Pouring a drink and chatting away to my friends, I was feeling festive and jolly.
It was Christmas Eve 2015, and my husband Jason, 31, and I were hosting a party at home.
I was enjoying the evening until I lifted my right arm up and noticed a lump in my skin, the size of a Malteser.
‘What do you think this is?’ I asked my friends, pointing to the outskirts of my armpit.
‘Might be a cyst,’ they agreed. ‘It doesn’t hurt,’ I shrugged. I decided to book a doctor’s appointment to check it out, and two weeks later I was having a scan.
‘I’d like to take a biopsy to be sure,’ the doctor said.
They wouldn’t do a biopsy for a cyst, I thought.
My gut feeling was that it was something bad.
Whilst I waited for the results, I celebrated my 28th birthday with friends.
And just two days after my birthday, I was called back into the doctors with the results.
I am strong-willed and stubborn and didn’t tell Jason about my appointment in case he worried, but I did tell my dad, Steve, 67.
‘I’ll be fine by myself,’ I promised him.
Sitting in the doctor’s waiting room, I had the first appointment of the day.
Looking at the clock, I was starting to feel nervous.
And then the doors burst open and I turned to see my dad walking through.
‘You’re not doing it alone,’ he said strongly.
Thankful, I felt so relieved to see his face.
Dad waited on a seat outside my room whilst I went in.
‘You’ve got breast cancer, Joanna,’ the doctor explained.
My gut instinct was right. Neither my friends nor family had ever had breast cancer, it was scary to hear.
I sat and listened as the doctor ran through the process with me, then my dad was called into the room with me.
Suddenly, I was so grateful that he’d came along.
Afterward, I explained everything to Jason and my mum Karen, 62, and sister Louise, 34.
‘It’s Grade 2 cancer and HER2-positive,’ I said.
‘We’ll get through it together,’ Jason promised me.
In March 2016, I had surgery to remove the lump.
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