A life changing moment

12.05.2016
Lifestyle, Wellness
46 Comments

A life changing moment,,

Hi there everyone. I’ve been silent here for quite some time but it’s not out of choice, you see I’ve had a lot going on that I needed to sort through. As a lot of you may have read on Instagram, life threw me a challenge. I have thought long and hard about whether to share my story here. It’s a scary decision because I want to protect my children from unnecessary anxiety and yet I believe strongly that I have a platform here to build a little awareness. So I ask you, if you do by chance know our children, please respect our decision to protect them and never mention this around them or their friends.

I think that we all have one of those life-changing moments at some point. For me it happened almost two months ago, I was lying alone behind the curtain on an examination table and my body was shaking uncontrollably. The thought, “this is not happening to me” kept repeating in my head.

It was a Monday and I had a mammogram and breast ultrasound booked in. I’m 41 and thought that now was the time to start with these regular checks. That morning my little boy had a sore throat and couldn’t go to school, I was close to cancelling the appointment, but decided to go ahead with it anyway and packed a bag with a couple of snacks, his favourite book, colouring pencils and paper to keep him occupied during what I thought would be a fairly quick appointment.

My mammogram was quick, the Radiologist wasn’t in to study the results until that afternoon and the next step was an ultrasound. I sat on the examination table, moved my arms up, down and placed them on my hips for the Breast Physician. The physical examination while sitting up, all looked good so far. I was asked to lie down and lift my arm above my head and there it popped out, a lump. She saw it immediately. So did I. I didn’t get it, like many women, I examine myself in the shower all of the time. How did I miss this?

This dark mass in the ultrasound measured to 2.5cm. I knew that quite often these things can be cysts, but I could read the concern on her face. I didn’t want to hear her answer, but asked her straight out if it looked like cancer. She put her hand on my arm and told me gently that it had all of the characteristics of it. I’m sure that she would have felt my heart pounding as she continued to roll the ultrasound around my chest.

We agreed to take some biopsies straight away and it was then when she left to get the nurse and prepare, that the shakes began. I’ve never felt so vulnerable or at mercy to life than I had at that moment. The only thing that I could think about was my children and Guillaume and the thought that I might leave them. Nothing has ever been so clear to me before, I turned my life upside down and shook everything out and the only thing that truly mattered was my family of five. My little boy was in the waiting room for what would have been a very long time. How could I walk out and face him without crying? It was unbearable. I had the darkest thoughts on that table that day and never want to go back to that place in my mind again.

The following month was a bit of rollercoaster. The first lot of results came back as a benign Papillary Lesion. By the time they came in, I had an appointment booked with a breast surgeon, as regardless of what it was, it needed to come out. The surgeon wasn’t convinced with the results, as these lesions are known to have nasties hiding in them. I went in for another mammogram and more core biopsy samples. They too came back benign. Thirteen (!!) benign core biopsies in total and we all agreed that it wasn’t too early to celebrate, there would only be the teeniest chance of cancer now. I was one of those statistics.

I had day surgery to remove the lesion and six days later, the evening before I was to leave for Sydney, I got the call from my surgeon. The pathologist found something. Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which is a non-evasive, early stage of breast cancer. I guess if you were to get a breast cancer, this is the one you’d want. The good news was that the cells were contained and hadn’t spread. I had been extremely lucky to have found it now.

It was a big shock and I was so busy in Sydney that I didn’t have a lot of time to process the information. It was good to be there with my family and friends but all I really wanted to do was to come back home and create a cocoon around me where I could eat healthy foods, explore yoga and ways that I could change my lifestyle.

As I write this now, and even though I was diagnosed with DCIS, which is not great, I look at how much better my situation looks than it did the day on the examination table. I’m not going to be fighting for my life. No one dies from DCIS. I have been so incredibly lucky. So many women out there haven’t been so lucky; I am very aware of this and think about them every day.

During this time, understandably I lost my voice for the blog. To be honest, there was a moment when I thought I’d give it all up and dedicate my life to cooking organic food and every waking moment with my children. But then over time I realized that this is my happy place and it’s important to me and feeling good.

