ITW n°77: Caroline - K breast fighter.
today Caroline, 33 years old, mother of a 4-year-old little girl, tells us about her fight against a K in the breast that she has been fighting since September 2015. With great emotion and great accuracy, Caroline also gives us a reality , that of a mother who fights tirelessly and preserves her daughter who for her must be a mother “like the others”. A very beautiful testimony full of sincerity and resilience.
(testimony sent on April 6, 2016*)
Let's get started:
Who are you ?
First name: Caroline
Age: 33 years old
Profession: management assistant
Where do you live: Chaveyriat (01)
Why are you agreeing to share your story today?
Cancer affects all generations and also young women under 35; It is therefore important to alert everyone of the importance of screening.
What are your qualities (in a few words)?
I will say that I wear my heart on my sleeve and that I am a fighter (quality discovered since the illness)
What are your passions (in a few words)?
Passionate about everything creative, I have been painting and participating in pottery workshops since the start of the illness. And finally I have been playing music since my childhood
What K (what cancer - grade if you wish / stage ditto):
Right breast cancer – 70% aggressive grade 2 infiltrating ductal carcinoma
When was it discovered? How old were you ?
My cancer was officially diagnosed on September 19, 2015, I was 33 years old at the time.
Under what circumstances was it discovered?
At the age of 32, while playing with my daughter, then aged 3, I discovered a small lump in my right breast. I immediately consulted my GP who sent me for a mammogram. At that time I only had a simple ultrasound given my young age; the practitioner then reassured me by telling me that it was probably just a simple cyst because the characteristics and images did not alarm them... It was only a year later that I decided to consult this same practitioner again because the lump had grown slightly and was causing me pain. He told me the same thing and I had to insist on having a biopsy. I tell myself today that I did well to insist and that I followed my “intuition” that I had something serious… Afterwards everything happened very quickly and my life was turned upside down…
If you are currently undergoing treatment, or in remission (for how long?)
I am still undergoing radiotherapy treatment
Can you summarize your (K fighter) story for us ?
I didn't realize right away what was happening to me... My world turned upside down and the worst part was that I had never felt so good when I was told my K.
I kept telling myself “but I’m not sick, I’m fine..” this K is really sneaky. And then I launched into the fight without asking myself any questions!!
What treatment did you have?
chemo: if you have had it: (name of cocktails / number of sessions)
I started my treatment on September 23, 2015 with 6 courses of chemotherapy alternating every 3 weeks; firstly 3 cures of FEC100 then 3 cures of Taxotere.
radiotherapy: if you have had it: (number of sessions)
1 month after my last course of chemotherapy I started radiotherapy. 35 sessions scheduled… I am currently undergoing treatment
Operation if you have had one (how long were you hospitalized):
My oncologist decided to perform neo-adjuvant chemotherapy in order to treat the aggressiveness of my cancer as quickly as possible and to be able to operate afterwards with as little scar as possible (my tumor measured more than 3 cm and my chest is small) ; I therefore underwent a partial mastectomy after 4 courses of chemotherapy. The operation took place as a day hospitalization, in fact my lymph node chain was not affected (phew) I returned to the hospital in the morning and left in the evening with general anesthesia. The hardest part was having to undergo a course of chemotherapy just 5 days later.
I started my treatment urgently (1st course of chemotherapy only 4 days after the announcement of my cancer). My first two treatments were therefore carried out directly by vein. The break in my implantable port only happened afterwards. To do this I underwent an operation with local anesthesia which turned out to be very painful for me. The room remains very embarrassing for me even today. I will have to keep this box for a year after my last chemotherapy treatment, i.e. until next January.
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 oncology department team was great throughout my treatment. I spent my first chemo session crying and the nurses took turns holding my hand and never leaving me alone. During my last session I was very sad to leave them and I cried again. They had become “family” and a real support for me.
How did you live the day before, the day itself, the days after chemo?
and what were your tips?
The day before my first chemotherapy session my friends surprised me by coming home with some small meals that they had prepared for me. This gesture touched me a lot and gave me a lot of courage for the next day.
On chemo days I went “to war”; for me it was really a fight! My father accompanied me during all my sessions. When we left the hospital he always took me to lunch at a restaurant. As if we were celebrating a milestone in this battle but without saying it...
2/ hospital: (e.g. contact with nurses / doc / caregivers):
Each chemotherapy session was a real human adventure for me. At each session I met different and wonderful people
3/ “parallel” medicine, if you have done it (what disciplines, what were their benefits):
I practiced Reiki during my treatments. This method of Japanese origin which consists of diffusing energy in the body by the imposition of hands allowed me to relax between each chemotherapy session and allowed me to begin real work on myself.
