Tell us about yourself
My name is Michaela, I’m 47 and married with two children aged 12 and 16. I enjoy reading, watching TV and going out for meals. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2018 and had my first operation in January 2019. I was later diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in June 2019.
Can you tell us about your treatment plan? (the type of breast cancer, treatments, etc)
My initial treatment plan was for FEC-T chemotherapy and possibly some radiotherapy. However, as the cancer returned during chemo it was quite obvious this wasn’t working and once my secondary diagnosis had been made, we then decided on some targeted therapy. I have secondary cancer in my lungs, liver and hip bone. We kicked this off with ribociclib, a tablet form of chemotherapy. Unfortunately this didn’t work and since August last year I have tried many different treatments, none of which seem to work on all my metastasis. I am currently having IV carboplatin.
What were the main treatment side-effects that you had to cope with?
The main side-effect throughout all my treatments has been tiredness. One day you can feel perfectly fine and the next you are completely floored, with no energy at all. I also suffered initially with terrible mouth soreness, which resulted in oral thrush at least once a month. This was probably caused by a combination of both the chemo and being run down.
Were there any tools or resources that you wish you had known about when you were diagnosed or was there anything that you felt was lacking during your treatment and aftercare?
I wish I had had an app such as OWise. I used to have to keep a daily diary of temperature, how I was feeling and everything else. This would have saved me so much time! Also if the hospital team you work with use this system as well, you can use the app to share your data prior to appointments which will help them look at any side effects they can help with.
Could you tell us about your experience testing the new OWise app?
I found it quick and easy to use. It also helped me to look at any patterns that may have been emerging, such as tiredness; was this at a certain point in my cycle? Had I overexerted myself the day before? Had my temperatures been okay during my cycle? It was useful to have all the information there in one place, as it’s easy to enter and it’s on your phone so it’s on hand all the time.
Do you think that OWise is a useful tool for someone diagnosed with breast cancer? And what has been your favourite feature so far?
Absolutely. So much information is fired at you initially and it’s hard to take everything in where as an app like this everything is in one place. For me, the trends section is the best feature where you can track how you have felt all day and all week.
How has your experience been like over the lockdown?
I have been one of the lucky ones as my treatment hasn’t stopped during lockdown. I even got my PICC line fitted. Although the chemo suite has been quieter I think this is down to less people sitting in the waiting room and people only being called in once their treatment has arrived.
Do you think that remotely sharing side-effects with your doctor is a useful feature in the current climate?
Yes definitely, these are strange times and I think if there is any way for medical professionals to access information and keep us safe at the same time, then that has to be a good thing.
Michaela was part of user testing for the new OWise app which is now available on the iOS App Store and Google Play. If you haven’t already, remember to download OWise today!