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My Story

Details displayed with the oldest date uppermost

July 2009

Injured my breast
Whilst carrying a tray, the tray caught on a doorframe and bounced back onto the upper part of my right breast.

Next day there was a long elongated bruise across my breast (15cms by 3cms).
A few days later a pea sized lump came up just beyond the outer edge of the bruise.
Saw my GP same day and she referred me to the hospital breast clinic. One week later attended the breast clinic. The pea sized lump had gone by this time.
Had a mammogram and a physical examination. Nothing abnormal detected.

Given the all clear.


11 Jan 2011

Found a lump whilst showering.
A hard, swollen area, about the size of an egg, central, upper right breast. Along the line of the bruise from two years before.
Saw the GP later the same day. Referred to Breast Clinic


19 Jan 2011

Hospital Breast Clinic for whole afternoon. Told I had breast cancer
Mammogram, physical examination, ultrasound, biopsy.

Meeting with registrar and breast care nurse at the end of the afternoon. Informed that I definitely had breast cancer and the biopsy was for confirmation purposes.


25 Jan 2011

Hospital Breast Clinic with consultant and oncologist
Discussed surgery and radiotherapy treatment.
Told it was a triple negative breast cancer, therefore no medication available.


04 Feb 2011

Pre-operation appointment at the hospital
Blood test and swabs for MRSA infection.


10 Feb 2011

Micro bubble procedure
New procedure (still in testing) to help identify the first (sentinel) lymph node. Done under ultrasound. They injected an inert substance into the nipple, which they then tracked to the first node. Took a biopsy of the node and put a tiny metal marker in the node, so it could be found more easily during surgery.


15 Feb 2011

Sentinel Lymph Node biopsy test results
All clear


19 Feb 2011

Radioactive dye injected for node identification
A radioactive dye was injected into the nipple, which then tracked down to the lymph node, so they could better identify the first lymph node during surgery the next day. Told that I would be radioactive for the next 36 hours and to avoid contact with small children.

Turned my nipple blue! It remained blue for nearly 9 months!


20 Feb 2011

Operation. Lumpectomy. Removed tumour and 3 lymph nodes
In and out the same day. Very sore, but relieved.


28 Feb 2011

Hospital Breast Clinic. Post operation follow up appointment
Tumour was 21mm x 12mm
Grade 3 (aggressive), stage 2a (not spread)
Triple negative breast tumour ie not responsive to oestrogen, progesterone or herceptin.


Lymph nodes were clear, so no evidence of metastasis.

Consultant very happy with the surgery. Tumour removed with clear margins. Healing well.

Oncologist suggested chemotherapy as well as radiotherapy. This was because it was a triple negative breast cancer and because their computer programme said so.

Disagreement between the consultant and the oncologist in front of me about whether chemotherapy was necessary or not. Actually told that had my tumour been 1 millimetre smaller (i.e. 20mm instead of 21mm) the computer programme would not have recommended chemotherapy. Also told that it would have to be extra strong chemo drugs because of the type of tumour, where there was a high risk of liver failure, kidney failure and heart failure.

I declined the chemotherapy.


07 Mar 2011

Meeting with the oncologist
Discussed details of the radiotherapy treatment, side effects, procedure etc.

Discussed chemotherapy treatment again. I declined chemotherapy again.

 

Read about my Radiotherapy Experience

11 Mar 2011

Pre Radiotherapy Meeting
Ample time to discuss treatment, concerns, side effects etc.

Given a DVD to watch at home.

Scan taken of the post-operative breast, so they had the latest information.

3 small pin-head tattoos done. One between the breasts and one either side under the arms. These were to be used to align the radiotherapy machine accurately (within a millimetre) for each session.

Photograph (mug shot!) taken of me to be placed on my notes for identification prior to each radiotherapy session.

Very impressed with all the staff. Very thorough, answered all my questions etc.


30 Apr 2011

Started 18 sessions of Radiotherapy
3 booster sessions over the lumpectomy area initially, then 15 sessions over the whole breast.

One session every day, with the exception of weekends and bank holidays (lots of bank holidays during this time as there were Easter, May bank holidays and extra day for Prince William's wedding). This meant my treatment was spread over nearly 5 weeks.


