I have decided to end my ‘battle’ with breast cancer 19



View Profile

“I have decided to end my ‘battle’ with breast cancer. Now, don’t get too alarmed – I’m not about to top myself. I’ve just decided that me, and my body, have done all we are capable of in dealing with this disease.

It all started in late 2014 when, by chance, I felt a small lump in my right breast. Blood tests, ultrasounds, biopsies all confirmed that I had cancer. I had a lumpectomy and removal of the sentinel lymph node; pathology was good – cancer was confined to the lump. 16 consecutive days of radiation followed and then 5 years of hormone therapy was recommended. Well, the radiation left my breast looking and feeling like an under ripe rockmelon; the hormone therapy resulted in the recurrence of ‘hot flushes’ and joint pain, and thanks to both treatments, an overwhelming feeling of constant ‘tiredness’. After 4 months, I gave the hormone therapy the ‘flick’ as it was making the ‘daily grind’ even harder.

In July 2015, I broke my ankle – now that didn’t help the ’cause’; and in early December, during a follow up ultra sound and mammogram, another malignant lump was found – this time in my left breast. Given the radiation damage to my other breast, a mastectomy was recommended and carried out on the 22nd December, 2015. The pathology (plus full body CT and bone scans) was the same: follow up treatment was trying a different hormone therapy. Two weeks down the track the hot flushes were back; joint pain, vaginal thrush and pain in my right kidney area that had me calling an after hours doctor!

Now, it has to be said, before the cancer ‘trip’, I already had enough to contend with. Three bulging discs in my lower back; sleep apnoea; COPD (oh, let’s not forget the second bout of ‘treatment resistant, severe clinical depression’ that occurred in late 2008).

At this point in time, I have come to the conclusion that, in terms of the cancer, I’ve done my bit! My immediate priority is maintaining my ‘mental’ health; accepting that cancer will no doubt get me in the end (as none of the treatments are a ‘cure’) as it’s likely it will metastasise elsewhere in my body. Up until I made the decision to ‘end’ my battle with cancer, I felt like I was just ‘waiting to die’ and that’s not a nice feeling. Now, I will just continue my life (in whatever incapacitating, ageing process that may take); enjoy the good times with family and friends; and hope like hell that the government passes a Bill on voluntary euthanasia!

Have you ever felt like Sue?

Susan Leighton

  1. I don’t think any of us really know what we would do, faced with your situation. A lot of say we would or wouldnt have differing treatments when we dont have that decision to make. You have. Having endured the treatment, you have made your choice. Based on your prognosis, you obviously want to enjoy every day. Who could argue with that. The treatments are tough and I dont think, if I was in your shoes, I would want the effects overtaking my ability to have a better quality of life. I hope every day is a blessing and you go to bed at night pleased with your day. That would be the kind of pill I’d like.

  2. What a great place you’ve come to….had a friend who called her cancer…..a journey not knowing where I will end up….I have no idea what my thoughts would be in my case

  3. Twenty seven years ago the diagnosis of breast cancer left me feeling devastated, lumpectomy followed, then five weeks of radiation ending the same day as my first granddaughter was born. I had an amazing job and an even more amazing boss who made sure I was looked after properly as I would go every day for radiation therapy and return to the office for work. Medication and proper care by my Medical Practitioners saw me feeling confident for many years, however just when I was not giving breast cancer a thought, after 14 years it returned in the same breast. Mastectomy followed by reconstruction at the same time saw me back at work just three weeks later. By then I was 62 years old and decided I would continue working for at least another year which turned into three , now retired and still cancer free after 13 years.

  4. I was diagnosed with breast cancer on 4th January this year(2016) I had a mastectomy of my right breast and had 16 nodes taken out from under my arm, I think 2 had cancer cells… next I had a full body scan and other tests which indicated that there seemed to be no cancer anywhere else…. I am about to have my 2nd lot of chemo (Friday 8th) and so far I have not had any serious side effects just some mouth ulcers which thankfully cleared up after using sm33.
    At this point I have to say I have not seriously given much thought to my cancer as I am a great believer in not worrying about things I have no control over. I was devastated when I first heard the news but that only lasted a day or two and then I got down to the business of dealing with it!
    I feel tired a lot and sometimes crave sweet things which isn’t good when you have diabetes but it is all part and parcel of this unwanted visitor to my body!
    I lost both my younger sister and my mother to 2 different types of cancers and honestly I think had they been diagnosed correctly and earlier they too may have overcome and survived….
    I am very positive about things and feel that NOT dwelling on the ‘what ifs’ and concentrating on NOW helps me to remain focused on myself and gives me a better perspective….

    2 REPLY
    • I was diagnosed in 1984 when I was 37 years old and had 5 young children, the youngest with leukaemia. I think that was what saved me as I had my surgery and just came home and got on with making school lunches and taking my son to the children’s hospital. In those days if your lymph nodes were clear you did not get chemo or radiation. Sadly the baby passed away later that year but slowly I recovered and the breast cancer has not returned and that is 32 years ago! Stay positive and good luck!

    • Don’t own the cancer Orit may well own you. Not to be pesamest but remember that chemo doesn’t cross the blood brain barrier so watch your brain. My friend didn’t know and she’s now dead. Keep positive and search out alternatives eg hemp oil

  5. Prayers of strength and heart-peace on your journey, Sue.

    When lumps were found in my left breast years ago, I immediately prepared for double mastectomy, but was not necessary, as the lumps were benign. I intended to rid myself of the most risk asap.

    However, in the last 5 years I have had head and neck cancer surgery twice with wrist grafts and veins patching my mouth, 30 sessions of radiotherapy, right tonsil removed (benign), badly smashed left humerus from a fall, major abdominal surgery due to large fluid filled cyst (benign) and a total left hip replacement from an accident in a boat caused by another boat. All has left me with severe chronic pain, but I will still do everything I can to stay alive as long as I can at this stage.

    Kudos to Medicare and Australia’s health system to get me this far so well!

  6. Hello Sue. Diagnosed Feb 14 Valentines Day 2014. Had Lobular Tumour followed by Masectomy then treatment of Chemo which I had terrible side affects from & then radiation. Still feel very tired joints ache something terrible but go on regardless. I do get down but pick myself up again when I hear of what other people go through. Yes life is tough & we all battle on in our own way. Love to you Sue😇❤️

  7. Google Profesor Jane Plante’s book on breast cancer. A very interesting read.

  8. Sue, you are an amazing person. Reading your post just ‘blew me away’, and I hope when the time comes for me, that I can do this also. I realise my medical issues are not as bad as yours but I had decided months ago to end my life when I know that I would be a burden to my darling husband and our son and daughter. I just hope I will know when the time is right to do this. I will be 60 in July and I have always believed I will not see 70. Sue you are an inspiration and I will be passing your story on to as many people as I can.

  9. Sue. My wife was given 6 weeks to live ; due to a cancer they did not know much about. My wifes response was, ” I havent got time to die just yet! ” That was 26 years ago. Positive thinking and a purpose can get you a long way. It sounds like your treatment would be more debilitating than without it. Enjoy life.

  10. Due I hope you’ve checked out other treatments such as hemp oil. I keep hoping for legalised euthanasia. We’re kinder to our animals in this area. I’m a retired registered nurse and I’ve seen too much pain suffering and experimentation and very little real help for those suffering.
    I have a form of breast cancer that’s too early to do other than cut here and there after I find the LCIS by self funded MRI. As I’m over 50 I have to pay for them myself $500 s time.
    Sometimes I wish I didn’t have breasts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *