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Here we go again

Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

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Post by Kitkat Wed Jan 08 2014, 14:59

My online cancer diary - previously recorded on the Light After Life forum:

My KK Blog here is a sort of continuance to this.  

I have found this online diary and form of recording keeping to be of huge benefit and a most therapeutic way of dealing and coping with the stresses, worries and traumas of being just another one of so many of us to have been diagnosed with cancer.  (My first diagnosis was in 2004.  Then just immediately after the crucial 5-year period of 'being in remission' following treatment, and being told I had the "all clear", the second diagnosis was discovered - in 2009.)  I have a year left to go of the second 5-year monitoring period.  The scans, checks and monitoring continue, thankfully giving back cancer-free results in each case during this period - but I have learned that one must not rest on one's laurels (I must check out the origin of that saying ...)
 We should never, ever take anything for granted ... you just never know what's around the corner.

The best any of us can do is to live and love to the best we are able and to take each new day as it comes.  

Today is the Tomorrow you worried about Yesterday


Link to:  Here we go again

http://lightafterlife.freeforums.org/here-we-go-again-t175.html
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

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Post by Kitkat Fri Jan 31 2014, 13:07

Oops!

Had appointment with my GP yesterday for what I thought would be a HAPPY appointment - after the good GREAT news of my ESA Appeal.  Just goes to show though  obgob  ... I think this is a situation where the expression "Don't rest on your laurels" is probably appropriate - although I've yet to find out exactly what that means, and to look up the origin (there's usually a factual story from where all these expressions originate)...

Anyway ... had to discuss with her a new and different kind of pain that I've had constantly for the past 2 weeks (coupled with an unnatural kind of constant tiredness over the same time period).  The pain is sharp (high-pitched) and constant, doesn't let up at all - and it's in exactly the place where my first tumour was, back in 2004.  That was actually a rare type of tumour, called a Phylloides tumour, which they don't (or didn't at that time) know too much about and are still researching into - but from the information that they had at the time, they were able to tell me that (good news in a way) this type of cancer does not spread to anywhere else in the body and if it were to come back, it would be in exactly the same place.  

Well, because this new pain IS in exactly that same place- and the tiredness, I had a little check there and thought - I could be wrong (I am quite (let's say) well endowed Wink  in that area, which makes it difficult to notice lumps 'n' stuff, especially if they are deep inside) - but felt what seems to be a lump, the size of a pea.  (The original tumour 10 years ago was the size of a lemon when first discovered - and before discovery I had no pain and no indication whatsoever that anything was wrong - apart from (on looking back) an unnatural tiredness (similar to what I have now over the past 2 weeks).   This is what I wanted to check with my GP, just to be on the safe side.

She checked - and yes, she thought too that there was a pea-sized lump there - but .... she also checked the other breast (the one where the second diagnosis and treatment was more recent - in 2009) - and found what she reckons is a larger lump.  pale   What's more, it really hurt when she pressed the area.  My next 6-monthly mammogram check is not due till April, so she set about making arrangements for me to go and have this checked out and said the hospital would be in touch to let me know the date.

The hospital just phoned me this morning - giving the date as 13th February.  - Not that I'm superstitious or anything(!)  Neutral , but .................  rock 

I just can't seem to get rid of that Waiting Game ....  

Still, not too long to wait - 2 weeks.  

Off to check out this 'Don't rest on your laurels' story now ............  I'll come back here with my findings.
Feather
Feather

Posts : 1520
Location : Scotland

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Post by Feather Thu May 29 2014, 10:12

I've just seen your post-above. What happened as a result of this finding, KK?
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

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Post by Kitkat Thu May 29 2014, 14:19

Feather wrote:I've just seen your post-above. What happened as a result of this finding, KK?

