I had to wait until just before my 52nd birthday for my first mammogram.

I was really shocked to be sent an appointment to attend the Nightingale Centre 5 days later, what had they found? why did I not feel anything? was it a mistake? These were just some of the questions going around in my head.

After another mammogram and then a scan, the doctor explained they had found something in my left breast, I then went on to have a biopsy and was given an appointment to return 3 days later. Those were the longest 3 days of my life. I felt very nervous sitting in the waiting room, its’ as if everyone knows why you are there.

On entering the consultation room, it was obviously it was not going to be good news. The Macmillan nurse was sat in the corner and then came the words that you dreaded “I am afraid you   have breast cancer.”

The fog suddenly fills your mind and you just nod and hope you're not missing anything. I needed yet another biopsy as something else had been seen in the same breast, I was currently aiming to have a lumpectomy but if the second biopsy came back positive so it would have to be a mastectomy,

I made the decision there and then that I wanted a mastectomy no matter what the result.

Another long week was spent trying to explain to family and close friends that I was having surgery in a few weeks. On 28th April 2016, I returned to the Nightingale Centre for my second lot of results, and as expected, these were also positive, but I had already made the decision to have a mastectomy. The date was set for my skin sparing mastectomy and immediate reconstruction…  my 52nd birthday!

I spent the next 2 weeks preparing myself or so I thought. I had no idea how I would feel afterwards. I went into hospital feeling quite well and came out feeling like I had been hit by a bus.

I went back to clinic to get the dressings off and drain checks and had to wait until results day for information on my sentinel lymph nodes. Thankfully, I was given the all clear, the relief was overwhelming but on arriving home the enormity of what I had been through suddenly hit me.

I started to feel depressed and alone, I felt like I had fallen off a fast-moving conveyor belt. I rang my breast care nurse and went for a chat and she booked me on the “Moving Forward “course with Breast Cancer Care. This was a life line and gave me the strength to get my life back on track. I am off for my 3 yearly mammogram soon and have struggled with side effects from Tamoxifen but it hasn't stopped me from running a marathon or becoming a triathlete because life’s to shot to wonder what if, so I go and give it my best xxx

Margo Cornish