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October 27, 2022
We are honoured to share Brogan's story with you all this Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
So many within the Secondary Breast Cancer Community are inspired by Brogan's positivity and the openness of her journey is giving others with Secondaries hope her positivity is endearing.
We are blessed to know Brogan through our involvement with the Cancer Community and we hope Brogan’s Blog informs and provides hope for others.
Brogan was given 3 months to live, and she defies the odds with her recent stable CT scan and the tumours in her liver and neck having disappeared!
Brogan shares, "Please everyone live every day like it's your last and treasure the moments. Make memories and stay positive because mental health is integral in kicking cancer's arse."
Grab a cuppa, or glass of your favourite and read this amazing ladies' share..
Hey, peeps, I am Brogan, @brogan.smashingsecondaries
I am 34 and currently living with secondary breast cancer. My primary diagnosis was in January 2019, stage 3 Her 2 positive breast cancer with 1 lymph node involvement. I had 6 rounds of chemo should have been 7 but decided to have anaphylaxis to FEC. Then mastectomy with lymph clearance and temporary reconstruction, 15 rounds of radiotherapy then 18 cycles of Herceptin and Pertuemab to reduce the risk of reassurance. I had DIEP reconstruction in 2020 as we went into lockdown where I had my healthy breast removed and reconstructed from the fat in my stomach to give more natural-looking breasts.
After my Herceptin and Pertuzemab in October 2020, I was told I was free from Cancer but no scan to confirm.
I started complaining about left-sided rib pain and back pains on November 20 and was told my cancer wouldn't return and to learn to understand my body.
Fast forward to Feb 21 pain was still uncomfortable and I saw my oncologist who notice numbness in my leg and admitted me for an urgent MRI. This was clear so no further investigation but the pain in my side continued.
I returned to work on May 21 and the fatigue was huge even after 4 hours at work I used to cry as my body hurt so much and I would sleep for days afterwards. I found a lump in my neck on June 21 and managed to get face to face appointment with my new oncologist by this time voice had started to change but I thought it was hay fever. He arranged for an ultrasound and chest x-ray still no CT scan as I was too young for so much radiation.
On July 21 I was at work and found myself struggling to breathe thinking it was just the mask and panicking I tried to dismiss it but was sent to ED with my history to get checked out. 3 hours later and after 1 chest x-ray, I was told I had covid lung and to go home and rest. I was so relieved it was the other big C but couldn't understand how I had covid lung and never had covid but hey what did I know?
I went home and was sent to an appointment for my ultrasound which I went for and the sonographer said to me Brogan it doesn't look good and questioned why I was breathless so I explained my covid lung, he checked my previous Xray and asked me if he could arrange a full body CT scan as he wanted to rule out metastasis of my cancer. I went for my scan and knew in my heart it was back I was told to contact my oncologist Monday morning.
I rang his secretary to be told he was off sick but working from home and if the CT scan was urgent, he would have called me so no news was good news. 10 days passed and I was getting progressively worst and couldn't breathe. My mom took me to ED and they said I had covid sepsis, I was sat in a cubicle alone and the consultant came in with a cancer look on his face and said I've looked at your CT scan and I'm sorry your cancer is back and it's advanced, he said looking at your scan I doubt we can offer treatment and predict 2 weeks to live. I sat there alone due to covid, I called my husband and had to tell him his wife was dying over the phone, it was the worst call of my life.
I had 3L of fluid on my left lung, a tumour in my neck, and liver and both lungs were covered in small tumours. Well, I didn't expect that one so in the short form now I was admitted and had 3l fluid drained from my left lung, pleural talc treatment to try and help stop the fluid, lots of steroids and told by my oncology team I could have palliative chemo if I was stable which I wasn’t, and my prognosis was poor 3 months maximum 12.
I finally was a strange version of stable to have palliative chemo 3 cycles of kadcyla causing my cancer to progress to most bones from next to my knees, my lung continued to fill will fluid requiring multiple drainage and chest drains.
Finally, on November 21 I had a heart scan which showed cardiac tamponade and I had emergency heart surgery to remove the fluid from my heart and lungs and insert a permanent pleural drain which I could empty at home.
I used to drain 500mls every 2-3 days at home and we switched chemo to Enherthu. On December 21 I had a strange drainage like a milky substance and when they tested the fluid it had pseudomonus so needed 6 weeks of intravenous antibiotics which I started self-administering at home.
Christmas eve I went for a check-up with the respiratory team and we found my drain was blocked despite attempts to unblock we decided it was time to remove it. Boxing day I felt rotten so went to ED where they found I had Covid and still the infection on my lung so finally it was time to say bye to my chest drain.
This was the point I decided no more hospital admission I wasn't dying anymore and 2022 was for living.
I have stuck to my plan it's now October 22 and I have not had any more admissions. I have my chemotherapy every 3 weeks Enherthu but have decided to live my life.
My recent CT scan was stable and the tumours in my liver and neck have disappeared!
Positive Mental Attitude
I have alternative therapy such as intuitive healing and hyperbaric oxygen therapy which I honestly believe helps me keep a positive mental attitude.
Life is too short to worry about death, so I've decided I need to focus on the living, and I love every second. I have a beautiful daughter who will be 7 in November and an amazing husband whom I've promised another 20 years, and I don't break promises. I hate I had to be told I was dying to learn how to live properly I know the last 18 months have been rough, but I've loved having time with my family.
Please everyone live every day like it's your last and treasure the moments.
Make memories and stay positive because mental health is integral in kicking cancer's arse.
Love Brogan ❤️
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March 09, 2023