Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2015 // My Story

Hello,

In the light that it is breast cancer awareness month, I would like to share something with you.

2015 has given me a lot firsts. This year, I learnt how to drive, I completed a marathon, bought a house and I got married....

2015 was also the year, that at 29, a month after my birthday I was told I had stage 2 breast cancer. The 30th of September 2015 marked the end of my active treatment. On the 6 of August 2015 I had my first ever operation, a lumpectomy and pioneering breast reconstruction and I have also had 19 sessions of Radiotherapy. I will be on Hormone Therapy for the next 5 years.

For me this has been a tough four months. It would be for anyone in the same position.

My early diagnosis, led me to have a successful operation with clear margins.

My early detection through self examination meant that it was not recommended that I need chemotherapy.

My persistence in getting a Breast Clinic referral meant that I have just a 6% reoccurrence rate.

I had to go to the GP 3 times before I got a referral. I had felt a small lump in my left breast, which in turn became very painful. So painful that I would literally have to hold my breast to ease the pain. These were my only symptoms.

Because of this pain and my age, the GP's reasonable thinking led them to believe that it was a cyst or menstrual fluctuation.

It is rare to be under 50, let alone under 30 and get a breast cancer diagnosis. 8000 women under the age of 45 are diagnosed each year. In total, 55,000 woman are diagnosed each year. There is a 1 in 8 chance that a woman will get breast cancer in her lifetime. Men can also get breast cancer, 538 men on average are diagnosed each year.
As a population we all have a one in three chance of having cancer.

After going to the GP TWICE and having the GP try to put my mind at ease. I carried on with life for a bit. I moved into my house and I completed (albeit slowly) the London marathon 2015 for Cancer Research.
At mile 18, I cried. I cried because for the first time I let myself think "what if this fucking lump in my breast is Cancer".

I went back to the doctors again mid May and with determination, demanded a Breast Clinic referral. But it seems I didn't need it. Because it was my third time going to the GP, she said she would have sent me anyway. But "not to worry, it's not cancer."

So for 2 weeks, I worried that I was wasting everyone's time.

But, unfortunately I wasn't.

On the day of my appointment, holding my best friend's hand, I had an ultrasound and biopsy that would give me my diagnosis a week later.

Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma 


 It has been a long 4 months.

But I have come out of the other side and the prognosis is so positive. This sadly is not the case for many others out there.

This message is not to cause fear or worry. I just hope to encourage you to be aware of your body. So aware that if anything changes, you know yourself if it is right or wrong. And if you don't like your initial diagnosis, get a second opinion. - that goes for anything, not just your boobies or cancer concerns. Don't wait and see, go get what ever is bothering you checked out!

I would really hope it is nothing too serious, but it is better to check it, then to leave it.

" you better check yourself before you wreck yourself" In all seriousness and well-meaning, take care of yourself and I hope you never hear the words "it's cancer".

The 1st of October marks the first time in 4 and a half months where I don't have a ton of hospital appointments. In fact October is completely appointment free!

And because of my early self detection and diagnosis , I reckon I've got many more firsts to come.

Much Love,
Liz

P.s websites that have helped me were:

Coppafeel: http://coppafeel.org/

Breast Cancer Now: http://breastcancernow.org/

Breast Cancer Care and their AMAZING nurse helpline:https://www.breastcancercare.org.uk/

Cancer Research UK: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/

And if you want to refresh yourself of how to self examine, here is a good infographic, courtesy of Coppafeel's website.
 
 

For a guide on how to check this one is really helpful, please take the time to check yourself. It takes no time at all, you can even so it in the shower. I actually found mine in the shower. To remind yourself to check these awesome products from Sniffy Wiffy have self examination guides on the label. So you don't even have to think out it. You are already naked and your boobs are just out there already waiting for some attention!

 So give it to them!



 

6 comments:

  1. You are one tough cookie Liz, big hugs to you and good on you for persisting with GP it worries me the way some are so easy to dismiss that when you don't fit the stats it can't possibly be anything wrong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am a tough cookie because i've emotionally eaten a ton of oreo cookies for four months! But thank you! and thank you for all your kind words and support. Writing this blog has kind of been my therapy and meeting people like yourself through it has been amazing! xx

      Delete
  2. I started reading your blog a while ago, before you started going through this horrendous time. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to comment. You are so incredibly brave and I'm really happy that things are starting to look up for you. Wishing you good health and happiness for the future, along with many happy firsts! Thanks for the reminder to check ourselves regularly. Zoe xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Zoe!
      Thank you so much for your comment! No need to apologise. Here to many new firsts all round! x

      Delete
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