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Beating cancer is a journey

From Sarah Andrew

I was 30 yrs old with an 18 month old daughter and been separated from my husband for almost a year, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had convinced myself that if was 'just' a lump a blocked milk duct or something due to the age of my daughter. I didn’t go to the doctor for 6 months as I was sure it was nothing and on my first visit to the doctor I was told it was nothing to worry about! I then returned to my doctor and was referred to the Breast clinic. This is where my journey began....

On my visit to the clinic I went for an ultra sound and the lady there referred me to have a mammogram straight away. That was the first time I thought that something could be wrong. I then went to see the consultant who told me that I had cancer. I was blown away, I just couldn’t believe it, I was only 30.

From there I had 2 operations and a course of chemo and radio. My worst fear of having chemo was losing my hair as I saw that as a label, I thought that people would look at me and just know that I was ill. I didn’t want that label. I was lucky enough to be able to wear a cold cap during treatment and this was great. Although I lost a lot of hair anybody that didn’t know me would not have noticed. I would recommend a cold cap to anyone it is a little uncomfortable but worth it.

I met every new treatment head on and ploughed through them. It was my daughter that really brought me through it all, at 18 months old she didn’t understand that Mummy was poorly, she wanted to get up every day and I wasn’t allowed to feel any self pity. If nothing else I had my beautiful daughter to get through this for.

After a year I returned to work and life seemed to start becoming 'normal' again. I had things to talk about and working for a big organisation people didn’t know that I had been off ill they just thought I had been working elsewhere. Now a year on from there I have just found out that I have been grated funding to have herceptin, which is great news but I also feel that it a slight step backwards into the person that needs treatment.

I don’t think that I have ever really accepted that I had an illness that could potentially be fatal, just that I had been challenged in the greatest way. I am a very strong person now and am thankful for the NHS and all the treatment and help that I have been given by them. I wish that if anyone has to go through a similar journey as I have they will get the help and understanding that I did.

To anyone beating cancer it is a journey and we can come out the other side.

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Updated: 28 September 2009