My story begins in July 2017. I actually used to work in the Nightingale Centre so I already knew the impact of breast cancer, furthermore, my mum was diagnosed 42 years ago and thank the lord she is 95 and still here today.
I had my usual mammogram and as always, I was called back for tests because apparently, I have dense breasts. This time though, I had a feeling that something wasn’t quite right.
After several more detailed mammograms punch biopsies and needle ones, I could tell by the look on the radiologist face that they had found something suspicious. All of a sudden felt so alone, so I called my husband straight away and he rushed from Leeds to find me in a state of panic. I was told to come back in 2 weeks.
This time, I went back with my husband to see the consultant and was told I had breast cancer stage 2 oestrogen positive and would need immediate lumpectomy plus sentinel node clearance followed by radiotherapy. At first, I was relieved that I didn’t need chemotherapy, but they wouldn’t really know until after the operation when they send samples off to the pathology lab.
I was of course extremely anxious when my operation went ahead 10 days later. I felt weak and bruised and the next 14 days felt like the longest two weeks in my life as I waited to hear the results.
As my consultant was away, one of the breast care nurses called me to tell me the bad news. I still had DCIS around the margins plus 2 of the 3 lymph nodes were positive so I would after all need chemotherapy as well as another lumpectomy plus full lymph node clearance. I couldn’t really take this in. I was gutted.
I then decided to have a second opinion with a private surgeon. He gave me more confidence and explained exactly what I should do plus a BRCA test to see if I had the gene which would subsequently change my treatment plan. This was done and fortunately I was clear.
I ended up with a further lumpectomy and reduction of other healthy breast plus uplift for symmetry. This was followed by chemotherapy for 4 months and radiotherapy for 3 weeks. I managed to get through it all albeit with a few hiccups along the way. It was not an easy journey. Two years later I’m here with my lovely red hair back to how it was. You CAN fight this “bugger” but it changes the way you feel about life. Preventing breast cancer is imperative to me and I hope we eventually see an end to this dreadful disease.