I’d battled with fibroadenomas (the most common benign breast lumps in young women) since I was 15, but because of my age, my doctor didn’t want to remove them and leave me with scars. When I saw a new doctor in 2012 and voiced my concerns about one of the lumps, she didn’t even bother to examine me, brushing me off by telling me not to worry, as I was far too young to have breast cancer.
I held onto her words, but – in the middle of writing my board exams – I went to a dedicated breast clinic for an ultrasound and a needle biopsy, as I felt increasingly uncomfortable. When I was asked to return for the results of the biopsy, I knew instinctively something was wrong.
I’d put my anxieties on hold for a while, because I was doing my articles and had just started a new job. I was working long hours, chasing my goals in a very competitive environment and didn’t want to show any sign of weakness and be seen as “the girl who took time off ”.
When the doctor gave me the diagnosis, my brain literally shut down. It was exactly as you see in the movies, when someone’s given bad medical news and they go into a trance. I heard the words “breast cancer” and that was that. I have no idea what else she said.