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.
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.