"My breast cancer was diagnosed in January 2012. I..."

About: Pilgrim Hospital

My breast cancer was diagnosed in January 2012. I was recalled to the breast unit following a Screening Mammogram in December 2011, It was then arranged for me to have a biopsy. I was then told that I had Intermediate Grade Ductal Carcinoma, when I asked what the treatment was, the doctor then said in a matter of fact way that I would have to have a Skin Sparing Mastectomy that is when the shock set in and I became very upset. I was consoled by husband and the breast care nurse, after coming to terms with this it was then explained to me why I had to have this surgery, as it would in fact save my life. An appointment was arranged for me to see the doctor who discussed the surgery with me, and also about reconstruction. I felt quite at ease and very comfortable with the doctor. Everything from the pre op assessment and preparing for surgery was dealt with efficiently and in a caring and friendly manner by the Breast Care Nurse. On the day of my surgery I was feeling quite nervous, but I was put at ease by all the staff involved from the Theater Porters, the Anesthetist to the Operating Staff, Surgeon and Nurses. After surgery it felt quite strange having no right breast I felt like I had lost something. When I was told by the doctor that the cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes and would not need any further treatment, I then realised how lucky I was that I had only lost my right breast and not my life. I chose not to have reconstruction at this time, but I was told by the doctor to take my time and when I was ready this could be done at a later date, this reassured me that this could be done when I felt the time was right. Overall from first being diagnosed with cancer to my mastectomy everything was dealt with very efficiently and all the staff involved were very caring. In November 2013, 19 months after my mastectomy I decided to have delayed reconstruction. I contacted the Breast Care Nurse who arranged an appointment within 2 weeks. At the appointment with the doctor we discussed the different types of reconstruction, but I chose to have the Expander Implant with Strattice. Surgery, which was then arranged for after Christmas 2013 in mid January 2014. Before my operation I was seen by the doctors who measured me for my implant, I felt quite comfortable and very at ease with both doctors. Once again before and after my reconstruction surgery I was put at ease by all staff involved from the Theater Porters, Anesthetist, Operating Staff, Nurses and the Surgeon. Having now had my reconstruction operation I am very pleased with the results. The doctor had now left the Pilgrim Hospital, but I would like to thank her for her care and help in my reconstruction. I am still under the of the care of the doctor who did my reconstruction surgery, and would like to say he is a very caring doctor, who has dealt with me with care and in a very friendly manner. He also makes me laugh while I am having my treatment. I would just like to say well done to the doctor on winning his award this year for Compassion & Respect Towards Others it was well deserved.

Story from NHS Choices

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››