Category Archives: DCIS

My breast cancer diagnosis

A letter to my mother

October 7, 2015

Happy Birthday Mum!

It’s been 19 years since you died from breast cancer.  I wish you had been around this year when I was diagnosed with breast cancer too.  There have many days I wish I could have called you, but instead I just looked up to the sky and talked.  I’m sure you would have reacted the same way as your son did, when his big sister told him she had been diagnosed with the same thing that killed his mother.

Somehow I always thought I’d get a similar call from pathology, so when that day came, I had a well digested plan. Thanks to you and your experiences, I made a plan 20 years ago. This year I executed the plan to have a double mastectomy. Surprisingly it wasn’t very difficult to look at the surgeon and say “I want a double mastectomy.” It also wasn’t very traumatic to go through the procedure; I was happy to say goodbye to the girls. You’d be amazed at how good I looked after surgery, and how well the field of reconstructive surgery has progressed. May be you would have chosen the same path as me.

I’m about halfway through the reconstruction process, but I’m over the hardest part. I’d love to be able to giggle with you about being under the care of a plastic surgeon. Of all the doctors you’ll need in a lifetime, a plastic surgeon was not one I had considered. You’d probably laugh if I told you I asked him if I could get a 2 for one (mastectomy and facelift), and how he didn’t think that was funny.

You’d be happy that a month after my mastectomy the oncologist discharged me because the surgery removed all detectable traces of cancer.  I’m sure you’d also appreciate the high-five he gave me when we discussed post-surgery pathology reports that showed I had pre-cancerous cells in the other breast. And I think you would have agreed with the oncologist when he said I’d made a very good decision to go forward with a double mastectomy; even though that was something you did not want in your cancer journey.

It’s early days for me, but my prognosis is good. I miss you Mum.

Love,

Mandy

x

Tissue Expander Fills – August 2015

Wednesday July 29, 7:30 am  – Dr Capraro’s Office

First 100 mls with Chris and 2 Valium

I was told to have someone drive me to my first fill so I had scheduled the fill as early as possible so Chris could take me.

The night before I had under 4 hours of sleep, but I still took 2 Valium, it made me dopey enough to not care too much. I was told they would probably start with 50 ml in each one, so I was prepared for that. When I arrived the nurse said “Ready for 100ml?”
“Er, I thought you start with 50 ml.”
“It’s whatever you can cope with.”
So we started and she kept asking if I was okay, by the time I asked what volume we were up to she was at 70 ml. So I ended up with 100 ml in each boob. Continue reading Tissue Expander Fills – August 2015

Oncologist Discharge – August 7, 2015

Exactly one calendar month after surgery I had a follow-up appointment with Dr Sedlacek (the nice Cowboy doctor).

Before my surgery Dr. Sedlacek had said he would probably discharge me if my pathology report indicated all cancer had been removed and my lymph nodes were clear.  The pathology reports were exactly what he said, so I was fully expecting to be discharged.

Continue reading Oncologist Discharge – August 7, 2015

Post Surgery Follow-Ups – July 2015

Monday July 13, 9 am – Dr Capraro’s Office

The Monday after my surgery I had a follow-up at Dr Capraro’s office (6 days post op).  I was still in an anesthesia cloud and fully medicated with narcotics. My arm movement wasn’t bad, but I had no strength. The Hubs had to open and close car doors for me and even put my seatbelt on. I held the top part of the seatbelt away from my chest. I was fine walking short steps at home, but when we went to the doctor’s office he dropped me off at the front door. I was very wary of other people. I think I looked okay but I wasn’t moving fast, and if you held a door open for me I couldn’t reach out and hold it with my arm, I had to shove my food forward to stop the door slamming into me.

Continue reading Post Surgery Follow-Ups – July 2015