ITW n°70: Julia - K breast fighter.
Today, Julia, 31 years old, mother of a little girl, passionate about politics, flirtatious and elegant, tells us powerfully about her fight against her K in the Breast discovered at 30 years old after her pregnancy. With great pugnacity Julia gives us her battle, cradled whatever she says by the vivacity of a true fighter, testifying for Julia is also "an additional weapon which allows us to break the psychological solitude into which cancer plunges us .", and it's so true, thank you for your insightful words.
(testimony sent on March 18, 2016*)
Let's get started:
Who are you ?
First name: Julia
Age: 31 years old
Profession: Political advisor
Where do you live: Paris
Why do you agree to share your story today?
Sharing experiences is valuable in the face of illness. It is an additional weapon that allows us to break the psychological solitude into which cancer plunges us.
What are your qualities (in a few words)?
Those close to me say that I am a fighter (but I'm not so sure), strong-willed and a good friend.
What are your passions (in a few words)?
Political action, sport, reading and writing
What K (what cancer - grade if you wish / stage ditto):
Grade 3 breast cancer
When was it discovered? How old were you ?
After my pregnancy, during a routine check-up with a new gynecologist. I was 30 years old
Under what circumstances was it discovered?
It had been almost 3 years since I felt a lump in my breast. My old gynecologist never really worried. I had an ultrasound where there was nothing. Then the lump persisted. I showed it to midwives during my pregnancy. Still no alert from them. But the lump was still there, bigger and more painful. Until this appointment with my new gynecologist.
If you are currently undergoing treatment, or in remission (for how long?)
Between the 2, only 5 radio sessions left….and 5 years of hormones
Can you summarize your (K fighter) story for us ?
After the appointment with my gynecologist, I had an emergency mamogram, then a biopsy. Appointment made just as urgently with an oncologist in a hospital. Then operation 3 weeks later. One month after starting chemo.
What treatment did you have?
4 of FEC and 4 of Docetaxel (one course every 3 weeks)
Mastectomy of the left breast because of a 5 cm tumor. Operated on Monday, released on Tuesday ;)
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 think we have to face hair loss, which is inevitable for the majority of us. Ultimately this is not the biggest obstacle we are going to encounter and then all this ends up growing back. For my part, I took the lead, I shaved everything before the treatment caused my hair to fall out.
The best advice I can give is to talk to your oncologist about everything and not minimize your suffering. It was only on my 4th session and while I was suffering from severe nausea that my oncologist prescribed me a temesta tablet the day before the treatment, not for its psychological effects, but for its effects on vomiting. This has proven to be very effective.
For nails, silicon polish is perfect. (see Feet & Hands Kit here)
For skin hydration morning and evening, day cream/night cream, moisturizing mask/perfect skin hygiene (micellar water/make-up remover milk)
Ice cubes in the mouth to combat the feeling of thirst (especially under FEC)
How did you live the day before, the same day, the days after chemo?
and what were your tips?
The day before was the best day of the month.
The same day: very tired after chemo. A lot of sleep.
The days after: Bedridden – no appetite – very bad nausea
2/ hospital: (e.g. contact with nurses / doc / caregivers):
The hospital staff are just perfect. Listening, professional, available.
3/ “parallel” medicine, if you have done it (what disciplines, what were their benefits):
I didn't do any during my chemo, but in hindsight I think that physiotherapy or osteopathy sessions would have been welcome to prepare my body for each treatment.
I treated all my digestion problems linked to herbal chemo (fiber, yeast, capsules bought in an organic store)
At the end of chemo, I did a 20-day course of ampoules (black radish, etc.) to detoxify my liver.
What did you do to clear your mind/clear your head (before chemo, surgery & co)?
I saw my friends and family as much as possible. As soon as my strength allowed me I went out. Otherwise I spent hours “dumbing myself down” on Facebook.
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, nothing better than vaseline (I got this from a nurse friend)
For radio, dexeril, baby cream, very effective too.
I strongly advise women who can to go to the makeup session offered by voluntary beautician associations. Makeup during chemo is a rebirth, a reconciliation with oneself. (see makeup tutorial here)
2/ look, (e.g. your favorite chemo, hospital, every day look to feel good):
Always very well dressed and made up for my chemo sessions, to give a thumbs up to my cancer.
The rest of the time, jeans, sweater and sneakers to be comfortable.
3/ daily (e.g. sport, food & co, meditation, reading, etc.)
With chemo I couldn't read or even watch TV. So I called my friends a lot.
4/ hair problem (eg: did you wear a wig, scarves, hats)
At home I am bareheaded. My 16 month old daughter is learning to do hair without mom without hair ;)
I bought a wig that I never wore. I don't want to hide. When I go out, it's with pretty scarves.
Were you concerned about the views of others, were you afraid that their views would change? What did you do to counter it?
Lots of kindness from people. I think the worst look is that of pity, so to counter it I think I tend to overplay the girl who is coping “well” with her cancer.
What are the “nugget”/footed phrases (that you remember) that someone said to you during K and that you could have avoided?
-It’s sad you’re so young to have cancer”
- You no longer have cancer (after my operation and during my chemo)
- Breast cancer is treatable (repeated and repeated again….)
How did your loved ones support you?
Very present; a lot of strength and self-sacrifice on their part in the face of my anger and dismay. Afterwards they cannot understand everything about this disease.
I also found a very dear friend with whom I had fallen out “thanks” to illness.
And what advice could you give to loved ones who accompany a K fighter?
To get help too, to find people to talk to about what they are going through.
Do you find out about K on the internet?
If so, does it make you feel good?
Yes and no.
Yes for advice and sharing experience. No for the anxieties it arouses. A week ago Facebook recommended to me a page of a young woman with cancer. I discovered after reading that she had “left” a month before….
If so, what would be the useful (internet) links that helped you during K?
Lili Sohn 's blog
Julie's FB Femininity & JY page
Most useful: the Rose magazine
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..?)
For the moment it has disrupted a lot of things and I don't yet have the impression of getting anything positive out of it. I just know that I'm not the same as I was in another life. I think I know myself better now thanks to my psychological follow-up. I know I'll get something out of this but for now I'm still in the storm.
Thank you Julia for your precious testimony which draws so much strength.
*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!!