In June 2010, aged 33, and just after the birth of my little girl, I was shocked to hear the words “you have cancer.” I was diagnosed with breast cancer – a grade three invasive ductal carcinoma.
At the time, I didn’t fully understand what that meant but I knew it wasn’t good news. As a child, I watched my very beautiful mother battle brain cancer, so I knew what to expect of the chemotherapy, but she was my inspiration. She fought her fight with a smile on her face and never complained and I was determined to do the same.
I had a four month old baby whom I needed to be around for. I simply didn’t have the time for the disease! I was quickly booked in for surgery, followed by a gruelling six months of chemotherapy, and a final three weeks of radiotherapy. It was tough, but I got through it with the help of my family and friends, as well as the amazing team of people at The Haven who offer support to people affected by breast cancer. The hypnotherapy kept my mind focused and positive, whilst the shiatsu helped my body and soul – and bowels!
It’s taken a few years, but I now feel like a new person, a better one perhaps, and my perspective on life has definitely changed. I cherish each moment, and feel I am extremely lucky to have had my little girl before this disease. It was discovered that I have a BRCA1 mutation (it’s the only thing I have in common with Angelina Jolie!), and I took preventative action to try and eliminate the possibility of a secondary breast cancer and ovarian cancer, which felt the right decision for me. Sadly it means I can’t have more children.
I do; however, live with the fear that I may have passed on this genetic fault to my daughter, and this has lead me to do substantial research into environmental factors affecting breast cancer. I was shocked to find out how many toxic chemicals are in cosmetic products. Following on from this research, I have set up a website: www.parabenfree.co (there is no .uk on the end) which is devoted to raising awareness of the potentially harmful effects of parabens in cosmetics, and their links with cancer. I hope my site will be helpful to anyone else going through breast cancer treatment.
Thank you for setting up this website. It is truly inspiring.