I have more surgery coming up next week, along with weeks of radiotherapy, so I will be focusing on my wellbeing. For now I will just take each week as it comes and will blog from time to time. I’m not putting any pressure nor deadlines on myself.

Something that I want to stress to you is that I’m not sick, I have never been nor felt sick. I also want to focus on the positive and not dwell on this or talk about it all of the time. I believe that focusing on it is not good for me. I’m really okay and feel like I have a second chance at life. I am also taking better care of myself mentally and physically, which is a great gift in all.

I mentioned this in the beginning, but I’ll repeat it again because this is so important here. I struggled with if I should share this news publicly because I want to protect my children. While they are aware that “mummy is getting something fixed and will have some surgery and lots of doctors appointments”, we are not mentioning the cancer word as at their age they only associate it with the worst. They don’t need that anxiety. Please respect this decision of ours, and if you by chance know my family and/or children, I beg you to be cautious and don’t mention it around them or their friends.

In the end I felt that this is a story to share and hopefully encourage other women of all ages to be proactive with their testing. I am an active and healthy 41-year-old woman and they found an early form of cancer in my breast in a routine testing, I didn’t have any obvious signs. In so many cases, as it was in mine, early detection can save lives.

I am sending so much love and good vibes to all women who have experienced or are experiencing this.

Life is good. Much love to you all,

Mel xx

Share this post...

46 Comments

  1. Kelly Evans

    Mel, you’re a brave woman for baring your soul and sharing this with all your readers. I can’t even fathom how you must have felt lying there on that table, vulnerable and worried for what the future held.
    I am so pleased to hear that you are doing well now and hope the next surgery and check ups continue to go well.
    Sending lots of love to you and your beautiful family xxxx

    Reply »

    Mel replied:

    Thank you for your lovely words Kelly. All is good thankfully xx

    Reply »

  2. Igor

    Having met you Mel I know that you will master this challenge. Consider it as a challenge that life throws at all of us from time to time – in the most unexpected, crazy, cruel and bizarre ways. But you are a positive and good person and you have a loving family to give you all the energy you need. Life is good and life is yours. Fighting this mean “creature” is now on your list. Do it and don’t lose your positive attitude or happiness. The therapy, surgery, treatments are half way. The other half lies within you. And you know you can do it. I know you can. Sending you all my positive energy around the globe!

    Reply »

    Mel replied:

    Thank you Igor! Feeling positive and so very lucky in this story. Oh and that thing is still happening, just postponed;-) xx

    Reply »

  3. Selena

    Thank you for sharing Melissa. I read this with a pounding heart. You will always be special to me and I’m very proud of the woman you have become. Sending you love and healing xox

    Reply »

    Mel replied:

    Oh Selena, so lovely to read those words. Lots of love to you xx

    Reply »

  4. Lolly

    hi Mel

    I’ve just read your story….. Thank you for sharing. My heart goes out to you and your family. Sending you lots of positive get well vibes. I don’t know you, but from reading and enjoying your blog, as I have done for some time, I know you will work through and come out stronger the other side. Take care of yourself, embrace and enjoy your lovely family, as their love will give you strength.xxx

    Reply »

    Mel replied:

    Thank you so much for your lovely thoughts Lolly. Mel xx

    Reply »

  5. Amy

    Sending love Mel and the positive energy to heal your body and soul in this difficult time, it sounds like you have a good mind-set. A brave choice to share your story, as so many women are affected. I recently shared this podcast with a friend who has also been affected – it might be worth a listen at a quiet moment. https://terricole.com/jennifer-ford/. Sending a huge hug across the miles. Take care xx

    Reply »

    Mel replied:

    Sharing and hoping that women will go and get checked regularly after reading this is one way to turn it in to a positive. Thank you sweet Amy, I will listen to it. I’ve also been thinking of you and your passion for yoga, I’m really enjoying it and understand how you could make this a big part of your life. xx

    Reply »

  6. Cyndi

    What a story Mel, and although it sounds like you have a way to go on this journey, your positive energy and supportive family will get you through to the other side of it. One of my best friends just went through a similar experience, although she found it on her own…after a clear checkup the year before. It’s so important for those yearly checkups as you’ve proven, and I’m so glad that you’ve shared it with all of us. Healing thoughts and hugs coming your way from California.

