ITW n°93: Emilie - K fighter (K of the breast).
today the beautiful Emilie, 33 years old, K breast fighter, gives us her fight with great sincerity and a lot of strength!
The testimony of a young woman who, despite the ordeal, revealed herself to be a true, hyper-combatant and resilient warrior, who, as is often the case, shows us that the love of those close to her is a driving force to face the battle.
Thank you Emilie.
Let's get started:
Who are you ?
First name: Emilie
Age: 33 years old
Profession: HR Development Coordinator
Where do you live: Orléans
Why do you agree to share your story today?
Since the announcement of my cancer, I have decided to speak freely about my battle. I prefer to talk about it and answer questions, rather than leaving room for concerns and malicious distortions. I'm fine, I love life, I'm fighting and I won't let him win. This is my state of mind.
My little sister, one of my first “happiness coaches”, encouraged me to share my story with you.
And then, reading about these “positive” interviews did me personal good. If I can give a little hope in return, I'm glad to do so!
What are your qualities (in a few words)?
I would say that I am rather attentive, positive and cheerful. And persevering: my parents always taught me that I had to fight in life. It couldn't be more topical!
What are your passions (in a few words)?
I love the simple pleasures of life: spending time with family, friends, going to restaurants, cinema, partying. I like to travel, read... Oh, and I'm a real girl: I love shopping!
What K (what cancer - grade if you wish / stage ditto):
Left breast cancer, with supraclavicular and axillary lymph node involvement, and secondary sternal bone lesion.
NOS RE+RP-HER2+++ carcinoma, classified T1N3M0
When was it discovered? How old were you ?
The diagnosis verdict came on Thursday, November 26, 2015 (I think that this date is not ready to be forgotten at the moment), I was 32 years old.
Under what circumstances was it discovered?
Here again, I will remember it: one evening, sitting on my sofa, I was on the phone and I passed my hand through the hollow of my clavicle, left shoulder, and I felt a lump.
Immediately I thought of a cyst, but I admit that I was not calm, like a feeling of foreboding... The next day, I immediately went to see my doctor, who also noticed a lymph node formation in the armpit and at the level of the sternum (which I had not been able to detect myself).
I had a long series of exams, including blood tests, ultrasounds, x-rays,... everything was normal... except that it was starting to grow.
There we talked about giving me a mammogram. This turned out to be normal, the breast tissues being dense, the tumor went unnoticed.
Then, I had the right to have a lymph node biopsy under the armpit. The verdict is in: presence of cancer cells. After an MRI, a Tepscan and markers, breast cancer was obvious with a "small" tumor (1 cm) but cancer cells which had decided to attack my lymphatic system by attacking the lymph node chain breast.
If you are currently undergoing treatment, or in remission (for how long?)
Today I am still in treatment, but I also have one foot in the "remission" part since the tests are good: no more cancerous nodes, no more cancer cells, and no more tumor since at the time I answer this interview, I had a mastectomy last week.
My chemo has been finished since the end of March.
Within a month I should start my radiotherapy sessions for about a month and a half.
I still have Herceptin + Perjeta injections every 21 days for 8 months. Then, after the rays, will come hormone therapy for a minimum of 5 years.
And then in a year, it will be breast reconstruction.
Can you summarize your (K fighter) story for us ?
In 2015, me and my husband had a completely different plan: to have a baby.
Life has decided otherwise. Like many, when we learn of the illness we think we have a nightmare: “but no, not me!” I am young, and above all I feel in shape! I have no pain, in short I don't feel sick! »
At first, I really resented my contraceptive pill because it was the only change that could explain the onset of my illness. As luck would have it, I stopped taking the pill, and bing… cancer! And then I stopped looking for the answer to the “why” that was reasoning in my head.
The cancer was there. And basically I had 2 options: let go or fight.
I decided to fight and above all to ensure that as few things as possible change in my life and in our habits.
The treatment protocol was implemented very well and very quickly. It’s really reassuring to be able to let yourself be “carried” by the medical teams.
What treatment did you have?
