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ITW n°55: Caroline - K fighter.-desktop ITW n°55: Caroline - K fighter.-mobile

ITW n°55: Caroline - K fighter.

Hello,

today the pretty Caroline, 33 years old nurse, wonderwoman, sweet, luminous and smiling, tells us about her battle against a K of the Breast which she fought victoriously in 2008, today in remission for 7 years, she testifies with a lot of sincerity and strength! wow!!

Great discovery.

Let's get started:

Who are you ?

First name: Caroline

Age: 33 years old

Profession: Nurse

Where do you live: Near Paris

Why do you agree to share your story today?

Because when I got sick, I did like a lot of people, I went on discussion forums, and I only read things that made me afraid, that made me cry, that made me feel bad. comfortable. And I would like through my experience that we can just a little desecrate this delicate period that can happen during our lives, and say to ourselves that we can also draw a little positive from it.

What are your qualities (in a few words)?

Sociable and attentive, which is quite necessary in my job. And I'm told it's funny too.

My husband said to me just now: Gentle, intelligent, patient, with a zest for life... But he loves me, he's my husband :)

What are your passions (in a few words)?

My nieces !! I don't have children yet and they are both my loves. My family. Travel too, especially the US, and especially NYC. And then music and reading which are two areas capable of transporting me to another world (which really helped me when I was under treatment). Ha, and then the food! I am greedy.

What K (what cancer - grade if you wish / stage ditto):

So Breast Cancer Stage 3, Grade 3. 3 pretty tumors carried in the same sweet breast, and several lymph nodes had decided to join in the festivities of the moment.

When was it discovered? How old were you ?

It was discovered in 2008, I was just 26 years old

Under what circumstances was it discovered?

I discovered it by feeling myself like a grown-up, at least for one of these 3 roommates who had more difficulty hiding than the other two. Unfortunately, it was not taken seriously by the medical profession at the time.

“No, but wait Caroline, at your age breast cancer is barely 1% of cases” I was told… Oh well, I’m in, guys.

If you are currently undergoing treatment, or in remission (for how long?)

In remission for 7 years.

Can you summarize your (K fighter) story for us ?

So 2008 palpation one evening in front of the TV (I must have been a little bored), with discovery of a "lump" in my left breast, on the surface, something that felt good. At the start I'm not particularly worried. It was by talking about this to my mother on the phone that she encouraged me to talk to a doctor. So I see a GP who prescribes a breast ultrasound. Ultrasound shows a “discreetly atypical 34mm adenofibroma”. Not now. Only, after a few weeks, I noticed an increase in the mass. I go back to see my doctor who writes me a letter for gynecological emergencies. In the Emergency Department I am taken care of by a surgeon, who measures the "mass" with a tape measure (yes I'm not kidding... He REALLY did that). Prescribed another ultrasound with biopsy + blood test with tumor markers.

Assessment done -> negative markers, biopsy + ultrasound done -> mass of 65 mm, but there are no malignant-looking cells.

According to him, there is nothing to worry about, I am young, on oral contraception, this creates changes in breast density, it should go away as it came. Except that I didn't like feeling that so I insisted to him, I wanted it taken away from me. I negotiate with this gentleman who ends up agreeing to operate on me, adding "but it's really because you insist"... No problem man, I'll live with this affront that I'm doing to you.

They operated on me, and 10 days later I went back to see him, the verdict came in: "Okay, well, it's not Benin, all that actually Caroline. It's clever."

He removed a 68mm tumor from me.

What treatments did you have ?

Firstly, mastectomy with 6 days of hospitalization

Then chemotherapy based on 4 FEC 100 and 12 Taxol

Then 48 radiotherapy sessions

Then 6 years of Tamoxifen (which I stopped in April 2015... To try to have a baby in the belly).

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 tried the headset and personally I couldn't stand it for more than 5 minutes. Knowing that the hair falls out all the same... Nothing to worry about, I prefer to feel more comfortable during the sessions rather than bothering myself with this icy thing.

I always arrived for chemo super dolled up, with something to do, and food. Initially my entourage accompanied me and it was nice not to be alone, I find that we are quite alone in the head so we might as well not inflict physical solitude on ourselves. The people who love us want to be with us in this moment so let's do it, it feels good and in truth they don't feel obligated, they do it because they want to. You shouldn't feel guilty about that.

I was the youngest patient, the paramedical staff looked after me well, we created bonds, it was necessary. I go back to see them when I have an appointment with my cancer patient.

How did you live the day before, the same day, the days after chemo?

and what were your tips?

