I was 52 and had just lost my Mum when diagnosed with high grade widespread DCIS in my left breast, after my first routine mammogram.
A mastectomy was recommended and I chose DIEP reconstruction - a “tummy tuck” seemed to be good recompense! I was prescribed Tamoxifen for the 6 months I waited for surgeons and a theatre to be co-ordinated and to stop existing medication for a pre-existing condition. The mastectomy was a success, however my DIEP reconstruction failed and my recovery was hampered when I developed a pulmonary embolism. For the first time in my life I was feeling very sorry for myself. I was fitted for a prosthesis and took time to decide whether to have another go at reconstruction.
I spoke to several plastic surgeons and women from Someone Like Me, and finally chose to have LD reconstruction (using the back muscle latissimus dorsi) supplemented by lipofill from my thighs, plus a small reduction of the right breast to achieve symmetry; this was a huge success, although lobular intraepithelial neoplasia (LIN or Lobular neoplasia is a benign (not cancer) condition. Having lobular neoplasia slightly increases the risk of developing breast cancer in the future) was detected in the right breast and as a result I was prescribed Anastrozole. 18 months later I had a nipple reconstruction and am currently awaiting tattooing to form an areola.
Of course I would rather not have had breast cancer, but it did prompt me to assess my priorities in life. I decided to stop work and to pick up some volunteer roles, tutoring ESOL, with Someone Like Me and being a local walk leader.
I joined a local women’s cycling group to regain my cycling confidence and fitness. And my biggest decision was to buy a campervan and explore Scotland with my dog, pursuing my love of hiking and wild swimming! You can contact me at email@example.com