Monday 16 September 2013

Chemo done - check

Well it's been a while again... (where did August go?) The really good news is I've finished chemo - whoop! No more visits to hospital with high temperatures were incurred and the side effects remained minor (though I did have an outbreak of acne at about the exact same time for both the final cycles).

I've since had one cycle of Herceptin without the TC chemo. It's intravenously taken and so involves a hospital visit, but has a minimal list of side effects (they just monitor your heart). Herceptin blocks the HER+ receptors. It was a breeze.

I went to see my oncologist in August who told me I will also have to take a daily tablet of Tamoxifen for five years.  This is because they found I was ER+ in the nodes and I guess they want to throw everything in their armoury at it, just to be on the safe side.  Tamoxifen blocks the ER+ receptors. I got quite worried about this, Tamoxifen has been in the news a lot lately and it doesn't always make easy reading.  Still, like most things, once you start the regime many of the demons in your mind are pacified. I have been most worried about weight gain, depression and feeling nauseous.  I have felt a little sick (eleven days in), but I'm going to continue to take and monitor closely. Any worries and I will definitely be raising those in December when I see my oncologist next. 

Last Friday I went to Morriston Hospital to see the surgeon who did my reconstructive surgery. She is very pleased with her work; as am I. We've decided to add 'the cherry on the cake'.  This will entail stretching the skin so there will be some excess in the nipple area and then constricting the base to make a little protrusion. To complete the effect a tattoo will be added for the aerola and nipple colouring.  The procedure will be done in about six months when everything is completely healed and settled.  It'll be done under local anaesthetic and I'll have to return a week later to get the dressing removed, but that's it.  Simples.

Waiting for the cherry.

I'm feeling pretty good, not quite at the pre-chemo level of health, but not too far off.  It's a shame that autumn is drawing in as I'm really fancying some of those coastal walks, and that's a good sign.

The current state of my hair bum's fluff!
Addendum: Want to know what's involved in the NHS breast screening appointment? Have a look here; breast screening facts a balanced and complete tool you can use to find out more. I was one of the ones worried about over treatment (initially diagnosed with 'just' DCIS), but my life was saved.
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