ITW n°40: Amélia - K fighter.
today the beautiful and sparkling Amélia, 17 years old, tells us with strength, dignity and a lot of elegance her fight against her K or more precisely: "malignant germ cell tumor attached to the ovary", today in remission, "all was processed between September and December, lightning fast!” :)
Great discovery of this young warrior K shock fighter!
Let's get started:
Who are you ?
First name: Amelia
Age: 17 years old
Profession: Nursing student
Where do you live: Lille
Why do you agree to share your story today?
I find that in illness we often feel alone even if we are surrounded by others, and in the misfortune of K, being able to read other stories, although each one is different, allows us not to feel alone with our states of illness. souls or other feelings.
What are your qualities (in a few words)?
I am dynamic, I don't like to let myself be brought down, even less by illness!
What are your passions (in a few words)?
My greatest passion, which had to be put on hold for a while, is becoming a nurse (a shame!) Caring for people is all I love, and I'm only waiting for one thing: to return to my studies :)
What K (what cancer - grade if you wish / stage ditto):
I had a malignant germ cell tumor attached to the ovary (around 100 cases per year in France, it's normal if no one knows :p)
When was it discovered? How old were you ?
It was discovered not long ago, in September 2015, I was the same age as I am today.
Under what circumstances was it discovered?
For 3 weeks I had stomach pain that kept getting worse, my stomach started to swell, one day I couldn't even walk down the street because I was in so much pain, I was frozen in place. So I went to the emergency room, the doctors thought I had pyelonephritis (it's a urinary infection that goes up into the kidneys) but it was a little worse so I might have to go to the operating room. To check this they sent me for an ultrasound, and there the nice gentleman told me “miss you have a mass of at least 20cm attached to your ovary”. Surpriiiiiiiiiiise! It was a pretty tumor!
If you are currently undergoing treatment, or in remission (for how long?)
Currently I am in remission, everything was treated between September and December, lightning fast!
Can you summarize your (K fighter) story for us ?
After the nice gentleman told me that there was a mass on the ultrasound everything happened very quickly. I was transferred to the gynecological emergency room where I underwent numerous tests. The doctors told me that at my age it was definitely a cyst. After a week I was told that it was a malignant tumor, the world collapsed. The doctors want to give me chemo before operating. But two weeks after I arrived at the emergency room, they decided to operate on me urgently (I learned later that it was because the mass would not last another day without literally exploding in my stomach, I can imagine damage). My surgeon removed a 19cm tumor the size of a 1.5kg handball, an ovary and a tube, and 1.5kg of ascites (fluid secreted around the mass). The relief of my life I think, I wasn't going to suffer anymore. A week after my 27cm of scalpel on the stomach, small detour to the operating room for the pac installation. And a week later it was the start of chemo.
What treatment did you have?
I had three one-week courses of chemo, each of them two weeks apart. Monday and Tuesday I had Bleomycin and Vinblastine. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I had Cisplatin.
I had my operation to remove the tumor: a right adnexectomy with peritoneal samples and fluid, and as a bonus a little washing of the entire inside of the stomach since the mass crumbled in my stomach during the operation. In total, two weeks of hospitalization for the operation + three weeks of chemo
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/ chemo: (ex: your tips, the helmet, your affinities with nurses):
Nurses: big sisters and big brothers! Don't hesitate to talk to them!
How did you live the day before, the same day, the days after chemo?
and what were your tips?
For my first treatment I had no apprehension, for the others a little apprehension in the car before arriving at the hospital but once in front of the hospital everything disappears and we attack! During the weeks of chemo, I thought of something else, I always had something to do. And above all: don't stay in my room! (except in the evening when I no longer had a choice). I spent my days in the cafeteria, walking around every corner of the hospital, playing with the little ones (I was in pediatrics. There were activities as a result, so even if it's for the little ones we Go ahead and think of something else! Post-chemo was the hardest part. More than a week to recover, nausea, stomach aches, tired, no strength. But I took my trouble patiently, thinking about Christmas (and yes, Christmas was my goal because if everything went well, my gift was a New Year's Eve in full remission!)
