Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Breast cancer awareness month: DCIS experience

Author: Zoe

I'm sitting in the waiting room for my 17th radiotherapy treatment. It's been a usual morning so far: kids to school, hop in car and drive to hospital, find parking space, cup of tea and croissant in canteen, check-in for treatment, wait.

I'm fine I tell myself on a daily basis, thinking: It was just DCIS (surgeon's words), its been removed (consultant's words), its not invasive (nurse's words) now its being zapped just to be sure (my words).

I think: I really need to pull myself together, there are others a lot worse, look around you, get a grip. I pick up a magazine, its full of awful stories and think: see, people much worse off than you. I glance about as I do everyday, I'm at least 20 years younger than everybody. No need to panic about that I think.

The trouble is, once you've had a cancer diagnosis (only pre-cancer the surgeon in my head reminds me) ok, any sort of diagnosis to do with cancer, you have to work out a way of dealing with the little voice that shouts mean things to you if you let it: it will come back and next time if will be worse... I haven't worked out a way of dealing with that voice yet but I'm getting there.

The nurse calls my name and I get up expecting to go to get changed. However, this time she says "we just need to go to a private room first Mrs P for a moment". My blood runs cold, colour drains from my face, I think I might cry or be sick and the man opposite looks sympathetic. I think: why? why do I need to go to a private room? What have they found? I've only got 3 days of this left, how can they have found something else already? I start to tremble and can feel the panic rising. In the private room the kind nurse apologises and says I just need to sign some paperwork that was missed from the start of treatment. Its no big deal. I could hug her and feel a fool at the same time. During the radiotherapy session I'm still in a tizz and almost fall off the bed. During treatment I think: what an overeaction, I really do need to stop fearing the worst.

After my session I emerge into the sunshine back to my car, work, kids and life. Calm again. I really have a long way to go I think to myself. I thought I was dealing with the whole thing fine but now realise that is going to take a while.

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Write for the blog! This blog is one of a series being shared on the Young Women's Breast Cancer Blog UK during October, breast cancer awareness month, but the blog is here year round. If you are a young woman in the UK who has/had a breast cancer diagnosis and you would like to be a part of this blog, please have a read of the additional information here.

Check your breasts
Breast cancer can happen to any of us - regardless of age. Information about how to check your breasts can be found on the Coppafeel and Breast Cancer Now websites.

Further information and support:

Younger Breast Cancer Network UK - an online chat and support group for women under the age of 45 in the UK who have had a breast cancer diagnosis.

Baldly Beautiful - a YouTube channel with make up demonstrations, created by Mac makeup artist Andrea Pellegrini who went through chemo herself in 2014.

Take A Moment - This is a group for women (all ages) who have/had breast cancer who want to explore, reflect on and express their feelings and experiences through photography. This is a link to the public page - to join the group, send them a message.

The Osborne Trust - Providing children of parents with cancer the opportunity to access time out recreational activities whilst their parents undergo operations and treatments
Jen's Friends - Free heart-shaped pillows for women (and men) with Breast Cancer. Designed to provide comfort and protection after a Mastectomy operation.

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