Both boobs are going

I just got a call from my breast care nurse. Actually my breast care nurse is on holiday. As is my GP. It’s very inconvenient to get cancer in August.

My replacement nurse, who sounded like she needed a holiday, filled me in on the discussion the multidisciplinary team had about me today. They agreed to my request to have both boobs removed. A bilateral mastectomy in official terms. They decided not to do an MRI on my spine because they’re not worried about the bit that’s weird. Could be normal wear and tear. Could be an injury that healed.

Now we wait for an appointment with the plastic surgeon and then they’ll book the surgery date.

In the meantime I’ve made an appointment to see the GP to get a full blood analysis of my vitamin and mineral levels. I just want to make sure nothing is deficient. And I’m going to ask for a prescription for melatonin as I’ve read some interesting studies showing this could provide better outcomes for breast cancer. I’m also meeting with my gym instructor to make an exercise programme for recovery and madly ordering things to help me deal with the horrors of surgery to come.

It’s busy. Very busy.

12 thoughts on “Both boobs are going

  1. Julie Chadwick

    If I were in your position I’d request that both be removed as well. Did they react as though that were weird? I’d think it would feel “off” to just have one. How much do they remove, is it the pectoral muscle as well? Sorry if these are invasive questions, feel free to not answer. So much love to you Heids. The day it came back was such a dark day. I felt like a stone dropped into my stomach. One other question: are you considering reconstructive surgery?

  2. Lisa

    Waiting. It’s the waiting which is the hardest, isn’t it? Staying busy, making plans, researching things, is a great way to keep your mind from running in circles and shrieking. At least, that’s what my brain would be doing.

    Curious about the melatonin studies. My oncologist has me on Zometa, which makes one’s bones hostile to breast cancer cells. I wonder if that’s an option for you? Which drug treatment will you now have instead of tamoxifen?

    Also, look for lingerie shops which sell bras for mastectomy patients. The bras sold there are immensely comfortable, and have little pockets for prostheses. Over here, insurance companies will often pay a portion of the cost of a bra; I’m not sure if that’s an option for you, but perhaps worth investigating. Smooches!

    1. Heidi

      Ah I’ll check out the Zometa. Sounds like a good thing. Seeing as the tamoxifen didn’t work they are going nuclear and shutting off my ovaries with an injection of Zolodex. That should bring in menopause. Oestrogen is definitely my enemy so I’m looking at other strategies to remove like losing the remaining fat I can from my body. And chucking out all plastics because of the endocrine disruptors. Glass and silicone for the win!

      I’m just now looking at front fastening bras. They do offer them at the NHS clinic for free. Last time I didn’t get one because my boobs were so big but this time they’ll be more wee. So that’s good.

  3. Brenda Brush

    My plastic surgeon took me off melatonin a month before my surgery, so you may want to ask about that. I’m not sure what the reasoning was. I can ask when I see him next Tuesday. Here it’s over the counter, so I’m curious about needing a prescription for it.

    When you get the bloodwork, make sure you’ve checked with the surgeons to make sure it includes everything they want, too. You won’t want to have to see the vampires twice. 🙂

    Don’t forget…any question, anytime! Nothing is too trivial. Trust me.

    1. Heidi

      Oh thanks for that Brenda! I didn’t know melatonin could be an issue for surgery. I’ll check with the GP and the surgeon before I start it. I don’t feel like jumping into any new supplements quickly. And good to check all the angles. Yeh we can buy it on the Internet but hubby wasn’t feeling it was especially kosher. Better to get approval of a doctor and they can prescribe the right dosage and monitor.

      I’m not sure I can coordinate the blood tests. The GP and surgeon are separate parts of the NHS and getting any kind of coordination is tricky. But I will ask. xxx

  4. Heidi

    Julie, no question is invasive. I’m totally up for any! The nurse sounded pretty supportive of the decision. She said they were happy, well not happy but content. So it’s definitely the right call. They would have resisted more if I was being overly cautious. I think they approach this like they don’t want to put that out there if it’s not strictly necessary but if you open the door..

    They take all the breast tissue, not muscle up to the chest wall. As far as I know. Still getting my head round this. There is a small risk that any leftover breast cells can still start off the cancer again so it’s no guarantee. But it’s reducing the risk enormously. I’ll have an immediate reconstruction with tissue and fat taken from my tummy. The mastectomy is done by one team (2-3 hours) and then the plastic surgeons come and do the reconstruction (6-8 hours).

    Yes, those two days of not knowing were the worst of my life. I’m certain it had a massive impact on everyone. This isn’t just happening to me. It’s happening to us all. xxxx

  5. Paula

    Dear Heidi, what a huge amount of courage you have. I completely understand your decision and support it with all I’ve got. Please keep us up to date with everything. Many knuffels!

  6. Heidi

    Thanks Paula! I appreciate all your support. I’m going to give myself the best chance I can to stop this coming back. It’s going to be tough for the next six months but hopefully it’ll be worth the pain. xxx

  7. Heidi

    Lisa I just looked up Zometa. Looks like maybe they didn’t prescribe it before because I was pre-menopausal. But now they’re shutting down my ovaries maybe I would benefit. Although one of the studies I saw seemed to suggest the benefit was for women five years into menopause. I’ll definitely ask though!

  8. Zack

    Best of luck in your preperation and I’m certain of how tough you are post surgery recovery will be quick and easy.

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