However, after 70 years, one does not receive notification of the mobile mammogram anymore. For some reason I decided to contact the office and arrange an appointment. Thank goodness as the X-ray showed the cancer had returned after 13 years (2013), this time in my left breast. Again no lumps or bumps just intuition!
This time there was no promise by the surgeon that he would be able to completely remove the tumour, so after a great deal of consideration, I agreed to a double mastectomy.
This was so traumatic and I experienced problems dealing with my body image – I felt mutilated. Anxiety attacks became a daily occurrence as well as becoming very depressed. I felt angry, although my husband and family were so supportive. My GP offered CBT and I found this incredibly helpful.
One day, driving through Chichester, I noticed a sign saying ‘CancerWise’ drop-in centre. This was the turning point because the organisation supports patients and families who are dealing with cancer. They offered different therapies and this is where I was introduced to Penny Brohn UK.
I attended Penny Brohn’s free, two-day Living Well course, which was the best therapy yet. To be able to talk to others who know exactly what cancer is all about is so invigorating. They have taught me mindfulness and meditation and how to be kind to myself, something that is so difficult for all of us.
All of this was so helpful because, out of the blue, I was diagnosed with another cancer, melanoma. It seemed that this cancer was not going away, therefore, a support system was needed – Penny Brohn.
Whilst travelling through my cancer journey, I have also suffered with a neurological condition. I have had this extremely painful condition for over 10 years and have had four brain operations. This condition also requires similar therapies to those offered to cancer patients.
I am hoping to spend more and more time at Penny Brohn, when I can drive again, to experience even more helpful ideas to continue life as ‘normal’. In the meantime, I continue to stitch and pass my skills on to fellow quilt artists and hope to live as full a life as possible.
I can do this because Penny Brohn is there for me. It will be there for you too.