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Hi, I’m Cassie. I was diagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer in December 2016 at age 32, it was just a year after having my dream wedding and we were in the middle of renovating our dream home. I knew our vows would be tested at some point but wasn’t expecting that to be so soon!
Nothing can prepare you for when you’re sat in the doctor’s office and they confirm that you have cancer. I was in utter shock and don’t really remember much of what was said that day as it was such a blur. What I do remember is that I asked him three questions in this order,1) am I going to die 2) can I still have children 3) am I going to lose my hair?
The next 9 months were a whirlwind of appointments, checkups and hospital stays. I had chemotherapy, a lumpectomy and radiotherapy before being given the all clear and I will be on hormone therapy for the foreseeable future. It sounds shallow but the thing I was dreading was losing my hair. I had long, think brown hair down to my bum, it was part of me and who I was and once you lose your hair it’s confirmation to everyone else that you’re sick. When it actually came down to having to shave it off I actually felt relief, like I had some sort of control back, even just for a moment.
I always knew that the physical side of treatment would be hard but unless you’ve been through it you can never explain it properly to anyone else. Fatigue was a big thing for me (and still is), I would get tired just from trying to change the bed covers and would need a nap! What I wasn’t aware of is how mentally draining the process would be, you’re trying so hard to stay as “normal” as you can but it’s an impossible task, especially when you think that you might die
Beechwood was suggested to me by a friend who’s Aunt had used their services. I was very sceptical at first and if I’m honest I only signed up to give me something to get up for and to get me out of the house. I went with no expectations but was pleasantly surprised. All the volunteers and therapists are lovely and you’re surrounded by people who know exactly what you’re going through and how you’re feeling. Everyone was really welcoming and you feel at ease straight away.
I started at Beechwood after my chemotherapy had finished and I didn’t know how invaluable their support was going to be to me. Sadly my husband left me out of the blue and I was in complete shock after everything else that had happened already. Beechwood were there to help me through it in any way they could and I will never be able to put in to words how thankful I am that me and hundreds of others have access to such a great place.