Sue shares her experience of diagnosis and life beyond breast cancer.
"The consultant then walked in and hit me with the news" -
My story began 3 years ago in 2012. I first noticed a small dimple in my breast. Didn't take much notice of it to begin with but a few weeks later it hadn't disappeared. It almost looked like cellulite. I went to to the GP but she couldn't feel any lumps but could see the dip I was talking about and decided to refer me for further investigation at the local hospital. We do not have any cases of cancer in my family so the thought never crossed my mind.
I was referred to Breast Clinic, and on the day I was seen by the consultant followed by a mammogram, then a scan and then consented to a biopsy. I was full of high spirits, quite amazed at how it was all done on the same day, and again had no thought of cancer. I was then told to wait to see the consultant again. I went into his room and while waiting for him to enter, the nurse was sat beside me and she began to comfort me, I was mystified, why?
The consultant then walked in and hit me with the news. We have found two very suspicious lumps. Everything after that was a blur. Being asked to get blood test, bone scans and CT scans. I was then taken to another room where I was appointed a breast care nurse. I went home dazed and confused. I was in shock I suppose, surely he wasn't trying to say I had breast cancer...was he??
A week later I was diagnosed and told I would need to have a mastectomy. I had to break the news to my children and family. Of course it was devastating news but I had no time to wallow in self-pity. I thought let’s get started with it all. My treatment started with a mastectomy, followed by chemo, followed by radiotherapy. Chemotherapy for me was the worst part but I got through it. I was very open about my diagnosis and didn't mind talking to anyone about it.
"'I've enjoyed being able to give back following my diagnosis" -
People were and still are amazed with my strength. You just have to keep going. It's now three years on I’ve had re-constructive surgery earlier this year and am very pleased with the results. The operation isn't easy, it's a long 13 hours on the operating table and good few weeks recovering. I've another operation to uplift my other breast, followed by nipple reconstruction.
I've enjoyed being able to give back following my diagnosis, we've raised £1200 for a photo shoot. We entered Race for Life in 2014 group, as Spartanettes and raised £2277 and raced again in 2015. I am also part of Breast Cancer Now North London team. We are hoping to raise £15,000 by holding dinner dance, raffles, coffee mornings, supermarket packing and so on.
Best of all, my life has changed with the birth of my beautiful granddaughter who has given me every reason to fight as the love is beyond anything I could imagine.