    Reply »

    Mel replied:

    It really is so important those regular checks. We’ve heard it time and time again. Now I get it. Thanks Cyndi and positive vibes to your friend xx

    Reply »

  7. Judith

    Wow Mel you sound so strong and courageous! I’m so glad you found this early. You already know but focusing on yourself and your beautiful family is all that matters and will help you to recover. I’m sending good vibes to the other side of the world, I so wish I could give you a hug right now. Bon courage for all the treatments and surgery in the next weeks, I hope they won’t make you feel too lousy. Take good care of yourself and Guillaume and the children ❤

    Reply »

    Mel replied:

    Thank you Judith. Feeling very strong and most of all lucky in this story. Big hugs xx

    Reply »

  8. ange dye

    Hey Mel,
    Very scary news. I had the same thing five years ago with a tumour under my arm, 4 cm long 1.5 cm wide. Surgeons made the decision to remove it straight away. I waited one month and in that time I meditated a lot! As a single Mum I did sort things for my son but I did my best to cancel out what I would call the ” monkey chatter” in my head, the ” what if, what could” stuff. If I could recommend anything it would be ” keep your thoughts in the now”. Hang out with friends that allow you to talk about what your going through when you feel like it and who are just willing to be there and go with the flow with where your at on any given day. Don”t feel like you have to put on a show, cancel if your not up to meetings or catching up with friends if your body is wanting to rest.Green juice to the max and watch lots of comedy , laughter is the best medicine after all. I am thinking of you! I am wishing you the all the best!
    Lots of Love
    Ange ( macyhome)

    Reply »

    Mel replied:

    Oh Ange, what an inspiration you are! Some great advice there. What a huge thing for you to go through.. Yes for green juice – bought myself a cold press juicer, exploring yoga, meditation and comedy is what’s missing. Weekend sourcing. Mel x

    Reply »

  9. Christina

    Oh Mel, I’m so sorry this has happened. Thank you for sharing, you are a really great example in many ways. One of the reasons I’ve loved following you for these years is that you seem like such a strong and down-to-earth woman, and you are displaying that beautifully here.

    Hopefully you’ve already made it through the hardest part. I know you’ll make it through the whole thing and be even stronger and more beautiful in the end.

    Lots of love to you and your family.

    Reply »

    Mel replied:

    Oh Christina, that is the sweetest thing for you to write. You truly touched me when I first read it, and again reading now. Thank you for your kind words, it means a lot. Mel xx

    Reply »

  10. Tiff

    Sending love and positive thoughts to you Mel. I’ve taken myself to the doctor several times when I’ve thought I’ve found something and thankfully its been nothing, but the initial reaction to expect the worst always puts life into perspective. I admire you for your strength. Enjoy putting yourself first, just “being” and taking things slowly. xx

    Reply »

    Mel replied:

    Thank you Tiff! Yes, it’s a rude awakening to what is important. So glad that your scares have been just that and good for you for acting on it. Big hugs xx M

    Reply »

  11. Tina @ Colourliving

    It’s still shocking to me that statistically 1 in 4 people will get some sort of cancer over their lifetime. Early detection is so important.

    I had my 1st mammogram last year (at 51).

    I’m so relieved to hear you’re looking at lifestyle and food for your healing process. Talking about it is another good choice.

