Firstly, let me say I am an unwavering supporter of the NHS. I think they do a great job in tough situations. They quite possibly saved my life. I am third generation BRCA positive. My grandmother had both breast and ovarian cancer, as did my great grandmother. My Dad is a carrier of the gene (something many people still don't realise is even possible, being male).
If it wasn't for the letter I received from the NHS and being informed I had an 80% chance of breast cancer and 40% chance of ovarian cancer I may not even be here. I will be eternally grateful that unlike my relatives, I had the chance to make this decision. Believe me though it wasn't an easy one. People thinking I've made the wrong choice still troll me on line. Or by people belittling what I have been through because 'I haven't had cancer'. No I haven't thankfully. I have the NHS to thank for that.
As it has been widely reported, I had a total hysterectomy, removing womb, ovaries and cervix, due to a 40% chance of the disease they call the 'silent killer' due to it's reputation for manifesting itself as other conditions and therefore being mistaken for other things and therefore not diagnosed until it has become terminal.
On Saturday morning I posted the letter I received from the NHS on social media - without really thinking about it, its contents shocked me that much. I was in tears. Maybe partially thanks to the fact I am on hormone replacement therapy, due to the hysterectomy. I can get a lot more emotional these days - just ask my husband!
I understand that these letters must go out, but it wasn't computer generated. It was signed - albeit a printed signature. But someone must have approved that and deemed it OK to be sent out!
Imagine that you had been through a hysterectomy, bouts of chemotherapy and received this. I've since discovered people have.
I have been inundated with people on my Twitter feed who have had similar letters, due to having no cervix or not breasts since I posted this online. So I felt I should speak up. It does appear this isn't a one off or a confined to a small amount of people.
I didn't want to blame anyone for this, or name any names, just hope to force a change. Just to ask people to remember that we are human beings who have feelings - and are likely to be quite emotional as well having undergone either preventative treatment or operations to remove cancer. Luckily I have a husband and two wonderful children to cheer me up. Many are not so lucky - imagine you are on your own and the one thing you want more than anything else is a child but you are unable to and you receive this blunt letter.
I didn't want to do countless interviews on this subject, because that's all there is to be said really - and I didn't want my views to be misconstrued as an attack on a wonderful health service that we are so lucky to have.