Hi. I'm Sue and new on here. I had a bilateral mastectomy 5 weeks ago following 6 cycles of chemotherapy with 2 targeted therapies which I am still receiving. I am 56, live alone and have no close family. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in my left breast and cancer in the lymph nodes under my arm, under my clavicle and in my neck at the beginning of January 2015. Much to my surprise I have managed not only to look after myself but also to maintain a mostly very positive attitude throughout it all. The chemotherapy was grim and I felt that at sometime or another I got most of the side effects possible! I lost most of my hair, I felt sick most of the time, my finger nails lifted, I had aches and pains and of course at times fatigue. My recent surgery and on going recovery is no-where near as bad! I wanted to have both breasts removed for a number of reasons but the hospital was, to say the least, not keen to remove my healthy right breast. I wrote a letter explaining all the reasons for my decision and I also obtained a supporting letter from a medically qualified friend who has known me for 30 years. Because of the way I argued my case, setting out my reasons very clearly and because I had over 5 months to think about it, the hospital eventually agreed. Post surgery I am very pleased with the result. Oh, and I am not having reconstruction either! Obviously not everyone would want to do this but for all sorts of reasons, including reducing the risk of breast cancer in the other breast and also because I am a horse rider so it is important to be 'evenly balanced', it was right for me. I am being treated at Bournemouth Hospital and they have been wonderful. I have absolutely no complaints at all. I will continue to have the two targeted treatments and have three weeks daily radiotherapy at Poole Hospital to come. The prognosis for the future for me is thankfully very good and that has made all the pain and misery worthwhile. I have a horse, who I managed to look after myself most of the time I was having chemo but at times I did have to have some help from a very dear friend. My horse is currently away with another friend because I realised that poo-picking and pushing wheelbarrows, carting hay bales etc., weren't going to be a good mix with surgery, but he will come home in about another couple of weeks. I can't wait to be riding again! I hope this is a more positive post which will hopefully encourage all of you who are at the worst point in your treatment. Someone said to me 'chemotherapy is your friend'. At the time I wasn't convinced! She is right though! It (hopefully) saves your life! Sorry for the long post!
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