World Cancer Day | #IAmAndIWill | My Pledge
I am supporting my hospital The Royal Marsden, The Younger Breast Cancer Network (UK) and their #IAmAndIWill messages this World Cancer Day on 04 February 2019.
Here is my pledge.
I am Anikka and I will continue to share my story to give hope to other young women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
By sharing my story I hope that more younger women will be breast aware and get anything that isn’t ‘normal’ for them checked out. This includes a lump, a rash, any discharge, pain or swelling. It is scary and you might want to bury your head in the sand and wish it away - but MOST lumps and symptoms will be benign and IF it is cancer, the earlier the diagnosis, the easier the surgery and treatment, and the better the outcome. Despite a strong family history of breast cancer, I was dismissed time after time, until I begged for a biopsy. You know your body best.
I also hope that my story will show you that there can be light at the end of the tunnel and there can sometimes be small silver linings after a diagnosis. Mine are meeting some incredible people. Friends for life. And if a cancer diagnosis teaches you one thing it is to live in the now and not to sweat the small stuff. None of us knows what is around the corner, but a cancer diagnosis really forces this home. I still get very scared of the cancer returning and progressing to Stage IV, but there is very little I can do to prevent that, apart from continuing to take my medication (which makes me feel a bit crap and fat!) and to try and live a healthy lifestyle, What I can do is make the most of every day. I am also grateful for my little business, Not Another Bunch Of Flowers. I feel incredibly privileged to be able to use my experience to offer advice and comfort to others on a day-to-day basis.
I also hope that my story will bring awareness to the effect of treatment on fertility and to give younger women hope. Many will be offered procedures to protect fertility and to give them a chance of becoming a mum in the future. Others wont and may not even be made aware of the potential damage chemotherapy can do to your fertility. While it can be easy to get swept up in just focusing on the imminent treatment and surgery, definitely ask and explore your options on fertility preservation. I wasn’t able to freeze embryos as I didn’t have time. I started my chemo 4 days after my diagnosis. Following my treatment I had a series of tests and scans and was told I had definitely been left infertile and I had zero chance of having children. My world fell apart for the second time that year. However, fast forward 5 years and I had my miracle baby boy. We have just celebrated his second birthday!
I will also continue to raise as much as I can for charities to support cancer patients in recognition of the support I received throughout my treatment - and to fund essential research.