In 2009 Ellen was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 33. She was otherwise healthy, active and busy bringing up two small children: Alice, then aged 3, and Thomas, who was not yet 1. Sadly she was not unique, being one of around 48,000 women in the UK who would be diagnosed with breast cancer that year. But breast cancer is uncommon in women under 40; so for Ellen to be diagnosed at the age of just 33 was a major surprise.
This is Ellen’s version of subsequent events – from the first symptoms to how she feels about what she went through today. It is designed to give an insight into the destructiveness of the disease and to offer support to women in similar situations. The journey has been a long one, but there is a happy ending. Should you want to get in touch with Ellen, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
In May 2009 Nick and I were thirty three, our daughter Alice was a boisterous 2 year old, Thomas our second child was 7 months old, and I had just finished breast-feeding him. In checking my breasts for milk I noticed some blood, rather than milk, being produced. A quick phone-call to an obstetrician friend confirmed that I should talk to my GP sooner rather than later. A quick skim of a couple of medical internet sites showed many reasons for a blood discharge. ‘Symptom of breast cancer’ came at the end of the list, a real outsider. However over the next couple of weeks mentions of breast cancer seemed to jump out at me and our concern grew. Read more
At the time of my surgery, a poll of people’s comments to me would have registered number one comment as ‘You are being so strong’. It was true, as putting one foot in front of the other and getting on with things as normally as possible, and trying to stop the experience affecting the children was the way I found myself coping. It wasn’t an active decision; I think each person’s personality produces a natural response.