THE WHOLE 2.8 CENTIMETRES

#G I R L vs C A N C E R:  MAMMOIRS OF INVASIVE DUCTAL BREAST CARCINOMA

THE WHOLE 2.8 CENTIMETERS

Photography by Jay McLaughlin


I’ve never been a big fan of my boobs. If you can even call them that. They’re more of a nod to a boob, a flabby-nipple-type situation, a goodwill gesture. I hate the way that my tummy protrudes further than them when I’ve had a large lunch and the fact I’ve never been successful in filling out a slip-dress.

So on the 31st August 2016 when following a biopsy a Dr uttered the words “I’m sorry, it’s not good news, it’s cancer” I was sure they were having a fucking laugh.

Surely this must be the universe’s idea of a cruel joke. Right? I mean firstly I’m thirty-bloody-one, far too young and full-of-fun to be dealing with this kind of shit, and secondly, how can I have breast cancer when I DON’T HAVE ANY BASTARD TITS?!?!

It all began at the back end of May, whilst in the throes of some ‘me time’ I grabbed my boobie and felt a rather large lump. I guess I should give a shout out to the folks at Ann Summers for this. Cheers guys. Convinced it was bound to be hormonal I cracked on with a crazy-fun summer, got myself off to Glastonbury and moved into my gorgeous new gaff. July rolled round and a bit bothered that this lump hadn’t buggered off yet I took myself over to the local walk-in for a feel up – “That’s definitely a lump, you’re young and have no family history so it’s likely to be a cyst but you’ll need to get it checked, your doctor will refer you”. Satisfied I was in a flap over nowt I headed to Tuscany for the most wonderful of weddings and registered with a new GP on my return. Again I was told not to worry but to be on the safe side lets get you off to the Breast Clinic. Five days later there I was chill AF having my ultrasound when the radiographer called over her consultant, my belly lurched as I watched their faces study the screen, my bum squeaked as she said “Lauren we want to biopsy this, best to be safe”. I was alone and caught totally off-guard but after a panicked phone call to my Mum biopsy me they bloody well did. And when the consultant recommended I bring someone with me to fetch my results the following week, I knew.

Exactly seven days later I heard the words that would change my world forever. I have breast cancer. Apparently a 2.8cm ‘Grade 3’ cancerous lump has set up residence in my right chesticle, without consent, and has sent my life as I know it into a tailspin. Which is funny really as I’ve had bigger things in me and not felt a thing – am I right ladies?!?! 

Sorry. Anyway.

As you can imagine I went zero-to-Danny-Dyer pretty lively. Said fuck a world record amount of times as Mother Mahon beckoned my brother into the room, announcing ever so inconspicuously to the entire corridor “Ryan, come here, cancer” . You’ve gotta LOL.

Between sobs and stunned silence there were moments of pure unadulterated anger that this cancerous little C*NT had found it’s way into my body.  But mostly there were tears. And dramatic declarations such as “but I’ve not even met anyone yet, I want to fall in love and have a family” to which the kind consultant scoffed and simply stated “of course you will”

Then I did what any woman in her right mind would do. I went straight to the pub for prosecco.

What followed were hands down the worst two weeks of my entire life.
Because before you have cancer you think that the finding out you have cancer is the worst thing in the world right? Wrong. It’s finding out you have cancer but not knowing exactly what the little prick is up to. What organs it might have permeated and if, to be quite blunt about it, you’re going to pop your clogs.

I was convinced I was going to die. Of course I was. As is everyone one who is diagnosed with cancer. It’s the cloak of invincibility being ripped from your neck like Madonna at the Brits and being forced to look into the mirror of your own mortality. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I felt what can only be described as bereft. My heart was broken. The cancer community refer to this period as ‘Scanxiety’. It’s terrifying. And it’s totally normal.

