ANNA

As a 37 year old farmers wife, with 3 young boys living on a beef and sheep farm in Lampeter West Wales, we were enjoying a busy life as a family until i came up against the biggest challenge of my life earlier this year.

February half term 2019, was just like every other for us as a family, we went off on our annual skiing trip to La Tania in France. This year i took my two younger boys, Kai and Osian. I had noticed a lump in my right breast for a few weeks by now but as I had breast implants after my second child, I had been back to my surgeon twice already complaining of breast tenderness and lumpiness, he said that it was capsular contracture caused from thick scar tissue in the breast, nearly ten years after the augmentation. Which is why, I didn't think too much of it and was hoping it would just disappear.

Breast cancer has affected both sides of my family, with my mums sister being diagnosed at 39 and my dad losing his mother at a young age from the disease. It was always a worry, but you still never think it would happen to you.

The morning after we got home from skiing, I made an appointment at the doctors surgery and the nurse referred me to the Peony Breast Clinic in Llanelli. 2 weeks later i saw the consultant, he gave me an ultrasound scan and also took biopsies from the lump in my right breast. One of the worst things I found was waiting for results and the worst thing you can do is ‘Google’ all your symptoms.

Nearly 3 weeks later, the biopsy results were back and the consultant told me that i had breast cancer. I felt numb all over. I was taken for a mammogram and for a DNA test to see if it was genetic, It felt so surreal.

Less than 3 weeks after my diagnosis, I was back in Llanelli hospital having my implants removed, lumpectomy and had 3 lymph nodes removed. The genetic test came back negative, but if it had have been positive then the lumpectomy would not have gone ahead and my treatment plan would have all changed. The consultant was confident that he had removed all of the tumour and that the lymph nodes were clear, but it was another 3 weeks before the surgery results came back, the lymph nodes were clear and the tumour was stage 1, HER+ grade 3.

Two weeks after the operation, I took part in the Aberystwyth 5k Race for Life, my family and boys rugby team mates and families all took part and it was a very emotional day, the support was incredible.

Since then, my mother-in-law has also been diagnosed with breast cancer and is waiting to have a mastectomy next week.

Due to the aggressive type and my age, I was given chemotherpay, which has been tough, but usually i have a bad week and two good weeks with every round, and try to get a few days away in-between treatments and get to watch my boys play rugby. I believe that i am a strong woman, and i take every day at a time and believe that you need to fight through the bad days to earn the best days of your life!

My first of six rounds of chemotherapy started on 10th June and i have just had my fifth treatment this week. I am due to start 3 weeks of Radiotherapy in November followed by 9 months of Herceptin.

This journey has made me stronger and all of the challenges like the surgery, and loosing my hair and my self confidence has also made me realise that friends and family are everything and my boys will be so proud once this is all over.

I am writing my story on my 38th birthday about the hardest journey i will probably ever have to deal with. I wanted to join the Boobee campaign and share my story to raise awareness of just how important it is to get any lumps checked. i am so grateful that i went when i did and it may have been completely different if i had done nothing about it as i would not be due to have a routine mammogram for another 13 years. I am now looking forward to Christmas with my boys, a relaxing holiday and getting my taste buds back.

 

Margo Cornish