Sam Ewing - My Story

Sam Ewing - My Story

Hello, my name is Samantha Ewing
  I am 53 I live in West Berkshire with my husband Colum, two children James 16 Lily 13 and 2 sausage dogs Coco and Cola.

I was a leading a very happy contented life with my beautiful family.  We were looking forward to emigrating to New Zealand to start a new life with our children who were 10 and 7. Until the day I found a lump in my armpit. It was July 2012, the day my world fell apart. I was in the shower washing my hair as I reached up, I felt a pulling sensation. Initially I could not find anything. After much poking and prodding I found a small lump.

I was referred by my GP to my local hospital Breast care unit.
They performed an ultrasound and mammogram procedure and also a biopsy of the node in my armpit. The results on the day were clear. However, two weeks later the biopsy results came back with a cancer diagnosis. My husband fell apart and broke down in tears. We were devastated!!!

We went home feeling that I had no future, because somewhere there was a cancel lurking and we didn’t know where it was. We had to wait a further seven days for an MRI scan which was the longest and most agonising period of time in our lives. The MRI showed that I had breast cancer Invasive Lobular carcinoma Grade 3 Oestrogen positive node positive.

A further scan followed to determine whether the cancer had metastified to other organs.
Another excruciating time of waiting. Thankfully it had not. Although there were a few nodules in my left lung that were areas of concern, so it was thought that watch and wait was the best way forward. These nodules did not change over the course of 18 months of monitoring and therefore were considered not to be invasive

Three weeks later I started my chemotherapy treatment followed by radiotherapy and a lumpectomy with node clearance. I had my ovaries and tubes removed and was prescribed and oestrogen blockade Arimadex.


My husband and I decided we would not tell our children they were 10 & 7 years old at the time. My husband bought me a real hair wig which I wore for year. We managed to hide it from them, and my friends and family rallied around us. My friends took the children to school every day and my sister came from Spain to run the house and cook.


On my really bad chemo weeks I would go to bed and tell the children that I was feeling poorly and on my better weeks I would try and be as normal as possible. Because our children were young it was easier to hide from them. We did not feel that it was beneficial to tell them and destroy their little world. There was nothing they could do to help. I think protecting them from the trauma of my diagnosis made me stronger and more able to deal with the treatment and the uncertain future we were facing.

My first chemotherapy treatment was tough I developed neutropenia and was hospitalised in isolation for a week. The chemotherapy was given every 3 weeks over 6 months FEC chemotherapy was reduced to 80% after my neutropenia episode and I got through it. The following chemotherapy was Taxol I had 100%. Apart from the burns, the radiotherapy wasn’t too bad. Again, the love and support of my friends and family got me through it. I was prescribed Zoledex which is an implant injection into the stomach each month to prevent the ovaries from producing oestrogen. Because I could not tolerate this, I had my ovaries and tubes removed

A year later I elected to have a double mastectomy at the Royal Marston Hospital London. I had a DIEP flap reconstruction this procedure involves removing all breast tissue dissecting fatty tissue from the lower stomach using two of the main arteries in the stomach to graft the tissue onto the chest with micro vascular surgery it was a 10 hour operation and I was in intensive care for 3 days. For me (I believe) this was an absolute necessity because my lobular breast cancer was not detected on routine screening. Lobular breast cancer is a soft jelly like mass and does not present as a lump, so it is difficult to detect and is not palpable. It also has a higher rate of recurrence.

I have been tested for the Braca 1&2 gene mutations and happily I do not have either so my daughter Lily will not be high risk

I am delighted to say that seven years on I am cancer free and in remission one of the first websites that I discovered was cancer active I have been to all of Chris Woollams’ seminars in Bracknell and I am a member of his website I also belong to several other Facebook Cancer support groups I take Arimadex vitamin D3 and lots of other supplements.
I make sure that I keep up with recent research.
 I try to stay as well as I can. I exercise regularly, stay positive and live my life.
I no longer go to bed with cancer on my mind!!!!

 It’s my past not my future

Someone once said “Put your face to the sun and let the shadows fall behind you “
    
This is my Mantra!!!
 
Thank you for reading! 

Sam
 

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