Life has its surprises. In my latest post (from May 2019) I happily announced my graduation as a photographer. Finally I'd have chance to fulfill my dreams and do what I really wanted to do. But you should never rely on things going your way.
I already got some hints during the exhibition. I was asked to come again to double-check my routine mammography of April. Then there it was, the big news - a two cm tumor in the breast and some dubious signs in the lymph nodes. A new adventure was about to start.
I had difficulties in deciding whom to tell and whom to spare from the news. I finally decided to be open to the nearest: my family, friends and my professors. But to be open to the public (like the blog and instagram) was not an easy decision. First now, when October - the Breast Cancer Awareness month - is starting, I finally got the strength to publish it.
Yes, I have invasive breast cancer grade III. I had my operation in June (breast-conserving surgery and the removal of all the lymph nodes under the arm). I am now going through chemotherapy with 5 of 6 sessions behind. Later there will be radiotherapy and hormone therapy (10 years).
So far everything has been great - if you can use that word. The side effects have been tolerable and I still can do almost everything I did before. The changes in the looks and feelings are inevitable of course. (Who likes wigs..?) The treating hospital, Helsinki University Hospital, with its units the Surgical Hospital and the Comprehensive Cancer Center are offering the best possible cure in Finland. I really appreciate their doctors, nurses and physiotherapists and totally rely on their expertise. I just have to do my part and take care of myself.
Why do I write all this? I was not even dreaming of a possibility this could happen to me. Thank God there was that routine call to mammography, otherwise it might have been too late - or at least so much more complicated - if found after getting some serious symptoms.
My tumor was already bigger the 2 cm and I had not felt it all!
In Finland, every year some 5000 women get the diagnosis. Every 8th woman gets it in some stage of their life. Dear friends, please do not skip a regular self-examination (and mammography calls when their time comes).
More information on Breast Cancer (in Finnish).
Please wear pink in October and donate to the Roosa-nauha -campaign (in Finland) or the local campaign in your country.
Eija Tervo - Photographer and Instructor of marketing and social media, from Espoo, Finland.