Pink has never been my favourite colour but as I was tagged by Botha bunch, today Mayfair Mum turns pink to help raise awareness of breast cancer, a horrible disease that is still the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women under 35 here in the UK. According to www.breastcancercare.org.uk, early detection is still the best way to survive a diagnosis so ladies, check out how to check yourself here.
My own breast story follows but not before I challenge the following five bloggers to pick up the pink baton to get the word out to five more bloggers each:
If you want do more, make a donation or hold a fundraising event, then simply post about it (in pink!) on your blog and link back with a comment to makingitasmum so she knows that you’re doing your bit.
Personally, I can only imagine how miserable and frightening it must be to experience breast cancer. I found lumps in both breasts a few years ago, and though I was breastfeeding at the time, making the most likely cause a blocked milk duct, not cancer, the terrifying thought still entered my mind for a short time. That was as long as I ever want to entertain the idea, I can tell you!
When the Little Chap was just six weeks old, after a second, alternative course of antibiotics, I went back to my GP, tearful, exhausted and in total agony, almost unable to hold the Little Chap up against my left breast for the pain. I was told to get to A&E as soon as possible, because I no longer had mastitis but a breast abscess and one so far advanced I now needed intravenous antibiotics urgently to reduce the infection.
Yes it was extremely painful despite the painkillers and maybe it was the postnatal hormones; the intense emotional need I had as a mother to be able to breastfeed my baby; the fact that I was in hospital and away from my husband and baby for three days, at a time when we were still meant to be bonding as a new family; or perhaps it was the general anaesthetic needed for the incision and drainage procedure (!); but I can never remember being so tearful or so genuinely miserable in my whole life. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.
But this wasn’t cancer! The only connection between an abscess and cancer is that they can both be located in breast tissue. One doesn’t have anything to do with the other. I need to make that clear. I was having the worst time of my life with all kinds of medics poking and prodding and injecting my boob left, right and centre but still this was nothing.
I only had a mere breast abscess and a gorgeous new baby to look after. My life was not in any danger (though I did wobble for a moment or two at the thought of the anaesthetist having a bad day, getting it all wrong and leaving my six week old baby without a mother!). I wouldn’t have to consider a mastectomy, chemo or radiotherapy or any other awful cancer fighting drugs with hideous side effects. For that I was grateful.
Like most women I’m quite attached to my breasts (ha!) – having been a flat-chested teenager, in time my own modest pair have attracted quite enough attention for my liking and I learned to love them for what they were. My left boob now proudly carries a very slight scar from my operation. Thankfully my surgeon was incredibly sensitive to the importance of aesthetics but nonetheless it took me a long time to come to terms with that tiny little white curve and it certainly didn’t help me to get my post natal sense of yummy mumminess back in a hurry! I also owe thanks to the extremely gentle and sensitive nursing team at my local practice, who changed my dressings daily for the first six weeks or so and helped it to heal up as quickly as possible with minimal scarring. I can only imagine the horror and emotional scarring that goes with a mastectomy.
Before my left breast was fully recovered, even though I had long since stopped breastfeeding, I found another red mark on my right breast and though I couldn’t feel any lumps, was told by my GP that this was another abscess in the making. This was quickly nipped in the bud with further antibiotics but it made me realise how easy it could be to miss something as serious as breast cancer. I am now extra careful to check my own breasts regularly and would urge every woman to do the same.
Keep safe and check yourself regularly.
Mayfair Mum x
© Mayfair Mum, 2011