In April of this year, I had my yearly mammogram. It would have been 5 years that I was cancer-free. This time in addition to a mammogram I had a biopsy. I had all the tests I had 5 years ago, and was diagnosed with Lobular breast cancer. I had a mastectomy and my lymph nodes removed on my right side.
During the tests, they noticed my ovaries were swollen. The decision was made by my care team to do a hysterectomy. When I asked why my ovaries were swollen, I was told that the cancer had spread. By August of this year, my left breast and uterus were removed. I thought okay–I’m cancer-free.
My oncologist informed me that I had been cancer-free but now I would be living with cancer. During my hysterectomy, they had found small pockets of cancer under my diaphragm and outside of my bowel.
My current treatment involves taking a chemo tablet to stop these two areas of cancer from growing and spreading. I take a tablet every day for three weeks then no tablet for a week. I visit the oncology unit so they can test my blood, monitor my temperature and check my blood pressure. If everything is fine, then I start on the tablet again. Right now, all is good, and I am experiencing no side effects. I have been told they will do scans to make sure the treatment is working. I know at some point it will stop working and then I will be given another tablet which could have bad side effects. I will be on these tablets for the rest of my life which could be 10 or 20 years.
I’m 53 years of age with a 14-year-old son and last month I wrote out my will. I must stay positive for my son who is dealing with his mum having cancer for the second time. I must also stay strong and positive as I have my son believing they got all the cancer. Because the cancer is traveling in my blood (not like 5 years ago when it was in one area) they do not have a place where they can focus the radiotherapy. I was told that the hormone drug which had kept me cancer-free (was estrogen positive) had just stopped working.
I’m writing a book about my ordeal. I’m also taking and enjoying each day, one at a time. I am blessed with a wonderful family and friends as my support group. This time I won’t lose my hair like last time so have died it purple. I’m also getting a tattoo showing a pink ribbon with boxing gloves that will read, “Cancer messed with the wrong girl.”
This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.