Sue’s surgery success

CHEMO OVER: My friend Sarah Vonow from Roxby Downs came with me and Robert for my last chemotherapy in August.
CHEMO OVER: My friend Sarah Vonow from Roxby Downs came with me and Robert for my last chemotherapy in August.

SUE Lawrie shares her story of what life has been like since being diagnosed with stage three breast cancer.

After 20 doses of chemotherapy, two MRIs, three biopsies, 16 blood tests I had my last chemo on August 18.

My husband Robert was with me as was my friend Sarah from Roxby Downs.

Eight days after finishing my chemo I became extremely unwell and I was admitted to the Port Lincoln Hospital.

After days of tests I found out I had influenza B, rhino-virus and I was also neutropenic with dangerously low levels of white blood cells.

The doctors in Port Lincoln contacted my oncologist and decided it was best to keep me in Port Lincoln and get medication sent over from Adelaide. It took me weeks to recover.

I returned to Adelaide to see my medical oncologist on September 8 and he was happy with how I came through the intense chemo regime.

I was told my surgery was set for September 20 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

On September 18, Robert and I met with my surgeon and she told me how they would do the lumpectomy.

She also told us my 22-millimetre tumor had three, 5-centimetre legs. I was devastated to know this.

From my first surgery I have an 8-centimetre incision across my right breast and an 8-centimetre incision under my arm from the sentinel node biopsy.

The pain in my arm from the sentinel node biopsy was unbearable and it took three weeks to come better.

A week later Dr Bingham told me I did not have the all clear and I would need a second surgery.

I was devastated. I did not even think about not getting the results we had been waiting for.

During the second surgery they found no tumor, only scarring.

My surgeon then gave me the great news it had been successful and my results were clear. I was relieved to hear I did not need to more chemo.

A week later we went to see my oncologist who told me my treatment worked far better than expected. I believe participating in the clinical trial had a better outcome for me.

I have to stay on the hormone tablet as part of my long-term treatment and I will also be kept in menopause.

I am still dealing with all the affects of chemo, my fingernails are black and some have fallen off, my toe nails are falling off and I have numb toes.

I am suffering terrible joint and bone pain – a side affect from the hormone tablet.

I started radiotherapy on November 13 and after having my family around during chemo and surgery I am doing the next four weeks of treatment on my own.

Excitingly, 12 weeks post chemo my hair has started to grow back and I have a layer of very fine grey fluff.