One Sunday morning August 2017 I woke up and noticed an indentation in my left breast. I ignored it for the first day as the previous year I had had an early mammogram which came back suspicious for the right breast but after a biopsy I was cleared as nothing to be concerned about. So of course it couldn’t be cancer could it? No lumps? Just a funny shaped breast. So I tried to not worry, booked myself an Appointment with the GP next day. When she started saying things like, mmm that doesn’t look right, I knew. Off to hospital the next day, a full day of tests, mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsy, the news - Grade 2 Brest Cancer.
Within two weeks, I met a surgeon and oncologist who told me I would have 6 rounds of chemo to shrink my tumour then surgery and radiotherapy.
Chemo although tough, was doable, then came the news, 8cm tumour removed, but they couldn’t guarantee clear margins. Next appointment I was told that due to not clear margins it was time for a mastectomy. By this time my head was spinning, add to that 12 out of 24 lymph nodes were infected and I would need a ct scan. I was told this was routine.So I went away and mentally tried to prepare for that operation two weeks later.
Two days prior my op I was called to hospital. In a small room I was told - “ I am sorry to say but the cancer has spread to your bones, it is in your shoulders, three places in your spine, pelvis, top of each leg - oh and this is Claire who is your hospice and palliative care nurse”
My husband and I were floored, I thought my life was over within a month. I fell into a deep state of anxiety, not sleeping, doing death admin, choosing a plot, planning a funeral.
A week later I met a wonderful gp and oncologist who told me that people today are living with cancer, for a long time. I was started straight away on letrozole and a new drug called ibrance, one of 20 people at York hospital on this newly licensed drug.
So far, two ct scans and a year on, no progression, totally stable.
I no longer take life for granted, I cherish family and friendships more. I am determined to keep living, I cannot beat this cancer, I can simply try to live with it, be determined to get through each day that I am given the best way I can.
I am doing this for all the mums, daughters, sisters, and friends that are currently going through breast cancer , Living with Cancer and those who have since passed away. Including Sean’s Mum who fought breast cancer years ago.
I thank god for my wonderful husband who spends all his time running me to and fro appointments and for doing the tough things like shaving my hair for me, which despite the smiles was harder for me than you would imagine. To my dad, brother Trevor, Alison, Chris, holly and Caitlin my kids and Dylan my grandson who all give me something to live for and for being there for me. Jo my cousin and her family who are there if I need them and an escape when I know I need it, to Aunty Sandra and friend Val who have all been through this and supported me with advice. For my great friends who all know who they are who pull me through each day without even knowing it!
Treatments are improving
Each year Cancer Research UK’s scientists get closer to beating cancer, and they’ve helped double survival rates in the last 40 years. But we can’t stop there, so please donate now! Let’s kick cancer, together we can do it.