Women's Health

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Meet Holly (Part 1)

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Meet Holly (Part 1)

A Pinch in Time: My Unexpected Journey Through Cancer - Part 1

Written by Holly Ireland.

As I sat there, breastfeeding my daughter Luna and keeping an eye on my
spirited 5-year-old son Nixon as he staged his kitchen chair parkour, I felt the
weight of motherhood's exhaustion bearing down on me. The sleepless nights
and ceaseless mental load had become daily companions. But on this ordinary
day, a pinch in my right breast, near my armpit, disrupted the routine. Like any
mother who's been breastfeeding, I initially assumed it was a blocked duct (very

'"You deserve to know what it is" rang in my ears'

The days passed, then a week and the pain remained. During a family camping
trip, my discomfort persisted. My irritation with the pain led me to the nearest
walk-in clinic, where I shared my symptoms. The doctor, like me, thought it was
likely a blocked duct, a minor inconvenience but easy to treat. His parting words,
"It's probably nothing, but if it doesn't improve within a week, see your family
doctor and request an ultrasound. You deserve to know what it is," rang in my

Despite that persistent voice in my heart suggesting something was amiss, I
silenced it and focused on staying positive. After all, I had no reason to suspect
anything sinister. No family history of breast cancer, a young and healthy lifestyle,
and the fact that I'd breastfed both my children for over a year seemed like solid
reasons to cast aside any concerns.

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Two weeks later, I found myself in the office of my family doctor, who echoed the
walk-in doctor's sentiment after a familiar breast exam. "It's probably nothing, but
you deserve to know what it is," she reassured me before swiftly scheduling an

Awaiting the ultrasound, concerns and nervousness preparing for a medical
appointment swirled within me. I arranged for childcare, I organized a girls day
with lunch and shopping. Though I was feeling uneasy, I asked for emotional
support during the ultrasound, not knowing the magnitude of what was to come.
In the waiting room the atmosphere felt light, a carefree day out with a friend. The
technician, while asking routine questions and initially assuring me it was
probably a blockage or a cyst, suddenly fell silent. The room grew heavy, the air
stagnant, and my heart sank like a stone. The whole vibe had changed.

To be continued...

In Part 2, I delve into my journey as I face the shocking revelations of the
ultrasound and the challenging decisions that lay ahead. Read Part 2 here.


Learn about our Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign here.

We're donating to the cause, learn more here.

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