Shop Pink for Breast Cancer

To mark Breast Cancer Aware­ness Month, Anne BoyleBo shares her touch­ing story...

No. 1 Magazine - - CONTENTS -

First di­ag­nosed with breast cancer in 2010, the mum-of-one from La­nark­shire had a mas­tec­tomy and re-con­struc­tive surgery. But, two years ago, she was told she had se­condary cancer, which had spread to her lungs, liver, spine and ab­domen – and this time, it was in­cur­able. De­spite this, HR man­ager Anne, who works for Europe at Gran­ite Ser­vices, has dealt with cancer head on and con­tin­ued to work dur­ing her lat­est round of chemo­ther­apy, sur­pris­ing her col­leagues. It’s her pos­i­tive ap­proach to her ill­ness, and life, that gets her through the tough times. Anne told us: “Life is for liv­ing, and that’s ex­actly what I plan to do”.

“When I was first di­ag­nosed, I didn’t do any reg­u­lar self-checks – there was no his­tory of breast cancer in my fam­ily, so I didn’t ap­pre­ci­ate the im­por­tance of do­ing such checks. I found a lump by ac­ci­dent, as I was get­ting ready for bed I brushed my hand against my breast and felt a lump. It was one of those heart­stop­ping mo­ments when you think ‘surely not, that can’t be a lump’. As it was the week­end, I thought I’d wait till the Mon­day be­fore phon­ing the doc­tor for an ap­point­ment. But, at the same time, I was hop­ing that I had made a mis­take and the lump would dis­ap­pear. But for­tu­nately, I didn’t ig­nore it and 10 days later I was get­ting checked at my lo­cal hos­pi­tal – it was all very quick. Dur­ing the ini­tial checks, the con­sul­tant could feel a lump but it didn’t show up on the mam­mo­gram. There was def­i­nitely some­thing there, which is why he took the biopsy. He in­di­cated that he didn’t think it was go­ing to be any­thing sin­is­ter so I put it out of my head. A phone call from the hos­pi­tal con­firmed my di­ag­no­sis, but I was very for­tu­nate first time around as, I was able to get my life back on track within four weeks af­ter a sin­gle mas­tec­tomy and be­ing put on ta­mox­ifen. I never thought it would re-emerge again. Phys­i­cally deal­ing with a cancer re-di­ag­no­sis is one thing, but the hard­est bit is def­i­nitely the psy­cho­log­i­cal im­pact it has. I was told my cancer had spread and that it was in­cur­able, that I now had a “life lim­it­ing ill­ness” but I couldn’t let that take over my life. Yes, it’s dif­fi­cult to get your head into a space where you can ac­cept that di­ag­no­sis. And, as a mother, I was con­cerned that I wasn’t go­ing to be there to see my daugh­ter grad­u­ate from uni­ver­sity or get mar­ried or that I would not see grand­chil­dren, but you can’t let those thoughts over­take your life. Life is for liv­ing and that’s what I plan to do. I want peo­ple to learn from my naivety in un­der­stand­ing that you shouldn’t ig­nore warn­ing signs and that you can go into re­mis­sion, live a very nor­mal life, but that it can also come back into your life. Breast Cancer Care has been great – they’ve put me in touch with other women with se­condary cancer and you can­not un­der­es­ti­mate the power of pos­i­tiv­ity in reach­ing out to peo­ple who know ex­actly what you are go­ing through to give you guid­ance, sup­port and en­cour­age­ment. To women in the early stages of their cancer jour­ney, I would say: don’t ever give up hope or pos­i­tiv­ity, be­cause a pos­i­tive ap­proach, a great sup­port network and a smile on your face helps you get though the dark days. Yes, it’s tough and there will be days when you feel that life’s not fair, but the good days are around the cor­ner and, for me, this has been a huge learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. I have met hugely in­spi­ra­tional peo­ple and been in­volved in things that I would never have done – like walk­ing down a cat­walk in the Breast Cancer Care Scot­land Fash­ion Show last year and tak­ing part in lots of char­ity runs in­clud­ing a marathon!”

Anne (4th from left) with her friends at the Moon­walk

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