I had found two lumps but, after a mammogram and ultrasound, the doctor said they looked like hormonal cysts. I decided to have surgery to correct my inverted nipple, and they found that my two hormonal cysts were in fact cancer. I then had my breast removed along with 14 lymph nodes with one infected.
After the mastectomy, I was in a lot of pain as the wound had been stitched up tight and firm. I took strong Panadol every four hours for two months.
A few years later, a mammogram picked up a tiny spot. I was told it was precancer, so I had the other breast removed. After the surgery I was in a lot of pain and resumed taking strong Panadol every four hours. Exercising my arm also helped. I would stretch my arm regularly, pointing my fingers to the stars, and gradually it became easier to move my arm. I also attended a breast cancer support group, and this was a good way to share the emotional pain with people who had been through the same experience. Losing a breast is like losing your womanhood; I felt disfigured and needed time to heal emotionally.
To help with the pain of the implant, I was given Panadeine Forte®, but this made me feel not connected to the world. I was then given tramadol, but this made me feel dizzy. As these didn’t agree with me I took strong Panadol for a while.
After the surgery and the implant, I developed lymphoedema. The swelling was painful but I saw a physiotherapist and he massaged my arm. I did this every week for a couple of months and this really helped.
The combination of Panadol, massage and being with my breast group has helped me cope with pain during my breast cancer diagnosis.