Cancer, the number one cause of mortality, but… it won’t happen to me!
It all started in summer 2017. I had just turned 40 and had to have a mammogram for the first time, so I did. Result: everything perfect, and overhaul in one year.
I am a person who used to do my breast self-examination every night.
And suddenly, in September of that same year, I started to notice a lump in my right breast and I felt it was growing. But since I had just had a mammogram and everything was fine, I didn’t think anything of it, thinking it might be a lymph node or a cyst. At Christmas, I started talking about it to some of my family members and work colleagues. I was starting to worry.
Around mid-February of the following year, I started to feel pins and needles in my chest. The lump had grown quite large (3.3 cm).
One day, naked, I raised my arm and my son was standing in front of me and looking at me, he asked me: “Mummy, what’s that lump next to your chest?
I ran in front of the mirror and in fact when I raised my arm a lump appeared on the right side of my chest. I immediately called my gynaecologist. That’s when the anguish set in, but I decided to stay positive at all times.
Cancer is the evil of our century, the first cause of mortality, but this will not happen to me!
On 9 March 2018, at around 1pm I was skiing with a group of 5 year olds. The phone was ringing insistently, I stopped the group of students and answered it.
That was my gynaecologist. “Esther, we have the results of the ultrasound and the biopsy, I have bad news, you have a malignant tumour”.
Half paralysed, I asked, “Are you telling me I have cancer?” “Yes, I had already made an appointment with a specialist in Barcelona as soon as possible”. My reply was: “I’ll call you back later”. The children looked at me scared, they asked me what was wrong, I couldn’t stop crying but I found the strength to call a colleague who came quickly to pick up the children, I explained to her what was happening, that I needed to be alone to think and decide what I was going to do. From there I called my family. My choice was to go to see my referring doctor, just after leaving school, so that he could calmly explain to me what I had just been told.
From that point on, I went through a wheel of doctors, tests, biopsies and I realised that all I had to do was accept it and make myself aware of the process ahead of me. “They found me in time and you won’t get away with it.”
Obviously, the first things that come to my mind as a woman are hair loss and… what will happen to my breasts? The answer is: all in good time!
Women of the world, please have your annual check-ups with your medical specialist, and above all, self-examinations.
First visit to the oncologist, as much as I already knew it was cancer and what it entailed, it is still the case that when you hear the word chemotherapy your eyes fill with uncontrollable tears.
He explained everything to me precisely and answered many questions I had. He reassured me by explaining when the hair loss would start and what the possibilities of surgery were depending on the evolution of the tumour with chemotherapy.
I started chemo, once a week, but as the weeks went by, I became more and more tired, my skin dried out, I felt weaker and weaker. I had to be careful not to have contact with sick people because their defences are low and this means a high risk of contagion.
My hair started to fall out very surprisingly after the sixth session. It was one of the most difficult moments you go through during the illness.
From then on, I started to notice that all this was affecting my femininity and my self-esteem.
I immediately went to Barcelona to pick up the wig that I had ordered and requested to my liking, respecting my hair colour and my usual hairstyle. This is the moment when your self-image starts to deteriorate. But I didn’t want to give up, so I decided to contact the photographer Celine Pech and asked her to make me a book full of photographs, through which I was able to to observe that, even without hair, she was still beautiful and feminine. It radiated light. In October, I had an operation, they finally had to remove both breasts and my ovaries, another very hard blow. Although thanks to the support of my mother and the professionalism of Dr. Nélida Grande, who explained the process to me and introduced the expanders to be able to reconstruct the breasts 8 months later, everything was more bearable.
In June 2019, Dr. Nélida Grande changed my expanders for breast prostheses, a work of art.
I have a beautiful neckline that you can show off like no other! And in the final phase I performed a micropigmentation treatment of the nipple-areola complex. I searched and advised myself to find a good professional in micropigmentation in Barcelona, and I did it with Olga Grande, specialist in Oncological Micropigmentation, someone I have trusted since I started to see photographs of the results of her work.