“It made me whole again”

SCREENING PLEA: Jennifer Maunder
SCREENING PLEA: Jennifer Maunder
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IT was pressure from her colleagues which really pushed Jennifer Maunder into seeing a doctor after she found a lump in her breast in the shower.

As she was fit, healthy, did plenty of exercise and ate a good, balanced diet and had no history of breast cancer in her family, she didn’t think it would be anything serious.

It came as a massive shock to Jennifer, a former nurse from Thornton, when she was diagnosed with a suspected grade three tumour.

Further biopsies and tests revealed it was actually grade two, but Jennifer had to undergo a mastectomy and chemotherapy.

But the 59-year-old was determined to get back to fitness and worked hard in the gym and to eat well - so she could undergo specialist reconstructive surgery at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

She is full of praise for The Vic’s dedicated breast care unit and the staff who were there for her every step of the way.

And she is relieved her fellow medical staff urged her to get the lump checked out - within two weeks she had been diagnosed and within a couple more, she had undergone surgery.

Jennifer said: “I was so impressed by the breast care unit and the staff.

“I couldn’t believe the speed it all happened - I was diagnosed in the middle of October - a year ago - and I was in having the mastectomy on November 1.

“And the staff were wonderful, my breast cancer nurse Sarah Guilfoyle was an absolute lifeline.

“I feel I was a bit of an idiot. I’d had a letter about breast screening and I didn’t go.

“So now I tell everyone about the importance of attending for screening.

“And if you do find anything, go and get it looked at straight away.

“I didn’t think it would be anything serious, but went to the doctor after pressure from my colleagues, telling me I must get it checked.

“And it just came as a complete shock.”

Jennifer had to wait until August this year for her reconstructive surgery, but she says once the operation was done, it made a massive difference to her life.

She said: “Dr Kiri, who carried out the surgery is an incredible artist, so very skilled.

“It made me feel like myself again, like a normal person again.

“When I had the prosthesis, that was a reminder every day of the fact I had cancer.

“It meant I was limited in what I could wear. I go to the gym a lot and do spinning classes and it was really hot to wear and I would get chafing.

“The reconstruction is great - it’s given me a reasonable shape, I can now wear what I want, it looks good. It’s made me feel whole again.

“I’m going to the Hint of Pink fundraising ball next month and I am really looking forward to being able to wear a strappy dress.

“I hope to do some fundraising myself for breast cancer.”