I was 50 when I was diagnosed with bilateral DCIS. At the time I was travelling a lot with work. My daughter was pregnant with her third child and I often looked after my other two grandsons. 

The DCIS in my right breast was detected through my first breast screening mammogram and on the day I was attending hospital to get these results, I found a lump in my left breast which was subsequently diagnosed as DCIS. I had wide local excisions (WLEs) on both breasts but they were unable to get a clear margin in my left breast. At that point, I was offered a bilateral mastectomy but I decided to have another WLE on my left breast. Unfortunately, they were unable to get a clear margin again, so I was advised to have a mastectomy on my left side. As the DCIS was in both breasts, I would have needed to have radiotherapy on both sides, so I decided to have a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction with saline implants and strattice.

Since then I have had nipple reconstruction, two rounds of lipofill to improve the look of my breast reconstructions and I have nipple tattoo top-ups about every 6 months. I don’t feel as confident as before about my body and this did affect my intimate relationship with my partner.

I understand how emotional and isolating it can feel after treatment, even with supportive family and friends around. I felt that they did not really understand how I was affected and I was expected to carry on like before. I sought help including the Someone Like Me service and worked through it.

You can contact me via paula@breastcancernow.org