It’s New Years Eve. 2015 has been a funny old year. It started off wonderfully, but then in early May, I found a lump that would change the course of our year. I think I’ll always remember the day I found that lump, and the day I was told I had cancer at 26. I went from planning holidays and adventures to planning surgeries and doctors visits and chemotherapy appointments. I swapped nights out for early nights and hospital stays.
But one thing is for certain. If I hadn’t been in the habit of checking myself, I could have carried on having a wonderful year, oblivious to the fact that cancer was growing in my body. There was already a tiny bit in my lymph nodes when I had my surgery in August, so it would definitely have continued spreading. If I hadn’t checked, I could have been facing a very different story with a very different outcome.
I’m only making one New Year’s resolution this year. To beat this thing, and to see in 2017 with health, happiness and hair. But I’d like it if you could make a resolution too – to #checkyourchebs regularly. To be vigilant and to know your body so you can recognise any changes. Remember that breast cancer affects men too – so this doesn’t just apply to women. Check all the relevant bits and pieces.
For breast cancer, the symptoms are:
– a lump in the breast
– a change in the size or shape of the breast
– dimpling of the skin or thickening in the breast tissue
– a nipple that’s turned in (inverted)
– a rash (like eczema) on the nipple
– discharge from the nipple
– swelling or a lump in the armpit.
I’m saying it again. Being in the habit of checking my breasts could well have saved my life. I thought I was too young to get cancer, I had no family history, don’t smoke, don’t drink much and was probably the fittest I’ve ever been but this bloody disease doesn’t discriminate.
So next time you’re out with your lady friends, ask them the last time they checked their boobs. Talk about the symptoms over cocktails and make a pact to all check regularly then party on as you usually would. Keep each other to the promise. Copy and paste this status and email it to your homegirls. Set reminders in your phone to check, sign up to CoppaFeel!’s reminder service. Share this with anyone and everyone you know. Knowledge is power. It probably won’t happen to you, but it’s better to know early if it ever does.
So happy new year to you my friends. I wish you nothing but love, light, health and copious amounts of cheb checking for 2016.