6 chemos every 21 days with: Perjeta + Herceptin + Taxotere
And again for 8 months, an injection of Herceptin + Perjeta every 21 days.
from the beginning of June: around 30 sessions, every day except weekends
Mastectomy and axillary lymph node dissection: 3 days of hospitalization
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 wasn't offered the helmet and honestly I don't know if I would have supported it. On the other hand, I wore the gloves during the taxi ride, it was already very difficult to hold on! But it was worth it, my nails didn't budge.
The medical team (oncologist and nurses) is just great, attentive, available. What if a question bothers my mind? I simply send an email to my oncologist who takes the time to respond to me within the day.
How did you live the day before, the same day, the days after chemo?
and what were your tips?
Like many K Fighters, I decided that chemotherapy would be my ally. And yes, I felt a bit like I was going into battle! to get into the ring to put this damn crab in misery!
The day before, I prepared my bag: a book, my iPad, my moisturizer and some candy. The essentials to get through the day!
The day before, I also made sure to organize myself at home: drive for shopping, a bit of cleaning, and I got my manicure. That way, I was ready to take a few days' rest after a tough fight.
When I got home: a little snack (and yes, I was hungry!) and a nap! In the evening I was in good shape!
The next morning, I had my antibody injection, and there I could be sure of having muscle pain in the evening (doliprane + hot water bottle and it was managed quite well) and a good drop in energy during the 2 – 3 days that followed (rest).
And above all, with each chemo it was a countdown for everyone! More than 5,… 4…. 2… Finished!
2/ hospital: (e.g. contact with nurses / doc / caregivers):
I am lucky to have as a friend the Socio Beautician of the hospital. Sylviane was a comfort during my first day hospitalization for chemo. She reassured me and gave me very good advice, particularly on protecting your skin and nails during and after treatment.
I have good contact with the nurses. I sometimes feel like I'm a bit like their "baby fighter", I must be among the youngest... They always have a kind word, a smile... it's nice, I really don't mind it. go to the end.
3/ “parallel” medicine, if you have done it (what disciplines, what were their benefits):
I decided to take plants at the same time to strengthen my immune system.
Be careful, you have to talk about it with your oncologist so as not to create an interaction.
I did a course of RégulatProBio. Did it really have an impact? I can't tell you, but it's true that I tolerated chemo pretty well with very few side effects (no nausea, very little fatigue). I never lost my appetite… on the contrary! I haven't been sick all winter apart from a little cold at the very beginning.
What did you do to clear your mind/clear your head (before chemo, surgery & co)?
I have been off work since mid-November, but I am still in contact with my colleagues and my manager. Pearls with me!
They regularly come to have lunch at home during their lunch break. And then I always check my emails. It helps me keep my mind in my files and in the company.
Otherwise, I continue to lead the same life. I still see my friends, my family. With my husband, we make plans (it's very important to be able to plan! In any case it helps me a lot): trips, weekends, evenings...
And then I will be an aunt in a little over a month! It’s a real booster! What an effect this little one has on me! So excited to see her face!
What practical “well-being/beauty” tips can you advise us?
1/ beauty: your essential products (e.g.: creams, varnishes, scars, oils, etc.)
From the start, I got into the habit of hydrating my body with creams like Roche Posay or Avène. And from the start, I used Ecrinal strengthening mascara every evening on my eyelashes and eyebrows. I never lost my eyelashes, and only very slightly in my eyebrows.
In the morning, 2 to 3 times a week, I massaged my scalp with castor oil. It is a regrowth accelerator. I never lost everything, I always had a little baby fluff. Now that the chemo is over, I go without castor oil every day! It's starting to thicken up nicely!
Use of a mild shampoo (Ducray type) twice a week max.
And above all, I always wore makeup! Even though I knew I was staying at home, I always prepared as if I was going out! It's much better for your morale than staying in your pajamas all day!
2/ look, (e.g. your favorite chemo, hospital, every day look to feel good):
To go to chemo, I always chose clothes in which I felt comfortable and easy to access for connecting the Pac. So in function; dress, leggings-vest…
And in everyday life, the same, I haven't changed anything in my habits.
