I’m Paula, and I was diagnosed in February 2019, with Grade 3, Sage 2/3 Inflammatory Breast Cancer. Cancer has meant that my body has changed and so has my approach to life.
I discovered my lump on Christmas morning 2018. Many people told me that there was no way it could be cancer, including the first doctor that I saw. Fortunately I followed my gut instinct and after two months of biopsies and scans I started my treatment.
Inflammatory Breast Cancer is one of the rarest and most aggressive and the treatment matched. However there was so much support when I looked for it, from my family and friends, from work colleagues, strangers, support groups and charities – I took every offer of help I received. As a result there were days off respite from the treatment and we took full advantage, pushing that extra bit to make memories as a family.
When your life is threatened so immediately, it focuses you on the value of life – that value is in the relationships you have with those you love and care for. My treatment has been successful and now I’m grappling with an equally challenging adjustment: training myself to react but not overreact to every new change in my hyper alert body.
For me now it’s a constant voice that lives alongside me. But the bigger voice is the voice that tells me to live and to squeeze the most that I can out of every day.
Early diagnosis is hugely important. If I had ignored my suspicions even a few weeks, I would have had a very different story that someone else might have had to tell.