“I don’t know if this sounds strange, but I had a dream one night about having a lump in my breast. Generally I don’t even remember my dreams, but this one was so vivid I checked my breast the next morning and found an area that felt thicker than the surrounding bits. I didn’t go to the Doctor immediately – just waited in case it was in my imagination, but it wasn’t.
Two weeks later the GP referred me to a specialist and the next I knew I was in a ‘fast-track’ system with mammogram, scan and biopsies done on the same day. 10 days later the results showed that the thickened tissue was cancerous and I went into hospital shortly after that for a lumpectomy and the removal of the sentinel lymph nodes. It wasn’t enough; the next set of results showed that the cancer was still there, so I was taken back in for a mastectomy and for the rest of the lymph nodes to be removed.
The operations were bad enough, but the chemotherapy and radiotherapy that followed made me feel very poorly, and the treatment lasted from mid-December to the following July. It seemed like a lifetime. We had just moved house and hadn’t even met most of our neighbours, but they all rallied round. We were trying to keep life as normal as possible for our two children, Millie and Peter. Our new friends took the children to and from school, and on outings whilst I was laid low by the treatment. Someone even walked our dog for us! The kindness of relative strangers was very reassuring in these cynical times and we all felt that people cared for us, which is really important.
Although we tried to shield Millie and Peter from the potential seriousness of the situation, even postponing surgery for a week whilst we took them on a family holiday, one of Millie’s friends was also going through the same situation with her own mother, so Millie actually knew how poorly I was and the scary part for her was not knowing whether she was going to have a Mum or not. Once she knew that I was getting better, and she understood more, she was less afraid and now she is fine. But seeing her fear has made me want to support the work of Against Breast Cancer. To find a vaccine against this awful disease would mean that girls like her can look forward to a future without breast cancer, without radical surgery and months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.”
Since completing her treatment Amy was inspired to start her own business, About the Girl, designing and selling mastectomy underwear online aboutthegirl.co.uk