2/ hospital: (e.g. contact with nurses / doc / caregivers):
Whether during my hospitalization for surgery or for chemo, the teams were WONDERFUL! I call them my good fairies and my saviors, they made me keep up with the rhythm and the shock of the very rapid announcements. We really need, when we can, to talk with the caregivers and build a relationship with them, we feel less alone when we have to return to the hospital.
3/ “parallel” medicine, if you have done it (what disciplines, what were their benefits):
To counter the side effects of chemo I resorted to homeopathy, afterward it's really personal, you have to believe it. But against nausea, fatigue, stress and even anxiety, in addition to the hospital medications, it really helped me.
What did you do to clear your mind/clear your head (before chemo, surgery & co)?
I didn't really have time to change my mind given the speed of everything, but as soon as I could, outside the hospital it was to go eat sushi (I'm going to think about creating therapy by sushi I think) at the restaurant with my cousin. In the hospital it was music especially in the evening, once I was alone in my room. Otherwise, as I said earlier, don't stay cooped up in your room because there's nothing like it to make you feel depressed and find the time particularly long. After the treatments my mother took me for walks in a wheelchair (too tired and hurting my scar to walk), getting some fresh air in my head felt really good.
What practical “well-being/beauty” tips can you advise us?
1/ beauty: your essential products (e.g.: creams, varnishes, scars, oils, etc.)
For the scar I have a “Cicalfate” cream and a “Bi-Oil ” oil, it’s really good, I recommend them for those who have had surgery. You really have to apply it morning and evening, the scar disappears over the days :D Afterwards for the nails I applied varnish non-stop, it prevented them from breaking. I especially found a very oily cream-oil that I spread on my face in the evening before going to sleep, it doesn't smell very good, but my skin loved it. We go to bed with ultra-dry skin, we wake up with baby skin. It’s the organic “regenerating night balm” with argan oil from Le Petit Olivier (afterwards I had no contraindications on the products to use).
2/ look, (e.g. your favorite chemo, hospital, every day look to feel good):
Often in jeans with a large sweater, very comfortable when I was in the hospital. I kept the tracksuits for home the days after chemo. But be careful, whether at home or in the hospital: always in slippers! It makes the healthcare staff laugh and it makes curious little ones in the hospital but frankly there's nothing like it to feel at ease and a little at home (even if I absolutely don't want it to be at home, when you have to spend the week there it's a bit like a second home).
3/ daily (e.g. sport, food & co, meditation, reading, etc.)
I know that sport during chemotherapy is something good and beneficial, and that even if we have the impression that we are not capable of doing sport because of the fatigue present, it is beginning to be proven that sport would actually reduce side effects. In the pediatric department where I was there is a sports teacher three afternoons a week, and there is fencing once a week. Everyone has their own level of endurance and desire, but I find it really good. With my scar I can't do sports yet but as soon as I can I will start. After food, for my part I ate whenever I wanted, and I ate everything I wanted. Sweets, cakes, chips etc… You have to treat yourself when you can!
4/ hair problem (eg: did you wear a wig, scarves, hats)
Personally, my hair plays with my nerves, it decided to start falling out two days before the end of my very last chemo, to everyone's surprise. I lost a lot of it, handfuls, and I'm still losing it, but I'm lucky to have had very thick hair, so I still have a little left on my head, despite everything I don't know Not if I'll have any left for long, so I took care of myself and bought some scarves. The wig is not for me, but it's all a question of personal taste ;)
Were you concerned about the views of others, were you afraid that their views would change? What did you do to counter it?
At the time I wasn't afraid of people's looks. I felt good in my sneakers. By telling people what was happening to me, some moved away, but too bad, I don't have any more time to waste. What bothered me the most was the looks of pity. To everyone who sees k-fighters, please don't look at them with pity! I don't blame them for their pity, the "poor little thing" didn't ask anyone for anything, and she's doing very well. I am a person like everyone else, and as Charlotte would say so well, we are not our cancer, we are us with cancer. Today I have lost self-confidence, so it is now that I am concerned about people's opinions. But I am regaining my confidence, it must not be very far away!
