Sunday 9th July 2017

Wish me luck! Scary times ahead….

Surgery day has come round fast! Good in a way as I’ve been too busy organising my family and home to worry too much. It’s a bit like organising before going away on holiday. But without the excitement, or the beach. I should get lots of rest time but that’s about it. It’s also a bit like being told the world could end in a few days too. It’s a strange feeling. So I’ve been cramming a lot in.

I’ve finished college work for the summer – it’s worked out great timing as I don’t have the guilt of letting people down or having time off work.  So I’ve had these last two weeks to frantically catch up on everything and everyone. I know I say this often but I feel like the luckiest girl ever when it comes to friends and family – near and far, old and new – everyone.  I am so grateful every day for you all and we are going to be needing everyone a lot these coming months of my recovery – thank you all in advance!

It’s been busy here setting up the new business “Better Call Britten”.  For any of you that may have watched Breaking Bad or Better Call Saul will see how we came up with the name.  We are trying to persuade Phil to do an advert so watch this space!  He is getting bookings from friends already but we will start the business properly in September.  Please can everyone share and support us – we still need to eat and pay the mortgage! But so long as he’s smiling then that’s what’s important.

We are lucky enough to have great friends, with parents who have a swimming pool, hot tub, sauna and a lovely garden! Thank you Jane and Andy, (and your mum and dad of course!) – who needs a holiday eh? Check out my beautiful Mermaid Freya! I’m going to miss swimming with her as it’s going to be a long time til I can swim again.

We’ve managed to fit in some strawberry picking too…..

…delicious! love strawberries! and of course we had to test quite a few as we picked…. mmmmmmm!

I’ve been out for some driving practice with Nathan too. He is doing so well! Really impressed and proud of him! Phil will be taking over from now though.

We managed to fit in a Doterra Oil evening to spread the word of these wonderful oils which was great fun.  Tiring for me but worth it.  And needless to say I will be using them a lot to aid my healing and recovery – I will keep you updated on my progress.  Please contact Jennie 07967060236 or Steve Varney 07802450187 while I am busy with my hospital stuff if anyone would like to order or need advice – you can find them via my Facebook too. Or you can go to my link www.mydoterra.com/traceybritten

I’ve been using the oils to help Dillon heal too….Lavender is amazing for dogs! Needless to say he didn’t like the “Cone of Shame”, bless him but he made us all laugh.  He is doing well and his wound is slowly healing, so long as he stops scratching it, naughty puppy.  I’m going to miss our fur babies while I’m in hospital.  Wish they could come and visit me too! Hospitals should have a dog visiting area as dogs = happiness = healing.

I am looking forward to trying this special oil after surgery….

Helichrysum is best known for its restorative properties to the skin. Also referred to as the Everlasting or Immortal Flower.  I’ll be taking in lots of others too……

The whole ward is going to smell devine! I had no idea my interest in natural healing would be so useful! I can honestly say that everything I have ever done in my life is coming together to help me and my family.

Which brings me to another thing people often say……”I suppose you write your blog as therapy for yourself“….. not really……

I started this blog as a way of communicating what was going on with the cancer crap.  I have family and friends all over the place and I didn’t want to put everything on Facebook or email everyone or call. Or put added pressure on myself or my family to have to repeat stuff all the time.  I needed a way to let people know what was happening without things getting distorted, plus I can type faster than I speak! I am seriously super fast! Which means I can type even when I’m really really poorly – even faster with an apple keyboard! I’m a bit pants on my phone though!

But it has now evolved….. yes, it helps me a little, it’s good for my family to have everything written down – like a diary I suppose for reference if ever needed, and it gets the info out there to those of you that are interested and need to know.  I haven’t ever read my past posts – maybe one day but I can’t yet.

But most of all it helps me to know how much I can help so many others – so much I have been through and still to go through can be compared to so many other things.  Doesn’t just have to be all about cancer – it’s so much bigger.  It’s a journey of healing inside and out as naturally and healthily as possible.  Keeping a focus and positive thinking.

I now know that cancer happened to me to enable me to help others even more than I already did, but also to help myself too. So please continue to share.

So back to surgery….. am I worried? of course! I am a worrier anyway! But I am trying to keep busy, be organised and stay calm.  What will be will be and I will do the best I can to get through this.

The NHS food has worried me but luckily I have a wonderful friend who actually works at Broomfield in the catering who is going to help me – for example if I bring in my own sweet potatoes the chef said he can bake them for me etc. It’s all the little stuff that will help me recover – sweet potatoes are amazing for skin cell renewal and repair. Plus I can’t wait to catch up with Clara – see you soon lovely lady. There’s always a positive! I’m hoping to use my resting time to catch up with friends – not sure how coherent I will be but at least I will have some spare time!

We spent an epic day at the hospital on Friday, starting at 8.30am! Questionnaires, medical for pre op (apparently I am a perfect patient!), bloods, heart checks, medical photographs.  Phil even got used for a bit of computer sorting! It always happens! ha ha.

My heart is healthy for surgery, all the swimming and healthy stuff has paid off….

I have to be in on Monday for more meetings and preparations – it’s all been such a rush.  I’ll stay over night ready for surgery all day – about 6 or so hours if all goes well – on the Tuesday.  I will have my phone and I’ll post via Facebook to let you all know I’m ok.  I will also be posting some before, after, healing staged photos under the Medical section if anyone wants to see the gory stuff!

www.battleofbritten.wordpress.com/medical-pictures/

Surgery….

