Anne's Fight Against Breast Cancer
The month of October is dedicated to breast cancer. During this month we reflect on the people who are or have been touched by this disease. Last week we were in contact with Anne (31), she was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2020.
“I have been a fanatic goalkeeper for women 1 of the Witkampers in Laren for years. In February 2020, after a fanatical football training, I thought I was suffering from a muscle tear around my chest. Together with my team, we played at a national level and that is why I wanted to know as soon as possible where I (and therefore also my team) stood. Unsuspectingly, I went to the doctor the day after the training. I was quickly referred to the hospital in Zutphen to have an ultrasound and to have a biopsy taken. In the afternoon, I got a phone call from the hospital: 'Are you Anne, born on ...? You have breast cancer." My world came to a standstill and I couldn't remember the rest of the conversation. I hung up the phone in disbelief and tears ran down my cheeks.
In the period that followed, I was in the hospital a lot, for various examinations and discussions with doctors. Immediately they started talking about chemotherapy, breast-saving surgery and radiation. Due to the confusing treatment options proposed by two surgeons, I requested a so-called 'second opinion' from the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek hospital in Amsterdam. My experience with the investigation that once again took place there was very pleasant. I had the feeling that I was really Anne, and not just a patient number. I also followed the advice from there, and on April 1, 2020 I had surgery in Amsterdam, a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. The surgeon who helped me was very experienced and immediately gave me a feeling of trust.
I'm doing well at the moment and I'm glad they were able to remove the tumor. However, I have suffered more from the disease than I had previously thought. Control was taken from my life, and at this young age I had the feeling that I couldn't choose what I wanted at that moment. I played in a great team and felt like a worthy player within the team. Because of the illness I was suddenly on the sidelines of the field. During my illness I have come to appreciate how valuable my time on this team was. Something that was first experienced as 'normal' for me, I hoped to be able to practice again one day.
I've come to see that I have to do things that I really enjoy. Last summer, with that in mind, I went to France with fellow sufferers as a participant of 'PowderDays'. During this outdoor week we shared experience stories with each other and tried to work towards a new normal. I really enjoyed being in a different environment with people who understand what you're going through. Last year, I even went along as a supervisor, and I hoped to offer others just as valuable a period that I experienced myself.
For now I would like to pass on to people who are in the same situation as I was: make choices in which you feel good and include people in the process who can support you.
I would like to give the young (female) students to check yourself! Do you notice
something different about your body? Have it checked with the doctor. Are you still not feeling well? Just go again! You know your body best.”