Stage 1 of my journey

Monday 3rd August

Telling my kids about my cancer was probably the hardest thing to deal with at this stage.  I was about to blow their innocent childhoods out of the water with just those few words.

I explained that I had a lump on my boob and I needed an operation.  My youngest just looked at me and asked “is it cancer?”, how could I lie? the only thing I could say was yes.  They asked me was I going to lose my hair, I said hopefully not, big mistake on my part although you never think you are going to be in this position having to answer these questions to your kids so you don’t think about the consequences of the answers, this I would learn throughout my journey.

Monday 17th August – Wed 19th August

I’m admitted to hospital for all my prepping for surgery the following day.  Im having a lumpectomy which is an operation to remove the just the tumour from the breast with some margins around it to allow for clearance of cancer.  I have learned that this is the operation most women have unless there tumour is so big it would remove most of the breast in which case a mastectomy is given which is the removal of the whole breast.  I’m on nil by mouth from midnight so can’t even so much as have a sip of water.  After a horrendous night of no sleep I’m up early the next morning for my shower.  What a long day I don’t think I go to theatre until after lunch.

I wake up in recovery and remember seeing all the nurses walking passed me and looking at me I was really itchy and was scratching all over myself.  I slept off and on for a while until I finally started to come around.

They told me I had taken an allergic reaction to the blue dye they insert into your lymph nodes, as well as the itching I had a tinge of blue to my skin! aagh I remember thinking omg I’m like Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

I got home from hospital on the Wednesday.  I was lying on the sofa with my back to the living room door when the kids came home from my mums.  They sat behind me and for a few moments wouldn’t come around the front of me.  They had heard people talking about me being blue from the dye and didn’t know what to expect, poor souls.

Wednesday 1st September

I recovered well from the operation and had to now go and get the results from the pathology report.  This is the report produced by the lab who have analysed the tumour which was removed during surgery.  Over the past month I had learnt a great deal about breast cancer from reading the books they had given me at the hospital, however I had spent a lot of time on line doing my own research although I was careful what sites I used I wasn’t using Wikipedia.

In a very short summary here’s what I had learned

  • Breast cancer is not one thing, it is a complex disease with very different prognosis.
  • There are different grades of tumours grade 1 being the least aggressive and better prognosis to grade 4 being most aggressive.
  • Breast cancer responds to different factors i.e. feeds on different hormones.
  • Breast cancer can be diagnosed at stages 1-4.  Stage 1 being the at the earliest stage and Stage 3 is that the cancer has spread from the breast into the lymph nodes under the armpit however is still curable.  To stage 4 which means it has spread beyond the lymph nodes to the brain, bones or organs and is no longer curable.
  • Depending on the grade and stage of cancer at diagnosis will depend on the treatment plan.



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