When Sacha was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, she felt isolated. Through social media, she was able to find support – and now hopes to support others.
I felt angry that this had happened to me
When I found out I had breast cancer I couldn’t help but feel, ‘Why now?’ I was only 24 and I felt like my health was at its best.
I took my mum to the appointment with me and when they told me the news, I just went blank. I don’t really remember anything. I think I collapsed on the floor.
Three weeks later, I had a mastectomy.
I was so angry that it was happening to me when I was so young. I felt like I was at my best one moment, and then, after my diagnosis, everything changed so quickly. Losing my hair was particularly hard, and losing my breast made me self-conscious.
Breast cancer changed my identity
The whole process has made me feel alien.
My relationship with my body has definitely changed. I was happy with how I looked before. Yes, I had little insecurities - everyone does - but overall, I was happy. Now it’s a completely different story.
When you lose your hair and eyelashes, even when you apply makeup, it’s never going to be the ‘old you’. And losing a breast makes you a different person both physically and emotionally. My scars are a constant reminder of what I’ve been through.
On top of that, my diagnosis has made me incredibly anxious, which is something I never suffered from before. At times I felt such a mess, I didn’t want to get out of bed. I worry about recurrence and feel traumatised by having to go through such extreme treatment at such a young age.
I don’t feel like ‘me’ anymore.
I found support through social media
At the start, I felt completely alone. I thought I was the only person my age being diagnosed. But when I started to share my story on social media, other women reached out. Two friends who went to the same school as me are also going through breast cancer. They’ve been a huge support.
Some people even messaged me saying they’d gone to the GP to get a lump checked that they’d been putting off because they saw my story, which made me feel good. It makes it all worth it.
Before my diagnosis, I was using my social media channels to share content about fashion. When I started to experience more physical changes from treatment, I couldn’t really carry on as much as I’d planned. I didn’t really document my cystic fibrosis journey either, but now I’m trying to raise awareness of both diseases by talking about it on those same platforms.
I’m now discovering a new side to myself
My relationship with clothes has changed. I used to choose style over comfort, but now I just want to be comfortable.
Fashion has always played a big part in my life. It’s always been my way of showing my personality: an opportunity to play with colours and express myself. During treatment, I was looking at my old clothes thinking that I had become a different person now. I felt lost, and my clothes just didn’t feel the same.
I struggle with being lopsided as this affects how I dress, and seeing other women wear what they want can be difficult. Even finding underwear is tricky.
I’m starting to come to terms with it, but it’s still quite fresh for me. I need to find a new me, and that includes a new style.
I’m so pleased to be taking part in this year’s Fashion Targets Breast Cancer campaign. When I was diagnosed, I felt so alone, so I hope sharing my story as part of the campaign will help others going through something similar to feel less lonely.
You can help support people like Sacha by purchasing something from our Fashion Targets Breast Cancer range. Every piece sold helps fund vital research and care for people with breast cancer.