Darlaine was diagnosed with invasive lobular breast cancer in 2016 aged 55.
Coping with my diagnosis
My relationship ended soon after my diagnosis. I retreated into myself. I needed to be able to devote time to thinking about what the diagnosis meant. What I was going to do. I wanted to be able to think, clearly, for me. My confidence in myself, my body, really suffered while I was going through scan appointments, surgery and treatment. My sister, my rock, came to most of my appointments with me.
I had 4 lumpectomies, a bilateral mastectomy and my ovaries removed. After the surgery I started aromatase inhibitors which were an added nightmare as these treatments plus the removal of my ovaries effected an immediate menopause. No gradual decline into menopause, a push over the cliff.
Coping with my diagnosis and after treatment
While I am not at all lonely, I felt and still feel alone as do many of my fellow cancer peers. I have a great support network. I am very lucky. But when you are the only person in that support group with breast cancer, it’s not quite the same. I joined a lobular Facebook group, which was really helpful for the information I needed about lobular breast cancer.
I have been researching lobular breast cancer. Also the effects of hormone positive breast cancer treatments on women's confidence. And the effect on their sex lives. These treatments often have numerous side effects such as stiff joints (my hands seize up) fatigue and general menopausal symptoms. Which are not always pleasant and can be disastrous for a women's sex life and confidence with their body. I was involved with a project for post breast cancer women to get back to sex. This alongside all my other projects have now given me back my confidence in me. My body confidence has come from having my breast area tattooed with the most amazing artwork.