All Blue Underlined texts are links to other sites and stuff
I was given a box of Tramadol at the hospital. The only time I had heard of this, I am embarrassed to say, was from Frankie Boyle’s controversial series on Channel 4. An idiot might have thought that for some inexplicable reason, that this somehow made it cool. Although I doubt I would have thought the same if he had called the show Anusol Nights.
Here is some information on Tramys (I don’t know if there is street slang for it.But that sounds sort of right) from Drugs Information Online : “It is used to treat moderate to severe pain. Tramadol extended-release is used to treat moderate to severe chronic pain when treatment is needed around the clock” . Sounds fair enough. I have heard that using it for around a month could cause problems in coming off of it. Thankfully the website also gives advice that I am sure would not occur to anyone. “You should not take this medication if you are allergic to tramadol”. Thanks for that.
The nurse came round to my home most days to keep an eye on me and to check to see if the drain would be ready to be taken off. Some people only have it on for a day or two. It depends how much ‘stuff’ comes out each day.
I was to have it on for 10 days .Which was the maximum that my Consultant would allow.
Tuesday 13th March (6 days after my operation) would be my Mums Funeral. ( See this entry from my blog and then this one ). If the truth be told, I still had not mourned her passing properly and writing this today, I have still yet to. The whole of this year has been so strange, confusing, heartbreaking , that at times I do not know what the hell has happened or is going to happen. The positives are that it has brought the family closer together and that I have gone hell for leather in trying to get more awareness for male breast cancer, starting with this blog but hoping to go further.
I was dreading the funeral so much, that it was actually a relief to go into hospital to have the mastectomy. To me, it was a piece of cake compared to saying goodbye to my Mum. I do know that she would be proud of my attempts at raising awareness for this awful disease.
It was strange being suited and booted at the funeral whilst trying to hide the bottle and tubing of the drain. At one stage I was outside the pub where we all convened afterwards and wondered why some fellow was giving me funny looks, until I realised that the bottle and tubing was on show. I could only stay for about an hour afterwards due to tiredness.
Thursday 15th March, I was to see my Consultant for the assessment of my operation. The letter that was sent to my GP, of which I was given a copy, stated that there would only be a small chance of another operation….
I am sure that you are ahead of me here. Yep, in a year that had experienced my Mum’s passing, being diagnosed with both cancer and diabetes (type 2) and all the fear and uncertainty, not to mention (on a lesser note) the inconveniences that goes with the pair of them, like having to drop out of gigs that the band were playing (of course Leyton Orient were no comfort either, thanks to a late free fall into the relegation zone) The Consultant told me that one of three lymph glands was found to have cancer and I would need another operation on 11th April. I asked if this was serious, I was told that it was precautionary. I realised that I would now probably have to have Chemo or radiotherapy, but Sod IT. If it gets rid of the bugger, then I am all for it and I told him so. I did have the hope that it would all have been over, but at least they discovered it and would deal with it.
I still had a rather large dressing on my chest and under my arm. The nurse had changed it once at home , taking the main dressing off slowly. Being a bloke, as I looked down at the stitches I felt a bit faint. I thought I had hidden this well until the nurse ask me if I wanted to sit down It must have been the shaking and turning pale that gave it away. The nurse then re dressed the wound.
Drain and dressing (that your poor old Grandad had to sweat to buy)
The Consultant had decided that it would be better if the main dressing was taken off and left to heal on its own. Without any ceremony he ripped the bugger off in about a second. It was the best thing to do, to be honest and the pain was as brief as the life expectancy of a bit part actor that gets beamed down in Star Trek wearing a red shirt. The noise of the dressing coming off of my skin was something else. It even shocked Sarah the breast care nurse, who seemed to be laughing nervously. I realised afterwards that Sarah would not have seen this happen before as there have only been 3 cases of male breast cancer in the last 3/4 years at the QE. Anyway I found the whole thing funny.
After the ripping off of the dressing.
The main advantage (if there is such a thing) about being a bloke with BC, is that when you contact anyone involved in BC for a second time and say your name, they usually know who you are as there are very few of us about.
There are obvious disadvantages as well. Most of the literature and groups are female friendly. For example: I was invited to go to Queen Mary’s at Sidcup for their Well Being Clinic . The letter stated that the clinic would accommodate around 12 women. There were discussions and promoting of understanding of post-op recovery. I declined to go, as I felt that my needs were totally different to that of women and to be honest women’s post op mastectomies would be a hell lot more traumatic than mine.
But I do not blame anyone for this. I cannot go to a male version if there are no other males in the same area with BC. There is an organisation called Maggies Cancer Caring Centres all over the country and I will be going to the one at Charring Cross very soon. I have heard good things about them.
I was given an excellent DVD at The QE by The Breast Cancer Care which features exercise programmes for people who have had treatment for breast cancer. The programmes aim to help you regain arm and shoulder movement after surgery and/or radiotherapy, and improve your overall fitness..
More info and how to obtain a copy here can be found on this link BCC . The one thing that it lacks is a man contributing to the exercises, but again, we are few and far between!
While I have been writing this, through the night (lack of sleep seems a problem lately) I found a forum by Breast Cancer Care where I have found fellow male sufferers.
It may seem strange to some, but there is a massive bond with everyone I have spoken to in person, on the phone or online who has had or has BC , not to mention those that care for us.
Love and Peace
And keeping with The Star Trek theme….