Saturday, September 7, 2013

P1: My Breast Cancer Journey - Phyllodes Tumour

I have really struggled whether or not to share my story.  But if it helps one woman / friend / family member to through an experience, it's worth it!

Not only that, I have found writing email updates to my friends and family through this journey has been extremely cathartic.  So blogging about will help even more!

Overview of my Story

Three years ago I found a lump, which they diagnosed as a common benign fluid-filled tumour.  It then grew to the size of an egg. 

They took it out February this year and they discovered it was this rare type of breast cancer called a Phyllodes Tumour. 

They went back in to excise area to get clear margins in May.  Unsuccessful. 

They wanted to do the same again, but I asked for mastectomy.  I received it a week later in June (on the last day of my kid's school).  I enjoyed the summer and recovered.  Sure glad I asked for mastectomy - the tumour grew throughout the breast!  I have clear margins of 0.4 cm on the chest wall. 

Now I'm in the reconstruction stage, with a spacer and two more surgeries to go.

What is a Phyllodes Tumor?  A really rare form of breast cancer.

Phyllodes tumours account for <1% of breast tumours and effect like 1 in 2 million women.  Rare. 

It's a tumor of the connective tissue versus the ducts (the majority of breast cancer) and is classified in three ways - benign, borderline or malignant. 

In fact it was shown under the category of benign tumours on the breast cancer poster in my doctor's office.  That's because only about 30% of phyllodes tumours are borderline or malignant -- like mine.

It grows extremely fast (some women had massive tumours within 2 weeks) and will return within a couple of years if not all the cells are removed.  Borderline tumours are likely to turn malignant.

Chemo doesn't work on this type of tumour and there is still some discussion on whether, and when, radiation is successful. 

Surgical removal is the solution in most cases, with possible radiation if clear margins are not obtained on the chest wall.

Coming Up

I will write in more detail about each stage in later postings.  Hopefully this will help those in similar circumstance. 

Please note this is my experience, and I am not a medical professional.  Please seek the guidance of your doctor for your situation.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Thank You Gift for a Great Neighbour

My neighbour is doing a massive house clean-out now that school is upon us.  She received several bins of fabric of her grandmothers, but doesn't have the time to sew she asked if I was fabric.  Uh yeah! 

To thank her for her generosity, I got her and the kids to pick out tissue holders.  I took a chance on what the husband may like - couldn't leave him out!

So I helped her sort it out.  A pile to donate to a local non-profit Cloth for Kids who make clothing for in-need kids in Saskatoon, a pile I was interested in, and a final pile that was neither.  I posted the last pile on Kijiji for free and it was gone in 5 minutes.  Easy.  Here's a sampling of what went for free.


Now I have many new pieces to add to my costume fabric stash and have enough trim to tie up my children until Halloween!  And there may be a piece or two for new clothes for me in there (yippee). The bag was full to the brim (I've already got some washing) and the trims are so perfect for kids stuff.



Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Denim dress | Sil 4300

This is a long overdue post of a much loved dress.  My dear husband bought me the fabric at our local fabric boutique, Unique Textiles, as a Christmas gift for me.  It's a nice, almost shirt-weight denim that has some drape.  I have worn this dress so many time since finishing in January, I've lost count!

When I was in the UK last summer I saw this cute dress in Whistles in Bath with my friend Michelle. I loved the smart yet relaxed air about it. Then we went to another shop and saw a non-denim version in the same shape. I've since seen many in magazines etc.


I looked through my patterns and realized it was the Silhouette pattern 4300 without the bottom front and neckline lowered (for my body shape especially).

Birthday Gift | Monique (+ Mum)

My best friend's daughter, M, turned 19 this March and I wanted to do something a bit fun.  Yes, I know I'm a bit late doing this post, more on that later.
I sewed up this zip bag (got the idea from one of my favourite blogs, Noodlehead.  She has a great tutorial on how to make different sizes.  I made a matching tissue holder.  Thought this would be a good 'set' for travelling considering M was going to France this summer.
Oh and I put in my favourite Gin into the bag for a giggle.  I was asked if it was from London and I said yes, but I purchased it at the LBS (liquor board store for those not in SK)!

I love the photo of my daughter and Monique - they are so sweet together. 
Of course they are personalized...I wouldn't want her mum pinching her bag and tissue holder!


Which brings me to the gift I gave to her mum a few days later.  Guess it's just the right size for make-up brushes!  I lined this one with remnants of her napkin gift given last year. 

The fabric are spare pieces from the quilt I made from my bed, from Prairie Chicks in Hague (soon to be Warman, which my pocketbook is dreading as it's much closer to my house.)