I have had breast cancer twice, the first time I was 34 years old when I was diagnosed. I carry the brca1 gene, which I was screened for when cancer returned after nearly 10 years clear.
After a long discussion with my surgeon and the plastic surgeon who became involved in my care it was decided that a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction with tissue expanders was the best option. I was warned that because of my previous treatment, the fact that I have had radiotherapy, and because I was still smoking at that time, the surgery was high risk. Also, if my body rejected the implant I would still have the option of flap reconstruction which wouldn't be a possibility if that was chosen as the initial surgery didn't work the first time.
Anyway , cut a very long story short, my body rejected the implant which was devastating. I was subsequently referred to the plastic surgeon who had been involved in the planning of my care. He is probably the most highly regarded breast reconstructive surgeon available on the NHS, and I was fortunate to be able to have him as my plastic surgeon because I live in London.
He had lots of ideas about how to treat me using cutting edge dressings and surgeries. It meant me having to stay in hospital, initially for a couple of weeks, possibly 3. I had terrible problems with my healing. I had to have about 10 operations in the space of about 6 months. The first surgery was to clean the wound and use a negative pressure dressing internally which would also clean the wound. I woke up from the surgery and passed out. I can honestly say that I have never experienced pain that I could compare with the amount of pain I was in. I was prescribed about 5 different types of morphine and other painkillers, but I can't express how much pain I was in. I have children and childbirth was a breeze by comparison.
After a couple of days, and no sleep due to the pain, I called my mum who lives in France. She got the first plane available to be with me. She later said that she had never heard me in that much distress, I was literally beside myself and it was a constant battle to get my head together to be able to cope with the pain.
However, my wound still wasn't responding as anticipated, and following many tests and scans I was diagnosed with a hospital acquired infection similar to MRSA. The treatment was iv antibiotics for 3 weeks. Because I am an ex nurse I was able to go home and administer my own medication.
However, nothing was going to plan, and this was no exception. I had an allergic reaction to one of the antibiotics and nearly died.
Moving on to the present day; I haven't been able to return to hospital for follow up appointments, check- ups, or even the counselling I was supposed to have to deal with the trauma.
I am in no doubt that I am experiencing PTSD due my experiences. I have been left with horrendous scarring. I feel like a monster. Have lost my previously huge sex drive. Please help?!