Cancer Chancer becomes Boobee
I swung into the mobile Mammogram unit after shopping on my way to work on a sunny morning the day before my 61st Birthday. I'm a busy bee, a can do, positive, optimistic, love a laugh, healthy, active old bird.. Lots of hobbies, friends, family, 2 great jobs, I loved ( yes two ) No one likes a mammogram but you know, it has to be done and it saved my life that day.
The call back Letter came through too quickly... I knew instinctively it wasn't going to be good news. Biopsies proved that I had extensive breast disease which turned out to be a 12 cm tumour across most of my left Breast which had become invasive.
The Clocks stopped, I couldn't breathe or take in the hushed Voices in the Consulting room, everything blurred and became slow motion, kind eyes looked with genuine concern, my nails dug into my husband's palm. My life changed in that moment "You have Breast Cancer and will need a total Mastectomy, Radiotherapy and hormone follow up treatment for 10 years " I remember thinking "I hope I live 10 years"
How could I tell my kids and ruin their day.. week... peace of mind...Lives ? What do you say, Hi Love, how are the kids, by the way I've got Breast Cancer.. ?? What about Work, how do I tell Work ???? What about my poor husband having to deal with this, our plans, our life, having a breast removed, will they get all the cancer out, has it spread... I might flipping well die ! You get the picture....
I spent the next Year in complete shock. I am a hugely positive person and had been a confident, outgoing woman with my own Training Business for 12 years... I always thought if I got Cancer I would be the poster girl for Doing Cancer best. I didn't. I know now, there is no being best in Breast Cancer.
This all changed. I walked around smiling, thinking that would fool people, inside I was overwhelmed, choked, constantly Chanting "What the hell " on repeat. I simply couldn't process it or deal with it. How could this happen to someone like me who spouted positive vibes through every orifice ? What a joke I was…..I lost my confidence, I lost myself, I desperately didn't want to upset friends and family with my Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment. I went a bit bonkers. Instead of asking for help, I asked my Husband to ban all phone calls, I couldn't talk (me not being able to talk was new ) Only a few friends and my amazing family managed to break through my barriers. One day about 6 weeks after my mastectomy I had a massive cry-athon at The Nightingale Centre with my wonderful BC Nurse Fiona. She rightly and gently directed me to get some help reminding me it was a normal reaction to trauma...
I took her advice and threw myself into any therapy and exercise on offer at the wonderful Beechwood Cancer Centre. This marked the start of me regaining some control, hope and positivity in my Breast Cancer Chapter... It took about a year to readjust and I am now in my Recovery Chapters of which I pray there will be many.
I want to help as many people as possible avoid a Breast Cancer Diagnosis as part of the Boobees team because You can never un hear the words " You Have Invasive Breast Cancer..."
My life is forever changed. I have more corrective surgery ahead, but that's OK, I'm alive and I'm not planning on topless modelling. I'm still a wee bit bonkers but have finished work for stress and fatigue management. I am no longer a high earner but I'm a high hoper and try to make every day count. It will be great to contribute my hope strength and experience as a small part of the Prevent Breast Cancer Breastfest Project.
If I help anyone including my nearest and many contacts to prevent Breast cancer then it will make sense and give purpose to my experience. It will be my way of thanking all of the people at UHSM Wythenshawe, The Christie and Beechwood, friends and family who supported me when I was traumatised and very frightened and sometimes un loveable.
I have learned so much about myself, and have started to laugh and be social again and to dare to plan, but also live in the day too. I became an expert at Breast Cancer, and despite losing confidence I became my own Advocate as advised by a friend, I read everything I could and have implemented so many the things I knew I should have been doing to stay healthy anyway. I'm way off perfect but so willing to support this brilliant Campaign in any way I can. I want to encourage all women and men to get themselves checked and to attend all screening. Early detection saves and extends lives. Being alive is awesome !