By Peri Daley.
October isn’t just the month for Halloween or when that pesky Christmas holiday is in shops a moment too soon. It is also breast cancer awareness month.
— MommaP (@Mpesce68) October 16, 2015
Elizabeth Wells is 46 years old and married with one son, after her mum died of breast cancer Elizabeth and her two sisters decided to get tested to see if they had the gene. Elizabeth and her sister Catherine found out they both had it whilst her younger sister was fine.
“After mum had died, me and the girls decided to get tested to see if we carried the gene. Catherine and I both had it and she went on to get her ovaries removed. To this day cancer still hasn’t got her and we are all grateful.”
“Sadly mine isn’t such a happy story.”
Elizabeth went to get tested around seven years ago, she decided it would be for the best to get both of her breast removed. After watching her mum disintegrate from chemotherapy and how hard it was for everyone involved, she decided she couldn’t do that to her son and husband.
“The surgeon I saw at the time would only remove one of my breasts, this breast did in fact have a lump but by catching it early it meant I didn’t have to go through chemotherapy.”
“Even though only one of my breasts had a lump I still wanted both to be removed, I didn’t want to take the risk, I wanted to take control of my life and by removing my breasts I was doing so. The surgeon only removed the one breast as a punishment for not giving up smoking”
She had cut down tremendously in the wake of it all, it was difficult as she was worried and stressed with what was happening to her.
“I know that this was wrong, but the cancer was in me from the start, I carried that gene no matter what and even if I was the healthiest person on the planet I still would have been struck by cancer.”
Leeds Hacks spoke to Dr. Matthew Humphries, a cancer researcher at St. James Hospital, he has this to say on the precautions to take to prevent breast cancer;
Dr. Humphries mainly specialises in male breast cancer.
“I felt like a monster.”
“I went back to the surgeon for breast replacement surgery, this was basically a botched job, it was done extremely badly, it was as if the doctor didn’t care. I was in a lot of a pain and my breast was totally disfigured.”
Elizabeth turned to drink and was put on medication for mild depression.
“I spiralled out of control, I was drinking heavily every night, I was so angry at the world. I went through the rough stage of ‘WHY ME!?’, it was constantly screaming inside my head.”
“I kept pushing my husband and my sisters away, none of them knew what I was going through the only person who could relate had died and that made me feel ten times worse. I was in desperate need for someone to slap me round the face, someone to wake me up from this awful nightmare.”
Elizabeth’s drinking lasted for six months whilst she was waiting for a consultation with a different doctor. She got the wake up call she so desperately needed when her husband threatened her with divorce. He has this to say;
“I had enough, I could see the pain she was in and knew that the drinking helped, but I felt disgusted in myself when I realised how far it had gone. It was like a piece of string unravelling and I just couldn’t stop it. Six months had passed and enough was enough, I took her to a local AA meeting and she came off the booze fairly quickly, I think she realised that if she carried on drinking than her other breast removal and replacement surgeries wouldn’t have happened.”
Finally a move in the right direction
With the help of the AA group and the support she was given by her family, Elizabeth finally had the control on her life that she had recently lost grip of. She had quickly given up drinking after witnessing the affects it had on her family and the toll that it could of taken on her surgeries, soon she was able to get a consultation at another hospital.
“I went to a different hospital, with a different surgeon, who then removed my other breast, this procedure went a lot smoother. The surgeon also removed the disgusting replacement breast the previous surgeon clearly believed I had deserved. There was no botched job here and I started to feel normal about myself, I could at last look in the mirror.”
Elizabeth is still waiting for her breast replacement surgery and has filed a complaint against the surgeon who botched her first one up.
“Although there is no set date for my breast replacement surgery, I feel positive about the future and I even feel happy when I look in the mirror. Before I was desperate to get it done, only having one breast put me through an emotional roller-coaster, I sunk so low, I didn’t feel like a woman. I was depressed and I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
“I have one piece of advice for anyone who is diagnosed with any form of cancer and that is to not give up, take hold of your life and do not let go. It isn’t over, till it’s over.”
Although there still isn’t a cure for breast cancer, doctors are one step closer to managing it and soon it could be treated with ease.
“ Within the next 50 years cancer is going to become a manageable condition, very similar to diabetes.“ – Dr. Mathew Humphries.
Here are some statistics on breast cancer, courtesy of Cancer Research UK;