So came the biopsies, mammograms (which was more of a nippogram due to my tiny tatas) and ALL of the staging scans too. There was the MRI Scan whereby I had to lay face down with my lady lumps hanging between two holes – twas okay though, they played breast-cancer-beating Kylie Minogue for the duration – good omen in my book. Next up was the CT Scan that requires you to consume a litre of what can only described as dentist water prior to the procedure. It also requires a dye to be released into your bloodstream that makes your fanny feel a-flame. Which was nice.
Finally, and most epicly, the Bone Scan where a radiologist comes at you with a metal-cased syringe, X-Men style, and pumps you with radioactive isotopes. I kid you not I popped into Sainos afterwards and set off the security alarms.

My scans revealed a positive prognosis. We got this bad boy early. It’s a Primary Cancer with no sign it has spread and the little mug hadn’t made it to my lymph nodes. It also unveiled that my titty tumour tested positive for Hormone Receptors and HER2 Receptors which means that although I’ll have to endure the cocksucker that is chemotherapy my cancer responds well to both Hormonal + Targeted Therapies too. BOSH. Oh and I’ve only gone and been taken on as a patient at The Royal Marsden haven’t I! In short guys, I got this.

As I’m young and fighting-fit my oncology team are throwing the chemo book at me so to speak. My bod is currently being nuked with some of the strongest drugs out here – namely EC aka The Red Devil – in a bid to shrink this bastard and save the boob. Not that there’s much to save but I’ve hardly got anything on the rest of me to reconstruct a new one. And I’ll be damned if they even think about taking away from my fine behind fam.

As many of you know I’ve been sharing the little nuances of my cancer crusade over on Instagram under the hashtag #GirlvsCancer. In general I’m a little positive mofo who is doing her bloody best to bend to the shape of this shitty experience without breaking. But that’s a hard thing to do when the media conditions us to panic, conveying cancer as this terrifying thing that kills everything in its wake. I mean I get it, they need money and fear produces bare P (pennies for those not in the know), but what about us who are trying to process this game-changing diagnosis? Or those who have symptoms but as a result of this scaremongering are too terrified to get checked out? Yep 1 in 2 people get cancer in their lives but 1 in 2 people don’t die, there’d be nobody fucking left!

My aim is to share the tales of my treatment in an attempt to tackle the cancer taboo and help those, who like me, have been dealt the C Bomb and are not really sure how to feel their way through it. Because we will. Get through it I mean. Of that I have no sodding doubt. What I’d also like is for my miniature space on’t interweb to empower my peers. Encourage peeps to take responsibility for their bodies. Know them like you know all the lyrics to Drake’s Hotline Bling my loves, because by being in tune with yourself you’ll notice when something is off, when something is in need of checking out. Early detection of any cancer saves lives. Fact. And if I can boss this than you lot can too.

Right now off you pop to grab your boobs, balls or any other bits in need of attention. Not sure what you’re looking for? The links below will help you out.

Until next time… GOOD VIBES ONLY.

L x

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29 comments

Elaine 12th December 2016 at 9:56 am

Wow. Thank you Lauren. Telling it how it is. Kick its ass. I’m rooting for you ?

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Joanna 12th December 2016 at 10:05 am

You are doing amazing Lauren! I found a lump and it turned out after a biopsy to be a fiberdoym lump, and that was scary enough. So how courage u r showing and showing that u will beat cancer is amazing. Keep busy strong my love xx

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stephanie formosa 12th December 2016 at 10:08 am

AMAZING Lolli! Hairs standing on end…love you mills xxxxx

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gemma 12th December 2016 at 1:01 pm

Lauren you absolute LEGEND. Love your spirit, You defo got this x

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Debs 12th December 2016 at 1:16 pm

Love this post Lauren. Honest, witty and really really inspiring. Your story made me have the guts to go to doctors about something I was worried about. Your positivity is incredible.
Really love reading your journey and I know it will help lots of people xxxxxxx

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Emma fisher 12th December 2016 at 1:35 pm

hey. i’m right where you are now. diagnosed mid august – sitting typing one handed as I’m having my 2nd EC right now. Its a shit bit of news to receive but its not going to break me and by the sounds of it you either! Have you discovered the young BC group on FB yet? I’m not a fb fan but its been helpful when I’ve has questions (although you do have to filter it a bit) Good luck with this and hope the EC treats you well!

