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My experience of finding a lump in my breast

From Mrs Jackie Mackenzie-Bell in Nottingham

Well! where do I start:

I am 52, healthy, sporty and active, but after going for a routine mammogram I was called back two days later for another one and a biopsy. Back again two days later for the results and was told that I had breast cancer and my operation was booked for 3 weeks later (31st March).

My consultant said the tumour was 1.5cms but I had to go for an MRI scan to confirm this so that they could perform a lumpectomy. After the MRI scan (which was not nice, cold and very noisy but not painful or even uncomfortable) I returned for the results 3 days later and was told that the tumour was indeed 1.5cms but the tissue around it was pre-cancerous therefore I needed to have a mastectomy.

Also there appeared to be a dark shadow under my arm, so there and then I was sent for a biopsy of my lymph nodes.

Back again 2 days later for the results and it was confirmed that the cancer had spread to my nodes, so now the operation was a mastectomy and full lymph node removal.

I had the operation first thing on Monday 31st March, everything went well and I was sent home by 10.00am on the Wednesday with drains still in. They were removed a few days later. I really recovered very well and quickly from the op.

However the scars do take some getting used to, but believe me you do cope.

My results were scheduled for 3 weeks later, what a long wait that was. I had read up on every possible outcome from books and the internet, not sure if that was a good thing to do, but I've got to say I ended up very knowledgeable on breast cancer.

The big day came and when we were taken into the consultants room. I'm sure I held my breath for at least 5 minutes until he came in. He strode in all bright and breezy and told us that the cancerous tumour was very small, smaller than what they first thought, also the tissue around the tumour wasn't pre-cancerous after all, and that there were only two nodes affected. I was elated and even the consultant was smiling like a Cheshire cat, Steve my partner and I hugged but no tears this time thank goodness.

I do have to have chemotherapy as a preventative measure and this will start in about 3 weeks time, but I have a very bright light at the end of the tunnel. I do realise that the next few months are going to be a bit nasty and I'm going to lose my hair etc, but I intend to stay positive because I really feel that I am one of the lucky ones.

I just feel so very, very lucky and have stopped holding my breath now. I have been deeply affected by the love and care shown, whether in practical help, phone calls, e-mails, text messages, flowers and ‘get well’ cards which has reminded me how much my family, friends and work mates (new and old) care about me.

So finally, this is a great big thank you to the hospital consultants and staff, family, friends and work mates at Boots and the City Hospital where I currently work.

Good luck to anyone just starting out with breast cancer, and stay positive, I really did.

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Updated: 28 September 2009