By then I’d grown to dread the stress of the 3-monthly scan. The apprehension, the scan, the results, the disappointment (or elation). I knew that I could not continue to live with a tumour that could or could not shrink.
The tumour was consuming my life and my thoughts – I spent most of my time researching new cures and treatments.
So in the end, I made up my mind … the tumour had to go, and after much discussion with my (saint of a) breast surgeon and consultant, I agreed to have the tumour removed. It took a lot of effort to make my mind up – because of the size of my breast relative to the tumour, it would have to be a mastectomy.
We read a lot about Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy, and when it’s someone else, it’s easy to praise their courage and decisiveness. It’s really a case of “there but for the grace of God go I”. But when you’re faced with having to make that decision, it’s not so easy. [for one thing no Brad Pitt as supportive partner!]
I know of a woman who had DCIS in one breast, but opted to have both removed. She was so positive about what she did, she told me she healed within a week. I wish I were as positive – for me, it was sacrificing my breast, femininity etc. It was subjecting myself to surgery – and I’d never had to have any surgical procedure before this.
And I was to a certain extent, angry with myself for letting the tumour grow so much that the operation would be more invasive. Having said that, even when it was a Grade I tumour, the surgeon had recommended a mastectomy for the best aesthetic outcome – a lumpectomy would have meant a mis-shapened breast.
So I wondered if I could get a better surgical outcome if I could shrink the tumour. The only possibility that was offered by allopathic medicine was neo-adjuvant chemotherapy, that is, systemic chemotherapy given before surgery to shrink the tumour. I didn’t want to go down the chemo route yet. So I said “no” to it.
I decided that what I needed was to look into clinics that could offer intensive holistic treatments that might shrink the tumour. [as you can see, I was still not thinking out of the box]