After noticing marks in my bra for a month or so, then later realising it was actually discharge coming from my nipple I decided to go to the doctor. An appointment I postponed constantly before actually going.
In my early 20’s I had some fibroadenomas removed from my right breast and so I knew I still had some in my left breast. I wondered if it was that. My GP referred me for an ultrasound which came back showing numerous lumps believed to be fibroadenomas but one looked a little suspicious so I was then referred for a biopsy.
On 4th April 2019 I had a core biopsy but still wasn’t concerned. The sonographer asked if I could feel any lumps, so I pointed out the unusual area I could feel and she proceeded to call in the Doctor. They then decided to biopsy the area I showed them instead of the lump they had been asked to biopsy – long story short, the lump was completely missed on the ultrasound.
On the 9th April, I woke up to find blood on my top and coming out of my nipple. Still not being overly worried, I left work early and said “I’ll be back soon, just going to doctors”.
I sat down on my own at the doctors and was told the news ‘you have cancer’.
As you can imagine, everything turned into a blur and I walked out with a piece of paper telling me I had cancer. I waited a day, one of the hardest days of my life for someone to contact me about my diagnosis. I took it upon myself to contact the amazing surgeon who I had been a patient of all those years before.
After a pre-planned 10 day holiday, which took place 3 weeks after my diagnosis, I had a left breast skin sparing mastectomy with a tissue expander and a sentinel node biopsy. I had a stage 2B 6cm invasive mucinous carcinoma with intermediate ductal carcinoma (a rare cancer more common in people 70yrs+).
3 days after my mastectomy while still in hospital I started a round of IVF for fertility preservation and 12 days later had my egg retrieval where I harvested a beautiful 29 eggs with 23 frozen.
Last Friday I had my last dose of TC chemotherapy and thanks to the super attractive scalp cooling cap I’ve managed to keep a lot of the hair on my head. It’s looking very worse for wear but I’m very lucky it’s still there.
I’ll now be on hormone therapy for the next 5-10years, something I’m not thrilled about (the hot flushes are already a killer!) but I’ll do whatever I can to lower my chances of a reoccurrence.
It’s obviously been a real whirlwind couple of months for me, physically and emotionally and although the journey is not yet over I feel I’m on the other side.
You never think it’s going to happen to you and then it does and the days following diagnosis are terrifying.
But it’s nice to know you are far from alone and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel even though some days it may not feel like it.
I hope that my experience so far can help inspire others too.