Whether it’s through sickness or health, kids always keep things interesting.
…One mum-of-three in the UK discovered just that when she found her prosthetic breast in her daughter’s schoolbag.
Through rounds of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and multiple surgeries, her children Archie, 12, April, 10, and Belle, nine, kept her smiling.
Though occasionally, the mum had to get over her mortification before she was able to see the funny side.
“Before I had reconstruction surgery on my breast, I had a prosthetic, which I would wear when I was going out,” Helen explained. “I found it in my youngest child’s school bag one evening.”
The Surrey mum asked her youngest what it was doing there and was stunned to hear she had taken it to school “for show and tell”.
Another time she got a kick out of her kids was when she and her husband brought them to a theme park.
“Some people were being allowed to jump the queue,” Helen told the publication.
“Archie asked me why they were going first and I said I didn’t know but that maybe they were VIPs or special guests. He told me that I should tell them I have cancer, so that we could jump the queue, too!”
Helen was diagnosed with triple positive grade 3 breast cancer in 2018, just days ahead of her 40th birthday. As a TV producer who had interviewed a lot of cancer survivors, she said she was very conscious of checking for lumps – but her own diagnosis still came as a major shock.
Speaking about the difficult conversation she then had to have with her kids, she said: “I sat them down and tried to explain it in a way that they understood. They’d had verrucas before from the local swimming pool, so I explained to them that this was similar. I let them feel the lump and told them that I needed treatment to make it go away, just like verrucas.
“My eldest, who was nine at the time, immediately asked me if it was cancer,” she continued. “I was taken aback, because I didn’t know he was so aware of cancer, as no one in our family had had it. I said yes and then he asked if I was going to die. My instinctive reaction was to reassure him, so I told him that I wasn’t going to die.”
The mum-of-three has since come out the other side and has thankfully been given the all-clear.
Now a campaigner for breast cancer awareness, she’s able to reflect on the lighter side and the laughs her children gave her during such a difficult time. “It’s never a dull moment with the kids,” she said.
For more information about breast cancer and instructions on how to carry out a self-examination, visit Breast Cancer Ireland.