Recipient

Michelle W.

United Kingdom

Boob-less Live-more

2020 was not my year... It started out with weekend trips to Dorset and Yorkshire and then all of a sudden it was over.

We had a weekend off, due to be attending the Country 2 Country Festival at the O2 in March, the night before it was due to start they announced the postponement, it really all went down hill from there. Working in the hospitality industry the week after we were on 3 day weeks, furlough was announced and for the first time in my adult life I was at home basically 24/7. Like everyone we started walking, a broken ankle and moon boot happened. But that was thinking least of our problems.

In the middle of April, my right breast started hurting, swelling and was incredibly painful. Waited out a couple of days, then called the GP, half an hour later I was in having a face to face appointment and come home with a prescription for antibiotics and a referral to the breast clinic 'just in case'. 2 weeks later spoke with the consultant, 2 days later I was in having mammograms, ultrasounds and core biopsies. 10 days later I was diagnosed with a rare, extremely aggressive form of breast cancer, inflammatory. Only 1 to 3% of all breast cancer is diagnosed for this form. To top it off I was also diagnosed as triple-negative, only approximately 25% of cancers are this. This meant my treatment options were limited.

4 weeks later chemo commenced. Unfortunately, I did not respond well and still had a 5.5cm tumour at the time of surgery in December, 11/14 lymph nodes were also affected. Surgery gave us clear margins thank god. The first bit of good news in 8 months. 6 weeks later in for radiotherapy to make sure everything was 'mopped up'. August I was made redundant. March 2021 I started a new job, my first job outside of the hospitality industry in 20 years.

2021, cleared of cancer, turned 40, started what could be a new career. I now want to work on re-recognising myself. The change that you go under, losing a breast, gaining weight, the emotional toll, is indescribable.

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