Once I contacted my GP again about the lump I got a direct referral to the hospital where I waited around a week for an ultrasound and biopsy. I’m a real advocate now for speaking up for yourself, it shouldn’t be this way but you have to push to be heard. There’s no one that knows your body as well as you do, so it’s important to get anything you aren’t happy about checked out. It might just save your life one day.
The day I found out the lump was cancerous was the biggest shock of my life – something I can only describe as a completely out of body experience. I was expecting a routine appointment to tell me that it was nothing serious. Due to Covid restrictions, I was told that I had to come on my own. Luckily my mum was worried so travelled down from Birmingham to attend with me. I can’t imagine having to sit in the hospital alone and find out that you have cancer – which is what happened to a lot of people during the lockdown. Some people even had to find out on the phone.
My treatment since being diagnosed has been handled really swiftly by the hospital and I’ve had an incredible team of cancer nurses looking after me. My friends and family have been amazing, and they’ve been my full support army throughout. I’ve been taking it day-by-day. Sometimes the bigger picture is too much to comprehend.
I have also found solace through running an Instagram account where I share my experiences of going through breast cancer treatment (@myittybittytitty). Thanks to this, I’m in touch with a lot of other women who are also dealing with the same illness and I can tell you that the feeling of frustration and disappointment is very much shared. Some of my friends have had important appointments moved and some have even had chemotherapy pushed back since the Queen’s death.
I feel really frustrated and angry by what’s happened because of the Queen’s funeral – not just for me, but for all the people already waiting for treatment. I know so many people who have been affected by the delays and the knock-on effect that Covid has had on people trying to get seen by their GP, including members of my own family.
I spent a lot of time on the oncology ward during my chemotherapy treatment because it made me so unwell and the amount of strain staff are under is unbelievable. It’s really not spoken about enough and until you’ve experienced it for yourself it’s hard to imagine. It’s so unfair on staff, especially nurses as they often have to stay well over their 12 hour shifts because of staff shortages. They are under a huge amount of pressure and carry so much responsibility. It’s really evident when you’re in there that there’s just not enough being done. The NHS staff have all been unbelievable throughout this experience and it makes me so sad to see how the government is failing them so badly.
I don’t know what the answer is but something really needs to be done to help to try and fix the problem before it’s too late.
Follow Romilly’s journey via her Instagram account. If you are concerned about your breasts, it’s always recommended to book an appointment with your GP to discuss diagnosis and treatment. You can find your local GP here.