Each story is different, but at Against Breast Cancer, to give an insight into what having breast cancer is like in the UK, Allie writes about her journey in a regular blog post. Below we’ve chosen a few extracts to give readers an overview - and to show just how important it is we fund research for a vaccine.
4th May 2018
My results were ready on 4th May (Star Wars Day!). My husband and I sat in the waiting room chatting away. When we were called in, I saw the same Doctor as the week before along with a support nurse who was amazing and stayed with me the whole time during my previous visit.
They gave me the devastating news that I had breast cancer, confirming that is was DCIS and also another malignant tumour. Both my husband and I cried and hugged each other and to be honest the rest of what the doctor told me didn’t really sink in.
I couldn’t wait to get out of that room. We went to get a coffee before going back to see the Breast Cancer Specialist Nurse who then explained the operation again and gave us lots of literature to go through. She also booked us an appointment to see the Surgical Oncologist on Monday 14th May.
This was moving so quickly (which to be honest is a good thing).
I had to go home to see my elderly mum and my brother and had to call my daughter who was abroad. She knew I was getting my results and if I hadn’t called her she would have known something wasn’t right. We told my step children the following week.
Telling the people that I loved was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
14th May 2018
On the appointment with the Surgical Oncologist and again a Breast Cancer Specialist Nurse, they went through my results again just to make sure we understood what was going on. She then went through the type of operation I would be having and then explained the further treatment.
My operation is booked in for June 12th and will be followed by radiotherapy and Tamoxifen, or the equivalent for 5 to 10 years.
I will be having a Therapeutic Mammoplasty (also known as a lollipop scar mammoplasty) alongside a Sentinel Lobe biopsy to see if the other tumour has spread. This will then determine whether chemotherapy will be necessary.
If I am being honest, all this has still not sunk in and I don’t think it will until I have my surgery. I had no symptoms of breast cancer, I don’t feel unwell and have always checked myself, but DCIS is not a lump and you can’t feel it and the other tumour is so deep in the breast, I wouldn’t have known it was there.
13th June 2018
Yesterday I had my operation. Firstly, I had the wire inserted in the area they were going to operate on. I Went in to surgery and remember looking at the clock in the theatre at 10.15am then nothing until I woke again in recovery. Lots of morphine and painkillers and back to the ward to recover. I finally went home around 5pm. I have not seen my husband all day but I know that he was waiting all day in the waiting room for me to reappear, it was so lovely to see him when I came through to the waiting room, such a relief.
I think the anaesthetic is still working as not in too much pain! I had forgotten about the blue dye they injected and I am beginning to morph into a smurf! I’m not sure how long this will take to disappear. Had a good night’s sleep surprisingly.
14th June 2018
The anaesthetic is wearing off – painkillers at hand. I had my first shower today after the op and got a good look at my scars. The one under my arm is the most painful to be honest. Plenty of painkillers every few hours seems to keep the pain manageable. I have changed my bras to ones that I bought before my op. M&S do fantastic post-surgery bras and you also get VAT relief on them if you have been diagnosed with breast cancer. This is taken off at the time of purchase, not sure if other outlets do this or not, but might be worth asking. These are so soft and comfortable, definitely worth purchasing.
16th July 2018
It’s nearly 5 weeks after my operation and my scars are healing well. I am still sore in some places and still look smurf like, however, after reading other peoples blogs, this can take anything up to a year to fade and in some cases it never does. But having a blue tinge is a very small price to pay for being cancer free.
I still get tired and need to rest, but I’m looking forward to returning to work 3 weeks today. For those who know me, I do get bored easily and I love my work!!
6th August 2018
Today was my first day back at work. I haven’t gone back on reduced hours, I have gone back for full days. I must admit by the end of the day, I was shattered!! It was so lovely to see all my work colleagues and to catch up with some of our supporters who have been wishing me well during my treatment.