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In 2014, Stella was diagnosed with a grade three invasive ductal carcinoma. During treatment, she felt confused, emotional and lost. When she discovered Breast Cancer Now’s Moving Forward Course, however, things started to change.
You learn to manage it, but the fear is still there. Without Breast Cancer Now, it would have taken much longer to recover.
After treatment ended, I was an emotional mess. I felt guilty – I don't know where that came from, but it was there. Losing my hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, fingernails and toenails really affected my confidence, and made me feel like a freak.
You can stick a wig on and you wear a bit of makeup and look 'normal' to everyone else, and they tell you, 'you look great!'. But on the inside, you're just not yourself. Everything is so upside-down. I went through a lot of emotional stress that no one else could see.
It wasn't until after my active treatment that I found out about Breast Cancer Now. My oncologist recommended I go on a Moving Forward course. I am so thankful for that day.
It was after that course that I started to really feel that I was recovering from cancer. Physically, mentally and emotionally. It's one thing to go through the physical treatment and recover from that, but actually you don't recover immediately – it takes a while to get back into yourself.
On the Moving Forward course, I met other women going through similar experiences. It made me feel like I wasn't alone, and that it was perfectly normal to go through that phase. They were all going through the same journey as myself, so it made things easier to cope with. I could make sense of what was going on and understand what I was going through.
I am so thankful that I had that support – so many women don't.
Our Moving Forward courses are run over a few weeks and are designed to help people who are struggling to feel ‘normal’ after treatment.