I remember sitting in the doctor’s waiting room trying to decide if I should mention the dip. 'It’s probably glands because I breast fed for 10 months,' I thought. 'It’s probably just my age. He’ll think I’m fussing.'
It was October 2012 and I had first noticed the dip a few weeks earlier. It was no bigger than the tip of my finger by my left nipple, but at the time I was more worried about a mole on my back.
My doctor assured me that the mole was fine, but while I was there I decided to ask about the dip in my breast. I remembered seeing something on the TV about Breast Cancer Now’s TLC campaign. It was saying that you shouldn’t just look for lumps, but to be aware of other changes in your breasts too.
The doctor said it was probably nothing to worry about but he referred me to a breast clinic to get checked out. I wasn’t in the least bit worried. I was just doing the sensible thing.
My husband Steve came with me to the hospital. After a mammogram, an ultrasound and a biopsy, we were called back to a room on the right. I had gone left every other time, why was I going right? I felt sick. This wasn’t the way today was supposed to go.
I am so sorry to tell you, you have breast cancer.
I was numb. I didn’t know how to react. Telling my parents, and then our son, Tom, was difficult because I didn’t know the answers yet to their questions. A breast cancer diagnosis has a ripple effect. It’s not just about you – it impacts your family, friends and everyone in your social group.
I had a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Treatment was hard and stressful at times, but it was worth the long journey. After my treatment, I chose to remove my other breast and had a brand-new set of boobs made from the fat and skin of my tummy. Since then, my scars have faded and I’ve had nipples constructed and tattooed. I am chuffed to bits with my new boobs!
I’m so glad I got my dip checked out by my doctor – catching my cancer early meant it was more likely I’d be successfully treated, which, thankfully, I was. Thank goodness for my mole and the TLC campaign!
It’s so important that people know what the different signs and symptoms of breast cancer are – it’s not always a lump. Getting to know what’s normal for your breasts and checking regularly could save your life.
The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance of successful treatment. So it's important to check your breasts regularly. Find out more about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and what to look out for.