Turned out OK in the end, Feather - I actually did report about it in the KK's Blog thread, (post no. 187 - headed 'Number 13 - Lucky for some!' ) https://krazykats.forumotion.co.uk/t14p180-kitkat-s-kk-blog#2512

 rabbit 
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

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Post by Kitkat Wed Feb 10 2021, 13:58

alien  I am currently back in the old Waiting Game, waiting for a result next Tuesday (16th February) ...

As I am now back in the 'mainstream' for regular breast screening - mammograms every 3 years now, rather than every 6 months or yearly as I had for five years following each diagnosis, surgery and subsequent radiotherapy treatment (2004 and 2009), I attended hospital for regular double mammogram screening on 27th January.
I was told that the result would be sent to my GP in about 2 weeks (which is the norm).

However, the following Monday, 1st February (just 5 days later with 2 of those days being weekend), I received a letter sent by courier and delivered into my hand, advising that before they could give the result of that screening I had to undergo an assessment and an appointment had been made for me to attend this at the same hospital on the following Monday (8th February).
The letter also stated that I should expect to be there between 2 and 4 hours, and that a Cancer Care Nurse would be in attendance at that appointment, "for support". wary 
rock  I have learned from previous experience over the years that a Macmillan Nurse is always present at an appointment when they have bad news to deliver.

I went to that appointment on Monday just past, where I was told that "some changes" have been noted since my last screening 3 years ago.
I had to undergo a further 'specialised, more comprehensive' screening - which was really, really painful crybaby , and then after a bit of a wait outside in the waiting room - which was totally empty apart from myself, I was brought into another room where I had to lie on a bed and was introduced to the doc there who gave me a number of 'jelly scans' in the same area where my first diagnosis & treatment had been done way back in 2004.
Straight after that I had a biopsy done, with a local anaesthetic, again in that same area. 
Seven samples were taken for the biopsy!  Because of the local anaesthetic I didn't feel a thing, but could hear the 'click' of the needle each time a sample was taken.  Each time just before the click I had to remain perfectly still and not move until I would hear the click - then I could breathe! 

All of that took no more than 2 hours.  I was given a 'result & consultation appointment' date to return there on  16th February (next Tuesday) when the results of the biopsy investigation should be back from the lab.
If for any reason the results are not back by that time they will phone me to rearrange that appointment.

So, it's that awful waiting time again timeglass , but at least it's not too long a wait now until Tuesday.


To be continued ...
Feather
Feather

Posts : 1520
Location : Scotland

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Post by Feather Fri Feb 12 2021, 23:43

First of all, my attempt at an apology for my absence for so long.  I haven't been myself since I had my stroke in June, 2019.  I was in hospital for 3 I/2 months till September. When I finally got home, I found a huge change in my emotional state. I couldn't deal with the fact that I would be alone in my house. Leigh and Ray were both living in Kirkwall with their partners. I know this is normal and to be expected but I had not  experienced living alone before and, with my new increased emotional state and my new physical restrictions, I couldn't handle the situation. My independence was gone, I was in a wheelchair with no use of my left leg or arm and hand.  I've always had a tendency to suffer from anxiety and depression. Well, both now descended on me and totally changed my thinking. I kept pushing people away because I was crying my heart out 2/3 times every single day. This is still happening now. I feel like a child who needs a mother's protection but, of course, I don't have that. All the things I loved to do have been taken away from me, driving, walking the dog, going on holiday and even dancing. At 81, I'm just waiting till it all ends. A blizzard is spending its full force round my house as I write. At least it won't keep me awake. A hearing aid can be of benefit when out as well as in. Sleep well, everyone.
Feather
Feather

Posts : 1520
Location : Scotland

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Post by Feather Fri Feb 12 2021, 23:49

KK, you know I'm thinking of you every day. Time will never change what you mean to me. xxx
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

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Post by Kitkat Sun Feb 14 2021, 20:54

Feather wrote:KK, you know I'm thinking of you every day. Time will never change what you mean to me. xxx


Right back at you, Feather.  happyheart   hug
Whiskers
Whiskers

Posts : 1870

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Post by Whiskers Mon Feb 15 2021, 21:21

