Calendar Girls | Mandy’s Story

I’d never met or even spoken to Mandy until I arrived at the studio that Thursday morning. Mandy was one of our make up artists, I’d read about her on the Red Shoe website, so many women who had been made over by her spoke so beautifully about her. It wasn’t until half way through the day that Sarah suggested that Mandy  step in for one of the calendar girls who couldn’t make it and after a little bit of gentle persuasion, Mandy agreed.  Out of all us there that day that the message behind Know Your Normal resonated with her most and after years of making up women and transforming them into Red Shoe Girls,  it was her time to take her spot in front of the camera and boy did she rock it! 

 SO …… I was 44yrs old.. healthy and happy with 3 beautiful boys and a loving husband .  In a heartbeat my life changed.

 I often checked myself and was aware my breasts were  dense  at different parts of  my cycle (normal) but always softened towards the end of the month. But this day I found a  mass , a solid fibrous mass which I could move , not a small lump or pea sized . It stretched around the top of  outside of my left breast and around and underneath it. It measured 5cm. This one didn’t soften.

I’ve  never ignored health  signs, my Mum taught me that little gem, so making a doctors appointment and hastily being sent for a mammogram didn’t phase me at all. I was at in the department within a week. I was given a biopsy at the same time .

That was Thursday, my friend Kate came with me.  My appointment for the Consultant and results were Monday. The day after my dads 70th birthday party, we didn’t tell anyone. Didnt really think we would have to.

 My lovely Gray came with me  and we were given the results , prognosis and treatment  plan as tears flooded and my brain shut down.

A cancerous tumour  that had been growing for some time, a large mass, small breasts so mastectomy, removal of lymphnodes to detect if the cancer had spread , possible chemotherapy, radiotherapy ,

It was a month before my operation was scheduled and so much to think about. Telling the boys, parents my brother.. it was very hard emotional time.

 The operation went well… but the cancer had spread which tipped me over into the deluxe treatment of 7 months chemotherapy and 5 weeks @5x week radiotherapy. I did have an implant in but  a year later had to have it removed as my body rejected it. I followed on with 5yrs Tamoxifen and 2 years Arimidex , mammogram follow ups and excellent holistic care.

We really do have an incredible National Health system.

And a stick on prosthesis !

This year I’m in the process of  reconstruction.

I SURVIVED it all  ….. the rollercoaster of emotions , the overnight  menopause and all the treatment !!!

14yrs later  I  am a  SURVIVOR .

The Know Your Normal Calendar is now available to purchase here. At least £5 from the sale of each calendar will be sent to our chosen charities – Coppafeel! & Kicks Countimage1 (14)

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