I was getting ready to take my mum out for her birthday celebrations and I found the lump.
The time between finding the lump and diagnosis is a bit of a blur. By March 9th I had been diagnosed with breast cancer in my milk ducts that was oestrogen receptive. I was scheduled for a Lumpectomy, which is where they try and keep as much of your breast as possible and remove the cancerous parts. After surgery just four weeks later I had six rounds of FEC chemotherapy. FEC, is a common chemotherapy given to women with breast cancer and can make you very sick, I lost all my hair, and dropped a dress size but was determined to fight.
I wasn't going to let this stop me going to my favourite place, so in between chemo and starting 20 sessions of radiotherapy I went back to Orlando. It was already booked and I was determined to go. In hindsight it wasn't the best decision, I was exhausted, sore and miserable but I had a good time. I didn't like wearing wigs with my hair loss, and was frequently approached by people wishing you well, and restored health, which was really sweet and touching. I came home the Sunday. The Monday morning I started radiotherapy. Travelling back and forth every day, except weekends, to the hospital. I returned back at work but on light duties, I was more exhausted than ever. But still I was fighting.
"A colleague found me on the floor of the ticket office crying"
I work for London Underground as a station supervisor. Although I was going through treatment, I thought work was great. But once I finished radiotherapy I had some leave to take. On my return, however, I was pushed straight back into full time. Early shifts, late shifts, nights. Seven straight days. Ridiculously long shifts. I lasted three weeks and I finally broke down. A colleague found me on the floor of the ticket office crying. I went to my GP and cried and didn't stop for two weeks, I was absolutely exhausted. My GP prescribed anti-depressants, which helped, but my ongoing treatment didn't. As my cancer was hormone receptive I was prescribed Tamoxifen, which made me vomit, so swapped to Anastrazole. I was also given monthly implants in my tummy to suppress periods, as Anastrazole is not recommended for pre-menopausal women.
Again work were awful. I went back and they wouldn't release me for the injections. I spoke to everyone and no one would help. My oncologist suggested that I undergo an oophorectomy, I was below 40 at the time, but I was also still fighting. Maybe having my ovaries removed was the best thing. So in 2013 I had the surgery to have them removed.
Since then my immune system has struggled a fair bit, I've had pneumonia and have also become an asthmatic. Two weeks ago I was diagnosed with arthritis in my knees all brought on by my cancer. I've ballooned in weight and I hate my picture being taken, but I'm still here. I have lost and made some amazing friends, i’ve fought hard. And I’m still scared that it will come back. But if it does I will fight again. I am proud of myself.
I can never repay my amazing family who helped me through it all. My mum was my rock and is my best friend, she’s helped me every step of the way. Breast cancer isn't pretty. It's not an easy cancer. But if you're one of the lucky few. You beat it and live to fight. It’s important to raise awareness, and I’m doing my part by telling this story