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Emma 12th December 2016 at 2:17 pm

You’re a GOD DAMN inspiration! I cannot imagine the horror/terror that you’ve been and are going through, but let me tell you this you’re going to make that cunt cancer sorry it ever touched your tatas!

Keep up the awesome work and thank you for being so brutally honest whilst achingly hilarious

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Mediamarmalade 12th December 2016 at 3:39 pm

Not only was this so masterfully written I both laughed out loud (three times) and felt deep down sadness at the unjustnous of it all, it’s also so entirely on point, empowering and rave. Lauren you are one of a kind and how you’re dealing with this is awe inspiring. Seriously. Your honesty and brutal humour will make a difference not just to your experience but anyone else out there facing something like this too.

Thinking of you and stood behind you all the way

Mel x

mediamarmalade.com

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Aleksandra 12th December 2016 at 3:54 pm

What I find worst about things that are… not alright with me (although I am not quite sure what I would do if I found out on top of all that there is cancer waiting for me too – probably just jump out of the window) is the inability to say honestly: one day I will be fine. Because I know I won’t. Because neither of these things will ever go away. Sure, I can be better, or have a better day, but there is no recovery.
And that is slowly eating me alive.
Good luck in your journey, hope you stay that positive <3 Well done on keeping your chin up and speaking so openly about this!

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Katy Clouds 12th December 2016 at 4:11 pm

Wow, this post really hit me. I’m your age, and although I have known of one or two people who were struck with breast cancer at this time in their life it’s kind of heartbreaking to see it all written down like that. I’ll be following your story and sending all the best cancer-crushing vibes that I can muster x

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Polly 12th December 2016 at 4:50 pm

Reading this through tears and laughter – how incredibly bloody inspiring you are to write about this with such honesty and also finding the humour in the situation. I’m a new reader but I now look forward to following your journey and see you kick the c*nt’s arse!!!! You rock x

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Kirsty petitt 12th December 2016 at 6:10 pm

I love this post! Your bravery is amazing, so inspirational. Good luck on your journey I have no doubt you’ll get through it!
Off to buy a tee x

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Rach peat 12th December 2016 at 6:59 pm

Love this blog post, you lovely lady xxx

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Holly Olivia 12th December 2016 at 7:24 pm

Love this post so much! I know someone who has cancer and it’s so devastating but you’ve dealt with it in such an inspiring way, I don’t know you and I feel proud. You go! Xo (also, prosecco is definitely the answer to any dilemma)

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Lauren 12th December 2016 at 7:31 pm

Girl you’re an inspiration, I saw Laura’s IG about your post and she’s so right- brave post indeed! Wishing you all the love. Lauren x

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B e c k y 12th December 2016 at 8:26 pm

I work at Cancer Research UK so I spend many hours a week thinking about the bastard big C but it’s always impossible to imagine how it must feel to be told it’s invaded your life. You do indeed have this, lady. Half the battle is PMA—totally convinced of that—and you have it in buckets!