My thoughts are with you for tomorrow KK. What time is your appointment?
Thinking of you too Feather. I hope the weather has improved now where you are.
sending virtual hugs to both of you.
Whiskers xx
Feather
Feather

Posts : 1520
Location : Scotland

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Post by Feather Mon Feb 15 2021, 22:32

Thank you, Whiskers. Hoping for good news soon from you, Kitkat.
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

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Post by Kitkat Tue Feb 16 2021, 20:18

Well, got the result today:

That result being Final diagnosis:  G3 invasive ductal carcinoma (right breast).B5b (in other words a positive cancerous lump in right breast). 

and that's not the bad news ....

The bad news is - my worst nightmare - I have to have a masectomy. obgob
(Because I've already had two lots of radiotherapy before, they can't just perform lumpectomy surgery like before with radiotherapy to follow.
It has to be a complete masectomy - followed by chemo in the form of some drug similar to Tamoxifen - but details of that will be decided & confirmed after the op.

Meantime, I will shortly be contacted with 24 hrs notice to have a CT scan and a bone scan - (which I think is to check about spread to other parts of the body ...

That's all I know so far.

Also, although I have already been invited to have the Covid vaccine, it was always my intention to decline (because of my severe allergic reactions to various injections, penicillin, anti-emetics etc).
When I told the doc today and attending nurse (both lovely) that I was declining the vaccine, they both strongly advised me (as with anyone who is having surgery) to definitely have the Covid vaccine. 
So, the choice is now out of my hands. hanged
Whiskers
Whiskers

Posts : 1870

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Post by Whiskers Wed Feb 17 2021, 23:08

So sorry to hear that news KK.  Thats a lot to take in.  My thoughts are with you. xxxx  and I will light a candle for you to help see you through this tough time.
Feather
Feather

Posts : 1520
Location : Scotland

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Post by Feather Thu Feb 18 2021, 10:09

Just read your message, Cathy. You know already how sorry I am. Life can be so very cruel but try not to despair. My sister-in-law had breast cancer when she was young and has been free of it till now when she is 76. I know it's a huge worry but it may be confined to the breast areas only. I send you my loving thoughts and heartfelt wishes for a negative result. Much love as aye. xx
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

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Post by Kitkat Thu Feb 18 2021, 12:25

Whiskers wrote:I will light a candle for you to help see you through this tough time.
Thank you Whiskers.  I so appreciate the candle.  :thanks:

Feather wrote:Just read your message, Cathy. You know already how sorry I am. Life can be so very cruel but try not to despair. My sister-in-law had breast cancer when she was young and has been free of it till now when she is 76. I know it's a huge worry but it may be confined to the breast areas only. I send you my loving thoughts and heartfelt wishes for a negative result. Much love as aye. xx

I'm not despairing, Feather - you know me ... how strongly I feel about the power and strength of positivity, in all things, but especially where one's health is concerned. I think - know, for a fact, that that's what got me through the first (and second) time round.

I have only just a few minutes ago had a phonecall from the hospital, telling me my bone scan has been fixed for tomorrow!  That's the one where you get an injection of a radioactive isotope (in other words a photo dye), and you hafta hang around for about 3 hours then before going back for the scan itself.
So my injection is fixed for 10:00am and then the scan for 1:00pm.  It's at Hammersmith Hospital, which I'm very familiar with, and luckily there is a vast open space (fields and woods) nearby (called The Scrubs) where I can ramble around to fill in those 3 hours (weather permitting of course), or just sit on a bench there 'communing with nature' and maybe read a book or something.  Far better than having to hang around inside a hospital building, specially during these covid times.

