Saturday, 10 November 2012

Week 2 and I've got my surgery date!

Ugh! Starting to think about surgery now and I'm finding it harder to sleep at night. One of my biggest fears(phobias) has been about having an operation and waking up 'under the knife'!!

So you can sort of imagine what I'm lying there thinking about now.

However, yesterday, we went to see Sue (my Breast Cancer Nurse). She is so lovely and reassuring and told me about the different type of anaesthetic used, which means that they don't use a paralytic agent. In other words, if I wake up, the whole team will know about it pretty sharpish ;)  I also have my date now; drum roll please........5th December!! So 3 working weeks away!!

I found another blog from a lovely lady who has had the same procedure with the same consultant that I'm having so if you want to have a peek, look here, but NOT if you're squeamish as they are Mastectomy pictures!  We're going to meet with Lucie, my consultant, on Monday afternoon and we're going to discuss the treatment, surgery and different types of implant. The inflatable one looks 'interesting' but I'm not keen on the idea of having the valve left in my armpit after it's all finished.

We also discussed post-recovery options after I looked at the photos and I might be able to get my other one reduced so at least I have a matching pair, which is nice, but purely cosmetic so I'll leave that thought alone for now.

I'm determined to try and keep going as normal at the minute,which entails going to work and keeping busy, but I don't know if it's stress, slight depression or insomnia, but I am so darned tired all the time. I had to take Wednesday off as my voice went and I had the scratchiest throat ever. Of course it could be that I had told most of my work colleagues the news and I got so many hugs that I probably picked up a germ or two! I was shopping in Tesco's after work today and had a little 'moment', where I was so tired that I just wanted to sit on the floor and cry! Not like me at all!

As part of my keeping normal routine I also did my Sunday evening nail paint. I used China Glaze Good Witch, from the Wizard Ohh Ahz collection,  with a Bundle Monster Stamp, as I was in a definitely pink mood.

I also got some of my wedding pictures from Nikki, who is my son's girlfriend (currently studying photography). I've cropped the kids out of my absolute favourite one as I don't want to be showing them to the world without permission, but I love how she's captured our absolute happiness that day.

And that picture encapsulates my feelings for Colin perfectly and that is what is going to keep me going through these next yucky, painful months! People at work and other friends have said how 'chipper' I am being, but I think that's the only way to be. If you fake the smile then eventually it sticks and feels real. I actually don't have to fake the smiles too much though as I keep forgetting about it, either that, or I'm making sick jokes about it. It's only at night time when I'm alone with my thoughts that I waver. So I just pop downstairs and have a cup of tea and read my Kindle until I get tired again. Colin has been an absolute angel about everything, even buying a book on how to cope being a husband to a wife with Breast Cancer. He has been helping to tidy up and clean which is probably more stressful than everything else, given my hoarder tendencies. I hate getting rid of my 'stuff', even though most of it is probably junk.

I'm also really relieved at the way work are handling all this. I'm getting 6 months full pay, followed by 6 months half-pay if necessary and hopefully I'll be able to return back for the new college year in September as normal. Of course it all depends on whether I need chemo and how many cycles I'll need, how I'm feeling and my fatigue levels, but I'm keeping September in my head as my target recovery time. Everyone at work has been so kind though, to the point where I get a bit teary when they're nice to me :')  

I've told some of my more mature second year students that I'm leaving and why and they've been so adult about it, and that made me nearly well up, as well!  I'm just so sorry that I won't be there when they leave college and move onto Uni or going into full time employment next year, as that is always my favourite time of the college year; watching them move onto the next step of their adult life. I really hope that they get a good replacement(temporary!) for me who will do them all proud and give them the pastoral care that they need. I just hate the feeling that I'm rushing them through their UCAS applications, but I want to get all their references done before I leave, if possible.

Anyway, I'm going to stock up on of Bio-Oil this week, for my scars, and look for some comfy best style jammies, as it looks like I'll be leaving hospital with my drain in place (YUKKK!) and I don't want to be catching pipes on things! Also going to pop to Asda as they have some pretty cheap post surgery bras here for only £6.00!
Doesn't it look pretty?

So thanks for reading and I'll post an update after Monday's appointment.

Keeeeeeeep smiling!!!

Elise XX

P.S Thank you all for the lovely comments here, on Facebook and MSE. I will try and answer any questions you have as well.



  1. You are an inspiration Elise, to anyone who has, or has had, breast cancer. Your positivity shines through your blog, and don't they say that with cancer, positive thoughts are part of the battle against those damned invading rogue cells? Anyway just wanted to leave a few words to let you know I have read your blog, and been impressed, again by it. You are now added to my bedtime prayers. Praying for, firstly, a total caner free future for you, and secondly, continued strength in your battle.
    Angela xxx
    PS As someone who doesn't sleep much due to spinal pain, I can recommend listening to guided meditations in bed. Even if you don't drift off listening, they put you in a lovely relaxed frame of mind xx

  2. Sorry I disn't answer your call the other day. I was napping. Lol.

  3. Hi Elise, Janesi from the Dibb. What a shocker, but us girls must stick together.

    Are you going to have the MX, and recon all done at teh same time? Unfortunately I was going to have that done, but my cancer had spread which involved radio. They don't like to put implants in if you are going to require radiotherapy as it can lead to rupture of the implant, or distortion. Ask your team about it. I have a few tips, keep up with the exercises they give you to do as soon as you are allowed to do them. You will need to be able to lift your arm straight up above your head, for radiation to take place. Before radiation, moisturise your self in the area with loads of paraban free cream (jurgens) and the hospital should give you aqueaous cream, use it by the bucket load. Also if it starts to burn, using 99% aloe vera gel from Holland & Barrett is allowed, but it has to be 99%. I had my op last year on June 27th, followed by 6 x 3 weekly chemo and 25 daily sessions of Radiotherapy. I finished all treatment on Dec 31st. So a total of 6 months. I took January off to rest and went back to work the middle of Feb on reduced hours and worked up to full time in April. So your time span sounds great.

    Regards the chemo and your hair. I took the bold action of cutting my hair much shorter straight away and then when it began to fall out in handfuls, I got my husband to shave my head. I had been told that whilst your hair falls out you can get a very painful head. Thankfully shaving it seemed to help. I would also try and see if your hospital offer a wig service. Mine did and she was on the cancer unit twice a week. I chose my wig before I even started treatment, so it was there for me when needed. I continued to shampoo and condition my head whenever I showered - habit I suppose! Also a good idea is to buy a little cotton hat for bedtime as you may find you get a very chilly bonce. These are called sleep hats, but I ended up wearing mine all the time and wore my wig a handful of times.

    Sleep when you want, don't fight it. The side effects of the chemo affect everyone differently and mine were pretty awful. But take whatever advice given and any medication they offer, take it, it will be given for a reason. I used to have anti sick tablets prior to the chemo being given and even then I was nauseous for days. I also found that each cycle I felt worse for longer, I had assumed that I would feel better as my body got used to the drugs - wrong. i could go on, but I would probably bore you or unnerve you, so I will stop here.

    If you have anymore questions, please don't hesitate to contact me

    Will be thinking of you and prating that everything works out.

    Take Care

  4. Thanks for the comments Angela and Jane. I will certainly be taking all advice on board! I've never been one for fighting sleep, especially if I'm on the sofa, as the kids will tell you ;)

    I'm doing an update for my blog later as I'll probably be pacing around the house later