Diagnosed with breast cancer in her 20s, Tabby shares her experiences of treatment for a disease everyone thought she was too young to have
Tabby was only in her 20s and had no family history of breast cancer when she was diagnosed with triple positive breast cancer. Devastated by the news, she has undergone chemotherapy and a mastectomy. She has kindly shared her experiences with us in the form of a diary.
After a random morning boob pain, a quick grab alerted me to a fairly big, solid lump in my right breast. I knew this wasn’t something normal for me and that I really needed to get it checked immediately.
Luckily, I got an appointment with the GP the next day. A quick look and feel later she told me it was most likely nothing to worry about – I was only 26 with no family history of breast cancer – but she’d refer me to the breast clinic anyway just to make sure.
Over the next 6 weeks, I had multiple ultrasound scans, mammograms, and biopsies before finally being diagnosed, very much to everyone’s surprise, with triple positive breast cancer.
After deciding against freezing my eggs due to the hormonal element of my breast cancer, and not wanting to delay treatment any further, I had a PICC line inserted into my arm before starting a harsh regime of chemotherapy on 23rd December – just in time for Christmas, lucky me!
Chemo was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, and by New Year I was braving the shave to take back some control over everything else that I had zero control over. The side effects were brutal, but despite this, I managed to have plenty of good, relatively ‘normal’ days alongside the bad ones. I had 7 rounds of chemo in total – 3 x EC, and 4 x Docetaxel, Herceptin & Perjeta. I hoped they’d get easier as I ticked each one off, but sadly this was definitely not the case!
After 4 months of gruelling chemo, I finally finished it all at the end of April. It was such a huge relief ringing the bell, and my family threw me a mini party with boob cupcakes and balloons to celebrate afterwards!
After recovering from chemotherapy, the next step of the journey was a single mastectomy with immediate implant reconstruction. I was so nervous going in for the surgery, possibly even more nervous than I was for chemo, but it was absolutely fine! A breeze in comparison to chemo!
It’s now been just over 2 weeks since my surgery, and I’ve recovered so much quicker than I thought was possible. I’m almost back to normal and out and about again, and my new boob looks absolutely fantastic – I’m so pleased with the results!
It’s still a long road to go, but the hardest part of treatment is done and I’m super grateful for that! It’s not been easy at all, but I’ve found that taking each day as it comes has been useful, and talking about my journey has been so therapeutic for me – knowing that I’ve helped even one person along the way makes this all worth it.