On 27 March 2015 I was diagnosed with Triple negative Breast cancer. I was 33 years old. I remember that day like it was yesterday. Right up until the words came out of the doctor’s mouth I was sure it was a fibroma. I mean, 33 year old women don’t get breast cancer…. I was wrong.
I think deep down I knew because I didn’t cry or get upset, I just said oh ok, well, s**t happens, what’s the plan of action. I don’t think my doctor quite expected that response by the look on her face however she went straight into explaining everything.
I remember coming out of the hospital thinking, hold on, I’m 33 years old. I’ve got too much to see and do in this world. This cancer is messing with the wrong bee.
The next 8 months consisted of a sentinel lymph node biopsy, IVF to freeze my eggs, 6 rounds of Chemotherapy, a Lumpectomy and 19 sessions of radiotherapy.
The IVF was a bit of a curve ball because I had not thought about having children; it’s something you take for granted that it’ll happen when it happens. Then all of a sudden I was faced with the decision to freeze my eggs (chemo can affect your fertility) whilst at the same time still trying to digest the fact that I had breast cancer.
I was determined to keep my life as normal as I could during this period and so I carried on working full time through my treatment. At times I would feel tired but I made sure I got enough sleep at night, did low impact exercises such as yoga and long walks and ate healthy.
I decided from the start that I would be very open about my diagnosis and decided to share that information on my facebook page. I never thought for a minute that someone my age would get Breast Cancer and so I wanted to make my friends more aware that it can happen to anyone.
I know that one or two of my friends and family took my diagnosis harder than me, however by being so open about it all and not allowing it to dictate my life and carry on as normal as I could, it helped them to deal with it.
In fact the overwhelming support I received from my friends, family, colleagues and people that I hadn’t spoken to in years were my motivation. It made me realise how much I’m loved and how lucky I am to have this network around me.
Treatment wise, I was lucky, slight nausea and a few aches during chemo was as bad as it got. However i did find myself worrying slightly about losing my hair during chemotherapy so I decided that I would give the cold cap a try. I’m really glad I did because I was lucky enough that it actually worked. My hair did thin considerably however it wasn’t too noticeable, nothing that a hair band couldn’t hide. I remember going to get an ultrasound after my 3 chemo to check the tumor. There the doctor asked if my hair was real and gave it a gentle tug when I said yes. This made me giggle.
It’s been just over 2 months now since I completed all my treatment and I’m fortunate that the cancer is all gone. The NHS staff that I met over the last 8 months have been outstanding and made this journey more bearable. Thank you! My next chapter has now started and it’s time to enjoy life!