Breast Cancer and Sing with Us
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM). Today Lesley shares her experiences on breast cancer and Sing with Us.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) so I thought I would bring you a story from one of our Sing with Us choristers who has shared her story on her breast cancer diagnosis and joining her local choir.
If you want to know more about how to be breast aware you can look on our website.
When I joined the choir, it was to support Tenovus, little did I think I would ever be diagnosed with breast cancer. However on Christmas Eve last year, I discovered a lump. I was visiting one of my daughters in Hampshire and didn't want to worry her, so I didn't tell her. I returned to Llangollen on New Year's Eve, and of course there were no doctors. However the receptionist said a doctor would ring me, and she did, arranging an appointment for after the holiday. I still didn't tell anyone. On New Year's Eve, my lovely neighbour guessed something was wrong, and I told her. I can't think why at that stage I hadn't rung the Tenovus number! It was all surreal. I was 78 , in good health and it wasn't happening to me.
I saw the doctor, and then I had to wait several weeks for a hospital appointment. My neighbour came with me, and after the biopsy and mammogram, it was confirmed in a very blunt manner,that I had breast cancer, and that I had to return the following week with my daughters who all live long distances away. I saw the surgeon who was much more positive and cheerful. I did have a mastectomy and later 3 weeks of radiotherapy at Glan Clwyd.I had hospital transport and seeing different people nearly every day and listening to them was an education. It was also possible to pass on the wonderful work Tenovus does, and to talk about the choir.
It still did not seem to sink in, and I had to tell my 4 daughters. They rallied round and as it happened,all this was happening around half term so they were able to stagger visits to see the surgeon and eventually look after me as I came out of hospital. Everything went smoothly and then I was blessed with the support of choir members and our wonderful leader Izzy Rodriguez. I felt part of a large family. The help line was amazing. Any seemingly silly little thing was no bother to the people I spoke to. Being in the choir was an incentive to get to practice, and meet all the lovely members. I take the register and so know nearly everyone by name. The singing is a joy and inspiration. I thought that when I first heard the choir sing, and it is what made me join the choir. The choir was singing at a joint event with Llangollen Male Voice Choir, of which I am the secretary, and how I got to know Izzy.The wonderful joyful singing of Sing With Us made me want to join the choir.
Since then I have done my best to support the choir and Tenovus, and I am very proud to have received the 2017 Respect award in Cardiff.
I can only conclude by saying every woman should check herself and not be complacent as I was. Be aware of the wonderful support Tenovus can give, and where possible join a Sing with Us choir.
Lesley - Sing with Us Wrexham