My story starts three years prior to being diagnosed. I noticed a change in my left breast but because I had previously had milk duct problems when my daughter was small. But so did my mother when I was born, so I didnt think much of it. As the years went by, the problem got worse, but I still didn't do anything.
"It's just cysts," I told myself. But the breast was getting smaller and misshaped and indents began to appear. So early September 2014, I went to my doctor. She just took one look and said, "I'm referring you to the breast clinic for a biopsy." Within two weeks I had an appointment at the breast clinic. I still didn't think it was anything more than just cysts. I was upbeat that day. I had one of my best friends with me. We were making jokes and laughing-- the usual when you are with a good friend.
First I went for a mammogram, then an ultrasound, then biopsies, three altogether, on both breasts. Suddenly it hit me--something isnt right. I wondered why they were a biopsy from the right breast although I didn't have a problem with that one.
After the biopsies, I was taken into another room and the doctor said she would go and get my friend. The room was like being in someones sitting room, with leather sofas, a sideboard, coffee table, and I knew then that they were going to tell me some bad news.
In came this doctor, and he just came out and said it. "It's not good news. You have breast cancer."
The room just went in a haze and words were muffled in my head. I thought I wasnt hearing him right. Me? Breast cancer? That can't be right, he must have made a mistake! But no, I had to face the truth, I have cancer! It is the most awful news anyone can hear. Through all the tears and asking why this had happened to me, I heard the word chemo. I turned around to the doctor and said, "I'm not having that. That's what makes you ill, not the cancer!" I was adamant I wasn't having chemo.
That week went by in a blur. I was going to die. I wasn't going to see my grandchildren, ages 7, 6 and nearly 1, grow up. At 51 years old, I was going to die. My dad was 84 and he was going to outlive me. That shouldnt be, right? I felt numb and powerless. This horrible disease was going to take me away from my family and friends.
After a week of all this numbness, I suddenly decided that cancer was not going to beat me. I'm stronger than this disease! So from that day on, I vowed I was going to win. In November 2014 I started chemo and 15 days later my hair fell out. To a woman, losing your hair is just as bad as being told you have cancer!
Chemo made me so ill that I didn't want to go on. There were days when I wanted to give up, but then I remembered -- I'm the winner here!
I do clay pigeon shooting and we have a competition once a month in a friendly little club. I shot all the way through chemo and then the competition always fell three days after my session at poison city, and as rubbish as I felt, I was determined to carry on as normal. Then, in July 2015 I won the ladies trophy at our annual dinner and awards night! Previous to that, in December 2014, I did a Santa run/walk, and raised money for charity. My charity, which I now work for, called Candles, is for cancer research. My fundraising efforts carried on and in September 2015 I climbed the O2 Arena in London with my friend and her daughter. Then I did the Santa run again in December 2015 and I am now the top fundraiser and due to get a trophy for that in March.
I had a mastectomy on Jan. 6, 2016 and seven weeks later, I'm feeling wonderful, I go back for scan results this week. I'm on hormone pills as it was a hornmone-related cancer and have to take them for the next five years. I am due to have radiotherapy, but they want to see scan results first so all in all everything is looking fine and dandy!
I just wanted to prove that even with cancer you can achieve anything you want to do. Be positive, that is the key!!