Cancer seems to run in my family, my mum had it, her mother and grandmother, my auntie and two of my cousins, but so far doctors have been unable to find a connection. My husband Kevin passed away in June 2017 after a long battle with myeloma.
At the time of his diagnosis they were giving patients like Kevin four years to live but he got ten. They eventually stopped all of his treatment because there was nothing new to give him and I remember asking how long he had left at that time to be told he had just a week.
I got called in for a routine mammogram in February 2018 and received a letter two weeks later; the test had found two spots that they were concerned about. A biopsy returned a positive result and I had the operation within two months. I was amazed at how quickly everything went.
Two other tumours were discovered during the operation that hadn’t been picked up by the mammogram because they were so small. That’s four tumours altogether. They said I had to have my breast removed my first thought was it’s not like losing an arm or a leg. At my age I don’t need my boob and it didn’t bother me.
A reconstructive operation was longer than the one to have the breast removed and my arthritis may have been affected because the surgery relocates muscle tissue from the arm. Weighing up the pros and cons, no one would know the difference anyway.
After the mastectomy I was advised to do some gentle exercise to help the healing but I went a little overboard and cleared out my shed. I ended up with a hematoma on my chest and had to have that removed surgically too. I stuck to mild exercise after that!
I had chemotherapy on Tenovus Cancer Care’s Mobile Support Unit. My late husband Kevin had his treatment there and had always described it as a five star hotel. I thought it was fantastic to have treatment comfortably and only two minutes from my house in Cwmbran and the staff are so friendly and efficient.