My breast cancer story begins in November 2015.
Like most people you never think it will happen to you but when I found a lump, I did what a lot people do and ignored it. While I was at work there was a breast awareness campaign on a big screen and I immediately told a colleague who told me I had to go to the GP which I did who confirmed I did have a lump.
My routine mammogram on 11th November was booked and during this appointment they asked if they could take an ultrasound and biopsy. I knew then in my heart something was wrong as they asked me to wait for the results. I live very close to the Nightingale Centre so went home and returned a coupe of hrs later. Waiting for the consultant I still felt all was not well. The consultant came in and spoke to e using so many words I didn’t understand but I remember hearing the word “cancer”. I was in shock and stood up to leave the room but then the nurse asked me if I had understood what I had just been told. I replied “yes I’ve got cancer”. What was I suppose to do with that information? She asked me if there was anyone with me but I was alone. All I could think of was how am I going to tell my partner, my children and my family? My initial diagnosis was Stage 2 breast cancer and that I wouldn’t need chemo. The plan was a lumpectomy, sentinel node biopsy and if was clear I would only need radiotherapy.
My first operation was 11th December and I was told it had gone well however my cancer was further on than expected and more of my breast had been removed. It was confirmed to be stage 3and that 6 lymph nodes were cancerous too. A further operation was booked for 30th December to have full evacuation axillary node clearance and an MRI scan. My consultant told me as the cancer had spread so quickly I would need chemotherapy too. My heart sank at the thought of chemo and radiotherapy was daunting and very scary.
New Years Eve and I woke up with my chest extremely swollen and red and the nurses said there was something wrong. I had suffered a massive bleed in my chest and needed surgery immediately. I came round from that surgery with chest drain and bottle draining all the blood and fluid away. I was transferred to the Christie and given all the information about chemo. The list of side effects is very scary and makes you question whether you can do it. I am a very positive person and told myself “come on girl you can do this one day at a time”
I stared chemo in January but by February I had contracted Sepis which nearly killed me, my lver and kidneys were failing and then I contracted C-Dif and was in isolation for 14 days and on antibiotics for a further 14 days. On both occasions these infections nearly killed me but The Christie and doctors saved my life. I was told the planned Docetaxel was too harsh for me now so I was to have Paxetaxel which would be kinder to me but given weekly instead of three weekly. My veins collapsed and I had a port put in my chest which was a lot easier. After all my chemo and radiotherapy I rang both bells which was just amazing!
I take Tamoxifen for the next ten years now and having more surgery to reconstruct my right breast. As a result of treatment I have Osteoporosis and Coeliac Disease but I am ALIVE with my wonderful husband and family.
I lost my job due to the cancer which was very sad and hard for me but I threw myself into fundraising and have raised lots of money for charity to help others.
I would like to say that every lady or gentlemen out there no matter what your age, please please check your Boobees. It doesn’t have to be genetic or in your family history as I have learned from my fellow BooBees.
My special thanks to the wonderful GP’s, Consultants and Nurses at The Nightingale Centre and The Christie.
Love Michelle. x