The Follow Up Appointment

March 19, 2024


So we managed to get Christmas Day out of the way without letting slip that cancer decided to visit. There’s a time and a place for that kind of news, and Christmas is not it. I just wanted a day when things were happy, everyone was drinking and I wasn’t getting looked at like a horse that was about to be shot dead. We were due back at the hospital on 27th December. That was the day when we’d find out what treatment I’d be having, what exactly the cancer was that I had, blah blah blah. This was the nitty gritty appointment. The one where you certainly need someone with you as the information is just going to get thrown at you! I was told that it was HER2+ Breast Cancer. If you don’t know what that means, just like I didn’t, here’s a little breakdown for you. From Google: “HER2 positive breast cancer is a breast cancer that tests positive for a protein called Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER2). This protein promotes the growth of cancer cells. In about 1 of every 5 breast cancers, the cancer cells have extra copies of the gene that makes the HER2 protein”. So to give you the dumbed down version, when a breast cancer cell is HER2 positive, this means that the breast tissue has extra HER2 receptors which means that the breast cells can multiply quickly. The growth may become uncontrolled and lead to a tumour. Being HER2 positive means that the cancer can grow quicker, spread more easily and have a higher chance of recurring. 

So we were dealing with a bit of an aggressive cancer here, which means that they didn’t really want to hang around with starting my treatment. I felt an immense guilt when they told me that because of my age and my chance of surviving this that I’d be “pushed to the top of the list”. Basically, someone else just got their treatment delayed because I was more important than them to treat. I felt horrible. I had no control over this. The hospital decides everything for you, and I know that they wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t necessary, but the thought that someone’s loved one just got their treatment delayed because I was deemed more important just killed me. I’d be raging if that was someone that I loved that had just been pushed down the list. As I said in my last post, this journey is brutal, every aspect of it (in the beginning anyway!) 

Guilt feeling swiftly pushed to one side, it was time to talk about the course of treatment. The obvious was said, Chemotherapy. They told me the names of the drugs I’d be on. It went in one ear and out the other very fast. There was no way I was gong to remember them. Don’t worry though, you get given heaps of bits of paper and leaflets about your treatment, so if there’s anything you’ve forgotten, you’ll have it written down somewhere. Also a side note, you’ll have a Clinical Nurse assigned to you. They’ll be your go to if you have any questions or need something explained. They’re absolute angels! Jayne is mine. I was then told that I’d be undergoing Radiotherapy and will also have at least one mastectomy (tests would be needed to find out if I needed a double one instead). 

Something that neither me or my partner had even thought about though was fertility treatment. The Dr asked us “if we had any children”? “No”. “Would we like to have children/ had we planned on it”? “Yes”. “Right” she said, “you’ll have to be referred to a fertility clinic to undergo treatment to preserve your eggs then before you start chemo”. Erm, huh?

Yes, according to the hospital, chemo is that strong that it could kill your reproductive system, or mainly just kill my eggs. I hadn’t even thought of that. I was so focused on my head looking like an egg, I hadn’t really thought about my actual eggs that chemo was going to affect! So straight away, she was setting up my treatment with another hospital so that I could start my process of popping out some future Helen’s. I’ll go into detail about this in a later post, but cue a completely crazy next couple of weeks!

The hardest thing was next on the list. It was time to start telling those close to me that I have cancer. Fuuuuuck! 


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ABOUT helen

At home nearest good company. Ever-focused on the experiences my job brings me. 

I know that this will sound so clichè to say, but I really do love my job. I live for it!! They say you should do things that make you happy, and honestly, knowing that the photos I capture can bring others such joy, that makes me complete.
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