Sarah had three school-age children when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The children found the news and their mother losing her hair hard to take.
My greatest concern was telling my children
One evening I was getting ready to go out when I found a thick, hard area in my breast. I went to see the doctor and a week later I was told that I had breast cancer. I would have to start chemotherapy straight away. It was a real shock, but my greatest concern was telling my children. I knew that once the treatment started and my hair began to fall out there was no way I could hide it.
My husband and I did the best we could breaking the news to them. When my hair did start to fall out my youngest, who was just seven, became terribly upset. I also know the other two worried about me constantly, while trying not to show it. As for myself I just wanted to hide. I stopped doing the school run and shut myself away. I knew then that we needed expert help, especially in the way we talked to and treated the kids.
I needed to speak with someone impartial
I phoned the Helpline and spoke to a lovely nurse who recommended Mummy’s Lump, a book that helps you talk to your children about breast cancer. After that, I called the Helpline many more times as I found having someone impartial to speak to really helped. There were things I didn’t want to discuss with my family because I knew they would just worry.
My thirst for information led me to download all the relevant booklets from the Breast Cancer Now website. And I also started reading what people were posting in the online forums. There was a chemotherapy group that I followed who’d all started their chemotherapy the same month as I had, so they were all going through the same experience. They’d talk about treatments, side effects, research and questions for the doctors (you never know what to ask!).
They helped so much, I wanted to give back
Once treatment was all over I signed up for a Breast Cancer Now Moving Forward course. I gained a lot of practical information and was able to share stories with people who’d been through the same thing. Just talking to them made me realise that my feelings and concerns were all normal.
To give something back to the charity I started to attend fundraising events and, as well as raising money, I was thrilled to model in Breast Cancer Now’s fashion show. I couldn’t imagine myself doing that before and I certainly wouldn’t have had the confidence without Breast Cancer Now’s incredible support.
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