    Wishing you an easy ride through the next few weeks. Sending a big hug from London lovely. xx

    Reply »

    Mel replied:

    Thanks Tina! Yes it’s all very positive in the end thankfully. Caught that hug;-) Mel xx

    Reply »

  12. Anastasia

    Oh Mel – thanks for sharing your story …I did sense something was up but didn’t think it could be this and was really shocked to see it on IG! So glad you had some good care and supportive people around you – its so important. Positive vibes your way – I’ve never thought of booking in for a Mammogram, I might chat with my GP about it. Its also tricky me being a large busted girl to self exam, I think we all need to ensure we do regularly! Its so important. Big hugs Mel

    Reply »

    Mel replied:

    Oh yes do it Anastasia. Unfortunately in Australia they don’t fund it until 50, in NZ it’s 45 so I still had to pay out of my own pocket. My surgeon said to me that he recommends yearly 40-50 yr olds and every 2nd year there after. So silly that it’s not funded earlier, it all comes down to money as always. xx

    Reply »

  13. Nita

    Oh Mel – just read your post and wanted to say that I am so glad you are on the road to recovery, what a shock that must’ve been! Also, thank you for writing about it – from someone who avoids any medical appointments, I’ve been on a mission this year to catch up on all lady orifices checked :-/ so a mammogram is now next on the list.

    Take care and a big warm virtual healing hug from me
    xx

    Reply »

    Mel replied:

    Thank you Nita! That was the point of this… good for you – these appointments are just too easy to put off. xx M

    Reply »

  14. Anya Jensen

    Dearest Mel,
    You are soo courageous and brave sharing your story with us. I truly believe that you will beat this. I send you and your family many warm thoughts and hugs from Denmark.
    PS: I will be going to the ovarian cancer checkup I have avoided for many months now. Thanks for reminding me…
    Axx

    Reply »

    Mel replied:

    Thank you lovely Anya! I’m glad that I can be a little reminder to you. Big hugs xx M

    Reply »

  15. Yvonne

    Mel, only just read this post. It’s such a scary thing to go through and you’ve put it into words so beautifully. It must have been quite a decision to post this, weighing the protection of your family on one side against sharing your experience to protect others from having to go through this on the other. You’re a wonderful person Mel. Wishing you and your family health and happiness. Here when you need me. Big hug. xx

    Reply »

    Mel replied:

    Thank you Yvonne! It was a tough decision but from the number of women who have told me that they will get checked, means that I did the right thing. That was the aim here. I’m all good, really and count myself very lucky. Big hugs to you xx

    Reply »

  16. Portia Campbell

    Hi Mel

    I met you at the Kit & Ace dinner a few months ago, but have been following your blog for a while. Having said that, I’m only now catching up on reading this as my kids are finally in bed! I’m so sorry to hear what you are going through and can only imagine how you must be feeling. You are a brave and strong woman so thank you for sharing this. Rest and look after yourself.

    Love and light

    Portia x

    Reply »

    Mel replied:

    Hi Portia, thank you so much for your lovely words, they’re so appreciated:) Mel x

    Reply »

  17. Vanessa Rehm

    I’ve been reading all your beautiful home updates as I can’t sleep and just saw this post. What a harrowing time for you lovely lady. Prayers & good health to you. I just bought Karen Walker’s C yesterday and it reminds me of meeting you. Take care. Be well X

    Reply »

    Mel replied:

    Thanks Vanessa! All good, I’ve been lucky and speaking to other people, I think I got off rather easily. Nearly finished treatment yay! xx

    Reply »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Life and behind the scenes of
Styled Canvas on Instagram
  • Bye bye Marrakech We are leaving with our hearts tummieshellip
  • Last morning Going to miss these breakfasts and our tablehellip
  • 30 seconds on a Marrakech street Love the new featurehellip
  • Yesterday we were so happy to find this rooftop restauranthellip
  • Spices potions teas weve stocked up on the lot Todayhellip
  • We are staying in the loveliest Riad in the hearthellip
  • Door and floor goals In fact Im taking a photohellip
  • My people and Palais el Bahia opulence
  • These kids I dont know if they have it inhellip
  • How crazy to find out that we are in Marrakechhellip
  • Always find a terrace to look over the pink cityhellip
  • Riad elegance marrakech everywhereyoulook
Styled Canvas