Chanette aka MummySchmo
Before diagnosis I was a newly qualified teacher. I was working in a large secondary school and was raising my daughter it’s my husband (we had only been married for a little over three years).
I initially found the lump in my breast; near my rib cage and I went to my GP. I had to go on three separate occasions before I was referred to the Breast Unit at the hospital. Once there I had a mammogram, biopsy and ultra sound and it took just over a week to get the results. I was officially diagnosed on the 28th February 2016. It had never once crossed my mind that it would be cancer. I believed my GP when she said that I was ‘too young’. It took a further three weeks of testing for them to confirm that I was Triple Negative and a further few months for the geometric results to come back; which confirmed I am a BRCA 1 gene carrier. This was the biggest shock to me, as I am adopted and so have no family history whatsoever.
I began Chemotherapy in May 2016 treatment with 8 rounds of intensive FEC-T chemotherapy. Each round being 21 days apart. With all but two rounds I was hospitalised with side effects and complications including blood clots and infections. I then had a bilateral Mastectomy and node clearance in my right arm in November
2016. I am also scheduled to have a preventative bilateral Oophorectomy as BRCA1 carriers are also a higher risk for Ovarian Cancer; However, my Surgery was cancelled in June 2017 as the surgeon discovered that I am pregnant.
As a survivor life has in same ways will never be the same again. I have a legacy of health problems to now live with such as battling fatigue and administering daily blood thinning injections. Alongside this I also have a genetic legacy, which I will have to talk to my children about and have them face as they get older. I wasn’t able to work through treatment and getting back into that after nearly a year off is really difficult some days, especially when the Chemo fog descends. I only work part time now. In other ways it has been easy to step back into ’old’ me; who loves heels and bright colors! It’s a strange juxtaposition which can change each day. I found social media; especially Instagram invaluable for documenting my story and making sense of my journey but also as a way to see that there are unfortunately too many young women like me; facing this battle daily.
The best advice I can give to anyone facing treatment or becoming a survivor is to take each day as it comes. On the darkest days always try to find at least one reason to smile and most importantly of all; talk!! Make use of everything offered to you, especially support networks and groups. I never thought I’d join a support group or speak to a therapist but those actually became safe spaces and life lines for me at one point.