chapter 4 – life after cancer

So I’ve not updated any of you since the Ball in October of 2023 and a lot has happened since then.

In November 2023 I had a DIEP flap reconstruction with bilateral mastectomy. This included an 11-hour surgery and 3 nights in ICU. This procedure involves using tissue from my stomach to reconstruct the breast tissue. It sounds simple doesn’t it but this tissue needs a blood supply, so the surgeon was required to reconnect lots of tiny blood vessels in order to keep the tissue alive.

On top of daily hormone tables which block any oestrogen I may produce; I now need 6 infusions to help to protect my bones. These are needed to protect my bones from the damage my tablets cause. This treatment will take 3 years, so my journey is not quite over.

More recently, in May this year, I underwent a bilateral nipple reconstruction. I’m hoping that this means that my surgeries are now all over and I am simply waiting for my tattoos which will complete my reconstruction.

My family and I were robbed of 2023. The combination of treatments and hospital visits, side effects of the treatment, surgery and cancelled holidays, it affected the whole family.

This year, I’m most certainly making up for it. This year has seen me travel to Paris in February with planned trips to Rome and Tuscany in June, Spain in July, Yorkshire in August and the grand finale, a trip on the Orient Express, travelling through the Swiss Alps and on to Italy to look forward to in October.

I don’t feel like the woman that started this journey 18 months ago. I certainly don’t look like the woman that began this journey. It’s strange when I see photos of myself from pre-cancer, the woman looking back at me feels like a stranger, but the memories are still there.

However, brighter days are coming.

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