A baby and breast cancer all during COVID

It all started with 8th September 2020, my darling Dottie was born and life was amazing. I finally had my beautiful girl after having two sons.

Roll on to April the 19th, in the shower I checked my breast like normal and probably more carefully as my auntie was diagnosed with breast cancer the week beforehand. I felt a hard lump in my left breast and I knew it was a cancer lump, the bugger wasn’t moving like a cyst.

Fast forward to my doctor appointment. My doctor had a feel and didn’t say anything to reassure me. The doctor just said I am sending you for a mammogram. Nine days later I got my date on 27april 2021.

My eldest sister and I went to the city hospital in Belfast. I had to go in to the breast unit alone due to Covid but could ring my sister when needed. I thought “ok let’s see what this lump is about”. A nurse had a feel and found it and sent me for a mammogram, then I went to have a scan and there on a big screen was my mammogram.

I said, “oh there is the bugger there and the doc replied yes, that’s the lump”, We are going to take a biopsy now and give you the results today. I went back outside and waited and it seem like everyone else was seen before me. Then I saw two ladies in a red uniform, one called my name and right then and there I knew it was bad news as these were breast care nurses. They sat me down with my now amazing surgeon & said we are sorry but it’s cancer. I didn’t even cry but I said I can’t die, I have children they need me, please don’t let me die.

They called my sister in we broke the news to her which was so awful. I had invasive caronma cancer hormonal positive and HER. My treatment plan was a right therapeutic mammoplasty surgery with sentinel nodes biopsy and right breast reduction lift and tuck.

Then after that we would know more about chemo etc . We left drove the 1.5 hours home and broke the news to my family who were heartbroken. But we got it early and I was ready to do whatever it took . The night before my surgery, I found a tiny new lump near the nipple on the same breast. I told my surgeon this the morning of my surgery on the 28th of May.

The surgery was done I thought ok great first tick off my list over me . I got my results and they didn’t get clear margins and the tiny lump I had found myself was a complete different cancer lobular so I had two different breast cancers in the same breast. Also 3/3 lymph nodes removed were cancer so we went full steam ahead with chemo, 6 rounds of hell. I was hospitalized, got an infection and lost every hair my body. I had mouth ulcers so bad I couldn’t eat so I ended up back in hospital. It was hell. But I did ring that bell on the 9th loud and proud with my amazing family with me.

During chemo we did gene testing, a simple blood test and my results came back showing that I carry not one but 2 genes, BRAC1 and PABL2 so this made our decision even easier after chemo to have a double mastectomy with implants and all my lymph nodes removed; 6 hours in surgery 5 in recovery. The operation was so hard and the pain was hard but I got through it again with the help of my family. Christmas eve I got the best news ever… my cancer was gone, I did it I was cancer free.

We then went for 15 rounds of radiation just to give me that extra reassurance and I finally rang the bell for the very last time ever in my life, I hope. I am currently now on hormonal treatments injections every 12 weeks and tablets every day which has brought on menopause at 35 but I welcome anything to completely shut down my ovaries so my cancer does not have a chance to come back. I am also going for hysterectomy as I am more of high risk now of getting ovarian cancer so I want no risk ever again.

I am blessed with my 3 amazing children. I hope my story helps someone even that has never checked their breast before to please check them. I thought I was too young to get cancer or I couldn’t get cancer after having a baby so soon but I was very wrong.

Cancer does not care about age. So now am ready to rebuild my new life and I cannot wait. Yes cancer is hard and if anyone reading this is about to start their journey trust me, if I can beat cancer, a single parent to 3 children anyone can. It won’t last forever and soon you will be dancing in sun.