Hi! My name is 
Dr Anneela Saleem 

And I have written this book ' Moving on ABC After Breast Cancer' from the perspective of both a breast cancer survivor and a doctor of over 20 years. 

The book is out now
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Dr Anneela Saleem with two children after successful cancer treatment

Short Biography

I met my future husband David just four months prior to finding two breast lumps. Now, as a doctor, you may have presumed that I would have been immediately alarmed but as the old adage says, you just don't think that it is going to happen to you. I was preoccupied since we were about to go away on our first family holiday with my two boys aged 3 and 5 years and David's children who were aged 6 and 9 years. I had an extremely busy schedule at work but decided to try and squeeze in an appointment with my own GP. 

The doctor immediately referred me to the breast clinic and I was promptly seen the following week. Things were moving fast but I felt that this was just usual protocol. Initial tests included an ultrasound scan and a mammogram; these actually showed that I had three lumps. However, I was told that they didn't look too worrying, but just to be certain, I should have a biopsy. I wasn't really overly concerned since the lumps didn't feel particularly suspicious and I certainly didn't imagine that I could actually have cancer, I felt far too well.
I had more or less convinced myself that everything would be OK; and therefore David and I didn't allow it to hang over us  too much while we were away.  A couple of days after we returned from our holiday we went to get the results. Unfortunately, it wasn't the news I had expected. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2012 at the age of 42. Shortly after, I was scheduled for further investigations including an MRI scan. This scan showed that I actually had 5 tumours! It was just three weeks later that I had my right mastectomy and breast reconstruction.

It all happened so quickly that I didn’t have much time to process it but that was just the start of it. I still faced months of treatment. Admittedly I was also concerned that being diagnosed with breast cancer so soon after meeting David was guaranteed to put our blossoming relationship to the test!
What happened next?

This is an Extract from Chapter 1 “My Story

I would like to share with you a small extract from the first chapter of my book. This takes me back to the time I was given my cancer diagnosis.

"I don’t think anyone forgets the moment they are told that they have cancer. I can still picture the whole scene as if I was a fly on the wall observing what was going on. I think I knew as soon as I saw the Consultant’s face! Working as a doctor I had unfortunately had to give bad news on many occasions and often in very upsetting circumstances. I still remember him saying to me calmly yet purposefully "I am very sorry, but you have a solid tumour”. I was totally shocked and couldn't take it in. I immediately thought the worst and my mind started racing. Would I die? What about my kids? Everything seemed to be going so well, this wasn't fair. The kids were doing great, I had just met someone after three years on my own and our relationship was going brilliantly. I was working hard and saving up to buy a house. It took some time to sink in; that this was actually happening to me, I had breast cancer!"
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What happened next?

My initial treatment included a mastectomy and reconstruction. This was followed shortly afterwards by four months of chemotherapy and then three weeks of radiotherapy. From the time of my diagnosis it took another nine challenging months before this stage of treatment was completed. Then just one year later I went on to have a preventative mastectomy and reconstruction. Several months after completing all this treatment I was surprised to find myself still struggling with fatigue and my emotions.

I eventually began to realise through trial and error that maybe I wasn't looking after myself in the best way possible and that I could probably do more to aid my recovery. Whilst going through this process I tried to find out as much as I possibly could about what I was experiencing.  However, like many people who experience a cancer diagnosis I also found that I had many unanswered questions but often the correct answers were difficult to find. 

No one had really sat me down and told me of the difficulties I might face after my cancer treatment was complete. It was while I was searching for answers that I had my Eureka moment, I decided to write a book. Clearly, it wasn't just me who was struggling, there were many other women out there that were also trying to put on a brave face and get on with things. I explain the concept further on the next page. I hope you enjoy it and can relate to what I have to say. Thanks for your time.

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