ITW n°49: Aurélie - K fighter.
today Aurélie, 32 years old, a real fighter, mother of a 2-year-old little girl (her "oxygen during this battle"), tells us about her fight against a breast K whose treatments ended last October, yay !
Also shows us how love is stronger than anything in her pretty words!
A little message to those who read his ITW, because together we are stronger:
"Today I want to help people who, like me, have experienced this upheaval but I don't know where to start or where to look. I want to reorient myself professionally speaking but unfortunately I don't have the diplomas to work in personal assistance. If anyone ever reads me and can give me some information."
I am sure that you will be able to help the beautiful Aurélie ;)
Thank you Aurélie for this beautiful testimony.
Let's get started:
Who are you ?
First name: Aurélie
Profession: Multi-purpose assistant
Where do you live: Caen
Why do you agree to share your story today?
When I was diagnosed with cancer I felt so lost. The world was falling apart around me and I would have liked to have people suffering from the same illness as me to talk to and especially people of my age. My family and friends were very supportive and I am extremely grateful to them, but they couldn't understand the mess that was in my head. Until you are told that you are at risk of dying you don't know what it causes.
What are your qualities (in a few words)?
I think I'm a fighter, I don't let myself be defeated. I don't feel sorry for myself and hate pity.
What are your passions (in a few words)?
It's cliché but my daughter, she's two years old today and she was my oxygen during this battle.
What K (what cancer - grade if you wish / stage ditto):
Right breast cancer infiltrating ductal carcinoma grade II, triple negative.
When was it discovered? How old were you ?
I was 31 years old. I learned of the sentence on February 25, 2015. I think this date will be forever engraved in my memory.
Under what circumstances was it discovered?
I had a small infection because of (or rather thanks to) my IUD so I had to go to my midwife. I had a lump in my breast but I was convinced it was a cyst because it hurt and I have always heard that cancer doesn't hurt! So I took the opportunity to show it to her, she advised me to get an echo just in case but for her, nothing alarming (she saved my life, I can never thank her enough!). My appointment at the imaging center took a long time because we were in the middle of the end-of-year holiday season so I didn't have an appointment until 1 month later. During this ultrasound the doctor told me that he didn't like what he saw so to make an appointment with a doctor and after that everything happened very quickly.
If you are currently undergoing treatment, or in remission (for how long?)
I finished my treatment on October 15th.
Can you summarize your (K fighter) story for us ?
My daughter had just turned a year old and I could finally start living and going out a little more, but then I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The world stopped spinning for a few days. I am not afraid of death but my greatest anxiety is not seeing her grow, not being able to raise her and give her the keys to succeed in life and be happy. After all the exams we knew that the cancer had remained localized in my breast and that I had no metastasis, this was the first victory . It’s funny how even bad news in itself “no metastasis” but cancer all the same, becomes good news. We hold on to what we can to avoid sinking. I did some testing to see if it was genetic but no. It's not hormonal either so we basically don't know why it's there! After a quick lament over my fate, I take out my weapons and decide that yes I will see my daughter grow up and I hope that I will be able to give her a little brother (yes the next one will be a boy).
I had surgery and the surgeon managed to remove all the tumor and the edges that had already been affected, leaving my breast.
During chemo I tried to maintain a normal life as much as possible, outings were rarer because I was very tired but I don't think I changed too many things in my life during this period. I didn't suffer too much physically. I of course had nausea and migraines the 3 days after chemo but it was this strange feeling of not feeling myself that bothered me. It's a very special sensation to feel outside your body, it's very disturbing and confusing.
During radiotherapy I didn't suffer either, hospital visits became my routine and I met wonderful women in the waiting room.
Now that the treatments are over there is still the fear that he will come back and every pain terrifies me. The fatigue is still present but I am trying as best I can to get my life back in hand. Life is getting back on track but I remain anxious and I think about it all the time. It takes time to recover from this experience so I am patient. I know that one day this will all be behind me.
I think this experience was beneficial because it taught me who I really was and how strong I could be. Today, apart from a new cancer, nothing scares me.
What treatment did you have?
6 courses of chemotherapy, one every 3 weeks. 3 courses of FEC and 3 of TAXOTERE
Lumpectomy, outpatient operation.
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):
The chemo wasn't that hard. I had moments of great pain but it's like everything, once you forget it and move on to something else.
How did you live the day before, the same day, the days after chemo?
and what were your tips?
For the first, I was very anxious but it was more because it was the unknown, for the others, I took tablets to sleep the day before and the day before each chemo so as not to stress too much (the anxiety kept me from sleeping). I went there with the mindset of “more than X and then it’s over!” » The important thing is not to go alone and to spend some time talking with other patients and accompanying people so that it passes as quickly as possible. The administration of chemo doesn't hurt and everyone takes great care (accompanist, nurses, etc.) so you have to be pampered and spend a calm and serene moment (well as long as you can). For the taxotere, the pain of the limbs immersed in the ice is bearable for the first few minutes then becomes more and more complicated to manage but you have to hold on. Thanks to that I haven't had any problems with my nails. I of course combined with the 6 coats of varnish recommended to be changed every week.
