Emma's story

I first found a lump in my breast towards the end of 2013. I had a mammogram and the doctors gave me the all clear as they thought the lump was benign. I then started having vaginal bleeding, which they put down to my contraceptive coil. It went on for months and I ended up in A&E with severe haemorrhaging. After more tests I was eventually told I had breast cancer when I was on my own, outside of visiting hours. The staff were all very nice, but it would’ve been good to not be alone. I found out it had already spread to my bones a week later.

When they said it couldn’t be cured, I didn’t want to hear a prognosis. I knew that they can’t be accurate and I don’t see the point in counting down. I just wanted to get on with life.

After my initial treatment, I started taking tamoxifen and a drug to strengthen my bones, and had regular scans. It’s now more than five years since I was diagnosed and my condition is fairly stable. I was recently admitted to hospital for a week with bone pain in my spine. Nothing untoward showed up on the scans thankfully but I’ve been left with continuous back pain that is worse overnight.

I have three children who were all under 16 when I was diagnosed. Telling them I had cancer was quite difficult as they were all at different ages. My youngest didn’t really understand and was the same as always. My next youngest had experience of relatives and people with cancer and didn’t cope as well. My eldest was supportive and understanding. I’ve been able to talk about my eventual death with her and she knows about the plans I’ve put in place.

Things haven’t been easy, but I’m still trying to live life as fully as I can. I celebrated my 40th birthday last year, which I never expected to see, and I have a regular presenting slot on my local radio station. Even when I’m talking about death, I try to keep things light and humorous for my children.

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