I always saw chemo as my army. The day before I prepared for battle, I talked to myself, encouraged myself and my troops. As if I were at war. It motivated me to tell myself that the chemo was breaking me from the inside, that I was like a kind of war field but that after each moment of fighting, the chemo and I, we recovered my lands in the face of the 'invader. So I accepted the chemo well, I went to it like Rocky goes to the Ring. I know, it's weird, but in any case it helped me not to consider chemo as my enemy. I certainly hated it when it made me lose my hair, but once the "drama" was over, you had to get back in the saddle and take it as your personal weapon.

You should not hesitate with anti-emetic treatments, you must take them thoroughly. And then when it comes to food, I ate during chemo. On outings, I had chocolate, and the days that followed it was often cold food like tomatoes, grilled meats and bread or sandwich bread. Bread has the benefit of absorbing stomach acid which causes nausea. It's a good thing to eat bread. And at worst, it's better to vomit something than to vomit bile.

Lemon water too, it's refreshing and calms nausea.

For the rest, you shouldn't hesitate to hydrate your skin as much as possible, it's super beneficial!

And then... Sleep.

With all this, I always had good blood test results, my leukocytes were always within the normal range.

Eating is the most effective way to recover as best as possible. I know it's not necessarily simple, it's true, but trying to swallow something that makes us want it is always a victory. And the more we manage to swallow something, the more little by little the rest goes well. Don't let yourself get carried away by nausea.

2/ hospital: (e.g. contact with nurses / doc / caregivers):

My cancer patient is my hero. He's a bit of a misogynist (although I suspect he's doing it on purpose), but he promised me he'd do everything he could to get me out of there, and so far, he's done it.

I also had a nurse that I could call whenever I wanted, if I had doubts or weird things. She advised me, it was good because unexpected things can always happen when we are faced with “surprising” treatments.

3/ “parallel” medicine, if you have done it (what disciplines, what were their benefits):

Honestly, I tried acupuncture and it didn't do much. I'm probably not super receptive to that.

However, she gave me the trick of visualizing my stomach and my liver and painting it green in my head... And it's true that strangely, this visualization exercise helped me with the nausea.

What did you do to clear your mind/clear your head (before chemo, surgery & co)?

I read a lot a lot. It took me to worlds where I didn't have cancer, where I wasn't me.

I was cuddling my cat... The purrs are really relaxing.

I kept in touch with my work, at the time I wasn't a nurse and I could do things from home for work, so I did it, it made me "useful" and it was enjoyable.

To be honest, I did what I liked, you have to do yourself good, don't force anything. And then, when you want to cry because one day everything becomes too heavy, well you have to cry, you shouldn't hesitate, it feels good.

On the other hand, if one day we want to go out, to go running to let off steam and because we feel capable of it... Well, we must do that too.

Not restricting yourself is the best solution.

What practical “well-being/beauty” tips can you advise us?

1/ beauty: your essential products (e.g.: creams, varnishes, scars, oils, etc.)

CLINIQUE products for makeup and face and body care. They don't have too much smell so great for chemo where our sense of smell is changed.

Red lipstick to enhance the complexion, Blush to give color to the cheeks that we are losing, brown pencil (not black) for the eyebrows, and MANDATORY concealer.

The ¾ wig: less expensive, keeps less heat and avoids having bangs that make you sweat. To wear with a headband, it looks pretty good in my opinion.

2/ look, (e.g. your favorite chemo, hospital, every day look to feel good):

Little trapeze dress, heeled shoes, 3/4 wig with big headband... That was my chemo routine.

Otherwise jeans, scarf... Because the wig keeps you warm.

3/ daily (e.g. sport, food & co, meditation, reading, etc.)

I always had a bar of milk chocolate with hazelnuts in it after chemo. It was my “after the effort comfort” ritual.

I admit that I was not a great sport during the treatments. It was especially after radiotherapy, I started running a little and going swimming with a friend, it felt good.

I read a lot. And then it was the Twilight era, so I devoured them, it was great for escaping from everyday life.

4/ hair problem (eg: did you wear a wig, scarves, hats)

I wore full wig, 3/4 wig and scarf. The cap especially at the beginning for sleeping, because I didn't like the feeling of the shaved head on the pillow... but it didn't last long.

Were you concerned about the views of others, were you afraid that their views would change? What did you do to counter it?

yes especially at the beginning of hair loss. With the breast removed I didn't care, it hid well. But once your hair falls out, you quickly become "sick", very quickly "cancer".

And then I don't like that people can notice me or see me as weaker, so the first times were harder to understand. After a while we end up not giving a damn, we're fighters. It's all in your head, the gaze of others is a bit you who brings it, who finds it because you try to see it, to guess what people may ultimately think.

What are the “nugget”/footed phrases (that you remember) that someone said to you during K and that you could have avoided?

