Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The 'C' word

Today I want to touch on a subject that has caused much sorrow in my life and over the course of last month a very big scare.

I’m talking about Cancer.

This is a very sore subject for me having lost my grandfather at the age of 6 and more recently my grandmother in 2012 both to Cancer, it is also really scary for me to know that it is in mine and my children’s genes and that we may very well end up with it someday, there are not many things that scare me but seeing what other people have gone through, this scares the living daylights out of me.

This year I was walking through the centre during the CANSA shavathon and all of a sudden I turned to my hubby and said- I want them to chop my pony tail, so he just looked at me and was like um ok whatever you want to do, we walked around the centre again and my mind was made up.

Now I want to point out that this was a BIG thing for me as my hair is probably the only piece of vanity I have, I have always had thick golden hair often times past my behind and at this time it was just on that level, but I sat down I closed my eyes and snip it was gone, when she held the ponytail up I honestly expected to burst into tears but I felt an amazing wave of love wash over me like my grandparents knew that I was doing this in their memory, it really made me feel great to do something in their memory, I miss them so much and they are always on my mind and in my heart.

I think hubby was a bit shocked but he did his best to assure me that it looked fine… it didn’t really but that’s ok, I got used to it so quickly and really liked it in the end, every time I brush my hair I think of them and the hair I got to donate to such a worthy cause.

This brings me to about a month back, I hand express several times a day, so I was very alarmed the one day to find a lump whilst expressing, I ignored it or tried to but it wouldn’t go away, I tried compresses, a warm shower, massage everything and it wasn’t going away, I googled signs of breast cancer or malignant causes, it plagued my mind for so many days and nights it drove me insane.

Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore and thankfully my 6 week post op was coming up so with that in mind I wrongfully psyched myself up for the worst case scenario and off I went, even as I sat in the observation room there was a cancer support poster on the wall so inside I was freaking out, maybe these were all signs preparing me for what was to come.

I am happy to say that after a thorough examination the doctor gave me the all clear ruling it out as a build-up of scar tissue that has become apparent from my rapid loss in weight over the last few months.

I cannot explain the relief I felt, I got in the car and cried with relief.

I cannot imagine what it must be like to have cancer or to find out that you have it, it hurts to see someone go through it so I cannot imagine how the actual process must feel or be like.

I can say that I encourage every woman out there to check yourself all the time ,Stay breast aware and follow these five easy steps:

1. Know what is normal for you
2. Look and feel your breasts (upper chest and armpits too)
3. Know what changes to look for (see below)
4. Report any changes without delay to your GP
5. Make sure you attend breast screening if you’re 50 or over

What you should be looking for?

Everyone’s breasts are different; altering with age and at different times of the month. Lookout for changes that are unusual for you, such as:
• lumps or thickening of breast tissue
• continuous pain in a breast or armpit
• one breast becoming larger or lower
• puckering or dimpling of the skin
• nipples becoming inverted (turned in), changing shape or position
• nipples developing a rash, crusting or producing discharge
• swelling under the armpits or around the collarbone.

Not all lumps are cancerous - they may be benign cysts or overgrowth of tissue. But it is always important to report any changes to your gynae.

Breast awareness in men

Men can get breast cancer too. While it is rare, around 400 men are diagnosed with the disease in the UK each year.

Be vigilant and look out for:

• swelling or painless lumps in breast tissue, often towards the nipple
• nipples that are tender, turned in or producing discharge
• swelling underneath the armpits
- See more at: http://www.breastcancercampaign.org/about-breast-cancer/breast-cancer-symptoms#sthash.HUCRizhr.dpuf

There are many different types of Cancer but Breast Cancer is something I am very passionate about as a woman.

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