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I was diagnosed with DCIS in February 2010 and had a lumpectomy followed by radiation the following November. I had to wait to have the surgery since I had a complicated abdominal surgery followed by a temporary colostomy in November 2009. My colostomy reversal was in March 2010, so I had to be healed and strong enough for what was to come.
The radiation process had a profound effect on me. Going to the center for five days a week for seven weeks really impacted me. One day, this poem just came to me out of the blue.
The invisible rays
Dance through my skin
Burning secretly in my core.
The electrons dance.
Who’s leading here?
I don’t think I am any more.
The electrons dance,
or maybe march.
An invading army
Bent on destruction.
I am sorry for all the complications on your journey. Every experience is different because we are all individuals, but we are bound together as breast cancer survivors. Keep on trekking!
Thank you for sharing your story which was similar to mine, even the same breast. My DCIS was found by complete luck when I had an ultrasound to check what was confirmed as a large cyst I had found shortly after having a routine mammogram which was all clear. The ultrasound also found a very small mass which was diagnosed as DCIS on 18 July 2011 after having a biopsy and I was told on 10 August after my MRI that it was a larger area than first thought and I would need a mastectomy. This I had on 6 September along with an immediate reconstruction. I was lucky to be assigned by our free public health system probably New Zealand’s best breast surgeon though I did end up having the surgery privately with him as the private hospital was – well – more private! What I can say is that I was well informed every step of the way: 1. I knew I was being injected with nuclear material for the sentinel node detection as they had provided me with written material about it by email and post. 2. They texted/messaged my husband during the surgery to say the initial tests on the sentinel nodes showed no invasive cells. 3. I had in-hospital physiotherapy (your PT) starting about 3 days after my surgery and was given a booklet with exercises to do every 4 hours to help with lymphatic drainage & ROM. These exercises built up depending on what stage I was at. I had 4 drains and some exercises could only be started once the drains were out (the last one came out 11 days after surgery). I am now attending physiotherapy with a therapist who specialises in women who have had breast surgery. I went back to work part-time 3 weeks after surgey and full-time the following week (last week!) and though I’m still sore and still feel like I’ve been hit by a bus, it keeps me moving and I’m not one for lying around! I’m really looking forward to celebrating my 50th birthday next year now, an event that I was dreading but will now be celebrating with all the wonderful friends & family that have supported me at this time.
When I was first diagnosed I was under the care of the Breast Care Centre at our local hospital. They have Clinical Nurse Specialists who are available anytime for any questions. They also gave me an excellent resource that is given to all women with breast cancer in NZ which is called Step by Step and includes information, a diary for all appointments and a blank journal.
It’s Breast Cancer Awareness month here too and my family is showing support by entering a Pink Walk charity event with all proceeds going to Waikato Breast Cancer Trust which just happens to have my surgeon as it’s Chairman. Lucky it’s only 3.5km.
I have learned from this experience that I don’t think enough emphasis can be put on this: KNOW YOUR BREASTS! Mine weren’t right and I got them checked and it may well have saved my life!!
Incredible dedication to community education! It is so important to spread the word, increase awareness and lift the spirits of many! Thank you for being a “peace of mind” advocate for so many going through similar circumstances. Thank you for letting me be apart of your recovery process!
My friend and neighbor, how brave of you to lay open your experiences to benifit others! God bless you in your journey of telling your journey…and in your desire to put useful and helpful information out there for everyone. I am proud of you!
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