By MICHELLE MAKIN
It was just over a year ago that I was living the life of a normal 37-year-old woman. I had three young children, a loving husband and a job I really enjoyed as marketing manager for a leading fashion brand. Then a breast cancer diagnosis turned my world upside down.
I have decided to tell my story because I really want to help women who are going through what I have been through and I want to warn other women to be vigilant with self checking and not think, like I did, that I was too young to have breast cancer.
I had discovered a lump under my breast that was tender so I mentioned it to a GP whilst my daughter was unwell.
I thought it might be a hormonal issue. The GP agreed saying I was too young to have breast cancer, there was no family history of cancer so it must be ‘that time of the month’.
I carried my life on as normal without giving it much further thought until one day I cut my finger. When the cut on my finger would not heal I was forced to see my GP who, concerned at the state of the cut on my finger, asked me if anything else was worrying me. I mentioned that I also had some tenderness under my armpit, she then conducted a breast examination where she found a lump under my breast.
Little did I know that at that point my life had changed forever and I had started that journey towards a breast cancer diagnosis. A journey of scans, doctors appointments, biopsies and finally those dreaded words “Sorry you have breast cancer”.
Hearing those words I felt like my heart skipped a beat. My immediate thoughts were for my children, particularly for my daughter. Would she be OK?
From that point on the journey snowballed. I spent my days meeting doctors and surgeons, having scans. I had been diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer, before I knew it I was checked into hospital for a double mastectomy followed by aggressive chemotherapy.