2/ hospital: (e.g. contact with nurses / doc / caregivers):
The nurses, caregivers, doctors, etc. are extraordinary people and extremely kind.
3/ “parallel” medicine, if you have done it (what disciplines, what were their benefits):
I took homeopathy and I saw a “toucher” to stop the fire of radiotherapy and calm me down during violent migraines due to chemo
What did you do to clear your mind/clear your head (before chemo, surgery & co)?
During the first treatments I continued to run a little, but fatigue got the better of my physical activities. I had my daughter to take my mind off things because with her there was no question of lounging on the sofa!!!
What practical “well-being/beauty” tips can you advise us?
1/ beauty: your essential products (e.g.: creams, varnishes, scars, oils, etc.)
I mainly used the La Roche Posay range for my skin and for varnishes (on certain online drugstore sites varnishes are much cheaper than in pharmacies). And the most natural products possible (alum stone, aloe vera to drink, vital energy).
2/ look, (e.g. your favorite chemo, hospital, every day look to feel good):
I tried to remain as feminine as possible but post chemo jogging and a large t-shirt there is nothing better to feel comfortable.
Apart from days of great fatigue, never without my hoop earrings. Large earrings adorn the face when you have more hair or short hair. Today I feel naked if I don't wear one.
3/ daily (e.g. sport, food & co, meditation, reading, etc.)
I have been vegetarian for a long time and cancer confirmed my choice. I only eat organic products and I avoid cow's milk as much as possible. I exercise 2 to 3 hours a week and I try to have some quiet time with a book in the evening to escape.
4/ hair problem (eg: did you wear a wig, scarves, hats)
I didn't opt for a wig because I didn't feel like myself with it. I bought lots of scarves so I could change as much as possible and match with my clothes.
Were you concerned about the views of others, were you afraid that their views would change? What did you do to counter it?
I was very afraid of how others would look when I no longer had hair but I was pleasantly surprised, the zero ball looked good on me and I received lots of compliments which helped me to overcome this horrible period of hair loss.
What are the “nugget”/footed phrases (that you remember) that someone said to you during K and that you could have avoided?
“Hey you know I have a lump in my breast too but it’s not cancerous”
“We drop everything and go to India to be treated by a Buddhist monk”
How did your loved ones support you?
My loved ones were more than present, they helped me enormously. It's in these moments that we see the importance of family and friends. I think this experience strengthened the love with some of my girlfriends but unfortunately alienated others. My best friend traveled more than 1000 km just to give me a hug and I think it was the best proof of love she could have given me. My close family was very present, my mother took care of me like no other because there is nothing more secure than your mother's arms! And of course my darling, he was extremely scared but despite the incomprehension of this news, he took great care of me. Our life was put on hold for a year and it's not always easy to live with but we came out of it with our heads held high and even stronger than before. This kind of experience strengthens bonds and helps consolidate relationships with the people we love.
And what advice could you give to loved ones who accompany a K fighter?
Do your best because medications, anxiety, hormones, etc. don't always make us kind, but we have the right, we have cancer!
Open your arms to collect us when morale is not there and even if we don't want to talk about what we feel because these sensations are not always explainable, a huge hug can heal our wounds.
Do you find out about K on the internet?
I try to look as little as possible and instead ask medical staff because you can find everything and nothing on the internet.
I looked at the photos of hair growing back in order to project myself into the future.
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..?)
Cancer allowed me to review my priorities, to no longer dwell on small, unimportant things. I pay less attention to how others see me, I am as I am. I paid a lot of attention to my body (maybe too much) and it didn't bring me any more happiness, so even if I have one or two bulges, too bad.
Free field ;)
tell us what you want (which might not be in my questions):
Cancer for those under 35 represents I believe 2% of the population, if thanks to sites like yours we can feel less alone in the face of this m #### then thank you.
I think there is a problem in France regarding the monitoring of psychological state after treatment. For a long period we are monitored closely by the medical profession which is reassuring but as soon as the treatments stop we see the oncologist after 3, 6 months and after every year, but our anxieties are still there. At the slightest pain I am stressed that the cancer will come back, I feel my breasts every morning with apprehension. They don't warn us about this at the hospital. I'm scared but since I finished the treatments I'm supposed to be fine.
Today I want to help people who, like me, have experienced this upheaval but I don't know where to start or where to look. I want to reorient myself professionally but unfortunately I don't have the qualifications to work in personal assistance. If anyone ever reads me and can give me some information.
Thank you Aurélie for this beautiful testimony, your words full of strength and resilience, what a warrior!
Please note that I do not retouch any Interview, they are completely free, it is your freedom, your story, I just add my personal touch with the illustration, they are delivered as they were sent to me ;)
Lots of beautiful positive thoughts to everyone!!
@ very quickly