GET SUPPORT GET CONNECTED Your Voices Amy What cancer were you diagnosed with? Stage 2 grade 3 HER2- positive breast cancer What age were you diagnosed? 25 What has helped you to thrive? My friends and family have been amazing throughout my whole cancer diagnosis. I couldn’t have got where I am today without them. A few days after my mastectomy, I received a phone call that me and my partner had been accepted for a house which give me a lot of hope for the future. We have also got a wedding to look forward to which has been cancelled and rearranged due to COVID but we will get there eventually and I will finally marry my sole mate. I now know the importance of checking my breasts and I wish I did earlier and found my lump earlier before it grew so big. I hope my story raises awareness to people to express to them how important it is to regularly check their breasts, and if they find anything that doesn’t look right then get it checked straight away. Amy's Story I was diagnosed with Stage 2 grade 3 HER2- positive breast cancer at the age of 25 after finding a lump in my left breast. I had no symptoms that stood out, the only clear indication I was given to know something wasn’t right, was a lump in my breast. That is why it is important to check your breasts regularly for any lumps and bumps and if you feel anything out of the ordinary then book an appointment with the GP to get it checked! On May 10th 2019, I remember attending the hospital with my mother and partner to receive the biopsy results from my consultant. I was really nervous, but I was told that everything would be fine, because I was so young and fit and healthy. I sat in the room patiently waiting for my consultant to walk in to tell me that everything was okay. My consultant walked into the room, I could tell something wasn’t right by the facial expressions on his face. He sat down and said ‘We have tested your lump which measures approx. 46mm, and it is lobular cancer, a type of breast cancer’ I could feet the lump in my throat, I was stunned and didn’t know what to do or say. Moments after a woman came through the door and said ‘I’m your breast cancer nurse and I am going to be here for you throughout your journey’. From that moment on my life had been tipped upside down. On the way home, there was silence in the car. I went home and cried in the bathroom. My whole life felt like it had just been taken from me in a flash. With my lump been the size of a golf ball, I just don’t understand how I didn’t feel it earlier. I should have been checking my breasts more regularly. I was referred to genetics shortly after my diagnosis, due to not having any family history of breast cancer. The test showed that I didn’t carry any particular gene that would give them a indication how/why I got breast cancer at such a young age. It’s still a mystery as to why I got breast cancer at 25. I had a pretty good lifestyle. I ate healthy and enjoyed exercise. I now know that cancer doesn’t care about your lifestyle or how old you are. From the date of being diagnosed, everything moved pretty quick. From the initial day I was diagnosed, 10 days later I had a lump ectomy which showed that the cancer was HER 2 positive, and the lump had grown since they last measured it which showed that the cancer was fast growing. I also had two lymph nodes that showed isolated cancer cells which they also removed. Due to my cancer being HER-2 positive (hormone positive) they told me that I should have a mastectomy to minimise the risk of the cancer returning in the future which I went ahead with in June. After the two surgeries, I moved on to chemotherapy which was called FEC-T. Before my chemo started I was given an injection called Zoladex which works to form a protective barrier over my ovaries so that the chemotherapy could not damage them. I am thankful to the NHS for giving me that option as I feel that cancer has ripped away my social life and my hair. I didn’t want it to take away the chance to start a family with my partner. I started chemotherapy in July, the drugs in my treatment plan had to be altered half way through due to complications. I.e. been allergic to some of the drugs so I couldn’t have them. I also spent a week in hospital with neutropenic sepsis which was really scary as I thought that I was going to die at the time due to how much pain I was in. I then went on to radiotherapy. I supposed to have three weeks worth, but it was reduced to 5 intense sessions over a 5 day period due to a trial that was brought forward due to COVID. I then went on to a hormone therapy drug called Herceptin, which I am allergic to but I had pre meds through IV before hand. The first time I had Herceptin without the pre meds, I had shortness of breath and a really red chest which wasn’t a nice experience. My herceptin got reduced to 9 due a trial been brought forward due to COVID. Studies showed that 9 lots of herceptin are just as good as 18.