Loretta Nolan’s breast cancer story

Loretta Nolan, was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2021. Loretta chose not to have reconstruction of her breast after her mastectomy, and the bra fitting service played a huge part in her journey. When your normal changes, and your body looks different it is nice to have someone compassionate to help you feel a little more like yourself again, it’s a new normal, and that’s ok too. 


The first sign that something wasn’t quite right was when I noticed that my left nipple became inverted, and on closer examination I discovered a lump above my nipple on the 14th of September 2021. I was referred to a consultant and along with being examined I had a mammogram, scan and a biopsy. We were brought back in for the results, but by then I think I knew in my heart that I had breast cancer.


Looking back on that time I felt lost, I wondered how I was going to fight this and was concerned about how my husband and children were going to face this. I was mostly worried about how this would affect my family and how we would navigate everyone’s emotions, feelings, and heartache. I have to say at this point of diagnosis nothing seemed real. I still looked and felt the same and it was hard to comprehend what lay ahead of us all, so I focused on trying to be strong. 


Personally, I had to get into the right head space and think positive, I knew I had a fight on my hands and the question at this point was, am I prepared to fight for my life, for my husband and for my kids, and the answer to that was YES absolutely! So I focused on all the positive stories and knew I was going to be one of them. My husband Artie and my children were absolutely fantastic through this whole journey, I am where I am because of the support and love we have for each other.  

“It’s a new normal, and that’s ok too.”

My treatment plan consisted of 6 months of chemotherapy. After the first three chemotherapy sessions, I had a review with my consultant and oncologist. I found out at this review that my tumour, which was originally 4cms had shrunk by 50% to 2cms. I had a further 3 chemotherapy sessions, and the tumour shrunk a little more. I then had a mastectomy of my left breast and one lymph node removed. After all my treatment I had another review, where I received the news we had all been hoping for, I was cancer free and there was no evidence of any cancer cells in my body.  


I have spoken with other women who have been on this breast cancer journey, and I have to say everyone that I spoke to has been so humble and supportive of my journey.  I spoke to these women at the beginning of my journey, and they all said the same – it is not an easy ride, and some days are harder than others, but you will come out the other end of this stronger.


It was such a relief to discover Cancer Focus and avail of their excellent services, the bra fitting service was exceptional. I chose not to have reconstruction of my left breast, so my appearance was completely alien to me and during my bra fitting I couldn’t have felt more relaxed. I was immediately put at ease by the Cancer Focus team and made to feel and confident and ‘normal’ for want of a better word. The bra fitting service plays a huge part in this journey for anyone going through this, when your normal changes, and your body looks different it is nice to have someone compassionate to help you feel a little more like yourself again, it’s a new normal and that’s ok too. 

Have a Girls Night In!