'When things went tits up': Battling a shock cancer diagnosis in your 20s

Auckland woman Amber Arkel has set up a blog called 'When things went tits up' on Facebook. Photo / Supplied
Auckland woman Amber Arkel has set up a blog called 'When things went tits up' on Facebook. Photo / Supplied

She's a young woman battling the big C but is determined to ease the way for others in their 20s facing a similar shock diagnosis.

Auckland woman Amber Arkel has set up blog "When things went tits up" on Facebook detailing her rollercoaster ride after discovering a cancerous lump in her breast last year.

She hoped blogging about her treatment would urge people to check their bodies, take action if something was not right and educate young women about breast cancer.

The 26-year-old underwent a partial mastectomy to remove a tumour in December.

She will have radiation and chemotherapy throughout the year.

She has posted entries detailing her treatment, including the precautionary harvesting of her eggs in case the treatment impacts on her fertility.

Ms Arkel said putting her cancer journey on social media was about highlighting how a life-changing cancer diagnosis could happen to anyone at any age. It was also about getting people to be more aware of their bodies.

"I will be sharing things as I gain information and hoping to educate you who choose to follow and want to learn more about it so that you can be a "previvor and not a survivor" as they put it," she said.

She said the experience was filled with uncertainty, and at times scary, especially regarding unknown factors, including how her body would respond to chemotherapy.

"Obviously I have had some down times," she said on a video uploaded to the page.

"I'm not as positive about it as I may seem. It's a real rollercoaster and it's not only been hard on myself but my close family and friends as well."

She said ahead of chemotherapy treatment she would be hosting a special head-shaving barbecue.

"I have decided I will have a 'shave my hair' barbecue because I don't want cancer to take my hair away from me along with everything else."

She praised those who were standing by her, acknowledging the support given by her partner, family, friends and colleagues from work.

"I know that it's going to be a challenging year but I really hope that we're going to get through it.

"I really look forward to kicking this thing in the arse and moving on with life."

She said the unexpected diagnosis had meant she had to re-evaluate her life and work out what was important.

"Life is a wonderful thing. As you start your day today please be grateful for what you have and who you have around you. Be kind to others, listen to your body and always look after yourself."

- NZ Herald

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