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Val Armstrong's Breast Cancer Diary

Val Armstrong
Val Armstrong
BBC Radio Cumbria

On 7 July I was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time.

The decision was made that the right breast would be removed now, the left breast will be removed in time.

This is a record of my time between finishing work on 1 August 2010… until my return at some point in the future.

Saturday 23 April 2011

Biker girls counting money they had  collected in Keswick
Biker girls counting money they had collected in Keswick

Came home from hospital today but not until my drains and cannula had been removed and my dressing changed.

It was so painful having the drains taken out - I think I swore during the process.

It's lovely to be home and am looking forward to getting into my own bed tonight.

Have been visited this afternoon by some of the biker girls I'm planning to go on the charity run with at the end of next month.

They've been in Keswick doing a street collection today and nipped in to see how I was on their way back home to Wigton, Scotland and Middlesbrough.

Sunday 24 April - Easter Sunday

Had an uncomfortable night last night.

I can't sleep on my right or left side because it's too painful, so have to sleep on my back, which is unnatural to me.

As a result I spent much of the night awake and staring at the ceiling.

Never mind.

My day has been boosted because I can officially tuck into my Easter Eggs.

Luckily for me the Easter Bunny has been very generous. And remember because the chocolate was given to me as a gift it contains no calories… well in my world it doesn't.

Monday 25 April

Went no where and did relatively nothing today because I'm tired.

I think the events of the past week have finally caught up with me.

My scar is very sore and am having difficulty doing the simplest of tasks without it hurting.

Even getting dressed is a chore and getting up off the couch is a slow painful process.

For some reason these effects feel different to those I had with the first mastectomy.

Tuesday 26 April


I reached for something that was falling to the ground this morning and really hurt myself. I just forgot.

Since then my scar has been throbbing like a rotten tooth.

I also realised today that driving is a bit of a problem. I had to take my old cat to the vet for his regular steroid injection but found out before I got to the end of my road that it was going to be a tricky journey.

I felt every bump through my scar which almost had me in tears by the time I'd reached my destination, and dreading the journey home.

I made it home safe and sound but had to take more painkillers to numb the area.

Wednesday 27 April

Have been at my breast care support group meeting tonight.

It was decided that one of the other girls and I will lead the group from now on.

The two ladies who've been running it for the past 22 years are retiring and are passing the baton onto us.

They leave a great legacy of a healthy, well attended group. I just hope I can carry on their good work.

The ladies were surprised to see me there so soon after my operation. But each of our meetings only lasts an hour and a half so thought I had the stamina to get through it.

Thursday 28 April

I'm still not sleeping very well. I finally managed to turn onto my right side last night but had to hug a pillow tight to my chest to give me balance and protection.

I've been trying to work out why my scar area is so much more painful than last time.

I wonder if it has something to do with having had radiotherapy in that area back in 2006. Basically the tissue in the area was much tougher than that on my right breast.

I'll ask the consultant next time I see him.

Friday 29 April

Royal Wedding Day!

We thoroughly enjoyed watching the whole event. But before I could settle down to watch the goings on at Westminster Abbey I had to nip to the hospital nice and early to try to get some fluid drained from my breast.

It's built up so much it's pulled my skin tight across my scar. It's throbbing and almost unbearable. Sadly no fluid was aspirated, though the nurse tried twice.

We've decided I'll return on Tuesday in the hope that we can get some out then. So I bought more painkillers on the way home… I think I'm going to need them!

Radio presenter's cancer battle
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Presenter's breast cancer battle
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