I have my Covid vaccine now booked for next Wednesday (24th), and the CT scan is booked for 5th March (at the same hospital).
Once they have the results of these two scans, they will be able to give me a date for the 'big op'.  That will be at another hospital, Charing Cross, which is where the team operate from, and where I am also very familiar with - all the cancer care staff there are quite lovely.  I was actually given a choice as to which hospital I would like to have the operation in, I chose Charing Cross (1) as the main cancer team and all the related services are there, but also because the excellent Maggie's Cancer Care Centre is attached to that hospital, in it's own separate building.  I spent a lot of my time there back in the day ....
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

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Post by Kitkat Sat Feb 20 2021, 13:51

Pretty much knackered after the Nuclear Medicine Full Body Bone Scan yesterday.
Hafta drink loads of water (or any kinds of liquid; tea, coffee, etc - obviously not alcohol) and go to the loo frequently to flush out the remains of the radioactive stuff still in my body, which apparently will take about 2 to 3 days.
Then - off to a different hospital on Monday for my CT scan (originally booked for 5th March at the same hospital as yesterday - but I have now been informed that this has been brought forward to 22nd February (Monday) at a different hospital). 
So, by Wednesday, 24th (the date I go to yet another hospital for my first vaccination jab) - I will have attended four different hospitals in just over a one week period!
- all in the midst of a deadly pandemic when no-one really wants to be anywhere near a hospital environment.  rock

Also yesterday received a letter from the NHS telling me I must shield until 31st March, as I am now officially on the Shielded Patient List as 'Clinically Extremely Vulnerable'.
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

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Post by Kitkat Tue Mar 16 2021, 18:52

All the pre-op investigative scans and tests have now confirmed that there has been no cancer spread anywhere else, so confirmation received today that I will be having the op on 29th March, pretty much straightforward, although a couple of lymph nodes will need to be checked out as well - so please send out all your positive vibes all through that week (beginning Mon 29th March).

Big thank you also to those who have PM'd, emailed & otherwise sent their kind wishes. happyheart 
All your caring thoughts are received with much appreciation. :thanks:
Feather
Feather

Posts : 1520
Location : Scotland

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Post by Feather Tue Mar 16 2021, 22:52

All will go well for you, KK,and you will soon be cancer free again. All my best wishes and love as aye.xxxx.
Whiskers
Whiskers

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Post by Whiskers Tue Mar 30 2021, 11:26

Are you back home now KK ?
I hope all went well.  Lets know how you are soon as you are able.  hug
Jamboree
Jamboree

Posts : 566

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Post by Jamboree Tue Apr 06 2021, 23:44

Wishing you a speedy recovery Kitkat.  :shamrock:
 
Each petal on the Shamrock brings an Irish wish your way.
Good Health, good luck and happiness each and every day.
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

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Post by Kitkat Wed Apr 14 2021, 11:42

lol - Not heard that one before, Jamboree.  I like it!  Thank you. Thanks all for your comments and thoughtfulness.

Just very quick synopsis:

Had the op on 29th March.  Sent home with drain.  Ugh!  Bit like the proverbial ball and chain situation (if you can picture that).  Where you go, IT goes ... hairpull bawl .  Stuck with that for 2 weeks. Those 2 weeks were up yesterday, back into hospital to have drain removed. 
Back home now - drainless and tubeless.  Free at last!  woohoo yay

Still in quite a fair bit of pain, but getting there ...
Hosp appointment this coming Friday - meeting with "the team", when they should let me know what happens from here on in, i.e. chemo etc.
Feather
Feather

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Location : Scotland

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Post by Feather Sat May 01 2021, 23:06

Glad to learn that you're home and the worst is over. Much love,xxx.Feather.
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

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Post by Kitkat Sun May 02 2021, 14:13

Thanks Feather. happyheart 
I've not been doing too many updates in here of late, mainly because not anything terribly constructive or positive as such to say at the moment.  Some of the wound stitches opened which has caused an infection.  Flamin' nuisance, cos it's delaying the whole recovery process.

