Sep 06, 2013 - 4:51 pm
Have just joined and wanted to share my story and encourage fellow sufferers.
I am 71, married and birth country is England, but hubby and I retired to live in the South of France November 2004.
May 2005 one wonderful weekend - I discovered a rather large lump in my right breast.
Hot footed it to my new GP in France who sent me for an xray and scan - got appointment for next day. These showed I had a rather large lump. Back to GP who said I needed to get it looked at and where did I want to go!!!!!!! Silly question really as we had only been here a few months. So I asked him where he would go. So he made an appointment for me at a large Teaching/University/Reaserch hospital in Montpellier - a large town about an hour's drive from us. Went there about 2 days later for a biopsy. Then had to wait a week for an appointment with the consultant, who confirmed it was a cancer.
What I was told was that it was a neuroendocrine cancer and that it had probably been there for some time as it was quite large but it was a slow growing tumor. Consultant said I needed a mastectomy as he would have to cut away a large amount of tissue around the cancer and it would not leave me with a lot left, even though my boobs were ample. Apparently this type of cancer was, and still is, very rare
Two weeks later it was all done and I was home within 10days; no pain or anything. But that was not the end. Even though it was a big research/teaching hospital they had never seen or treated anyone with this type of cancer - I was their "first" - so they had to go away and consult as to how to treat it. I ended up having Cisplatin - a very nasty chemo and had to stay in hospital 3 days every 3 weeks for 6 sessions. In the end I only had to have 4 as enough toxins had built up in my body in a short time. Thank goodness as I had started to be very sick and horrid at the end of each treatment. They took a full body scan and confirmed there were no other tumours so the breast one was the main one & they got it. I was told the prognosis was good. They also took away 10 lymph nodes and only 4 had been infected.
Chemo was followed by radio therapy, which was OK. And then I was put on Tamoxifen. But had to come off that as it made me very unwell and I thought I was going mad. Stopped Tamoxifen for a month and symptoms disappeared. Was then put on Aromasine and all was well.
The GOOD NEWS - I am no longer on Aromasine - after 7 years free of Cancer the oncologist said I did not need it any more.
I think I was very lucky to have that kind of cancer, even though the hospital did not initially know how to treat it. I think it was discovered in time and treated excellently and that is why I survived.
I do not have any fear that it will come back; but that is not to say cancer will not occur in another part of my body, but will deal with that if and when it happens.
Because I now have Diabetes 2 I get my blood checked every 3 months and look out for any tell tale signs that something is amiss. I only see the oncologist once a year until 2015 and then every 2 years.
The downside is that I think the chemo Cisplatin was more invasive than the cancer as I seem to have extreme reactions sometimes to normal drugs. But what the heck - I'm alive and in reasonably good health.
I would be interested to hear of anyone else who may have had this kind of cancer.
Because I have diabetes I am researching about the Endocrine System because it was an Endocrine Cancer and was contained in an Endocrine gland in the right breast. I am still not sure if there is a connection. If anyone can enlighten me I would appreciate knowing;