Recurrence Rollercoaster – #2 Headless chicken

A quick re-cap for newcomers to this blog:  I was diagnosed with breast cancer (Stage 1) and spent approximately 1.5 years doing alternative treatments, but the tumour kept growing so I had a mastectomy.  I woke up from the mastectomy to find my left arm paralysed because of nerve damage (to the brachial plexus) caused by tractioning of the arm during surgery.  I had to have further surgery to release the nerve and because of that, I had no conventional adjuvant treatment.  Nine months after the mastectomy, the cancer recurred.  This is a summary of the options I was exploring after the recurrence.

We all want tidy endings to healing journeys.

We’re programmed through myths and story-telling and Hollywood Blockbusters, to expect tidy endings, happily-ever-after fairy-tales.

With the recurrence, it was as if the story I was writing for my healing wasn’t coming through. I know loads of people who have done the surgery- chemo-radiotherapy route and the cancer vanishes and they live happily ever after, in remission for the rest of their lives.

But I was on a different story track.

Writing this with the luxury of retrospect, I was running around like a headless chicken trying to find ways to get rid of the cancer.

chicken

Continue reading

Recurrence Rollercoaster – #1 – Why Tamoxifen didn’t work for me

Emotional-Roller-Coaster-Ride

So, for newcomers, a quick recap of the back story:  I had a mastectomy, and when I woke up from surgery, discovered my left arm was paralysed.  This had been caused by damage to the brachial plexus nerve that controls the arm.  I had to have further surgery to free the injured nerves.

It took about nine months before I was finally able to lift my left arm, and control it.  It was a dark time, and I remember being in a state of numbness most of the time.  I still look back on that period with a sense of incredulity, and amazement that I got through it.

In those nine months, to give my arm the best chance of healing, my surgeon and I took the decision not to have any active treatment in case they damaged the nerves.  I was also hoping that the treatments I’d had at Hallwang Private Oncology Clinic in Germany would help.

tamoxifen-blocks-estrogen-receptors

Continue reading

Best of Breast: news for week ending 18 October 2013

A sweep of the latest medical developments in breast cancer from Google Alerts, for the week ending 18 October 2013.

[Google Alerts doesn’t always have the most up-to-date research developments, and as it’s Breast Cancer Awareness month, heavy on fund-raising and charity events, so if I’ve missed something out, my apologies. You are always welcome to post any new developments that I’ve missed out in the comments box and I’ll be glad to include them in the compilation, and include an acknowledgement of your contribution.]

Multivitamins

photo credit: mirror.co.uk

1(a)  Multivitamins May Save Some Breast Cancer Patients’ Lives

This recent study contrasts with one conducted in 2010 which showed that women who took multivitamins were 19% more likely to develop breast tumours (see reference below).

Continue reading