I was 29 and thought it could never happen to me. The first few weeks were a blur of tests and scans and a complete overload of information. Time flies and before I knew it I was starting my 18 weeks of chemotherapy. It consisted of 6 sessions and I was so lucky I wasn’t very sick. However, the tiredness I can’t begin to describe - sleeping doesn’t help. That only lasted for one week out of every cycle.
I constantly felt like it was happening to someone else. I couldn't believe when I was having my last session - it was a massive celebration and everyone was just thrilled. Losing my hair wasn't what I thought would be. I expected this to be the worst thing in the world. I always had long blond straight hair but when it happened it wasn’t what I expected. I got it cut short (well shoulder length) a week before it was due to fall out and with fabulous real human hair wigs, nothing changed.At the moment its just below my ears and I’m still wearing the wigs. I can’t believe how fast its growing.
Before I had time to think about it was scheduled for my mastectomy. This just terrified me mostly because off the anticipated pain to be honest. I’m a complete light weight when it comes to pain. Prior to this I was afraid to get my blood drawn. Now I don’t even blink. I was a nervous wreck but with the help of my amazing team in St Vincent University Hospital everything was so much better. Without their compassion and understanding I really wouldn’t have felt the comfort and happiness throughout my whole experience. The nurses were out off this world and I received constant support from my surgeons and oncology consultants. I’ll never get to show them how much I appreciate everything they did during the entire year.
The operation was over and waking up to what I dreaded for days, I just couldn’t look. I had to shower everyday but couldn’t move my arm at all. With physiotherapy for 2 weeks I was slowly improving. I spent 9 nights in hospital. This is a prolonged hospital stay as fluid was continually building up. I actually didn’t mind being in hospital. For the first time ever I relaxed and chilled out completely. I even enjoyed the food! I had never been in hospital before so I had nothing to compare it to but I would have to say it was nothing like what I dreaded and thought about for months.
When my surgeon Mr Morrison spoke to me about reconstruction I knew I wanted it.
Since I was a smoker my reconstructive options were limited and I had to chose which one best suited my lifestyle. I picked the tissue expander for the simple reason there was no tissue needed from anywhere else so less scars and less time in surgery. He explained in detail the pros andcons and with his help and advice I immediatly felt at ease and confident about the whole procedure. Six weeks after my operation, the reconstruction process started and I had 3 saline injections into the tissue expander. This process stretches the skin to allow insertion of an implant.These were done 3 weeks apart so that the skin could be stretched correctly and give it time to heal. These injections only take a few minutes and you’re out and about the next day. I was thinking it would be more painful but it was perfect.
Currently I’m back to work and waiting on my official implant exchange in August. I believe this is a small day procedure with only 2 weeks recovery. A breeze in comparison to the main operation.
Since my operation in January I’ve been doing great with the help of my amazing family and friends. The entire year went by so fast. The trick to it all is to stay positive and live life to the maximum.