Getting to know you:
Tell us a bit about yourself
Hi! I am Michelle and my breast cancer journey began last April (2019) after I found a very large lump in my right breast. Why I had not found it before - I do not know.
I was going to the doctors for my diabetes on the Monday and asked the nurse to check the lump. The next thing I knew, I was referred to the breast clinic and after scans and biopsies I was diagnosed with a 7.5 cm ductal tumour.
After I came out after my first ultrasound, I called out to my husband that we had won first prize and that I had Breast Cancer. I did not really worry about anything as I knew I had to crack on and deal with it. I then went on my holiday, came back and started my 8 cycles of chemotherapy, which I have completed in October 2019.
My breast consultant thought she could save my breast, so I had a wide excision with a LICAP reconstruction in November 2019. It looked amazing, only to find we had no clear margins and all the lymph nodes removed had cancer. I had my mastectomy on the right side, on 7th January 2020, along with more nodes a total of 7 out of 15 had the disease.
In between my surgeries I had back pain which got worse after the mastectomy, so my consultant sent me for a CT scan. I was called into hospital the day after as an inpatient as something could be seen on my scan. I was in hospital 3 nights and I ended up on crutches and not able to put any weight on my left leg. My cancer had spread during chemotherapy into my spine, rib, pubic bone, pelvis and femur. The cancer had eaten a massive hole at the top of my femur and there was fear it could fracture so I had surgery on the 26th February this year, to put pins across the hole and a femoral nail through my femur. I have had radiotherapy to my spine, femur and pubic bone for pain relief. I am now on medication to keep my cancer stable, but I will never be cancer free.
I am now on Letrozole and Palbociclib - I still cannot walk without pain yet, but I am nearly always upbeat, smiling, constantly finding the positives in having this disease. I love making new friends and supporting others along the way.
I have had a few different looks over the past twelve months, but I found that taking photos of my breast cancer journey and my different looks has helped me to get used to my new me. I know from some ladies that I have spoken to since my mastectomy, that they find it difficult to look at themselves in the mirror or touch their scar. From day one I made a point of looking at the new me in the mirror, I also got my husband to help me with my dressings, he was so good bless him. Looking at myself in the mirror and getting used to my scars has been a big part of accepting my new look. I felt that I had let my husband down somehow by my new look, but he has reassured so many times and says he didn’t marry me for my boobs. He has been my rock throughout this whole journey. I love my new prosthetic boob and I called her "Boobilisous"! I put her in my bra in the morning and my husband puts her back in the box at night, so at least he gets to fondle my boob every night.
My appearance has definitely changed over the past twelve months that’s for sure, but I’m getting to like the new me especially when I’m pain free.
- How would you describe yourself in three words?
- What do you do for fun?
- What have you got planned in the next year?
- Unusual/fun fact about yourself?
- How have you kept yourself busy during the lockdown?
- Having been through your journey if your present self could give your past self, advice on something you will experience during the time from diagnosis until now what would it be?
You and Nicola Jane:
- How has wearing Nicola Jane lingerie made you feel?
- Do you have a favourite Nicola Jane product?
- Why did you decide to become a Nicola Jane Inspirational Woman?
- what do you look for when purchasing a new mastectomy bra?
- Any advice for other ladies who have or had breast cancer?
A bit of fun:
If you were holding a dinner party and could invite any 5 guests (dead or alive!) who would you invite?
Lorraine Kelly, Martina Navratilova, Midge Ure, Elvis Presley and Elvis Costello
5 quick-fire questions:
- Cats or dogs? Cats
- Coffee or tea? Coffee
- Books or movies? Movie
- Scrambled or fried? Fried
- Spring or Autumn? Autumn