“I’m 31, I’ve got breast cancer, and I’m a mum. In a few months after chemo and radiation, I’ll have my breasts and ovaries removed.
I’m struggling to feel pretty today. Which made me think that I’m probably not alone.
This all sounds so ugly, hey!!
Ugly because my kids miss out on their mum when I’m sick.
Ugly because I’m menopausal.
Ugly because I’ve got no idea what’s going to happen to me and my fam.
But I want to be pretty, and I want other Queens who are battling demons to feel pretty too.”
‘How do you check your breasts?’
Just touch them. Daily. Touch them, if it feels different, heavy, hot, lumpy, even just a bit abnormal- your nipples are more sensitive than usual. The initial touch, and consistently checking them, makes you more conscious of how your breasts should feel and look. Look at them. It’s not until you look at and touch your breasts often that you can ever say, ‘that feels different’.
Even though I had two ultrasounds, ultrasounds don’t always come up with what’s going on unless it’s really bad. And ‘Really Bad’ is NOT when you want to find out you have a tumour.
Being a mum, we put our kids first. We put off our own appointments and take our kids to theirs. But at the end of the day, I feel like by not putting my health as high a priority as my children, it’s detrimental to them in the long term anyway.
To get my diagnosis, I had to feel like a total dickhead sometimes. I’d walk into the doctors, and feel like they’re looking and thinking, ‘Oh, here she is again.’ But I thought, ‘You know what? I have kids. I want to be there for them. This is important.’
I felt like I had to go to that place a lot, to touch it. I needed to reinforce in my own self there wasn’t something wrong- I always went back to that place. I wanted to touch it, to feel if there was anything different about it.
There was something inside me that made me think, it’s not just a cyst.
When they told me it looks like I have an infection, I was dumbfounded. “My breast is hot, this has been happening awhile, and it’s not any better”.
I was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer. If I had been diagnosed a year earlier, it would have been a grade one or two. Even earlier than that, I would have had the tumour removed with a lumpectomy. Now I have to do chemo first to shrink it, radiation to the area every day for five weeks, they’ll remove both my breasts and my ovaries, and then I will be on hormone replacement therapy for the rest of my life.
It wasn’t something that popped up overnight. I just knew. It looked different. As soon as your breast looks different to you, if you want to touch it, or go to it, I feel that’s one warning sign. Listen to your inner voice.
As soon as I got breast cancer, I started my ‘journey to health’. My nails are strong, I’m having chemo but my body feels the difference with all the changes I’ve made.
My wish for you is to be able to do the same for yourself, without experiencing breast cancer in the first place.
So this is me. Pretty, when there is so much ugly around me.
Check your boobies, and be a per-cyst-ant sister. It might not just be a cyst!
You can find resources via National Breast Cancer Foundation here.