About teddybearwannabe – who is this muppet????

Name: Vicki, or Victoria, though I do answer to several other things as well, oy you being one of them.
Age: 52 and counting
Nationality: British
Where I live: the New Forest in Hampshire (south central coast of Great Britain)
Work: Administrator at a local Tertiary College (mainly 16 – 19 year olds)
Coming back as: a pampered Teddy Bear

Medical history:

May 2002 – sub-total hysterectomy.  Told by registrar that tests showed I might have cancer.  The marker that showed up is also a marker for breast cancer.  Repeated this to various doctors over the years along with the information that my mother had breast cancer when she was about 54 but no one was interested until …

August 2007 – realised I had a lump in my left breast.

September 2007 – Diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer and had a left mastectomy on 18 September.

October 207 – Started adjuvant chemo as part of a trial – Epirubicin followed by Xeloda

January 2008 – Finally got the hospital to take an x-ray of right hip November 2007 which was finally viewed by the oncologist on 18 January 2008 and as a consequence admitted from chemo clinic to orthopaedics for a total hip replacement on 22 Januray 2008 due to damage caused by a 4″ x 2″ metastatic tumour that had almost destroyed the hip.

February 2008 – started the ZICE trial comparing Zoledronic Acid (aka Zometa) an i.v. bone strengthener to Ibandronate, a tablet form.  I drew
the Zoledronic Acid and still on this as of July 2012.  Also started Tamoxifen.

July 2008 – x-ray of left knee showed that tumour in femur near the knee had grown slightly.

August 2008 – found Jane Plant’s book ‘Your Life in Your Hands’ in my local library and decided to cut out dairy, red meat and go vegan-ish.

February 2009 – finally had rescan which showed all tumours were improved and the one above left knee was no longer detectable.

April 2009 – second opinion at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London but as I was doing so well on the Plant Programme decided to stay on the Zoledronic Acid but changed to Letrozole (Femara) as the Marsden recommended, because of hysterectomy in 2002.  However declined to start on Taxol with Herceptin although my cancer is HER2+ and ER+.  Change of diet seems to be working so why muck up a good thing with cytotoxic poisons?

December 2011 – Left total hip replacement, nor directly due to cancer.  I was born with a slightly deformed hip which then developed osteoarthritis and got to the point where it was bone on bone articulation as the cartilage was gone.  Result – legs the same length again (took a bit of getting used to that, I can tell you) and BIG drop in pain levels.

February 2012 – infection at LTHR site and spent two weeks on i.v. antibiotics in Poole General Hospital.  Spent another birthday in hospital :O( but got a great view of Poole harbour and read 7 books while I was in there.  Also the staff produced a birthday cake and balloons as a surprise!  PICC line put in due to failed canulas and lack of good veins to access.

March 2012 – infection in PICC line so spent 5 days in Southampton General Hospital on i.v. antibiotics :O(((  Had a CT scan while I was there which showed a possible progression of my cancer.

June 2012 – finally found out that cancer is not progressing after two more scans, and I have even managed to get rid of some kidney stones naturally (ouch).

14 July 2012 – held an Olympic Torch when the flame came to the place where I work.  http://youtu.be/TEPGHDIPmYQ

3 Comments

  1. My mother had breast cancer when she was about 53 had a mastectomy, no chemo and no radiotherapy. She died 15 years later of something completely unrelated so it could be said that she was cured. When I was 42 years old I had a hysterectomy and tests showed that I might have cancer, but because the tissue removed was not cancerous the hospital chose to ignore these results: the marker they detected was also a marker for breast cancer. Eventually in September 2007 I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the same hospital and even then, in answer to the surgeon’s question, they ignored my comments about pain in my hip and shoulder and decided that because my lymph nodes were clear that I was Stage II and had an 80% chance of being alive in 10 years time. So I started adjuvant chemo as part of a trial, but my hip continued to deteriorate. In January 2008 they finally investigated the problem, which by then was so bad I was not allowed to leave the hospital and had a total hip replacement a few days later after further tests. I was told I had Metastatic Breast Cancer, and I had six months to a year to live; then one to two years; then two to three, but nearly five years later I am still here and working to earn a living.
    Learning to live with this diagnosis has been a long, hard journey, but ultimately it has been a rewarding one because it has made me face many memories and fears and learn to live for this moment in which I am alive. That is not to say that I don’t get depressed but that I am better able to deal with it.
    I changed my diet to dairy free, no red meat in August 2008 and started to take supplements which I had researched. Since then I have had no progression although my only treatment is Letrozole (Femara) and Zoledronic Acid (Zometa). All tumours have diminished in this time and one can no longer be detected. I had to go out and find hope because conventional medicine only gave me false hopelessness. We each have our own path to follow but it must be the path of our choosing. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction has also given me the tools to navigate my chosen path and give me control of my life.

  2. Thank you so much for this blog. It is inspiring that you are doing so well, although you might have a different perspective. I have metastatic ovarian cancer. Not an easy journey, eh.

    warmly, marcy
    http://livinglydying.com

    • We are different, but we are one. More attention needs to be focused on metastatic cancer of any type. I hope your journey is good for you at the moment. Sometimes I think the mental side of it all is the hardest part. Thanks for the comment. Vicki xxx

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