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What learning curve?

21 July 2015
As a breast surgeon, breaking bad news is fairly common, sadly, and although it takes a lot out of me, it is something I enjoy doing. I know that I do it well, and most of the time, I can get a little hint of a smile from my patients and their families before I leave them with the breast care nurses to pick up the pieces.
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The waiting game

24 July 2015
At that moment my consultant came in, and then there were 3 of us that knew. I then needed to have a biopsy. Now I do biopsies in clinic, and I was suddenly nervous. I tell my patients that the local anaesthetic feels like a nettle sting, that lasts for a few seconds. I then say that they might feel some pushing and pulling, but it shouldn’t hurt. I’ve never had local or a biopsy. What if I’d been lying to my patients all these years?
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The aftermath

29 July 2015
Dermot and I drove home and rang our families. For me, it was a very surreal experience when I spoke to my parents in Scotland. It felt like I was talking to relatives about a patient, and not about me. They were shocked (to say the least), especially when I said that I would have chemotherapy first, which is always a scary word.
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Information overload

29 July 2015
On Wednesday morning, Dermot and I went to the Breast Unit to see my consultant, with all the results after the MDT discussion. This was a really nervous time for me, as I knew how bad things could be, depending on the various scan and receptor results.
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Chemo cycle 1

31 July 2015

This was the day I was really apprehensive about. In hindsight there were a lot of questions I should have asked, either at the time of the oncology appointment 2 days before, or by ringing the specialist nurse yesterday. But there’s a bit of me that didn’t want to bother anyone. I’d done a lot of reading on the internet about what to take to chemotherapy and how long to expect to be there, and thought it was enough.
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