04 Jun 2011

Last radiotherapy session


20 Jun 2011

Meeting with the oncologist
She was happy at how the radiotherapy had gone. Examined breast for side effects. My breast had been very sore, like sunburn and my nipple had blistered, but was now healing. Also no energy, wiped out, complete weariness. I was assured this was normal after radiotherapy and would gradually improve with time.

No further appointments needed.

Return next February for annual review.

31 Jan 2012

Annual Routine mammogram


14 Feb 2012

Breast Clinic Annual Review.
Thorough physical examination by the registrar.
Mammogram results - nothing abnormal detected.
They were very happy with everything. Return in one year for annual review.

 

Phew! the all clear. Time to get on with my life.
But then, only 4 months later...

10 Jun 2012

Found an 'area of concern' whilst showering.
An area about 4cm by 3cm just to the right of my upper sternum seemed a lot more swollen than it should be. Visible in the mirror.

Arranged an appointment with the breast clinic


20 Jun 2012

Breast Clinic Appointment
A new consultant (lovely young lady), as the other had retired. Thorough physical examination, ultrasound and biopsy. Definitely an area of concern.


29 Jun 2012

CT Scan and Bone Scan
Looking for any metastasis.


11 Jul 2012

Breast Clinic. Scan and biopsy results.
Not the best day of my life!
Confirmed that the swollen area was a triple negative breast tumour (same as before) 28mm X 18mm. It was in the soft tissue in the 'tail' of the breast, sitting on the sternum, but had not gone into the bone. It was also wrapped around the ribs. It had not shown up on the mammogram 4 months before as it was beyond the boundary of the image.

As it was so close to the original tumour site, it was decided that this was actually an extension of the original tumour and not a secondary.

CT and bone scans were basically clear apart from a tiny (2mm) mass in my uterus. 3 tiny (1mm) nodes in my lungs and a couple of swollen lymph nodes in my upper right abdomen. Oncologist decided these were all secondaries, but the consultant wasn't as convinced.

Lumpectomy was considered impossible at this time because of its location and size. Would require a thoracic surgeon instead of a breast surgeon and would be equivalent to major heart surgery.

Oncologist checked my breast for the area that the radiotherapy had covered previously. New tumour was within the previous radiotherapy area. Therefore further radiotherapy was ruled out (they can only treat an area once). It also meant that the radiotherapy I had received had failed as it was supposed to prevent further cancer development in the area treated. Oncologist just shrugged, when I commented on this.

Offered chemotherapy to help shrink the tumour, allowing a lumpectomy in the future when is was smaller.

As it was the same chemo programme that was offered previously, I declined, but was sent away to think about it as it was the only treatment on offer to me.


18 Jul 2012

Meeting with the oncologist and breast care nurse
A 'hard sell' appointment to persuade me to have chemo as that was the only treatment on offer.

After the meeting, I was distraught. Felt I had no option but to have the chemo, which I definitely didn't want to have.

Felt completely backed into a corner, with no way out.

Then I was given a gift from God!. The breast care nurse, whilst consoling me, suggested I went away and did 'my own thing' for 3 months. After that time the situation could be reviewed and the chemo would always be an option if I changed my mind. What a relief.


20 Jul 2012

Started an aggressive programme of alternative diet, supplements, treatments etc.
Right from the very beginning in Jan 2011 I had taken various supplements, alternative treatments etc. However, this was all increased a hundred times. What was my choice? Believe I could shrink the tumour myself or have the chemotherapy?


03 Aug 2012

Pelvis ultrasound scan and biopsy of the mass in my uterus.
Checking out the small mass that had been found on the CT scan. Found to be a benign fibroid.


08 Oct 2012

Breast clinic checkup
Physical examination and ultrasound.
Area over sternum still of concern.


22 Oct 2012

Blood test prior to having a CT scan


30 Oct 2012

CT scan


04 Dec 2012

Breast clinic checkup. Results of CT scan
Great news.

Tumour over the sternum had shrunk! It was now 23mm X 12mm, so about a 25% reduction in size. Also no nodes seen in the lungs and abdominal lymph nodes were smaller.

Everyone was delighted. The consultant suggested I continue with what I was doing, as it was obviously doing something.