What are the “nugget”/footed phrases (that you remember) that someone said to you during K and that you could have avoided?
Answer: There are so many…! :p - “You will no longer be able to say ‘I don’t care about my ovaries’”. Yes, I'm fine, thank you, I've just had surgery, I'm aware of it, shut up now! :)
- “Ohlala I’m tired!” You have no idea! » Hmm, yes thank you ;)
- “You’re losing your hair!” Do you have cancer or what?! » Double LOL, a budding comedian that one.
How did your loved ones support you?
My family has been very present for me, especially my mother, the best I assure you! Some of my friends were just magical with me, but the K scared most of them, as they say “it's in the worst moments that you recognize your true friends” ;)
And what advice could you give to loved ones who accompany a K fighter?
Don't give up, they need you! Simply avoid pity, avoid putting yourself in our place too, even if it's not always obvious, I know that when people said to me "I understand you too, I...", no, and fortunately, you don't. will never understand our emotions exactly. And we have to take time for everything: time to talk about ourselves, time to talk about yourself, time to laugh, time for emotion..
Do you find out about K on the internet?
I only did it when I knew I was in remission. But there really is everything, luckily I knew exactly what I had because you can easily believe anything and everything.
If so, does it make you feel good?
Neither hot nor cold
If so, what would be the useful (internet) links that helped you during K?
Once everything was finished: This blog! :D
What has the K changed in your life…?
(for example: your vision of the world, your priorities, your essentials, refocusing those around you, in your work, your philosophy..?)
ENJOY LIFE !!!!!!!!!! Whenever I can, I do things that I love, I enjoy millions of pleasures that before I wouldn't have even noticed. The complaining miss that I was has transformed into the radiant miss J I kicked out of my life all the people who could be even remotely harmful to me, it felt really good. Everything has changed: my priorities in life have changed, but not only mine. All the people who surrounded me in my fight changed their vision of the world and of life too. My next goal: to do what I always wanted to do, become a nurse!
Free field ;)
tell us what you want (which might not be in my questions):
My little advice against nausea (my biggest problem during treatment): mint candies, mint chewing gum and walks outdoors!
I would like to say thank you to all the people who, directly or indirectly, supported me in this fight, I can never say thank you enough for their presence at the time of my life when I needed them the most. A whole hola for my mom, my biggest support, the best. <3 For my dad, very present for me, a great dad. For Domie, the best godmother in the world. For Jo, the best cousin in the world. For Hugo, the best big brother in the world. For Marine, the Best, with a capital B, I will never thank you enough! For my cousin Océane, important support. And then for all the others, Erick, Amaury, Yousra, Sophie, Pierrick, Tom, Anaïs and Anaïs, my little Mehdi, Martin, Ailéan, Ludo, Camille, Pauline, Océane, Diane, Marielle and the others… Without forgetting Justine and Pierre, my great roommates, without whom the house would not have made sense and without whom my cat would not have had any cuddles! Thanks to the gynecological department of the Jeanne de Flandres hospital and thanks to the pediatric department of Oscar Lambret (Loic if you read me!). Thank you to the associations who take the time to keep this service alive, Les Blouses Roses, Clowns de l'Espoir, Choisir l'Espoir, Les Compteurs de Rêves, and many others like Cheer Up, these young ladies who come to speak with the young people in the evening and who helps us set up a project that is close to our hearts! A thought of Antime and Sana, with whom I shared a few moments at the hospital. And a big thought to Shana, gone too soon, a new angel has joined heaven.
And of course a big thank you to you Charlotte, action coach, who responded to me when I wasn't doing well, and who pumped me up to move forward! Do not change anything !
Thank you again, beautiful Amélia, and thank you for this great dedication I am very touched, even a little moved oops ;)
Lots of beautiful positive thoughts to everyone!!
Lots of nice positive thoughts
See you soon