Tracy Armstrong was diagnosed with breast cancer at the end of 2019. After three operations, and with the COVID-19 pandemic creating even more challenges, she turned to us for support.
I experienced physical, mental and emotional side effects of treatment
I was diagnosed with breast cancer back in November 2019 following a routine mammogram. When they told us at the hospital it was breast cancer, I was in complete shock – I felt numb. Luckily, my husband was able to ask the doctor all the important questions when I didn’t feel up to it.
My first operation was in December, but I needed further surgery in February, followed by a third just before lockdown in March 2020. By then I was exhausted and began to feel unwell.
Each time I experienced some fatigue and discomfort in the breast area, which I still occasionally have. These physical problems were hard enough, but it was the mental side that I found challenging at times.
My levels of concentration dropped sometimes, which affected my ability to focus on complex tasks at work. My emotions suffered as the treatment took its toll, affecting all my relationships, and the various lockdowns meant I didn’t always have other family or friends visiting to offer me support.
Breast Cancer Now’s help has been invaluable
Fortunately, the hospital told me about Breast Cancer Now. I ordered some of their publications to understand more about my treatment and how I might manage my side effects better. I also downloaded the Becca app, which I still use occasionally. The links to additional resources and the breakdown of topics make it very user-friendly.
The Breast Cancer Now website was a huge source of information during the early stages of my care, diagnosis and treatment, and I still use it today. Above all, I found reading about people in similar situations and the information on breast cancer and COVID-19 extremely helpful for improving my mental health. It made me feel less alone.
As my treatment came to an end, I realised I needed help to recover emotionally and psychologically. Breast Cancer Now’s Moving Forward course has been a revelation. It’s helped me manage my expectations, deal with my symptoms, and improve my overall wellbeing. It’s allowed me to move forward with more confidence.
I’m thrilled that this wonderful charity has asked me to share my story as I know how valuable that could be to someone else facing treatment. I’m keen to raise funds too, as I would love more people to receive the support I did.
For information and support, call our free Helpline on 0808 800 6000.
Tracy’s story featured in our In touch newsletter, which you can have delivered to your door.