What and when was your diagnosis?
Lobular Breast Cancer on 15 February 2022. Some years earlier I found a 2cm lump under my left breast although several mammograms had not detected anything. A further mammogram and the results were still negative. My GP said that it was a cyst that would go away in its own time. During COVID I did online Pilates and in December 2021 I had shoulder pain and a shooting sensation in my breast. I went back to my GP who thought that I may have pulled my pectoral muscles and prescribed some medication. Two weeks later I returned to my GP as there had not been any improvement and advised that my ‘cyst’ was still there. I was told that as I had pain, it was unlikely to be breast cancer. An appointment with the breast consultant for an ultrasound was arranged. The consultant said that there was a dark mass and arranged another mammogram which once again was clear. I then had a biopsy which confirmed that I had Grade 2 PR Positive Invasive Lobular Cancer.
How would you describe your initial reactions and feelings when you first received your breast cancer diagnosis?
Devastated, shocked, angry and why me?
What aspects of your individuality do you feel have been most challenged, changed or strengthened by this experience?
Resilience, positivity and sense of humour have been both challenged and strengthened during my cancer rollercoaster ride!
Are there specific moments or experiences in your cancer journey that stand out to you, which you would like depicted in the sculpture?
The amazing medical professionals and charities in both Jersey and the UK.
How has your perspective on life and your own identity evolved since your diagnosis?
Just do it! Life is precious and can be incredibly short, tomorrow is promised for nobody. It you are unhappy with something, change it. Do the things that make you happy with positive people that you love.
In what ways do you feel bravery has played a role in your cancer journey? Are there particular instances of courage that you’d like represented?
I wouldn’t say that I have been brave at all. I try to see the positives and decided to use my resilience and weird sense of humour to get me through the dark times. Talking to people about my experience has helped not just myself, but others too. One lady said that it had prompted her to get checked. She was so glad that she did as it highlighted that she had calcifications that need to be monitored. I was sent a huge bouquet of flowers as a thank you. If you can save just one person, surely it’s worth talking about?
How do you want the world to see you through this sculpture? What part of your reality, character, or experience would you like it to emphasise?
What has been your source of strength and resilience throughout your journey with breast cancer?
My partner, my sister and my positivity.
What does being a part of this exhibition mean to you? How do you hope it might impact others who see your sculpture?
It means that I can be a very important part of raising awareness for breast cancer. I hope that it will encourage conversations about breast cancer and help to remove the taboo of talking about the ‘Big C’. If it encourages people to have an awareness and check their boobs, it could save lives. If something doesn’t feel right, visit your GP.
Is there a specific message or emotion you want to convey to the audience of this exhibition, particularly to those who might be going through a similar experience?
Make use of all of the invaluable resources available to you and try something new!
How has the ABC community helped you with your journey?
They have been very supportive, in particular with funding the important rehabilitation classes led by Live Life Fitness. I was told about the Live Life Fitness classes by the breast care clinic and I really did not think it was for me (I am not one for the gym / classes!). The nurse urged me to try just one class and I am so glad that I did! Georgina and Cat are fantastic. The classes not only provide essential exercise, meeting ladies in a similar situation provides a fantastic support network. You don’t have to wear anything fancy either!