Ah the big subject that ends up making everyone who has had a stupid illness laugh.

Aside from the “but the hair grows back and it will be more beautiful afterwards” (oh yeah, shall we shave yours to see?),

"oh the wig suits you well" (I'm delighted to see that you noticed that I was wearing one),

“breast cancer is curable now... Hey, I’ll tell you, it’s better than AIDS”

(I'm stupid! But of course I should feel delighted to only have ONE little cancer).

The best thing was from a "friend" from whom I had no further news since the announcement (so for 3 months). I finally manage to reach him by phone, ask him what's going on, why he never answers me, and he ends up telling me "no but don't be selfish either Caro, it's not easy for you but it's not easy for us either, we have to get used to no longer seeing you as you are going to die, so I'm distancing myself a little, you understand"...

It's so nice to tell me that you're considering your well-being in the face of my death... While I'm alive (and still am in fact). Naturally I don't see this person anymore.

How did your loved ones support you?

I had great support from my family. My sister and my brother-in-law were pillars during this period. I lived with them at the start of the treatments so they put up with a lot alongside me.

In all cases there is never a good attitude or a good solution. Being there, listening, is already superb.

And I got that from many people around me, my parents, my aunts and uncles, some of my friends. Several took the time and effort to accompany me for the treatments, others knew about my chemo days and sent me messages of encouragement as if I was going into competition, it was motivating and comforting :)

And what advice could you give to loved ones who accompany a K fighter?

  • Not crying in front of the person who is ill is quite hard for yourself, it's hard to be combative all the time, so reassuring others becomes complicated for us.
  • Listen, don't try to reassure, because telling someone who is going to lose or who has lost their hair without wishing it that "it will grow back"... It's terribly frustrating and annoying. We know it, but we don't want to hear it at all. On the other hand, saying that yes, it's annoying, that it's not fair, it's clear, that there are no words or gestures that can fill what the person who is ill feels, but that , even if she feels alone in this ordeal, even if sometimes she has the impression that her life is slipping away from her, you will always be there to listen to her scream and support her as best as possible... that's good to hear casually.
  • And then live normally, not putting the person away from everyday life thinking that being sick puts the sick person in a world apart. We want everything, except to feel different, on the contrary, we only want to appear normal so that life can follow its course, it is too important not to be pushed aside in everyday life.

Do you find out about K on the internet?

Yes, and for me it was a mistake because if we don't get information from a specialized site, but really really specialized ones, then we come across things that can scare us. We must not forget that we are followed by professionals, by a cancer doctor who has all the answers to our questions... We might as well ask them.

If so, does it make you feel good?

so no, it didn't necessarily do me any good... Even in the longer term. I avoid so as not to fall into a form of hypochondriacal anxiety which makes it difficult to ignore and return to a life without illness.

If so, what would be the useful (internet) links that helped you during K?

breast cancer let's talk about it

League against cancer

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..?)

I stopped smoking, that was the first step! :)

I reviewed my priorities, life could be interrupted overnight, I questioned many things.

I dared to make plans and realized my wish to become a nurse.

I take more care of myself, I pay more attention to my diet, the products I buy, I listen to my body more.

And then I really put things into perspective. Things that could have irritated me before now seem really insignificant to me.

I sometimes feel out of step with those around me who are more likely to argue about subjects that seem completely futile or even useless to me. :)

Free field ;)

tell us what you want (which might not be in my questions):

Cancer changes you, the disease makes you a different person, whether you like it or not.

I lost my best and oldest friend to leukemia, she was 26 years old. It is unfair. Now I have to be a wonderwoman for her at least.

I also owe it for my nieces. My sister became pregnant when we learned of my illness and, without this information, I don't know if I would have had the courage to undergo my treatments. My nieces are my strength.

So. My oncologist told me “cancer can be cured physically, but psychologically, it will leave a mark on you”… He was right. It marked me, I keep physical and psychological scars. But this experience, although still present in my head and in my daily life, made me grow and evolve.

If I had one piece of advice to give in hindsight it would be: don't neglect the impact it can have on your life, take care of your psyche from the start, because once the treatments are finished, if you haven't really mourned all of that, one day or another you may hit it in the face again. An illness like this is not trivial. Take care of yourself now to reap the most benefits over time. Seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist does not make you crazy or weak, on the contrary, it makes you someone capable of taking charge when necessary, in order to have strength and courage. to continue moving forward. We are not weak when we suffer this kind of illness, we develop superhuman strength, never forget that.

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Thank you Caroline for your testimony :)

If like Caroline you want to tell your story and share your tips, go here , send me your questionnaire and 1 photo of yourself so that I can draw you ;) to: interview@mister-k-fighting-kit.com

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

Charlotte