Ealing Woman's Breast Cancer Journey
Catherine Gunnewicht has now finished her radiotherapy treatment
Following on from my breast cancer write up in July, where I was about to start my 4 weeks of radiotherapy, I've now come out the other end and wanted to share those experiences.
Then the burns set in, my nipple and armpit felt like they were in the fiercest pit of hell. There was nothing to ease the pain. My armpit got an extra week of radiation and a few days after the end of treatment, the skin in my armpit started to breakdown leaving raw angry patches which made it difficult to do anything which involved moving my right arm.
The radiology department gave me dressings which did ease the pain and told me I could come back anytime to collect more dressings. The radiographers were all lovely and tried hard to make a very clinical, dehumanising experience a little bit more bearable. It was also an amazing experience to meet fellow cancer patients in the waiting room. The sense of camaraderie was immense and listening to other people's journeys was a truly humbling experience.
What also helped me through the treatment was having a friend or family member come with me and wait with me. What a sense of relief you get when you walk back into the waiting room to go home and there is a friendly face waiting for you. I usually felt a bit dazed and spaced out when I came out of treatment.
But I'm now cancer free and apart from hormone therapy for 5 years and yearly mammograms, I hope, with time, I can close this painful chapter of my life. I've learnt a lot about my coping mechanisms and my limits and that I can overcome challenges. I have also realised that I have many wonderful people around me who supported me every step of the way.
For help and support please visit the Mulberry Centre at the West Middlesex Hospital or Maggies at Charing Cross
I can also recommend Breast Cancer Care for advice and lots of tips.
August 31, 2017