I was just 29 years old when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and it’s been a whirlwind journey of trauma, tears, strength and survival.
I initially noticed that my breasts felt lumpy and a bit achy, I just knew that something wasn’t right but when I had an ultrasound it came back clear and I was told not to worry about it – I was told I was too young to have a mammogram and certainly too young for breast cancer.
I pushed the constant thought of cancer out of mind, convinced myself I was overreacting and was reassured with the doctors advice.
It wasn’t until 10 months later that whilst in the shower, I felt a massive, rock hard lump. I tried to put it down to hormones, confident in the knowledge that my initial scans never showed anything – but I knew. I went and had a biopsy and then the next day while I was having my dressings changed the Doctor confirmed the worst – I had Breast Cancer.
Stunned, shocked but deep down I guess not surprised, all I could think was “Am I Going to Die”.
I commenced treatment straight away, 16 rounds of chemotherapy and a double mastectomy combined with countless needless and blood tests.
The trauma wasn’t just the cancer – it was the chemo, the canaliculars and the constant fear of compromised fertility.
I always wanted a big family; I am from a big family myself but unfortunately now I don’t know if that will be possible.
Because my cancer was hormone influenced, I didn’t want to pump myself with hormones to harvest my eggs and cause further damage, I did however have other preventive treatments and I am hoping this will hold me in good stead when the time comes.
Whilst I try not to dwell on the past, I wish I had pushed for a mammogram, I wish I had got a second opinion and I wish I didn’t wait 10 additional months to present.
Please don’t make my mistake, don’t wait, don’t delay, if you feel something, if you see something – get an ultrasound, get 10 ultrasounds, get another opinion, get 10 other opinions. Go with your gut. Go with your body, listen to what it is telling you.
Today, though cancer-free, I still live with after effects, the constant fear of reoccurrence, the constant fear I might not be able to have children, you worry that every ache is a sign, every headache is a symptom.
But while I have been broken into a million pieces, each piece I have picked up has made me stronger, more resilient and tougher.
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