ITW n°44: Mélanie - K fighter.
today Mélanie, 34 years old, sacred fighter / wonder mother of a little 1 year old doll, tells us with great optimism, tenacity and strength about her fight against her Breast K!
His testimony to the communicative force also shows us how important the entourage is to arm your battle, thank you for your super boosting words.
Let's get started:
Who are you ?
First name: Melanie
Age: 34 years old
Profession: Claims manager
Where do you live: In Deux Sèvres, a small village near Niort
Why do you agree to share your story today?
To show people with cancer that they are not alone.
When the disease affects us young, we ask ourselves “why me?”. We would like to be able to discuss it with people his age.
What are your qualities (in a few words)?
Positive, dynamic, in love with life
What are your passions (in a few words)?
cinema, reading, cooking, shopping, music but my favorite pastime is my daughter, my family and my friends.
What K (what cancer - grade if you wish / stage ditto):
Breast cancer, stage 3
When was it discovered? How old were you ?
In May 2014. I was 33 years old.
Under what circumstances was it discovered?
I noticed a tiny little lump on the right side of my breast.
As a precaution (my mother having had breast cancer 13 years previously) I consulted my gynecologist. From there, I had a mammogram then an ultrasound and finally a biopsy.
During the biopsy, the doctor told me “Given your age, it’s not cancer.”
15 days later, this same doctor informed me without formality that I had Cancer....
If you are currently undergoing treatment, or in remission (for how long?)
I am at the end of my Radiotherapy treatment. As of today, I only have 2 sessions left. Then, cautiously if I dare say, I'm done.
Can you summarize your (K fighter) story for us ?
Following the announcement of my cancer last May, I underwent an operation on June 3: removal of the right breast and axillary dissection. I then started chemotherapy at the beginning of July. I had a session every 3 weeks and 6 in total. Then at the end of November, I meet the doctor who will follow me for my radiotherapy. The latter wants me to have another operation because, according to him, a lymph node remains suspicious.
On December 1st, I underwent another operation. I start 15 days after my radiotherapy sessions. I have a program of 25 sessions and today I passed the 23rd!
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):
I wanted to try the cooling helmet. I tolerated it well. However, it had no effect on me. I actually lost my hair 15 days after the first session.
I also put on the mittens. I had more difficulty supporting them. On the other hand, it paid off because my nails were not damaged.
How did you live the day before, the same day, the days after chemo?
and what were your tips?
The day before and the morning of the session, I tried not to think about it.
At each session, my friend accompanied me and stayed throughout the session.
I also had my girlfriends entertaining me on WHATSAPP . We had established a little ritual: at each session, I gave them a challenge (send me a ridiculous photo, tell me the biggest shame of their life...). It did me a lot of good.
I was lucky to have a beautician who offered me treatments during the sessions.
I had the right to a facial treatment and a hand treatment. In addition, she gave a lot of beauty advice which helped me a lot.
After chemo, my watchword was rest. I left my 1 year old granddaughter at grandma's and I was resting. I slept a lot.
To reduce the side effects (nausea, etc.), I of course had medication but we also recommended aloe vera juice. Is it psychological or not but it worked well for me.
Finally, I ate a lot as much as I could. My body was demanding and I felt like I needed to gain strength for the days to come.
2/ hospital: (e.g. contact with nurses / doc / caregivers):
I was very lucky because I always came across very friendly and attentive medical staff.
During my hospitalization, the nurses were very available, always ready to chat (which I didn't mind, piplette as I am).
During my chemo, although overwhelmed by their work, they were always very pleasant and smiling.
What did you do to clear your mind/clear your head (before chemo, surgery & co)?
I watched a lot of series, talked a lot on the phone with my loved ones and above all I spent time with my daughter. She made me completely forget about the illness. Children have power….. :)
What practical “well-being/beauty” tips can you advise us?
1/ beauty: your essential products (e.g.: creams, varnishes, scars, oils, etc.)
I have to say that the days following chemo, I had a little trouble taking care of myself. I did what was strictly necessary because I was too weak.
But as soon as I felt better, I was very careful to moisturize my skin well. I use LIPIKAR milk from La ROCHE POSAY for the body
Following my operation, I always massage my scar with sweet almond oil.
During radiotherapy, I use CYTELIUM and IALUCET.
For my hair, if I may say so, I use a gentle shampoo from La Roche Posay.
I learned how to do my eyebrows.... I did pretty well.... it was nothing but fire.
I preferred to use eyeshadow in the color of my eyebrows rather than a pencil. I thought it looked more natural.
