Ciara Traynor

I found my lump over Christmas 2018, to be honest I wasn’t one for checking my boobs regularly, wasn’t really sure how to do it properly and never really thought too much about it. I was in the shower and felt something hard in my left breast, it wasn’t painful but I knew it wasn’t normal. I honestly didn’t think too much of it, because like everyone thinks, it’s probably nothing. But I decided to go to my doctor to get it checked out, as only a few months before, in October my father passed away from cancer. I went to my GP on 3rd January 2019 and she agreed that I should get it checked out, just to put my mind at rest.

I got my appointment at the end of February and was sent for a mammogram and ultrasound. During this time, the lump in my breast had started to ache, I had started to be a bit concerned but still wasn’t prepared for what was to come.  On March 8th 2019, I was told I had breast cancer. I was in total shock, I had just lost my father to cancer and now I had it?! It seemed just so surreal and to be honest, unfair.

So I had Stage 2, Grade 3, Triple Negative Breast Cancer. A treatment plan was put in place for me, I was reassured that it had been caught early and the lump was just over 2cm. It was a lot to take in and process but once there was a plan in place, I felt a lot better. Before I started any of this, I had to think of fertility options. Treatment may make me infertile, I had a son and it was only before I was diagnosed that myself and my husband had decided to try for another baby so it was another difficult thing to have to consider. We proceeded with the fertility treatment and had two embryos frozen.

I had my first chemo on 25th April 2019. It's hard to know what to expect, but the nurses were just amazing. It was shortly after my second chemo that the thing I had been dreading the most happened, my hair started to fall out. I am a proud ginger and like every woman, my hair was a big part of how I saw myself. As the days went on, there was hair everywhere, on my pillow, all over my clothes, the house and even in my food. One evening, my husband got the razor and set to work. We actually had a laugh doing it and my head felt so much better when the hair was gone. Although my hair has grown back and at a good length now, I feel my hair will always be precious to me for the rest of my life.

Unfortunately my treatment plan didn’t go smoothly, I got a bad infection and was admitted to hospital, it also turned out I had a rare type of pneumonia so I was quite ill in hospital for 3 weeks. I finally got home and 4 days later was readmitted to hospital as I had a bad reaction to the new chemo, which resulted in another 2 weeks in hospital. I think that was probably my lowest and scariest part. I was alone a lot as I had to be isolated, I couldn’t see my son. I felt like I was never going to get better. But slowly I did start to feel better and stronger. I had my lumpectomy on 26th August 2019 and then a month later started my 25 sessions of Radiotherapy. I was also taking Capecitabine. In March 2020, I had some more scans and met with my oncologist, and was given the best news I could have hoped for….No Evidence of Disease!! Treatment was over! Although I am no longer a cancer patient, it doesn’t end there. I don’t know if it ever ends. Life after cancer is still difficult to navigate and I’m still trying to be a thriver, not just a survivor.