ITW n°72: Morgane - K breast fighter.
Today, Morgane*, 29 years old (the "fairy-minity" as she is very aptly called), socio-beautician, tells us about her fight against a triple negative breast K against which she has been fighting tirelessly since June 2015. She gives us with great humility the testimony of a young woman who had given her life to supporting others through her training, and what happens when you yourself become the one who fights, a testimony full of sincerity and precious, caring advice, thank you pretty Morgane, we send you a lot of strength!
(testimony sent on March 29, 2016*)
Let's get started:
Who are you ?
First name: Morgane
Age: 29 years old
Where do you live: Paris
Why do you agree to share your story today?
Reading interviews with other K fighters made me want to write a part of my story. Writing requires taking a step back from the situation and allows you to put things in perspective. In addition, I was able to read lots of beautiful stories, advice and tips that allowed me to feel less alone through this illness. Through my testimony, I would like to provide a little support to other K fighters as I was able to receive it myself!
Triple-negative, non-hormone-dependent breast cancer
When was it discovered? How old were you ?
June 30, 2015, at the age of 28
Under what circumstances was it discovered?
One morning in my shower!! I felt a lump in my right breast. As I had gone to my gynecologist for a routine consultation 3 weeks previously and everything was fine, I wasn't worried. I told myself that I was going to wait until my period was over before worrying and go see it, hoping that it would go away on its own! Of course you can imagine what happens next...
If you are currently undergoing treatment, or in remission (for how long?)
I started my first chemotherapy on July 7, 2015.
Can you summarize your (K fighter) story for us ?
My story with cancer... I had decided to make it part of my profession. I am a socio-beautician, I worked for the League Against Cancer and in a psychiatric hospital. The practice of socio-aesthetics is developing in medical settings as well as in the social sector. This discipline aims to support people weakened by illness, old age or social distress by helping them improve self-esteem. I provided comfort and well-being care as well as advice on taking care of yourself during treatments (make-up, facial care, nail care, image advice, etc.).
So when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was... stunned! I couldn't believe my ears. I felt pulverized, destroyed, shattered into a thousand pieces. When I realized that I was no longer becoming professional but patient on the other side of the barrier, it was an extremely painful and incomprehensible moment. But very quickly life took over and I invested 300% in the treatments!
What treatment do you have?
Chemo: 4 FEC and 4 Taxotere
operation: Removal and axillary dissection
radiotherapy: 25 sessions
What tips directly related to K do you want to share (your feeling with your doctor, your good plans for organizing treatment, anything that seems useful to you ;))?
1/ chemo: (ex: your tips, the helmet, your affinities with nurses):
From the start of the announcement, I placed blind trust in medicine. In any case, we have no other alternative than to believe in it completely! I had a very good feeling with my oncologist, a woman of great elegance, beautiful, gentle and above all always optimistic! So believe me, I'm not giving up on her one step!! ;-)
Despite the circumstances that led me to Foch hospital, I loved being treated there. A great team, attentive, available and above all very very human. Hats off to you, Ladies and Gentlemen of Foch!
It's paradoxical but I was almost happy to go to the chemotherapy sessions (even if I knew I would be in “hangover” mode!!! afterwards) because for me each dose injected into my body allowed me to achieve the goal of healing. I made chemotherapy my ally.
How did you live the day before, the same day, the days after chemo? and what were your tips?
Between chemos I had more than a week of energy so I enjoyed myself (meals with friends, naps, shopping, romantic weekend). The day of my chemo at the hospital, we had a little ritual in place. During the injection I was entitled to a sophrology session (great, I recommend!), an auriculotherapy session (to reduce the side effects (and it works!)) and I also saw the psychologist.
Thanks to my family and my best friend, everyone organized a shift so that I would never be alone for “after chemo”. We called these 4 days of hangover “after chemo”! So I was always accompanied for 4/5 days so that they could prepare small dishes for me according to my rare desires! It is very important to listen to your desires and ONLY eat what makes you happy. I had the urges of a pregnant woman... lol! With each chemo there are cravings! I went from craving sushi to melons without forgetting boursin!! We actually laughed a lot about it!
2/ hospital: (e.g. contact with nurses / doc / caregivers):
During my hospitalization, the team was really great. My mother was able to sleep with me during the first night after my operation. I was only hospitalized for 5 days, it was quite quick. My mother went shopping every day to bring me nice things to eat: fruit, biscuits, cereals, chocolate... (in agreement with the healthcare team).
3/ “parallel” medicine, if you have done it (what disciplines, what were their benefits):
From the start of my illness, I consulted a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) therapist specializing in oncology. She supported me with acupuncture and Chinese herbal infusions, to help my body cope with the sometimes very heavy treatments. She also helped me a lot with my diet.
During radiotherapy, I was fortunate to be able to receive the gifts of a fire cutter to reduce the burns and redness in the treated area.
What did you do to clear your mind/clear your head (before chemo, surgery & co)?
