In less than a minute my life stopped

Monday 5 July, 2010 by Kaye

I turned 40 in May of 2008 and I thought life was pretty good - turning 40 wasn't that bad.

My mum was due to have a mammogram and so I thought that I would go and have one too, as my grandmother's doctor advised me to when I turned 40 because she was diagnosed with it.

So mum and I were booked in for the 4th June 2008 and we went along and I was thinking that it would be all ok, that there was going to be nothing to worry about as I never felt a lump or had any symptoms.

Then I got a letter saying that I needed to have a follow up examination as there was a concern with my right breast. And yes the results came back that I did, in fact, have breast cancer.

Well in less than a minute my life stopped. All I could say to the doctor was ‘Am I going to die?' I have 5 boys and my youngest is only 3 - I want to see them grow up.

I was then told that I would only have to have radiation and then go on hormone tablets. That didn't sound so bad - I thought that I could cope with that.

After the operation and some follow up tests I went back to get the results, and the doctor told me that they were successful with removing the tumour but due to my age and the grade of the tumour (grade 3), that they were going to treat me to four sessions of chemo.

BANG, there goes my confidence again. The first thing that came into my head was ‘I'm going to loose my hair', and that's all I was worried about.

During all of this I also developed depression and so I thought it was worse than it really was. Just before the first treatment I accepted that it was only hair, which would come back and that my life was more important than hair.

The next hurdle was how to tell my younger boys. They were only 5, 4 and 3. How do you make them understand? It wasn't so bad with my 2 older boys who were 20 and 15 - they understood. So I told them that mummy had a sore boobie and that the doctors had to fix it.

It's now been almost 12 months since I finished my treatment and I'm now on hormone tablets for the next 5 years. Although I've been cleared, I still live in fear that it may return.

But everyone tells me how lucky I am because I went for the mammogram when I did and even today my doctor wants to know how I knew to go and get tested, because I didn't have any symptoms and I didn't feel a lump. I just did it and I thank God everyday that I did.

It's still very, very hard to talk about it, but I thought it was time.

Updated: 05 Jul, 2010