Today, national ‘wear it pink’ day - helping to raise awareness of breast cancer - seemed like the perfect day to share my own story.
Fler Wright, founder of WOLO Foundation shares her story:
I found a lump whilst innocently watching TV just before Christmas 2017. I didn’t think anything if it, I couldn’t feel it easily, so dismissed it for a little while. A friend made me promise to go to the Doctor, so I went mid-January. The doctor said he thought it was nothing to worry about, but referred me to the hospital as they do so as a matter of course. A few weeks later I met a consultant who also physically examined me and agreed it didn’t seem to be anything to worry about. He referred me for a scan - again, as a matter of course.
3 weeks or so later I had a scan and it showed something was there, and that it wasn’t a cyst but it looked like a fibroadenoma (I had to google it - it’s a common benign lump). They referred me for a biopsy.
I had a letter confirming my scan looked as though it was a fibroadenoma. I had a biopsy done a few weeks later. They told me I’d hear within 7 days. No need is good news I thought...10 days later I received a call asking me to go in for my results the following day. All the results were indicating it wasn’t anything to worry about so I went on my own. BIG MISTAKE!
Within 30 seconds of sitting down the consultant had told me much to his surprise that the biopsy results had shown the lump was a small grade 3 (aggressive growing) cancer. I was in shock! I was 38. He said that ‘I was the reason they triple check things with a biopsy - as 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer without having any history of it.’ It came completely out of the blue. Had they not checked it with a biopsy, they would have left it as it looked normal on the scan. What a scary thought!!
I was escorted into a room with a Macmillan Cancer Support nurse and she told me what to expect next, but it was all a blur. I drove home with my mouth hung open in shock. I couldn’t believe it.
As ‘luck’ would have it, my son was poorly that day so my husband had come home from work to look after him whilst I went to the hospital. As I walked through the door, he asked if everything was ok. I said no, and broke down. The realisation hit - I had breast cancer.
The next few weeks were a blur of scans and uncertainty. My consultant told me the other scans had shown there was a larger ‘area of concern’ around the lump than they had first thought. He went through the options. I decided on a mastectomy. I didn’t want this thing coming back. The op was scheduled for a few weeks later. I stopped working (which was really tough - I’d spent years growing my business), and the wait began. It took forever!! They removed the Sentinal node (which is the route the cancer would take if it were to begin to spread), one more node, and my right breast. The op went without a hitch, and recovery was OK. After a couple of weeks I went back for the results. They had found 4 tumours so a mastectomy was the right thing to do! Bad news in that one of the 2 nodes they removed was positive, so I needed a further op to remove a bigger area of nodes to ensure a clear margin. A month later I had the procedure. They removed 8 nodes (everyone has a different number) and of the 8, 1 was positive. They were happy the margins were clear. My treatment plan included 6 rounds of chemo, which were weekly towards the end, so I had 11 doses. Initially chemo was easier than I thought it would be, but towards the end I really started to suffer. I was bloated, struggling to get around and felt like an old lady. A couple of months after finishing chemo, I had 3 weeks of radiotherapy. Im now on monthly injections and daily tablets and will be for 10 years.
I went back to see my surgeon once the active treatment was complete, and asked if he’d remove my other breast. I’d wanted this done the same time as my first mastectomy but they declined in case there were any complications that would delay chemo. I still felt strongly that I wanted to be flat - having had big boobs all my life - I couldn’t wait to be free of them! The surgeon understood my reasons, and almost a year to the day from my first mastectomy, I went in to have the other one off. I have to say its been liberating! Being able to go up the stairs without holding them has been amazing - I’ve even started running - something I could never have even contemplated before.
I now see the oncology and breast surgery team every 6 months. 18 months after my diagnosis I went back to work - I had really missed it. I don’t think life will ever go back to how it was before. Theres always that niggly doubt that any minor ailment could be something more, but I’ve been told that gets better over time.
Its breast cancer awareness month and today is national wear it pink day to help raise further awareness.
I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to check your boobies!!
For now, life is good. I was able to give my sister away at her wedding a few weeks ago, surrounded by family and friends. WOLO Foundation is growing (and so is my hair!), and we are now supporting a number of local families through their cancer journey.
We want to make a difference to others, and WOLO Foundation is helping us do that. Thank you to everyone who continues to support us through sharing posts, fundraising, or telling others about the support we offer.
Savour each and every day. Normal days may seem ‘boring’ to some, but others would give anything to have that ‘normal’ back. Enjoy life, enjoy family, stay close to those that feel like sunshine. We only live once, so let’s make that ‘once’ count. #wolo
BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH
Help us to stop cancer!
Please share to increase awareness.
We are passionate about our message, passionate about raising awareness. Helping families through cancer.
- 1:8 women will get a breast cancer diagnosis in their lifetime.
- DON'T rely on screening mammograms alone
- DO check at regular intervals
- DO see a doctor if you are concerned about any breast changes or lumps
- DON'T stick you head in the sand!
BREAST CANCER DOES NOT GET BETTER ON ITS OWN
We want to👂hear👂from you! Did you make changes in your life?
P.S Our online shop is now open! Get yourself a snazzy hoody and some tees http://wolofoundation.org
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