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.
What do you do after surviving breast cancer?
Grace Gawler, a cancer strategist with 38 years of experience and more than 14,000 clients, and the author of one of the first books (Women of Silence: The Emotional Healing of Cancer) on the emotional and psychological impact of breast cancer
What I’ve found useful whenever I’ve had a consultation with Grace, is her blend of knowledge and experience of treatments and the psychology of cancer patients. She’s also someone who’s gone through a serious illness, so she knows just what it takes to weather the storms of a life-threatening illness. It is that level of empathy that makes her unique in her services and someone I feel I can talk to because she truly understands!
In this radio show, Grace talks about surviving survival.Two key areas she covers are: (1) the void that is created after the flurry of treatment stops and the gap between monitoring visits to the specialist doctor widens (2) the what-if phase after treatment … “what if the cancer recurs?”
With patients living longer, women often have impaired life quality and declining well-being after breast cancer. The wounds are often unseen. Surviving Survival is about the need to become an alchemist, transforming the threat of losing our life, to helping us find our life!
Outside the clinic, snow lay thickly on the ground. Inside, I lay under hot lamps, my core temperature raised to 39 degrees. The doctor wiped my forehead with washcloths dipped into the snow from the balcony. How cool was that?
This was my introduction to whole-body hyperthermia, two days after the trans-arterial chemoembolisation (TACE) treatment.