ITW n°62: Sandrine - K fighter.
Today, Sandrine, 40 years old, wonder mother of 3 beautiful children, tells us about her fight against a K in the Breast discovered in September 2015. With great sincerity, this experienced positive person, passionate about music and reading, tells us that she wishes testify to create your network of “cancer friends” if some are interested, let them know in the comments at the end of the ITW ;)
Let's get started:
Who are you ?
First name: Sandrine
Age: 40 years old
Profession: accounting secretary in 2 different companies
Where do you live: Grosbreuil
Why do you agree to share your story today?
I have been thinking about doing this for some time following the testimony of Isa (a patient of my friend and taxi driver Laetitia). Today we took a trip together (me following chemo, her following consultation) and we talked about it, and since following chemo I couldn't sleep, I said to myself that it was the right time take the time to complete the questionnaire
What are your qualities (in a few words)?
I think I'm a positive person, I always only remember the positive and never the negative. According to my sister, I also forgive easily. I think I'll do the best I can for the people I care about.
What are your passions (in a few words)?
reading novels, thanks to Mélinda who provides me with digital books, and especially listening to music from the 80s or Frédéric François
What K (what cancer - grade if you wish / stage ditto):
Ductal carcinoma of non-specific type, hormone receptor positive, HER2 negative. lymph nodes not affected therefore no axillary dissection
When was it discovered? How old were you ?
I discovered it during a random palpation on September 3, 2015 (25 days before my 40th birthday). I was planning to get a tattoo but my body decided otherwise
Under what circumstances was it discovered?
one Saturday evening, I felt the need (why, I still don't know) to touch the top of my left chest and that's when I discovered a lump the size of a marble. Then everything happened very quickly
If you are currently undergoing treatment, or in remission (for how long?)
currently undergoing chemo treatment, the 6th today (at the beginning 3 FEC 10 every 3 weeks, then 12 Taxol once per week), then radiotherapy (33 sessions), then hormone therapy for 10 years. I already had surgery, lumpectomy
Can you summarize your (K fighter) story for us ?
discovery of the lump on Saturday, appointment with my general practitioner on Tuesday, mammogram on Wednesday (the radiologist then told me “not good, not good at all”, what a C… that one), so biopsy on Friday, all that in the same week. Then the longest, waiting for the results, which fall the following Thursday, cancerous, so meet at the René Gauducheau Center in Nantes, the following week, and then we attack. Exams to check everything (they detect a task that will turn out to be nothing). So we started with a surgery protocol followed by radiation and 5 years of hormone therapy, since the tumor is stage 1. But following the surgery, the tumor went to stage 3 (she really had nothing else better to do that one) so we bring out the heavy artillery of chemo, and it's no longer 5 years but 10 years of hormone therapy. Yay. Fortunately I already have my children.
What treatment did you have?
3 FEC100 chemos every 3 weeks, very poorly tolerated, the first ending in hospitalization for aplasia. Then I should have had 3 Taxotère, but as the FEC went badly, we switched to a protocol of 12 Taxol, at a rate of one per week, it's long and repetitive, but much more pleasant
not yet started, but 33 sessions planned
outpatient lumpectomy, returned at 7 a.m., discharged at 8 p.m.
placement of the catheter under local anesthesia
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):
personally I put on the helmet from the first session, but after 21 days, during my hospitalization (7 days) I felt my hair falling out and above all it was very painful at the roots, so I anticipated and all shaved at the hairdresser, I don't regret it, at least that's something I would have decided.
The nurses, as well as all the hospital staff, are very friendly and attentive. They always have a smile and it's a pleasure to see them
On the other hand, I always go to chemo alone, I feel that it's my time. If I want to sleep, I sleep, if I want to talk to the person next to me, I do it and I walk the halls, go buy my sandwich.
How did you live the day before, the day itself, the days after chemo?
and what were your tips?
the first ones were exhausting, often in bed, no appetite, low morale, and all the side effects. But since I went on Taxol, I tolerate them much better, I go on vacation, I read, I move, I keep my appointments. I'm taking advantage of this while I'm in Nantes to schedule workshops (hypnosis, onco-esthetician, skin care). The days after chemo, I am hyper active for the first 2 (thanks to the corticosteroids) and after 2 or 3 days of fatigue. I also have to thank the morning antidepressants that help me get through the day
2/ hospital: (e.g. contact with nurses / doc / caregivers):
always very good contact with all the staff, I thank them regularly. During my hospitalization which was at the Roche sur Yon site, I discovered very pleasant staff and fantastic service. I also received a visit from the socio-beautician, the psychologist, and a very kind lady from the “Vivre comme avant” association.
