Rosemary

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2009, just 3 days before my mother passed away from secondary cancer, stemming from her primary diagnosis of breast cancer four years earlier.

My lump was on the left side and Drs told me “we have it early”, and they gave me the various options:

Due to the uncertainty about the extent of the breast cancer (we did not know at this early stage if it was in the lymph nodes), so I opted to have a double mastectomy and reconstruction.

I had the surgery in November and then the treatment and reconstruction process started. I was having breast implants for my reconstruction as tram flap surgery was not the best option for me.

First, saline implants (known as expanders) were inserted. To recreate the look and feel of a breast, doctors need skin to be able to do this- and this is where the expanders come in.

Each week, a nurse injects more saline into the expander through a valve uder the skin. Over the course of a number of months, the skin around the expander gently stretches, until there is enough for the permanent implant to be inserted.

Six weeks after surgery, I was told that I had lymph node involvement and chemotherapy was advised.

Two years later with chemotherapy and Herceptin treatments out of the way, I have no regrets. Every treatment option that I was advised to take, I took. I want to live.

Breast cancer runs in my family.

My sister, daughter and niece are the only girls in our family who have not faced breast cancer.

Hopefully they never will.

My sister is taking the coura geous step of having a mastectomy and reconstruction before she has to deal with cancer.

My daughter is planning the same after she has had a family.

Don’t be afraid of breast cancer. Face it if you have to, know that more survive than not, dig deep and find your courage.

Above everything else make sure you have mammograms regularly, never miss, that was how mine was discovered and I thank heaven for it daily.