Want to join me in supporting a good cause?
I’m raising money for So Brave, a not-for-profit charity that raises awareness and funds for much-needed research towards breast cancer specialising in women under 40yo. Your contribution will make an impact, whether you donate a little or a lot. Anything helps.
I’m a cancer survivor and this is my story.
I was 33 when I found my lump, I woke in the middle of the night to a sharp pain in my left breast. I didn’t think much of it at first as I struggled to find any kind of a lump. Even my partner couldn’t find anything. About a month went by and I started to feel a firm, smooth floating ball under my skin. After another month I decided to get it looked at as it was about the size of a pea by now. My GP sent me to get an ultrasound and the Radiologist dismissed my lump for ‘normal breast lumps’, I thought nothing of it and continued my life. Another two months went by and the lump had grown, and it hurt! By now about the size of a bean, again I went to my GP, who by this stage was extremely concerned and sent me for another ultrasound. This was the start of the worst year of my life.
It was panic stations from here. I go in for an immediate core biopsy and we knew within days… I was officially diagnosed in December 2017 with Triple Negative Ducal Breast Cancer. I was lucky it hadn’t yet broken into my lymph nodes, but it was flagged as extremely aggressive and had to come out straight away. If I let it go for a mere 6 months, chances are I would not be here today to finish my story. By Christmas, I had surgery to remove the lump and another for IVF to retrieve my eggs as chemo destroys a women’s fertility and as I was about to start chemo come the new year this was a necessity.
I welcomed 2018 with 5 months of very strong chemotherapy that took me to depths I never knew existed. I was constantly exhausted and fatigued, of course, I lost all my hair, I was lucky, however, to keep all my fingernails although they did constantly feel as if they were all jammed in a draw, and my whole body ached which made me feel like was in my 70’s. Chemo brain is no joke either, fortunately, I was accepted into Uni literally the day before my diagnoses. This helped keep my mind sharp, well for someone on chemo that is.
After chemotherapy, I had the option of radiation or mastectomy. Due to my young age and the placement of cancer, mastectomy was my best choice. I opted for a double mastectomy and reconstruction. So, into surgery again I went… Fortunately, my Breasts Surgeon and Reconstruction Surgeon were able to work together in the same surgery and I was able to get expanders at the same time as the mastectomy. Just 6 weeks later I had another surgery to swap out the expanders for the final implants.
A short four weeks after I was having a shower and found a rather sizeable lump in my armpit. After a biopsy, it was confirmed, my cancer was back! and it was in the lymph nodes this time. I couldn’t believe it! So, in for yet another surgery where the lump and most of my nodes were removed and back on chemo I went.
I totalled 5 surgeries inside of 18 months and faired 2 bouts of intense chemotherapy. I am now almost a year with no signs of cancer in my body, but it still lives with me every day. Thanks to the drugs that helped save my life I now live with arthritis in my spine and an array of aches and pains all over the rest of my body. I am a different person now and although I will never be who I once was I am honestly just glad to be alive. My life has changed forever.
I was one of the lucky ones… Why? Because I have a loving partner, family and friends who stayed by my side throughout this whole ordeal. I was also fortunate enough to have an amazing team of surgeons and doctors, who if not for them, I could still be waiting for some surgeries. Not all women diagnosed with breast cancer are as fortunate as this. They are on waiting lists for as long as three years in some cases and are not given access to the most recent treatment available as they simply cannot afford it or are not on the right insurance plan.
Some fight this alone and some have to carry on with life as if nothing is happening because they simply don’t have a choice. We still need to live, work and still have responsibilities.
Cancer is not bias; it can affect anyone at any age and at any time. We only get one life, learn to look after it.
So Brave to me is a not-for-profit that is doing the extraordinary. “They empower women who have been through beyond what any human should have to endure and are here to tell their story”. They are about spreading the word and about true cancer awareness. So Brave also provide donated funds to much-needed research specialising in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis and better treatment. There are over 100 different types of breast cancer that we know of, each needing their own specialised treatment, so we need all the help we can get.