3/ daily (e.g. sport, food & co, meditation, reading, etc.)
Ah! My 2 other “happiness coaches”: my mother and my grandmother, who told me over and over again: “Above all, you have to eat!” Not losing your appetite is important! ". So I was able to count on them and their delicious dishes! In short, I had fun...
I took the time to read a lot more than usual. And with the beautiful days coming, there's nothing like a walk or gardening... Getting some fresh air feels good!
4/ hair problem (eg: did you wear a wig, scarves, hats)
Like all, the fear of losing your hair... difficult step, believe me I was really afraid of it, but for which I had prepared well. I cut my hair shorter and shorter over time. I started losing it after the 2nd course of chemo. I decided to shave very, very short so that the fall would be less impressive.
And I opted for the wig. By paying the price, you have something of quality (Any d'Avray). It never made me uncomfortable and above all people saw nothing but fire! This is exactly the cut and color I had before!
I even tried blonde, with a hair band to slip under a scarf or hat. Very nice too. In short, I told myself that it was an opportunity to try things that I would never have dared!
For the night, and in winter, I opted for small cotton hats.
Were you concerned about the views of others, were you afraid that their views would change? What did you do to counter it?
Obviously, it’s one of the first things I said to those around me: “Above all, we’re not changing anything!” ". Especially since I didn't feel sick, I didn't want to be considered as such. Everyone contributed to me not being classified as sick.
Once she was well made up and well dressed, the illness honestly went unnoticed. Many were very surprised not to have seen me change in appearance. N / A !
What are the “nugget”/footed phrases (that you remember) that someone said to you during K and that you could have avoided?
I don't feel like I was bothered by any comments. Everyone was able to be intelligent and understanding.
How did your loved ones support you?
My loved ones are exceptional. I am lucky to receive a lot of love from my parents, for whom I imagine how difficult it was to accept that their darling child was sick.
My sister and my brother-in-law were very supportive. Here again I imagine their pain, with more than 600 km separating us, and with some very good news that was mixed with my bad news. While I was learning about my cancer, my sister was learning about her pregnancy. I was able to count on the encouragement of my sister, who established a little ritual at each chemo or stage: a photo, a gift, or the announcement that I will be my nephew's godmother...
I received encouragement through the presence, the gentle words, the caring gestures of the rest of my family; my mother-in-law, my brother-in-law and my sister-in-law, my nieces, my aunts and uncles, my grandparents (my grandpa, my mentor, who is an ex-K Fighter!)… And then my friends, my colleagues… Everyone in their own way has given me a lot! Like I say, this is my Team!
And then there is my husband… Whom I can never thank enough for his support, his encouragement. The one on whom I could rely, sometimes collapse, the one who comforted and loved me, and the one with whom I could sometimes even laugh about illness.
As my mom said to me a few days ago: “with love, you can move mountains!” »
And what advice could you give to loved ones who accompany a K fighter?
Presence and understanding are driving forces. For my part, I appreciated not seeing their worry in their eyes or being judged as sick.
The little touches, the encouragement, the positive exchanges: it makes you want to fight, and transform into a warrior!
And love obviously, which gives unsuspected strength!
Do you find out about K on the internet?
I'm not really into doing medical research on forums or on the internet because I'm always afraid of only seeing the worst, and obviously of being concerned by the worst!
I thought that there would only be testimonies from people complaining about the illness, the effects,… I was afraid that it would make me feel bad!
And then I was told about a program “Toute une histoire” on France 2 where young women came to testify about their positivity in the face of their illness. I really got hooked and recognized a lot of myself in them. In fact, I started following their blogs. It's encouraging !
If so, does it make you feel good?
Yes, I learned lots of things while keeping a smile on my face! In short, I continue on the same line: fighting while remaining confident and enjoying life!
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..?)
Like most people concerned I think, obviously this teaches us to put things into perspective! I take more pleasure in “little things”, I perhaps enjoy the moment more.
Of course I still complain! But I often say to myself “still, I’m lucky!” I live. »
Thank you Emilie, for this very beautiful testimony.
You can leave comments below.
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NEVER GIVE UP!!