I wanted to share my story this Breast Cancer Awareness Month so that other women can get the support they need too. Please donate and support our appeal today.

Afterwards it hit me. What do I do now?

I thought I was imagining it when I first found a lump in my breast. So I put the thought to the back of my mind. I still had a lingering worry though and when I went to the GP I mentioned it in passing. My GP thought it was nothing but referred me just in case. It wasn’t until my hospital appointment that things started to get serious. They found two tumours and only a week later I had a mastectomy. It all happened so fast. I didn’t have time to think about what was happening.

After my mastectomy I was in shock. I cried a lot. It was very hard to look at my body. At the time I was devastated, but now when I look back I realise I was strong enough to get through it.

My family and friends were so supportive through everything but I didn’t feel able to talk to them about how I really felt. I needed to be strong for them. That’s why the first time I walked into Breast Cancer Haven was such a relief. I could finally stop trying to hold it together and just be myself.

I was able to share all the thoughts and fears that I hadn’t been able to tell anyone else. For me it was exactly what I needed. It changed everything to be with a professional who knew what I was going through and didn’t rush me.

Perhaps you’ve been through breast cancer yourself, and no doubt you know someone who has been through it, so you’ll know that everyone’s experience is different. There are different medical treatments and side effects, and each person responds differently both physically and emotionally. Breast Cancer Haven understands this and treated me as a unique person, taking the time to listen to what I wanted and needed. It seems strange, but for me the hardest part of having breast cancer was when my treatment finished.

During my treatment there was so much support from medical professionals and my friends and family. My life had revolved around my treatment. But then afterwards it hit me, what do I do now?

And I’m not the only one, research shows that a third of people still struggle with their physical and emotional wellbeing up to two years after treatment has finished. It felt like my safety net had been ripped out from under me. It was then that I needed Breast Cancer Haven the most. I turned to them for counselling and got the support I needed. 

My counsellor helped me realise that everything I was feeling was completely normal. She helped me deal with the dread that my cancer might come back. Thanks to Breast Cancer Haven I didn’t feel alone and am now moving on with my life.

It wasn’t just about my mental health either. Before having cancer I was a frequent runner and I assumed I’d be back to it after chemotherapy. But I was knocked for six by the fatigue. It was so much more than tiredness. For several months after chemo had finished there were days I was so exhausted that I could barely walk across the room. At Breast Cancer Haven I had aromatherapy massages and soon found that just an hour’s massage made such a positive difference to my energy levels and reduced other side effects too.

In the UK there are six women diagnosed every hour with breast cancer. Yet I know thousands of them are left without the support they need. They may be struggling to deal with their diagnosis, reeling from the side effects of treatment or feeling lost, like I did, after their treatment.

Breast Cancer Haven needs donations to reach more women and offer their specialist support. So please join with me and support other women dealing with breast cancer. A donation from you today of £25 would help pay for an hour of support and could make all the difference.