I first shared this story on social media back in 2019, and have since decide to share it here.
As you all know by now, October is breast cancer awareness month and I know some of you are still apprehensive about going to get checked. But I urge you to listen to that little voice if you can hear it. Eleven years ago, I ignored the little voice because I was too busy at work. I saw the lump, but didn’t think it was serious. WTF? By the time I decided to go get checked, the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes on the left side of my armpits. And that’s when shit really hits the fan and it quickly starts to spread everywhere, and your chances of survival are greatly diminished.
On May 13, 2010, I received the diagnosis. TNBC is a non hormonal, aggressive type of breast cancer that’s apparently very hard to treat (but aren’t they all?). I had to go through a series of tests and numerous hospital visits before a treatment protocol was drawn up for me. The tests came back and luckily it hadn’t yet spread to any organs nor the bones. And it was decided that I’d first have chemotherapy to shrink the tumour, after which a lumpectomy would be done.
June 4th: Chemo session 1 of 8 cycles, to be given every 3 weeks
Needles, flushing of veins with saline, anti-sickness drugs, then 3 doses of EC (chemo drugs/poison). 5 hours at hospital then home. Nausea and dizziness followed that night.
Days 2 & 3 fine, then awful migraine and diarrhoea, followed by other side effects such as sore and dry mouth, bleeding gums, pain in my bones like you could never imagine, etc.
Day 7, hospital trip to talk to doctors (they are nice people).
Day 8 – another hospital trip for blood test and white cell injection to boost my blood count. My doc did this injection for me but I have decided to do it myself in the comfort of my own home from hereon in, to save myself an extra hospital trip. Other side effects include slight pain when I urinate and frequent headaches. Not many people know at this point, and I’ve been going to the gym on the odd days when I feel okay.
Day 14 – my hair starts to come out in huge chunks. I grabbed hubby’s clippers and shaved it all off. Hubby got home and tidied it up a bit. His comment was, “you’ve got a nice shaped head actually – a bit big though.” I just love him for his honesty!
Days 15 – 21, my head is now completely bald and I’m not stressing. It’s only hair and it will grow back. Plus, my hairdresser is the “baddest” at wig-making, her name is Shala. And I’m making savings on not having to wax my other body parts, which is fantastic. There’s always an upside!
That’s it for cycle número uno. More tomorrow, if you’re interested/curious. Meanwhile, go and get checked if you feel like you should! That goes for the men also!