As for the eyelashes, I put on a line of eye shadow in the same color as my eyebrows which I blended.
I also alternately used eyeliner.
And then, I now use lipstick every day. Until then I was not used to wearing any or a very discreet lipstick.
With illness, I wanted color, cheerfulness. So I dared to use quite bright colors.
Comment from Charlotte:
Mélanie used almost everything in the Fighting Kits that I compiled, to discover here hihi ;)
2/ look, (e.g. your favorite chemo, hospital, every day look to feel good):
I always tried to dress like before, put on makeup like before, wear perfume like before, wear my jewelry like before. I felt good once I was ready....I didn't want to see the illness when I looked in the mirror.
3/ daily (e.g. sport, food & co, meditation, reading, etc.)
I tried to go for walks regularly. Since then, I've wanted to start running. I feel so strong!
I have always eaten everything without depriving myself. I am lucky not to gain weight but unlucky to lose weight easily during the illness. So I was careful to eat everything well to have strength for the future.
Since then, I have been eating a lot more fruit.
4/ hair problem (eg: did you wear a wig, scarves, hats)
I bought myself a wig that was really close to my hair color and hairstyle before the treatment. I wore it when I went out.
At home or with my loved ones, I wore scarves. I have a nice collection of them.
It felt good to change and I tried to change the knotting .
Were you concerned about the views of others, were you afraid that their views would change? What did you do to counter it?
Yes, I was very concerned about how others looked at me. My closest friends were great! They continued to be the same with me. I really enjoyed it.
My friend spent his time reassuring me, telling me that despite my illness I was beautiful.
He was adorable and patient.
My parents didn't change but I could see that my physical changes were affecting them, which I understand.
I've had a few people who didn't know how to react and may have been awkward.
To counter all this, I tried to reassure people and continue to live as if nothing had happened.
I was sometimes angry at having to reassure people about my condition....
What are the “nugget”/footed phrases (that you remember) that someone said to you during K and that you could have avoided?
“breast cancer is treatable well now” I wanted to answer “well, I’ll give it to you if it’s treatable so well”
“hair grows back” => thank you I know but I’m going to spend 4 months without hair, would you like to be in my place??? '
and many more....
How did your loved ones support you?
My friend was always present at all my medical appointments, every step of the way. He took care of our daughter and the house. In short, he managed everything when I was completely out of control.
My mother and my mother-in-law kept the chip during my hospitalization or the days following chemo. They did the cleaning and ironing for me.
My father-in-law came to help us too.
My friends, ah my friends, I can never say THANK YOU enough to them! They have always been there and that’s huge! They checked on me, told me stupid things, continued to be the same with me. Humor is their key word, I love them!
And what advice could you give to loved ones who accompany a K fighter?
Do not change. You have to continue to be the same and connect the K fighter to the important things in her life: remind her that she has a wonderful daughter, that she will soon be the owner….. and have a laugh!
Do you find out about K on the internet?
During my treatment, no, I avoided it.
Since the end is approaching, I want to help and share. I discovered pretty Julie's blog. I find her magnificent and I admire what she does for women.
If so, does it make you feel good?
Discovering Julie's blog did me good. At that time, I didn't think I was beautiful and she showed me that you could be pretty even during treatments. Thank you Julie!
If so, what would be the useful (internet) links that helped you during K?
Small aside: I was given “The War of the Nipples” by Lili Sohn when I learned of my illness. This book did me a lot of good. She approaches the illness with a lot of humor and plays down the situation.
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..?)
We can say that the illness has changed a lot of things! I worry a lot less about the little things.
I enjoy the little moments of happiness much more and above all I live day by day without thinking about yesterday or tomorrow.
Since then, I have wanted to enjoy it a lot more and discover new things. I want to do sports..... but what is happening to me???? :)
Free field ;)
tell us what you want (which might not be in my questions):
It's a difficult stage but you have to put yourself in warrior mode and always stay positive.
In this way, I managed to face all the stages.
Don't hesitate to get help. I had a lot of difficulty doing it but with hindsight, I realize that it is essential to rest well and tolerate the treatments.
And then, you have to have fun! Eating chocolate éclairs whenever you want, buying clothes...It's good for your morale!
Finally, when I was feeling down and I thought it was unfair that this illness had decided to attack me, my darling would respond to me "you're strong enough to handle it". So don't forget that we are the strongest!
Thank you Mélanie for your beautiful communicative vibes!
Lots of beautiful positive thoughts to everyone!!
@ very quickly