Meet Adobea. She’s one of the amazing women living with secondary breast cancer featured in our ‘If I had more time’ campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Adobea tells us about her experience with secondary breast cancer, why our research is so important, and what she would do if she had more time.
Tell us about your experience of secondary breast cancer. When did you first notice something wrong with your breasts?
It started in 2016. It was just an ordinary day for me, but, while getting ready for work, I discovered a small grape-sized lump in the left side of my breast. I wasn’t too concerned at first, but I went to my GP to get it checked out for peace of mind. After being examined at the GP, I was told it was an ordinary breast lump and nothing to worry about.
How did you get diagnosed with secondary breast cancer?
Around the end of 2017, I noticed the lump had got larger and my breast was becoming discoloured and dimpled. Again, I went to my GP and was told it was nothing to worry about.
In April 2018 I felt a sharp pain in my chest while walking to work. The pain continued throughout the day, and a colleague suggested I go to the hospital. I waited in A&E for several hours, only to be told I likely had muscular-skeletal pain. I was given painkillers and sent home. The pain got worse and progressed throughout the week, and I found myself in A&E again. I insisted on having a scan. The scan revealed a large mass in my breast, armpit and bone. I was told I would be referred to the breast clinic. That is how it started. On 8 May 2018, after more scans and a biopsy, I was told I had secondary breast cancer. It was devastating, one of the worst days of my life.
What’s life like now that you’ve had that diagnosis?
At first, I was very down and depressed, but I had this fight in me, and I knew I had to be there for my son, and my friends and family. Once I was on medication that kept the disease stable, I began to do things I enjoyed in life again.
I try to live and enjoy my life as much as I possibly can. I have a fashion vlog on YouTube and Instagram. I have a more positive outlook on life. I just want to do all the things that I’ve always feared doing.
Why did you want to be part of the ‘If I had more time’ campaign?
I want to bring attention to secondary breast cancer. Before my diagnosis, I didn’t know what secondary breast cancer was.
I find that explaining my story helps me to cope with what happened to me, and to work through it.
Where I can, I try to speak to people who are going through the same thing as myself. I want to do more and find a place where I can actively help other people, as I find this can be helpful.
I also want to use this platform to encourage others to check themselves and to insist on getting extra checks if you think something is unusual.
Why is our research important to you?
Research is important to me because it keeps people like me, who have secondary breast cancer, alive. It gives us more time and a better quality of life. Without the research into drugs and treatment, I wouldn’t be able to create memories and spend time with my loved ones.
What would you do if you had more time?
If I had more time, I would love to have more children and to travel the world. I’d love to see my son get married, go to university, and meet my grandkids. Every day, I want to make sure that everyone I’m close to knows how dearly I love them.