I remember sitting in front of the fireplace at home, it was Friday night, bonfire night. My dad explained to us that mum would be going into hospital and the doctors needed to take her boob off because it was ‘poorly’ but she would have a prosthesis. She would go into hospital three days later when the surgery would take place. I was 8 years old and my brother a few years older. I had no idea that boobs could get poorly and no understanding of what a prosthesis was but dad had explained as best he could.
My mum stayed in hospital for two weeks which was typical back then. I wasn’t allowed to see her, it wasn’t deemed appropriate so I wrote to her every day and drew pictures to keep in touch; my mum kept them all, they are still in a memory box to this day.
Seeing mum’s scar for the first time was a shock, it looked red, sore and uneven. As a teen, I started to see the impact on mum’s femininity; her inability to buy pretty bras or wear low cut dresses, I felt her pain, it was tangible though she never complained.
Cancer was always a part of our lives, in frequent residence. Mum was stoical in her approach and I learned so much from her, in so many ways, for which I am forever grateful.
Being brought up with a boobless mummy made me resolute not to take my boobs for granted, to love them, show them off (in a non page 3/ playboy way!) and to enjoy them every day I had them just in case the day came when I may not have boobs. Of course I always hoped that day would not come but it did. And so, in May this year, I was diagnosed with DCIS, or early breast cancer and will be having a mastectomy very soon.
I’m not angry, filled with self-pity or resentful though those feelings may come, instead, I believe this is my journey and I will go wherever I am taken. I have been blessed with an early diagnosis, fabulous surgeons, a wonderful loving family and amazing friends. I hope this blog will be a portrait of the good in life whether that is in connection to cancer diagnosis, mastectomy or life in general. I am so blessed that my cup is flowing over, I recognise I may not feel like that immediately after my surgery but I will look for the good in everything because that is what will make the difference.
Thank you for taking the time when you have so many other things to do!
Enjoy the ride xx
My surgery took place in August 2018 and the histology revealed invasive breast cancer. This came as much as a shock as the initial diagnosis of DCIS especially given the long wait since I first attended clinic with a lump. On reflection, it reconfirms the difficult decision to have a mastectomy to be the right one – and now, onwards and upwards with a few bumps in the road.