story for us ?
Detected just before the Christmas holidays, I had an operation in mid-January then I had 2 and a half months of radiation and am currently undergoing hormonal treatment (total duration of 5 years during which one cannot have children and we have effects between menopause with hot flashes and weight gain and those of pregnant women with tears for nothing, mood which changes quickly…).
It was 2 years ago.
Today I am publishing a testimonial book about my story.
What treatment did you have?
yes, 2 days of hospitalization
ongoing hormonal treatment (tamoxifen – 5 years)
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 ;))?
1/ hospital: (e.g. contact with nurses / doc / caregivers):
- Don't hesitate to ask for new painkillers when you're in pain.
- Prepare your questions for the doctors in advance because we wait a long time to see them, there are often delays; but the appointment is very short.
- Go accompanied to these appointments because you are a little stunned, you don't understand everything clearly. It’s better to have two people to debrief afterwards. And it’s always a great support to have someone by your side.
- At the hospital I always found that the most friendly and caring people were the nursing assistants who always gave kind attentions, not changing your catheter if you finally managed to sleep so that you could rest, etc.
2/ “parallel” medicine, if you have done it (what disciplines, what were their benefits):
No, I thought about it, acupuncture in particular, but I haven't taken the plunge yet.
I still have fairly frequent breast pain so I think I will still look into these alternative medicines to relieve the pain linked to the rays and perhaps the operation.
What did you do to clear your mind/clear your head (before chemo, surgery & co)?
I was on stage almost every evening (for my one woman show or for comedian sets)
To watch movies
Great moments between friends: nothing like gossip between friends about the guys and targets of the moment to take their minds off things.
Spending time with my goddaughter, born during treatment.
What practical “well-being/beauty” tips can you advise us?
1/ beauty: your essential products (e.g.: creams, varnishes, scars, oils, etc.)
Biafine during the rays
And in the summer after the rays, you should not expose the irradiated area to the sun: I therefore recommend a surfer t-shirt from Decathlon so you can swim while protecting yourself from UV rays while almost having a cool surfer style!
2/ look, (e.g. your favorite chemo, hospital, every day look to feel good):
Answer: comfort! My operation took place in winter so I arrived in UGG at the hospital. And with my wonderwoman sweatshirt – well it may seem a little silly but I assure you that I felt stronger with it.
3/ daily (e.g. sport, food & co, meditation, reading, etc.)
the sport ; it allowed me to feel like I was regaining control of my body; and it helps mentally in the fight, we feel stronger, it lets off steam in the face of the awkward reactions of those around us and the doctors.
Were you concerned about the views of others, were you afraid that their views would change? What did you do to counter it?
Of course. But I spoke very little about it at the time, only to a very close circle, so that allowed me to protect myself. I blamed myself when I spoke about it to a less close circle because I was sometimes disappointed or hurt by certain reactions.
I decided to publish the story of my story because it is important that my story helps others but I am obviously a little afraid of certain reactions and that some people will change their view of me..
What are the “nugget”/footed phrases (that you remember) that someone said to you during K and that you could have avoided?
The famous “relax” of doctors
Some of the awkward reactions from those around you:
“Ah it’s breast cancer, ok it’s okay then, no I thought you had something serious, I have an aunt who has liver cancer, it’s serious”
“Breast cancer can be treated like the flu today”
How did your loved ones support you?
They were very present through shared moments, kind gifts and text messages at every stage.
And what advice could you give to loved ones who accompany a K fighter?
- be attentive
- not questioning the pain
- the sick person can make humor about what is happening to them but it is not a call for their loved ones to do the same
Do you find out about K on the internet?
Not during the period of the operation but since then, I have been on the forums a little, touched by this beautiful chain of exchange and solidarity.
And I'm starting to meet associations.
If so, does it make you feel good?
Yes because we feel less alone – especially when we recognize ourselves in the testimonies and in the pain during the treatment when even doctors deny the link between the treatment and the pain in certain cases.
If so, what would be the useful (internet) links that helped you during K?
What has the K changed in your life...?
My vision of life, I was already enjoying but it no longer has the same meaning, carpe diem takes on its full meaning because we don't know what tomorrow will bring so we might as well enjoy and live fully - even if of course there are days easier than others.
Hormonal treatment has a big impact on our mood so there are peaks of elation and depression that we have to learn to manage as best we can.
And then we feel both stronger for having gone through all this, a bit like invincible, and at the same time more fragile because we have approached this fear of death. I find that it brings out a beautiful energy of life with a lot of emotions!
Free field ;)
tell us what you want (which might not be in my questions):
I wrote my story in a book “Sarah 30 years old, my cancer is not even afraid” which has just been published by Editions Michel de Maule.
I wrote it with the humor that accompanied me throughout this ordeal – which of course did not prevent the fear and the pain but humor is part of life – I am also comedian - and I say to myself, as long as there is laughter, there is life.
I am publishing it so that my story can help others, those who have experienced the disease and their loved ones. I would also like to have a little preventative side: even if it is still quite rare, cancer at 30 is possible so you might as well go to your gynecologist twice a year, just to take care of yourself.
I created a Facebook page, here , which bears the name of the book so that people wishing to discuss the subject can do so.
Thank you & congratulations to Charlotte for this great blog, it's a joy to see this beautiful chain of support. I completely agree with her, together we are stronger and even if our stories are different, we know, we understand each other.
Thank you again Jolie Sarah, I highly recommend her great book, full of accuracy and humor which brings a light breath (without minimizing) on this damn K!
To follow all of Sarah’s news, go here:
Facebook page dedicated to the book: https://www.facebook.com/sarah30ansmoncancermemepaspeur
Facebook page for my show (and I also talk about the book): https://www.facebook.com/PebSarah/
And the news for the show: Sarah Péb' in "Looseuse de l'amour" every Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Paname Art Café (14 rue de la Fontaine au Roi - République or Goncourt metro station)
If like Sarah you want to tell your story, go here, and send me a questionnaire + photos by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I wish you all a very happy holiday season.
See you at the start of the school year :)Charlotte <:>