13 Feb 2012

PET / CT scan
First time that I had had a PET scan. This scan involves injection with radioactive glucose, which is taken up by cancer cells quicker than non-cancer cells. This then shows up a 'hot-spots' when scanned, showing areas of malignancy.


20 Feb 2012

Breast clinic checkup. PET / CT scan results
Consultant came bounding into the room, grinning: "well wonder woman, we could all do with a bit of what you're doing!"

PET scan was completely clear, "with no sign of disease any where in the body". The area over the sternum was described as "slight thickening of the tissue".

My alternative programme had worked. My tumour had completely gone.


27 Feb 2013

Copy of letter to my GP
'A case of spontaneous remission. We will keep a close eye on this lady'.

Delighted to see the words spontaneous remission, but a little insulted at the lack of recognition that it was possible to eliminate a tumour the size of a golf ball using only naturopathic means.


20 Oct 2013

Breast clinic checkup.
Small (1cm) area to the left of the original lumpectomy scar showed on the ultrasound and was biopsied.

Nothing else of concern.


07 Nov 2013

CT Scan


13 Nov 2013

Breast clinic checkup. Results of CT scan and biopsy
CT scan completely clear.

Biopsy showed only fatty tissue.


21 May 2014

Breast clinic checkup.
Physical examination. Nothing of any concern


01 Sep 2014

Invited for routine mammogram
Declined, as I believe the original mammogram in 2009 on damaged tissue had contributed to the malignancy in the first place. Also the second tumour over the sternum was beyond the boundary of the mammogram image and therefore would not show up.


13 Sep 2014

Private Digital Thermal Imagining
Decided to monitor my breast health using annual digital thermal imaging instead of mammograms.

See www.medscans.co.uk for more information.


26 Nov 2014

Breast clinic checkup.
Physical examination. Ultrasound scan. Nothing of any concern
Return in a further 6 months.


18 Apr 2015

Swimathon
Swam 5km (200 lengths) in 2hrs 45mins. Raising £503 for Marie Curie Cancer Care Nurses


27 May 2015

Breast clinic checkup.
Physical examination. Ultrasound scan. Nothing of any concern.
The ultrasound technician described my case as "remarkable" after reading my notes.
Now in 'official' remission for 2.25 years. Return in a further 6 months.

Spent most of the appointment with the consultant discussing Digital Thermal Imaging.
www.medscans.co.uk


July 2015

Walked the Great Stones Way in Wiltshire
Walked 43 miles in 5 days with a rucksack, along the Great Stones Way in Wiltshire. Visiting 2 iron age hill forts, Avebury stone circle, Silbury Hill, West Kennett Long Barrow, Woodhenge, Stonehenge and Old Sarum. Two days of about 13 miles each.


Sep 2015

Private Digital Thermal Imagining
Annual digital thermal imaging scan.
Nothing of any concern. Whole report was only a small paragraph.

See www.medscans.co.uk for more information.


Nov 2015

Breast clinic checkup.
Physical examination only. Nothing of any concern.

Saw the senior registrar as the consultant was not there. I hadn't seen this lady before. She had read my notes and described me as a "miracle". She was very interested in what I had done and made some personal notes to look into in her own time.

Now in 'official' remission for 2.75 years


11 Jan 2016

***** Today I'm a 5 year cancer survivor! *****


27th Feb 2016

******* Today I've been in "spontaneous ******* ******* Remission"for 3 years *******


Apr 2016

I was expecting a letter with an appointment for my 6 month check up at the hospital breast clinic. Instead I received a letter from the consultant saying that as they had no concerns, they weren't going to offer me any further automatic review appointments. The door was still open to me, if I had any concerns and could call for an appointment at any time.


27th Feb 2018

******* Today I've been in "spontaneous ******* ******* Remission"for 5 years *******


Sept 2018

I continue to have regular annual thermal imaging to monitor my breast health.

All good no concerns.


Disclaimer: This web site details my personal journey with cancer and the naturopathic programme I followed. It is for interest only and does not make any claims or suggestions about the treatment of cancer for other people. If you have any questions or concerns about your own health, cancer symptoms or treatment, please discuss them with your own GP or health care professionals.

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