Jane Winkworth

Close to my Chest October 15th 2012

One in eight women will develop breast cancer within her lifetime - One woman dies of breast cancer every thirteen minutes… The disease is terrible, the statistics are a disgrace. If you are a woman -you are at risk.

As it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month,  I am currently choosing three fabulous pairs of pink shoes to put onto the French Sole website to sell on Pink Friday when we will be donating all the profits to Breast Cancer charities….this got me thinking about this frightening disease and my own relationship with it…

Mothers are being taken from their young children, babies are losing their mothers. Sisters, aunts, grandmothers, cousins, partners, wives, and girlfriends are all dying in droves of a disease that if left undiagnosed, misdiagnosed or diagnosed too late - will cause devastation to entire families and with the loss of often, very young women. When will the government wake up and take notice that many billions of pounds need to be allocated to specialist hospitals, to early diagnosis, to educating girls still at school, to more research and to finding the CURE.

I am a very private person, I do not get involved in social networking, I keep my thoughts to myself and my private life is just that - entirely private. So, until now, I have not revealed to anyone except my closest family and friends that I have had breast cancer….I was diagnosed through a routine mammogram three years ago. I was lucky. I have had mammograms since I was forty so my carcinoma was picked up at the very earliest stage. I had been monitored for twenty years and so it was picked up hardly before it had started and I thank God for that.
I am in the privileged position of having private medical insurance and so I was able to have the surgeon of my choice (Professor Graham Layer - I am in love with him).  I had biopsies done immediately and my operation to remove part of my right breast was done within a week. I recovered quickly and never told anyone. Nobody at French Sole knew about it and I was calling the office from my hospital bed. For a few days, I told everyone I had a bad cold and was lying low - If they only knew!

To minimise stress I found keeping it quiet was very helpful, but of course family and close friends quickly found out and I was submerged with a love and support that I genuinely had no idea existed. My amazing daughter stayed with me in the hospital the entire time and held my hand right into theatre until I was unconscious and her beautiful face was the first I saw in intensive care when I came round. I was reduced to tears by the beautiful flowers that my ex-husband and his lovely wife sent me. We had hardly spoken for forty years, yet he was the first to offer his support.

 

In my life I have had three very close and amazing girlfriends who have all lost their young lives to breast cancer , leaving behind young children in complete despair, husbands distraught and their own mother’s devastated. I always vowed that I would never let a year go by without getting a mammogram and this vow has saved my life. There are many theories about the causes of this shocking disease and its global growth. I have heard most of them from the contraceptive pill in the sixties, underarm deodorants, microwave ovens, oestrogen in milk from over-medicated cows, oestrogen levels in drinking water, granite worktops leaking radon gas, alcohol consumption, HRT etc.

Whatever the causes, there is no cure as yet. Hopefully my great grandchildren will be given a simple vaccination against this killer in our midst. Please get checked. Check your breasts daily for anything unusual and go straight to your doctor if you are worried or concerned about even the tiniest change in your breast tissue. And please, if you are over forty - get a mammogram every single year of your life.

French Sole will be offering three beautiful styles of our iconic pink ballet flats at a special price, with all the profits we generate donated to breast cancer charities on Pink Friday October 19th

Please do contact me with your own stories or if I can be in any way a help or support to you or to someone you know who is affected by this most terrible disease jane@frenchsole.com

Categories: My Week

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Charities Jane supports:

The Royal ballet school English National Ballet Starlight ACCA The Royal Marsden Havens Hospice