May 19, 2021

First steps are the hardest

Three years ago this week I took the first steps that, ultimately, led to where I am today. I went to see a GP about a breast lump. I found a lump in breast a little over three years ago whilst trying to get comfortable lying on my front to have a massage. I then ignored it for a while as it didn’t appear to be like the lumps I’d heard about when talking about breast
cancer. It wasn’t a small pea sized lump that was painless, my lump was big and hard and painful and was almost an extension of my rib cage. Anyway, in my friendship group we’d already had one of our friends die from breast cancer, lightening didn’t strike twice so I couldn’t have breast cancer!

These thoughts, and many other seemingly silly thoughts, went around my head for weeks. I pushed it to the back of my mind and carried on oblivious to the invader in my body. Time went on and I felt really tired. I’d had a couple of bruises that I didn’t know how I got. Those 3 things together made me think it was time to get checked out, The GP was reassuring and told me that she could feel the lump and I’d need to see the breast care team under the two week wait protocol (which means cancer is suspected). However, she said I was young and most of the time these lumps are nothing sinister.

This consultation started a long progression of first steps that were scary and hard to take, but take them I did, with as much bravado and humour as I could muster. First steps into the MRU and into the office of Mr D. First steps into the mammography department. First steps back into Mr D’s office to be told I had Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. First steps into the operating theatre to have my breast removed and reconstructed. First steps into the chemotherapy suite. First steps into the radiotherapy suite and, finally, first steps back out of the hospital with an NED (No Evidence of Disease) status and a slightly broken body. It has taken three years to get here. With many surgeries and treatments under my belt, I am finally finding my fitness levels rising and a desire to take on a new challenge. A virtual marathon is my new challenge. I’m terrified at the thought of running 26 miles when the most I’ve ever done is 7miles but I figure, I got through chemo I can get through this, right?
With the new charity taking shape, we are going to need funds to see our mission statement through to support anyone affected by breast cancer in Herefordshire with up to date, clinically guided advice with local information and peer support, so a marathon will kick off the fundraising.

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