3/ “parallel” medicine, if you have done it (what disciplines, what were their benefits):
I'm going to try hypnosis soon for sleep, I don't know yet what it will do.
I will also participate in the workshops offered by the league on Sables d'Olonne and Roche sur Yon (2 towns near my home), relaxation, yoga, relaxation through laughter. We'll see, at worst it can't do any harm, and it will take me out and make me meet new people
What did you do to clear your mind/clear your head (before chemo, surgery & co)?
listen to my music. I was advised to walk but with the heart rate I have, it's still too complicated. Or I also read, some don't succeed, while for me, on the contrary, it's like an escape, I immerse myself in the history of novels and it makes me feel like a bubble
What practical “well-being/beauty” tips can you advise us?
1/ beauty: your essential products (e.g.: creams, varnishes, scars, oils, etc.)
I'm not much of a cream person, but I use Dexéril for the skin, a special Ylang Ylang-based shampoo for the scalp, and I put 4 coats of silicon-based varnish as a precaution
2/ look, (e.g. your favorite chemo, hospital, every day look to feel good):
for chemo I have a special outfit: jeans and a little top that is very low-cut (practical for going through chemo), and my “hair” vest with which I never get cold. Otherwise since then I have gotten into the habit of only wearing cotton t-shirts to anticipate the shelves.
3/ daily (e.g. sport, food & co, meditation, reading, etc.)
my daily life is busy with various professional appointments (my husband is a trader), children (and yes, 3 children casually gives work even/especially if they are older, lots of taxis), reading, music. Food is a much more complicated issue, I eat at lunch and dinner, but in small quantities. Except when I have my KFC cravings (it's not very great, but cravings are cravings) and also a lot of red meat cravings
4/ hair problem (eg: did you wear a wig, scarves, hats)
I bought myself a magnificent wig that I love but with the superb hot flashes, I am much more comfortable with turbans, they are more pleasant to wear
Were you concerned about the views of others, were you afraid that their views would change? What did you do to counter it?
Personally, I fully accept the way others look at me, it doesn't bother me at all, I'm comfortable talking about it. My family, my friends, my neighbors have become more present and more worried about me, I am more than surrounded. I feel like they're more scared than me. I reassure them regularly. I tell them that in any case, I have “drawn” the best cured cancer and that there is no way it will win. I tell myself that I have a tough year to go (half of which has already passed) and that afterward it will only be a bad memory.
What are the “nugget”/footed phrases (that you remember) that someone said to you during K and that you could have avoided?
It's not really a sentence that could have been avoided (because I think I forgot them, but one evening with my niece we had a competition to see who was sicker. Me with my cancer or her with her nasopharyngitis acute. We ended up declaring that she had won because it was acute, and that in any case since I had been operated on, I no longer had cancer. We laughed a lot that evening
How did your loved ones support you?
a lot of attention, a lot of time spent on the phone. Everyone asks me to come see them, but they also know when to leave me alone. I am sure that I will succeed in overcoming this whole ordeal thanks to my husband who helps me A LOT, my children, brothers and sisters, family, friends, neighbors, colleague
And what advice could you give to loved ones who accompany a K fighter?
know how to listen, but not be too insistent either, the hardest part is judging.
Do you find out about K on the internet?
very little because we find everything and nothing. I only go to my breast cancer network which I find great. From time to time I look for a definition but I try to avoid it, I let my friends look for me, and they send me the links when it's interesting
If so, does it make you feel good?
I don't think we should look too hard, it can worry us more than reassure us
If so, what would be the useful (internet) links that helped you during K?
My breast cancer network and your interviews since I discovered them
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 already had a vision of life in the sense that you should enjoy the little moments of pleasure, and this vision was enormously solidified. Life can be short, don't hesitate to spend quality time with your family
Free field ;)
tell us what you want (which might not be in my questions):
I would first like to thank my husband for supporting me and helping me overcome this illness, my children whom I love very much, my family, my friends, my neighbors. Thanks also to Laetitia who introduced me to Isa and this site, and who takes me to Nantes every Tuesday, we have a good laugh in the car. Thanks also to Matthieu, my physiotherapist, who helped a lot with the arm pain and swelling.
I am looking to build my network of “cancer friends” if some are interested, why not contact me to discuss this subject and others.
Many thanks Sandrine for this precious testimony.
Many of you send me your testimonies, thank you for your precious trust, for this same reason, the broadcasts of your interviews will sometimes be broadcast in several months, but know that I keep and transmit absolutely ALL the testimonies that are sent to me, Thank you for understanding.
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 ;)
NEVER GIVE UP!!