In March 2016, my life changed dramatically with an unexpected diagnosis of primary breast cancer. I had no concerns about my health when I went for a routine mammogram as part of the NHS screening service. This diagnosis was like a thunderbolt that struck at my core. I was still grieving the loss of my father who had died unexpectedly a few months prior. I was in emotional and psychological pain. Amazingly, during this time I soon felt an ‘inner peace’. I have a strong faith in God and together with the support of my family and friends, I was able to withstand this difficult time.
At first, my treatment plan involved having surgery (lumpectomy) and then radiotherapy. I was relieved as I thought to myself, “No chemotherapy, at least I will keep my hair.” However, after a second biopsy, the cancer was found to be more aggressive and consequently, the treatment plan changed to include chemotherapy. I was devastated. I cried.
My Macmillan breast care nurse was very supportive and gave my family and myself a private safe place to process this information. As I reflect on this moment, her action was spot on. I needed this time to talk and pray with my family which gave me the strength to accept the new course of my treatment. With time, I developed a positive outlook on my situation. I decided that if I lost my hair, this could be an opportunity for me to embrace a new look. For all my adult life, I had kept my hair fairly long. It was soft and wavy but as I was in my early 50’s, some grey hairs were appearing. I thought that chemotherapy may give me a fresh start with the hope of no greys! I had a very good relationship with my hair all my life. It was healthy and was definitely one of my assets, I received lots of compliments and it made me feel confident.