The so-called 'average' 4-6 weeks recovery time when it was advised I would not be able to drive until after that time - is almost up now.  Few days and it will have reached the 6 week mark.  Of course, everyone is different and that 'average' doesn't go for everyone.  I had fully anticipated that I would be back driving after about 2 weeks, but the infection has put paid to that.  I've so far had 3 lots of 5-day course antibiotics, the last lot finished today - have a hosp appt Tuesday to check on how it's going.  Well the infection has still not cleared up (altho not quite as bad as before) so I imagine they'll give me another set of antibiotics and send me off again.

At the 'result' appointment I was told there would be no need for chemotherapy - instead I would be having what they called "endocrine treatment" - Letrozole tablets which I hafta take every day for at least 5 years, but possibly for as long as 10 years.  This drug - also known as Femara - I have discovered is also known as a chemo drug!  Seems they like to play this down, thinking that we're all eejits and don't know what they are forcing us to accept, calling it simply endocrine therapy (hormone treatment), as the same drug is often prescribed to women who are having trouble getting pregnant.  Nevertheless, hormone therapy or not, it is still a chemo drug, treating an oestrogen-driven cancer, oestrogen of course being a hormone.
This is my sixth day of taking them.  One of the many side effects is a possible thinning of the bones, and so with my existing chronic degenerative disc disease this could lead to a much worse problem, so I have a Bone Densitometry DXA scan for a month away to see whether the drug is compatible.  If not, then I might have to change to something less effective, like Tamoxifen.  They did say it would be preferable to stick with the Letrozole though as it is by far the best one to do the job, in which case I could continue taking it but have some sort of extra bone treatment alongside.

I'm beginning to wish I had declined the whole thing, surgery and all, and just let nature take its course.
I am not normally prone to such negative thinking, but I am also aware that depression and 'fuzzy thinking' etc is very likely one of the side effects (along with hair loss, and many more things associated with chemotherapy, and indeed many of which I am already used to, even before this third cancer), hence my thinking this way - temporarily!  I know some of these side effects may just be temporary at the beginning and taper off after a couple of months, so I am looking on all of this as just temporary for now.  However, if I find it all goes on for too long, then I'm gonna choose to stop taking them, but only after a reasonably acceptable time period.

For now, it's just a case of greeting every day as it comes - and with positivity!


Hopefully, next time I write in here will be a bit more upbeat. sidestep
Feather
Feather

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Location : Scotland

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Post by Feather Sun May 02 2021, 22:48

I'm reading a book at the moment which says that if you allow only positive thoughts to enter your conscious mind, then no negative thoughts can possibly enter your subconscious mind and it's there from where sad and negative events take place. Our own bad thoughts and fears are what causes bad things to happen to us. I've always been a pessimist , full of fear and dark forebodings so I'm inclined to believe this. I still have most of it to read yet. Keep thinking positively, KK.
Kitkat
Kitkat

Posts : 11343
Location : Around the bend

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Post by Kitkat Wed May 05 2021, 22:16

Well the hospital visit last week showed that the infection had cleared up but the wound still taking its time to heal - apparently taking longer than 'usual' because of the diabetes. 
I now have a new dressing ... (Manuka Honey dressing!)

Manuka honey has been shown to be especially useful against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The many functions of Manuka honey thus not only clear wound debris, maintain hydration, control inflammation, and stimulate healing, but also sterilize the wound.

readmore   7 Health Benefits of Manuka Honey, Based on Science

and I now have to return to the hosp either twice or three times a week (not sure yet) to have the dressing changed and monitored. 

Two of the side effects of the Letrozole drug so far I'm finding are (1) this constant fatigue; and (2) - (ironically, this one may not be such a bad one) - loss of appetite.  I suppose the system just takes a while to get used to introducing this 'stranger' into the routine, and hopefully will sort itself out in due course.
Feather
Feather

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Location : Scotland

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Post by Feather Wed May 05 2021, 22:35

As you know, all drugs have side effects but we often just have to take them. They usually cure our problems at the same time. I hope that's the case with yours now. xxx.

    Current date/time is Mon May 17 2021, 14:56