Becky ⋮ a c c o o o h t r e m e n t s . w o r d p r e s s . c o m

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Theresa 12th December 2016 at 10:31 pm

Your a very brave young lady lauren keep up the good work your strenght etc is just amazing kick its butt hun you can do it xxx love to all ❤❤❤

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Abbie Tanner 12th December 2016 at 10:58 pm

WOW, WOW, WOW – that is all my little love xxxxxxx

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Emily 13th December 2016 at 11:55 am

It’s so nice to hear someone talk about it with a positive mindframe. Best of luck on your journey 🙂 xx

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Sarah Cale 13th December 2016 at 12:09 pm

I have to share your blog post as it is one everyone should read. Not only for those people who are in the middle of dealing with this evil disease, but also for those people who are suffering in many other ways. Your positivity and encouragement is amazing. I pray your healing will be immediate. Sarah x

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Sarah 13th December 2016 at 5:03 pm

I have just read this after our lovely mutual friend Furquan posted it on Facebook. What a truly inspirational and brutally honest blog about something that petrifies us all. Keep positive and brave as I have no doubt you are going to kick your C word’s ass! Sarah x

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Katie 15th December 2016 at 10:46 am

Love your honesty. I too am writing a blog as was diagnosed with breast cancer in august. Im 35 and also a fellow teeny titty beholder! But as a bonus if we had massive wangers we may not have felt the lumps so hurrah for the fried eggs! Im having chemo too, today my hair is shedding at rapid speed so thats fun… good luck with it all. Im following you on insta. Love your updates. My hashtag is #CancerIsPooPants if you fancy following a fellow 30 something going through same 😉

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Alex 15th December 2016 at 8:08 pm

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant post! My wife has cancer – it went down with chemo, but it is going to come back. She is back at work representing her Union members in schools. Her daughter and son have been so strong, which is not surprising with a mum like her. The NHS has been fantastic – nurses, consultants, cleaners….all heroes to us. And the bottom line – rule the cancer, don’t let it rule you! Live for today and sod tomorrow. And fight, fight, fight for our NHS.

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Myriam 17th December 2016 at 11:10 am

Lauren
You’re truly an inspiring bad ass!!!! Thank youdo much for sharing and telling it how it is

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Johanna 21st January 2017 at 6:32 pm

I have never loved a post more. I am a former member of the cancer club, and also blog about it quite a bit, and everything you describe in this post is exactly how I felt when I was diagnosed from the burning fanny in CT scans to the whole thing about the Red Devil — Did your pee go red after this?! My hospital makes a habit of warning us that this happens after they didn’t tell a bloke and he came rushing back in, 30 minutes after chemo, scared because his pee was red and he thought he was bleeding to death. I didn’t believe them, so as disgusting as I am, when I took my first pee after chemo I had a little peak. ANYWAY, good luck with your treatment. You seem like an extremely tough cookie so I’m 100% sure you’ll kick this thing right in the nards!

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Amy 25th January 2017 at 10:13 pm

Thankyou for sharing. Im 32 and was diagnosed in October with early stage her2+ and ER+ ductal breast cancer. I’ve had a lumpectomy and am currently having FEC-T chemo before radiotherapy. (Only on round 1!) I think your instagram page is great, keep strong and good luck with your treatment. You got it girl ?

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GIRL vs CANCER - Hannah Louise Fashion 24th February 2017 at 8:30 am

[…] not for me to try to put into words how that feels, but Lolli has done a bloody good job of it in this piece, which you should absolutely read for laughs and […]

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Rachel M 13th March 2017 at 10:28 pm

Hiya – I had exactly the same at exactly the same age!! Diagnosed in Jan 16 ( so treatments as such over now ). Had my first Chemo on my first wedding anninversary ( you can’t make that shit up ). I love the way you write, the most modern and honest account – I was sooooooo fed up of sympathy ( I know people mean well ) and this was exactly how i felt!! when you just want to get in and out and get on with your normal life! Kick its ass!!! Get the drinks lined up for the end game! x x x

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Jo Amos 14th March 2017 at 8:28 am

Hi, brilliant to read, i really wish you well & i will look forward to keep reading tour comments!
Totally agree Cancer is such a ‘taboo’ subject!
I was diagnosed 30th Dec just gone so shit start to the year! But positive thoughts & vibes are getting me through this…..like you i found it ironic getting breast cancer with such small boobs!
Keep writing & fighting! Jo x

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