Hello, my name is Helen. I was 52 when diagnosed with ER+ Grade 3 invasive ductal breast cancer in the Autumn of 2018. I was working full time in the NHS, married and living with a teenager daughter and our wonderful Bichon, Dallas.

My diagnosis came as a huge shock as I assumed I had a blocked milk duct! I thought ‘not again’ as in 1979 just before my 13th birthday I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer (Teratoma), which I had surgery and 18 months of chemotherapy for. Thankfully, I am informed both my cancers are not linked and not gene related, a relief given my concerns for my daughter.

Following my breast cancer diagnosis everything seemed to happen so fast. I went on to have 6 cycles of chemotherapy (EC-T) then a mastectomy and axillary node clearance with a DIEP reconstruction (tissue from the tummy). 15 rounds of radiotherapy then followed in what felt like a whirlwind year. Following 12 months of Tamoxifen I now take Letrozole and I'm managing the menopausal symptoms that come with it.

I have since retired from my full-time post and I now volunteer for Breast Cancer Now services; Someone Like Me, telephone and email support, and for Moving Forward face to face courses.

Breast cancer was not something my family or anyone close to me had experienced and I felt a little lost. However, I try to stay positive, taking one day at a time, always looking forward, doing more of the little things that make me happy, getting outdoors and walking in the country with my dog (and hubby) by my side.

I understand this rollercoaster ride, how scary and emotional it feels. You are not alone, and I am here if you would like to chat to me. I will do my best to help support you by sharing my story, experiences and advice that helped me navigate my treatment. Please email me at helen@breastcancernow.org