What did you do to clear your mind/clear your head (before chemo, surgery & co)?
Having tolerated most of my chemo sessions very well, I very quickly returned to work, a real driving force for me. Getting out of the world of illness for a few hours during the day and feeling useful and above all not falling away from my “world” before.
What practical “well-being/beauty” tips can you advise us?
1/ beauty: your essential products (e.g.: creams, varnishes, scars, oils, etc.)
Chemotherapy dries the skin (especially Taxotere) and my tip was to use donkey milk daily! A true miracle product for me and 100% natural!!
2/ look, (e.g. your favorite chemo, hospital, every day look to feel good):
Be me, don't change anything... with a few tricks ready, I kept my previous look, essential to fight
3/ daily (e.g. sport, food & co, meditation, reading, etc.)
The most difficult day-to-day thing was at night. Indeed, even today it is very difficult for me to fall asleep or get a full night's sleep without waking up suddenly at 3 a.m. sweaty and anxious.
4/ hair problem (eg: did you wear a wig, scarves, hats)
The most important thing for me is for my daughter to say to herself that I have a mother “like the others”. So I opted to wear a wig. 17 days after my first chemo treatment I went to a specialized hairdresser who shaved my head, with my back to the mirror, and fitted my wig. (I didn't want to be alone the day I lost my hair). So I wear my wig every day. I never had the strength to look in a mirror without hair. My own way may be to not consider myself “sick”.
Were you concerned about the views of others, were you afraid that their views would change? What did you do to counter it?
Many people are unaware of my illness, “you can’t see it” I have been told several times. I don't want pity from people or curious and embarrassed looks... That's why every day I get up and take care to put on my makeup, put on my wig and not let anything show even to those close to me.
What are the “nugget”/footed phrases (that you remember) that someone said to you during K and that you could have avoided?
- Like many people affected by the disease I think, I had the right in those around me: “ah I too know Mrs. X or Mr. Y affected by cancer… and how is he/she doing? Well he/she died”
- I also recently had a question “what % chance do you have of getting out of this?” »
- And then I was also told: “oh there you have chemo + rays!!!!!! your cancer must be really advanced then!!!!! »
- During one of my outings a slightly tipsy man asked me if I was coming back from Koh Lanta (in fact I was wearing a headband that day), I instinctively answered him “no worse chemotherapy..” I think he still doesn't understand...
How did your loved ones support you?
I discovered real friends!! People I can now count on and who have been with me every step of the way. I have to win the battle for them!! Don't disappoint them!! They often “rocked” me when I needed it and I can’t thank them enough!!
And what advice could you give to loved ones who accompany a K fighter?
Being attentive without being “stifling”. And forgive the daily mood swings... Even if we struggle and we have no choice, we have the right to cry and be sad from time to time without having to justify ourselves.
Do you find out about K on the internet?
Hypochondriac by nature, I previously tended to regularly go online for the slightest of my little ailments. When I was diagnosed with the disease, I promised myself not to go there again... I prefer to ask the doctor all the questions that come to mind (even the most ridiculous ones) and not self-diagnose...
On the other hand, I visited blogs of people suffering from the same cancer as me…
What would be the useful (internet) links that helped you during K?
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 asked myself a lot of questions when I was diagnosed with cancer, wondering why me... Why the breast... I am convinced that physical ailments arise from internal ailments... So I started working on myself... I don't I no longer want to be the person from before... And I am more and more convinced that in any case I will never be the same again... There will be the Carolina before and the Carolina after...
I constantly have this phrase running through my mind “you don’t die like that!” " and that helps me move forward... I even made a list of things to do that I've never done... Things that seem ridiculous to others but which for me have taken on a particular meaning like "I don't I've never ridden a moped...I've always dreamed of getting a tattoo...etc. »
I devoured the book “Maligne” by Noémie Caillault and like her I now refuse to plan things in the long term, to wait 6 months to have an appointment…
Free field ;)
tell us what you want (which might not be in my questions):
The day I learned of my illness, I had organized a meal that same evening with my group of musicians, this meal had been planned for a long time and I was at the origin of this outing.
When I left the doctor's office at the end of the day, devastated by the news, I returned without saying a word. My father accompanied me fortunately because I would have been unable to drive (1 hour journey to my home).
Arriving home, I made the decision to go to this meal, without telling anyone, I wanted to have one last “normal” evening…
And then the next day I had to tell my loved ones... The hardest part was telling my mother and finding the right words to explain it to my 4-year-old daughter.
I told him that mom had “a boob boob” and that it was treatable but that I would have to go to the hospital from time to time and that mom would be tired. Under no circumstances did I want to tell my daughter that mom might die….
Thank you Caroline, for your valuable 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!!