As a young mother of three, Sam, discovered a lump in her breast whilst showering and like many didn’t even imagine it would be cancer.
I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in August 2012 after I noticed a small lump in my breast whilst showering. At first I thought it was just as a result of having a baby a year ago. I went to the doctors and I was referred to the hospital for tests. At this point I wasn't really worried as a bad thing like cancer couldn't happen to me; I thought it was probably a cyst!
After numerous scans, 2 biopsies and a mammogram, I was called in, straight away to speak to the specialist at the hospital. He called a Macmillan breast care nurse in to support the consultation. He could not say if it was cancer or not, I waited a further 2 weeks for results. I had this gut feeling I had cancer, by the way the Macmillan nurse said she was there for me and how the specialist detailed any post diagnosis treatment.
The next 2 weeks were the worst of my life!!! My mind was full of worries. Did I have Cancer? Was it was treatable? How far on it was? Was it anywhere else in my body? Will I be here next year? Playing with my children (ages 1, 4, 8) was so painful and the thought of never meeting my grandchildren one day was terrifying
When we received the results I just prayed that it was nowhere else in my body as I had read that this gave me significantly different chances of getting through it. I was told it was breast cancer and it had spread to the lymph glands under the armpit. Left any longer it would have gone
around my body.
Runcorn and Widnes Cancer Support were fantastic. Throughout this whole experience, I don’t think I would have been able to remain as positive as I have around my family and friends, if they hadn't been there. They offered me counselling, beauty treatments, activity classes and courses to keep me going. They even allowed us all to stay at their beautiful respite caravan in Wales, which we all thoroughly enjoyed. I feel that they have been invaluable during my treatment and recovery.
I started 8 cycles (every 3 weeks) of chemotherapy which resulted in all my hair falling out, no eyebrows/lashes, extreme tiredness and extremely low immune system. This meant that I had to stay away from work due to all of the bugs that exist in a secondary school.
A few weeks after the chemotherapy had finished I had a full mastectomy operation to remove the breast, and 15 lymph glands from the arm pit. Although I know a lot of women are severely affected by this, I was glad to finally get the cancer off me. As far as I was concerned my breast had done its job in providing for three children, no more were planned. I complained about the state of them anyway so to lose one didn't really matter to me.
Last part of this active treatment was 25 sessions of radiotherapy at Clatterbridge Hospital. I had to travel over there each weekday for five weeks
During this time, I was told that the date my treatment should be finished was around the end of July 2013. There was no certainty for time frames or guarantees that the treatment would work, I desperately needed something to head for, an end date. I decided to register for the Race for Life. I was going to complete this race no matter what!!! This was my goal, this is how I knew I was going to put two fingers up to my cancer and show it I will win!
With a week left of my radiotherapy sessions, my race day finally came. With 34 family, friends and their children in tow, we completed the Race for Life. The unbelievable feeling of love and support felt on that day will stay with me forever. With everyone chanting my name, walking behind me as I crossed that line with my children in hand, I did it!!! There were tears everywhere! We all did it!!!! In total we all raised over £2000 for Cancer Research. I felt so blessed to have such great family and friends.
Where I am now
I have now been told that there are no signs of cancer left for now. I will remain on Tamoxifen tablets for the next 5 – 10 years to try to help prevent it coming back. Since writing this story I have started my own support group, Sam’s Diamonds for fighters who refuse to let cancer stop them living their life. We have over 53 ladies across the Northwest who we support.
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