By Lucy Notarantonio
A mum says she owes her life to her MOISTURISER – after she spotted a lump in her breast while she was getting rid of excess body oil.
Hollie Drynan, 27, from Chelmsford, Essex, had been experiencing severe abdominal pain for months, but says she was repeatedly told it is was bad period pains by medics.
After five months of excruciating pains, former hairdresser Hollie began to rub her abdominal area with oil in a bid to soothe the pain – and rubbed the excess moisturising oil into her breasts – but discovered a hard, non-movable lump in her left breast.
The mum-of-one discovered she had breast cancer in September 2018 and has since undergone six successful months of aggressive chemotherapy, a mastectomy and a breast reconstruction – and is now cancer free.
Hollie said: “I went to the doctors four times as I had horrendous abdominal pain, the first time my GP said it was period pains, the second I was told to try a gluten free diet leading to a third diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome.
“I never in a million years would have thought I had cancer, but I knew something wasn’t right, once I had to call an ambulance as the pain was unbelievable and again, I was told it must be period pains.
“I was beginning to give up as it had been five months and I still had the pain but no answers, I felt like I would never get to the bottom of it, I attempted to rub the pain away by massaging my stomach with oil.
“I had some left on my hand, so I rubbed it into my breasts and was shocked to feel a huge lump on my left breast.
“It was almost stuck to my ribs and I could pinch it between my fingers, I got a doctor’s appointment for the Monday and was referred straight to the breast unit.
“My friends and I thought it wouldn’t be anything serious, perhaps just a cyst or something that can easily be removed.
“A week later I went for an ultrasound and the doctor said she was going to do a biopsy, at this point I didn’t even know what that was.
“She asked if I had brought anyone with me and thankfully, I had gone with a friend, who sat with me when I was told I had a tumour.
“They told me to expect a two week wait to find out if it was cancerous or not but I already knew it would be.”
Abdominal pain is usually not linked with breast cancer but can often be caused from the side effects of chemotherapy.
Hollie had a brain tumour in 2005 and recently discovered she has the TP53 mutation – a gene that almost guarantees cancer.
She adds: “The last nine months have been an emotional rollercoaster for me but I have had to stay strong for my little girl Bella, who is 18 months’ old.
“She gets me through every day and my cousin Chloe Marshall, 21, has been by my side for every single appointment.
“It was hard for me to lose my hair as I was a hairdresser and always took pride in my appearance, but I have dealt with it a lot better than expected.
“I had the worst news any single young mum can ever get but after eight long months I am finally in remission and I have a new body.
“I had a tummy tuck and the fat from my stomach was used to reconstruct my left breast, my right breast is likely to be removed in the future as there is an 80 per cent risk of getting cancer again.
“I am a positive person and I have kept smiling – I made friends with other patients following my surgery and we laughed so much I thought my stitches were going to pop out.
“I will probably spend the rest of my life thinking ‘have I got cancer?’ but I will continue to be strong and live as best as I can with my gorgeous daughter.
“I still have no idea why I had severe abdominal pains but I am so glad I did otherwise I wouldn’t have found the lump in my breast, I can’t urge girls enough to check their breasts.”
To see more of Hollie’s journey follow; Instagram @hollie.drynan