Ingrid was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, aged 58. She had a mastectomy with immediate LD flap reconstruction. She also had chemotherapy, radiotherapy and Arimidex. During chemotherapy, Ingrid had a bi-lateral pulmonary embolism.
Ingrid found a lump in her breast when showering. She saw her GP immediately and was referred to a consultant. She was diagnosed with breast cancer, aged 58, and had a mastectomy with an immediate LD flap reconstruction. This involves moving a large muscle and some overlying fat and skin from the back of the body to make a new breast. Her surgeon was able to retain her nipples. Ingrid later had chemotherapy and, shortly afterwards, radiotherapy.
Chemotherapy was a very difficult time because Ingrid had severe diarrhoea, nausea and felt extremely tired. Some days having a shower was exhausting. On the days she felt well, Ingrid found she often did too much and could do very little the days following. She also had two emergency admissions to hospital, the first one because of a bi-lateral pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lung). Ingrid said she was happy with the care she received from her GP, consultant and the emergency services. However, she found that the nursing care varied. Her needs as a patient who was unable to do much for herself and basic hygiene were often overlooked.
Ingrid said radiotherapy was a breeze’ compared to chemotherapy. She was also prescribed Arimidex and had some nausea and hot flushes at first. She still often has joint pain in the mornings.
Ingrid had no problems with her surgery and was happy with her reconstruction. After having radiotherapy, though, she has had discomfort in her shoulder, though fortunately has not had lymphoedema. She now visits a physiotherapist, where she receives lymph drainage treatment, which she has found helpful.
Ingrid said that, before she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she’d had mobility problems and had had a hip replacement. She was aiming to have a second hip replacement operation when she was diagnosed with cancer. She’d also had knee problems, all of which made her experience more complex.
Ingrid had a lot of support from her husband, family, friends and colleagues. Going back to work was very important to her as it was an integral part of her identity. With hindsight, Ingrid wished she’d been told that it could take two to three years to recover, which was longer than she’d expected.