After the school run I waited in the reception of the Breast Care Unit, trying to enjoy the moments of peace (actually having time to read a magazine about random celebrities that I had never heard of) - but I was shaking. Even though I knew the answer before I was told, I was still shaking.
Every breast is different, and they can change dramatically over a woman's lifetime. Some are perky, some saggy, they can weigh anything from 100g to 1.5kg, and nobody has an identical pair. I tell my patients that their breasts are sisters, not twins, so when I operate, I'm not promising symmetry and perfection, I'm trying to recreate what they already have.
During the past 20 years, I've had the pleasure of traveling the world to spread messages about breast health, education and the importance of medical research to find a cure, and I've felt such a strong, universal desire and need to make a difference in this fight that truly spans countries, languages and experiences. The reality is, that while we shine a light on efforts every October, this disease affects women and their loved ones each month of the year and we all have a responsibility to continue to support the cause long after those 31 days come to a close.
Tops or dresses that cinch in at the waist, due either to elastication, ruching or a waist-enhancing belt. Exaggerating the waist magically creates more fullness in the bust area, and the blouson effect disguises exact bust size.
The loss of a breast, or a scar, the diagnosis, treatment and recovery will mean different things to different women - we are individual, complex, nuanced. I wanted to tell these women's stories and share the brave, sad, painful, moving and sometimes even funny truth. This is how they look. This is how they feel.
A warm welcome to the modern world - or if you prefer, the more anal one, in which the likes of Praxiteles would most likely commit suicide in. It is ...
This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Let it be more than that. Let it be a celebration of the beautiful women we have lost, the amazing ones who are fighting, the ones who like me are taking actions to prevent breast cancer and of course a celebration of all those who stand by us and with us.
Those of you who are parents will appreciate the fear of leaving behind a child; you learn not to fear death, or the suffering associated with the very treatment that is supposed to save your life. To the contrary, you discover a primal instinct to protect your family at any cost.
I refuse to accept that today is 'No Bra Day'. As far as Twitter is concerned, 13 October is an official day when people should not wear bras - apparently to raise awareness of breast cancer. The problem is, it seems to be slightly creepy, and also bollocks.
Most breast cancers aren't detected through screening - instead they're found in other ways such as women going to their GP after noticing changes. There's no right or wrong way to check your breasts.
When my younger sister was diagnosed with Grade 3 breast cancer at the age of 41 and had a bilateral mastectomy, and my Mum aged 71 was diagnosed with Grade 3 breast cancer just the next month, (lumpectomy and all her lymph nodes removed on that side), it wasn't possible for me to feel happy knowing how very much they were suffering.
Throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month you will see lots of articles awash with pink and telling us all to check for lumps. But when you are diagnosed with breast cancer, it is a complete shock, you know very little about what to expect and how your life will be affected.
Remember the viral campaign, written about so eloquently here by breast cancer survivor and friend Nicola, that challenged women to 'Hold a Coke Between Your Boobs' and post a selfie of it? For breast cancer, of course. Except, had you had a mastectomy, then, sorry, you couldn't take part.
We're not asking Roche to give Kadcyla away for free; we are simply asking them to offer the NHS a price that is affordable until a long-term solution can be found, and give clinicians the tools they need to help secondary breast cancer patients.
I read a suggestion that having cancer was a bit like seeing someone you'd rather avoid at a party. As far as you're concerned, you just want them gone. They're there, and there's nothing really you can do about it, so you just have to co-exist together until the end of the party. Then, when the party's over you'll go your separate ways.
If I sound like I'm bitter about it, I am. I'm angry, sad, frustrated and I'm pissed off that I have to make these decisions. I'm pissed off that I can't wear nice lingerie because my new boobs don't fit into any bras. I'm pissed off because I don't have nipples and I'm currently having tattoos done every month, which hurts. I'm pissed off because I have scars that won't go away.