I believe that this illness helped me to listen to myself... So depending on my desires, I would walk, go shopping, have friends over. I was lucky to be surrounded by great people and the house was rarely empty! My lover had given me a fairly large voucher in a clothing store so before each chemo, when I was in good shape, I would choose a dress or a nice outfit!
What practical “well-being/beauty” tips can you advise us?
1/ beauty: your essential products (e.g.: creams, varnishes, scars, oils, etc.)
For the face: a very gentle scrub once a week (avène, la roche posay) followed by a moisturizing or nourishing mask depending on needs (avène, la roche posay, B for organic). I sleep with it!
For facial creams/oils: VEA lipogel, weleda almond cream, organic immortelle oil (healing), sweet almond oil.
Now that my eyebrows are growing back, I use Revitabrow (it's not organic... but it works well!) and castor oil for eyelashes and hair massage.
For the body: Prefer organic... oils are very good alternating with milk to moisturize and nourish.
For the nails: Paint your nails with matte and dark colors. I massaged them with the VEA brush to nourish them. In addition I applied EVONAIL to reinforce the anti-UV action. I wore the refrigerated gloves on my hands and feet during chemo treatments. It's not pleasant but it's very useful to keep them intact.
A friend gave me Calgel gel. A long-lasting repair gel for damaged nails with very nice colors!
2/ look, (e.g. your favorite chemo, hospital, every day look to feel good):
I loved staying feminine in a dress or skirt! Femininity was my driving force I think!
3/ daily (e.g. sport, food & co, meditation, reading, etc.)
I discovered meditation and every day it helps me stay in the present moment by stopping constantly projecting myself. I think it helped to calm things down a little. Thanks to the mindfulness meditation CDs of Fabrice Midal, Christophe André and Jonh Kabat Zinn. I also practiced sophrology quite a bit and I must say that it helped me a lot, especially before my operation. Regarding my diet, I have slowed down on sugar and I am now more careful about what I eat (fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, less meats). Of course, don’t forget to have fun!
4/ hair problem (eg: did you wear a wig, scarves, hats) Answer:
I only wore scarves! I recreated an identity through them and I even think that it doesn't suit me too badly!! Match with various earrings or necklaces! (see: jewelry store in La Défense Sometimes , they have often seen me!)
Were you concerned about the views of others, were you afraid that their views would change? What did you do to counter it?
Answer: I must admit that when I saw my family again 2 months after my first chemo (I am from the south of France), I was very afraid of their reaction. But in fact we must say that everyone deals with their own fears. We K fighters try to master ours, so everyone manages their own! We cannot reassure those around us and fight our fight at the same time. We have to tell ourselves that for the moment it’s “only for us”. And in fact everything happens very naturally.
What are the “nugget”/footed phrases (that you remember) that someone said to you during K and that you could have avoided?
OUULAAA I heard that!!! :-)
Someone from my family who hadn't seen me for a long time started shouting: “OOHHH MOON GOD I didn't recognize you without your cheeeeveuuux!!!!”
A friend: “Are you okay, how cool are the holidays?”
During the consultation with the anesthesiologist two days before my operation, I burst into tears when talking about my ablation. She replies: “AAHH you are not going to start crying!! You shouldn't cry, it's useless! And then when you wake up, you shouldn't cry either, okay???
How did your loved ones support you?
Very good ! I have a super woman mother who is always very available, a hyper optimistic lover who helps me to be positive, a GOLDEN family and great and very present friends. Well I must say that illness confronts us with the absence of certain people but at the same time it allows us to realize the value of real loved ones!
And what advice could you give to loved ones who accompany a K fighter?
I could advise loved ones to always remain very present. In my opinion it is important to listen but not put yourself in the place of the sick person by giving “advice”. Each patient accepts what happens to them at their own pace and it is not wise to tell them what to do/not do/think/be...
The phrase: “above all, keep your spirits up” means nothing! This disease is a bit like a roller coaster, one day you can be at the top and the next day you're at rock bottom. But I think that all these states are necessary and we should not feel guilty about not feeling good! Above all, it’s quite normal! Time takes time.
Do you find out about K on the internet?
This is never too anxiety-provoking for me!
What would be the useful (internet) links that helped you during K?
Rose magazine , Tchao Günter , My cancer my femininity , the play by Noémie Caillault “Maligne” , the book written by a socio-esthetician Aury Caltagirone “how to stay beautiful during and after anti-cancer treatments”.
What has the K changed in your life…?
I think I have learned to assert myself without guilt. Say no and disagree without being afraid of falling out of love! I learned to be in the present moment and stop always looking for better. I learned to be more forgiving with myself by stopping wanting to be perfect.
I think I simply learned to “leave myself alone”!!!
Of course it is daily work because the horse quickly comes back to gallop.
Thank you Charlotte, it did me immense good to write these lines!
Thank you, pretty Morgane, for your words, we send you a thousand beautiful vibes.
*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!!