How the CoppaFeel! Community Helped my Depression
Lucy Earts, 31, is passionate about raising awareness of Breast cancer and to get the nation checking.
Three years ago I experienced an incredibly hard year. In just one year I had
treatment for precancerous cells on my cervix as well as having a lump removed
from my left breast. Looking back I was most likely already suffering from
depression; that year remains one of the hardest years of my life.
I had two procedures to remove offensive tissue off my cervix, followed by six monthly smear tests. I thought I put all of this behind me when I discovered a lump on my left breast which in return released a barrage of emotions, mostly fear and anger. Discovering a lump is utterly terrifying and not knowing what to do is even worse. I knew I had to check my boobs but what was I meant to do when I found a lump? Like many other girls my first instinct was the big C, quickly followed by: no, I am too young. A trip to the GP, breast exam, biopsy, mammograms and an operation later it turned out it was benign but if left would have caused trouble. At 27 I had my first breast cancer scare and was left utterly terrified about something I should have been educated on much sooner.
After the scare my long-term relationship ended, which kicked off a year of feeling pretty sorry for myself, carrying a dark cloud with me wherever I went, unexplained anger and frustration and pushing away the people that loved me most. It was at the worse stage of this period that I saw Kris Hallenga’s documentary, Dying to Live.
Kris was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer at the age of 23. Unlike me she kicked into action and set up CoppaFeel! with her twin sister Maren. CoppaFeel! is a charity dedicated to raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. It's their mission to get the nation checking their boobs and pecs. This amazing lady made me realise I had to get my act together and turn this negative into something positive. If she could do all this, I had no excuse at all.
When I did a little more digging, I soon realised that there was nobody out there teaching women and men how to check themselves or what to look out for! I immediately knew I had to get involved as I did not want anybody to go through this alone and not knowing what to do, like I had.
After exchanging emails and arranging a meet up I was thrilled to become part of a group of amazing ladies called The Boobettes. We are a group of young women who either have had a scare or had breast cancer. This is a truly unique group of women who all support each other and I have made friendships for life. This group of women, without them even realising, are helping me and hundreds of other people on a daily basis. The support and positivity I get out of raising awareness has had a great impact on my mental health and restored my positive outlook on life. By helping others understand what is normal for them we are informing the nation on what to look out for when it comes to breast cancer.
We go into schools, companies, WI meetings; basically any event where we can educate the nation. We also blog on a regular basis about our experiences. Writing and talking about our experiences is an outlet. It has helped me realise I am not alone and I hope it helps others in a similar situation. Knowing there are other people out there who have experienced something similar is reassuring. Talking about my emotions, rather than bottling them up, helped me come out the other end more positive and take another step towards a better mental health, body and mind.
The Boobette’s blog - http://wearetheboobettes.tumblr.com/