So many of you have been asking me what exactly I’m having done now?? I know, it feels endless to me too. On and on and on. But it’s taken so long as it’s major, it needs organisation and it isn’t to do with the cancer – it’s just the aftermath. It’s like my body has had a major disaster hit and it then takes years to put back together, if ever.

So here goes……

Firstly some of you that have read my blog throughout may remember that 2 years ago I had immediate reconstruction with a strattice implant.  Basically I had a right mastectomy to remove my breast, the cancer and lymph removal, then at the same time I had an implant put in under my muscle and supported by a strattice mesh (instead of using muscle from my back like they used to).

At the time I had lost so much weight from complications with chemotherapy so this meant that I didn’t have options as to what type of surgery I could have – I was too skinny and the cancer had to be removed fast.  Plus this was the surgery that was done at Colchester at the time – all in one.  It was a better option than having a complete mastectomy as it was skin sparing.  Plus although there were risks that radiotherapy could ruin the implant it was worth trying anyway.  What we didn’t know was how my body would react to the implant! No one knew this. Since then I have been in constant pain, which I have got used to living with, but it’s not great believe me!  So basically the Radiotherapy has caused the implant to capsulate, meaning to harden and form scar tissue around the implant, which is only going to worsen in time and distort the implant and cause more pain.  My consultants also think that my body is so sensitive to the implant that it could also be causing the widespread body pain I suffer – fibromyalgia or Implant Illness (where your immune system fights against the foreign body implant).  But we would only know this for sure if the implant was removed.

So I had the decision of do I live with this pain and see how long I can take it knowing it will only get worse? Or do I risk having surgery to remove and replace with a homegrown boob from my tummy tissue.  But this is a huge risk in itself as due to the pain sensitivity I suffer (basically my brain doesn’t turn off the pain sensation very well!), and the fibromyalgia – which may or may not ease? and add on the joint pain, fatigue etc etc bla bla bla…… equals big huge decision as I could be so much worse off – I could end up with boob and tummy pain.  Not to mention all sorts of whatever else could go wrong! But I’m not going there so google that yourselves!

Anyway, with delays in between, finally I have a date for surgery with Dr Matt Griffiths my plastic surgeon…..

He is quite popular in North Essex! Every nurse, secretary, or anyone I meet or speak to seems to totally adore him!  I think this is a good sign! I trust him, he’s got many years experience, he is honest and direct.  No fluffing around. I like him!

Although I haven’t found the exact combination of surgery I will be having online to watch via youtube Mr Griffiths has done in the past with a few patients.  Check out his website for more info if anyone is interested… www.matgriffiths.com.

So this is the man, with his team of course, who is going to be chopping me up on Tuesday…..or re-sculpturing my body….or trying to mend me, whatever way you look at it. This is horror movie stuff – I hate horror movies!

After the removal of the implant, strattice and scar tissue – which in effect is another mastectomy with less blood, I will be having a DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Artery Perforator) surgery to replace – eeeek!

This diagram may help you understand. Basically remove right breast implant, cut chunk of tummy, reposition belly button, sew up, connect tummy blood vessels to chest and sculpt (or stuff out) a boob shape with tummy tissue. Sew up. Ta da!

It’s huge! I’ve been told 6 months recovery to back to normal.  I have 2 months to do this! I need to get back to work in September! But Dr Griffiths has emphasised I must not have any expectations at all.  And I will have quite a few more tweaking operations to follow.  I can do this.

I am really trying to keep positive and focused but I am scared.  There are so many ‘what ifs’ and ‘what could happens’ and the totally unknown.  I have nothing to compare to and I’m doing this voluntarily – sort of.  Am I mad?

I am worried about leaving my family.  I’ve never even been away from them except when I’ve been in hospital! I hate us being apart – we are a team. And now I need to leave again and I don’t like it.

Phil and Nathan are taking everything in their stride.  It helps that Phil is off work – it’s worked out good he was made redundant! Everything happens for a reasons! Although ask me again in 6 months.  Nathan only has a week left of college and both school and college have been really supportive.  But Lewis is not good at the moment – things are getting to him – it’s hard to reassure him.  What you see is not what you get with Lewis – he’s a sensitive soul.  It’s so tough on the kids.  And to top it off Freya and Nathan are both poorly with a rotten cough and cold.  Phil will have to look after them until I can help again – he is amazing and will be fine and I have my mum near to help now too (thanks mum). I love my family x

Please everyone support them – we have a tough time ahead as a family.

So enough about my worries! I am sure you all understand – it’s horrible.  But I am in good hands and everything will be fine.

I hope to have some of my close family and friends visit me so if anyone needs to know I will be at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford on E320 Stock Ward under Mr Matt Griffiths.  Visiting is between 2pm to 8pm but please message or text me first 07817 645486 – no surprises!

Thank you all for your support, kindness and well wishes – I will let you all know how I am as soon as I am able, much love xxx

 

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4 thoughts on “Sunday 9th July 2017

      1. Hi Tracey, you don’t know me but I have been reading your blog for quite some time. Saw first one on Clare Morfins blog. I think you are such a positive, inspirational lady. I wish you all the luck in the world and for your family too. Best wishes Davina xxx

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      2. Dear Davina, thank you so much for reading and sharing. It means a lot to me to be able to help others. It gives me a reason to why I am going through so much. Today has been testing as after all this is looks like my surgery will be cancelled! Will be heading back to hospital tomorrow very early to wait and see. Take care and thank you for such a lovely message xxx

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