At the same time as I was using Facebook to keep in touch with the family and our chums the important business of healing was taking place. Part of the process is helped along by the Breast Care Nurses and other staff who work with The Primrose Foundation. This is from their web site
“The Primrose Foundation is a breast care charity, based in Plymouth. We are raising much needed funds to maintain and improve the existing equipment which is used to image breasts, which is essential in diagnosis. This is undertaken at the Primrose Breast Care Centre in Derriford Hospital. We are determined to build on our achievements and remain at the forefront of treatment, care and support. Working in partnership with NHS staff, we can make a significant difference to the future of breast care.”
To be frank I hadn’t heard of The Primrose Foundation before my diagnosis as breast cancer hadn’t really been part of my vocabulary. Yes, I’d known about women who had the disease yet it was all a bit abstract. It was only once I was going through it that I started to understand what this Charity does and offers – help, hope, holistic care and humour.
Upon diagnosis of breast cancer one is seen here – earlier blog posts relate to mammograms, ultrasounds and meeting surgeons. After surgery the wounds are treated here. I returned to the clinic on a weekly basis – week one – stitches were looked at and it was decided they were a bit too gloopy to come out. It gave me a good opportunity to look at the new bionic boob which was 50 shades of brown and purple, marvel at the stitching and wonder how on earth Mr X had managed to get all my manky breast tissue out and fit a silicon implant in through what looked like a very small hole – I must have super stretchy skin or he must have some amazing surgical bungee cords (not something to dwell on… too Wallace and Gromit).
Week 2 – the bionic boob had swollen and felt like a hard football on my chest and I didn’t feel well which I was disappointed about as I thought I’d been doing brilliantly and had felt pretty good. The super plastics Breast Care Nurse had a look and called in Mr X – he thought that a seroma (pocket of fluid) could have formed and so I had an ultrasound. This is one of the huge advantages of the Primrose Clinic – it is a one stop shop. A consultant radiographer fitted me in to her clinic and sure enough there was an area of additional fluid which had to be drained off (aspirated) with a large needle into a tupperware box. No pain as I didn’t have sensation in the bionic boob, no fuss, all routine, all sorted quickly and efficiently. Nick was with me the entire time and he and the consultant talked about Northern Ireland whilst I lay there – he recounted a story about a swan landing on a main road and how it had caused havoc… I just lay on my back, top off, sports bra off, arm up… as far as the lymph biopsy would allow.
Week 3: A quick visit to check the seroma and remove the stitches – I’d applied lots of arnica cream to the bionic boob and it was turning a delicate shade of yellow. There was plenty of good advice about how to massage the implant – no need for me to be singing “My Sharona” whilst doing. Seroma – so last week! SEROMA not SHARONA
Week 4: This is worthy of a separate blog as it is the official follow up to surgery.
The image below is taken from The Primrose Foundation web site and shows the Breast Care Nurses who work there. There are specialists in Oncology and Plastics and a commonality in that they are ALL kind, caring and decent human beings. Whatever you may be going through they have an answer, they’ve seen it all before and will treat you with respect because whilst it is unique for you as the patient it is routine to them. Thank you ladies – particularly the three who helped me during diagnosis, the run up to and time after surgery.