I had a Golden Retriever called Sunny who at the age of 13 started to become quite ill and under his luscious golden coat whist giving him some love I felt a lump….it startled me, it felt horrible and here began my absolute fear of lumps.
I was 34, fit, vegan and recently married when I noticed an “indention” in my left breast – only when I bent over and managed to be looking in the mirror, a random occurrence, but eventually it was enough to know something wasn’t quite right. One night I built up the courage, it took me days to finally examine myself and I immediately knew something wasn’t right.
On Valentine’s Day 2014 I was given the news “you have stage 3C breast cancer” and treatment is to start immediately. My treatment plan was called The Hamburger with the Lot – I finished IVF, mastectomy surgery and lymph node clearance, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and Diep flap reconstruction at the end of 2015 and I’m now 4 years into my 10 year plan of ovarian suppression/ hormone therapy to keep this cancer at bay.
Days are hard, I’m in a permanent state of menopause and have severe osteoporosis in my spine but most days you wouldn’t know what I’ve been through. I thrive on positivity and offering support to other young warriors, being happy and helpful is a much kinder option for my body and mind.
I want to find my place in the world of breast cancer awareness, especially for young women. I want to be that voice that says, “Cancer doesn’t discriminate – Look at me, young, fit, healthy, with no cancer in her family & negative results to genetic testing.” I can and will talk to anyone about my story, there’s something to be said about lived experience advice, support and information. I only wish someone had been in my ear about it years ago.
For young women out there, women of all ages, men of all ages I don’t want you to feel sorry for me, I want you to talk about cancer! Yes it’s scary, feeling a lump can be scary but going through what I’ve been through is much worse.
Talk to people about your concerns, don’t put any gut instincts on the backburner, book that DR’s appointment, take a friend with you and get yourself linked in with all of the support groups.
It might be the toughest fight of your life but you can get through this and not only survive but thrive.