My Breast Cancer Story

Posted 31/5/2016

Hug In a BagHug In a BagI have been gone a while.

So much has happened this year.

It started out bad but went downhill at a fast rate.

On May 3rd 2016 I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.

It was a shock! There was no cancer in my family, anywhere that I knew of! I have never smoked. I hadn't drunk since my twenties! I hated the sun. I had tried to live a good life, was not over healthy but made some adjustments that were suppose to help.

No one can prepare you for something like this. No one really expects to get cancer. Even with the odds at 1 in 3 would get cancer, you still do nor expect it to be you. The sad fact is, now, anyone born after 1960 has a 1 in 2 chance of getting it. I fell into that category.

I have decided to tell my cancer story, hopefully it may help others on this very difficult journey.

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On Tuesday 3rd may 2016 my world collapsed. I had no idea the hell I was to go through to get through the treatment. I had heard of chemo, but all I really knew was of people loosing their hair. I could deal with that. After my usual "have fun with my hair" stage, bleach blonde, ended up frying it, even though I really did not want to cut it I could handle it.  Little did I know what was to come.

I live in Darlington. Even though I can drive, and have a clean full licence, I do not have a car. Right now it is just too expensive as my job is in walking distance. I had originally gone to Stockton-On-Tees  to have the mammogram done. That in itself was a trial as it was across town from the station, the taxi costing my nearly £9 it turned out to be a very expensive day out, I did not want! At the hospital they could not confirm a lump but my nipple on my left breast had suddenly inverted. They took a biopsy and was told they would be in touch.

A week later I had a phone call. I now had to trail through Middlesbrough James Cook Hospital to get the results. Also, as a matter of course, I had to take someone with me. My son joined me on the train while we worked out the easiest way to the hospital, settling on a taxi, again... We had a wait and up to this time I did not even consider it was cancer. I had had a lump years ago which was a cyst. To my mind it was back again. Anyway they couldn't feel a lump so no worries....

"Yes, you have breast cancer"

Those words were devastating!

I had a problem, I could, in now way, trial through to Middlesbrough while dealing with this. The first words out of my mouth were, can I be transferred to Darlington? Yes. That actually made me feel better. The doctor would transfer my records over and I would hear from Darlington in the next few days.

On that Friday I had a phone call. I had to go to Darlington on Monday to meet the surgeon at Darlington. So Monday came and off I went, a simple bus to town and a walk up to the hospital, I meet the surgeon.

I had breast cancer. I also had a lump. A 5cm lump!!!  How? You could not feel a lump! I had my mammogram 2 years ago and it was clear. There was no lump. Everything I had been told in the past, how to check myself etc, did not help me in any way. I had fallen through the cracks. I think I was even more devastated at this point. Anyway I was told I HAD to have a mastectomy, it was too big fro anything else. I was pencilled in for the 24th May.

Hug In A Bag ContentsHug In A Bag ContentsWednesday 18th May, off I went back to the hospital to meet my lovely breast care nurse Amanda. She talked through what was going to happen. Did I understand? Nope. I was in a daze.

I left with a big bag, called a "Hug in a bag". That actually cheered me up a lot. It was a gift from a group of friends that had joined together after their own cancer journey to give support to others. It was a beautiful thought and really made me smile. It was lovely. I carried the bag over to another part of the hospital to have my operation pre-assessment. I then made my way home, still in a daze.  I got home and cried....

The days were going so fast at this point..., Saturday I was booked into the hairdressers, the last appointment of the day, a No2 buzzcut. I looked like a squaddie. I was ready. On Tuesday 24th May, I took a taxi at 6.30am to the hospital to have my mastectomy.

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