Information for women about breast cancer + breast cancer diagnostics:
All the Feels: The Breast Cancer Biopsy
My breast cancer timeline goes like this:
November 14, 2016 – found a lump, went to family physician
November 23, 2016 – mammogram
December 13, 2016 – ultrasound
January 31, 2017 – two biopsies
February 6, 2017 – Diagnosis Day
February 21, 2017 – surgery (partial mastectomy, biopsy, sentinel nodes removed)
March 8, 2017 – pathology back – lymph nodes clean, other biopsy benign, tumour removed with clean margins.
April 4, 2017 – treatment plan set. Radiation and hormone therapy only – no chemotherapy. Started Tamoxifen.
April 18, 2017 – meeting with radiation oncologist
May 2, 2017 – CT Scan to determine radiation schedule
May 12 – June 9 – 20 bouts of radiation treatment
September 2017 – Stopped Tamoxifen
December 2017 – endured two mammograms + one ultrasound as my first follow-up diagnostics since treatment ended.
January 4, 2018 – my scans were clean, but they are monitoring another ‘suspicious’ site, so I’m back in six months for more scans.
Ongoing – struggle to recover + heal – physically, mentally and emotionally.
These are my essays about my patient experience having cancer:
The Grace Period – the long and winding road to diagnosis
Number 51 – the patient experience + breast cancer surgery
How the Little Stuff is the Big Stuff – talking about my experiences with physicians
Susan Gets Radiated – my first awful radiation treatment
I am a Patient and I have had an Experience – what if patient ‘complaints’ are just constructive feedback for hospitals to improve?
An Open Letter to Radiation Therapists – the letter I shared with my Radiation Therapists on my last day of treatment
The Gentle Hearts Will Heal Us in the End – my lovely oncologist experience.
Cancer isn’t a Competition – the pecking order of cancer.
Once I Ate a Doughnut – about cancer and lifestyle and patient blaming.
The Affronts to My Human Body – what cancer treatment does to you.
The Radiation Therapist and the The Patient – an article I wrote with Amanda Bolderston.
The Tale of Two Appointments – my experiences with diagnostic imaging.
There’s Not One Right Way to do Cancer – waxing poetic about my love of Audre Lorde’s writing.
Advocate Me – an essay about being a pretty good Mama Bear, but failing as a self-advocate.