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My boobs had to go - so I gave them a farewell party

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Lynsey gathered friends and family to celebrate what her breasts had achieved
For a mum with four boys under seven, a diagnosis of breast cancer could have been devastating.But Lynsey Ritchie refused to let it be.The 43-year-old teacher from Denny, near Falkirk, decided it was not going to change her life, and it was certainly not going to affect her boys' routines.She "stuck a smile on" and approached her treatment with a positive attitudeDays before her double mastectomy she invited friends and family to a "thanks for the mammaries" party.
With a "boob cake", "nipple biscuits" and plenty of laughs, she wanted to celebrate what the her breasts had given her.
Lynsey underwent 15 sessions of chemotherapy before her surgery
"I was actually still breastfeeding my baby when I was diagnosed last June," said Lynsey."I breastfed all of my children for over a year each, I donated my breast milk for premature babies and also helped mums as an NHS breastfeeding peer supporter. "I feel on the whole, over 42 years, my boobs have done more than most people. So I felt it was only fitting that I should give them a celebration - a send-off - to say thank you for giving me this wake-up call."Lynsey found a lump while she was packing boxes to move house last year. Husband Neil - a soldier - was working away.He has been allowed to return home for Lynsey's treatment. The party took place in December, after Lynsey had completed 15 sessions of chemotherapy at Forth Valley Hospital.
Lynsey with Cailean, 7, Brodie, 6, Darragh, 4. and Odhran, 20 months - she didn't want their lives affected by her illness
A week later she was scheduled for a double mastectomy.She says she never had any doubts about having the operation.Lynsey told BBC Radio Scotland's Kaye Adams programme: "The minute I was told I had breast cancer the first words out of my mouth were 'take them both off'."I thought I can either cry and be upset and hide under the pillow or I can stick a smile on and just go for it. And anything I do I always give it 100%, so it was just another way to do it."
My boobs had to go - so I gave them a farewell party
Lynsey RitchieThere is always a positive - you have sometimes got to look a bit harder to find itLynsey Ritchie
Breast cancer patientHer positive attitude grew out of wanting to continue to be the best mother she could.She said: "I have my moments. I allow myself 10 minutes to get upset then get myself together because I didn't want my diagnosis to affect them in any way. "Their lives have pretty much been the same - they have never missed football or Beavers and I have made all the school events. I couldn't go a bit depressed and woe is me - I just had to get on with it."She said the first thing she thought when she knew what was wrong with her was how would she tell her four boys"I didn't sit and wait for chemo. I changed my diet and became positive. I truly believe in mind over matter."
Lynsey caused a stir in her Christmas jumper on the day of her surgery
The surgery took place on 20 December, and Lynsey arrived at the hospital in style - in a Christmas jumper featuring a breast and tree bauble design.The operation was successful and she is now recovering at home. Her triple negative breast cancer will be treated with radiotherapy starting in February and that will be the end of her treatment.Lynsey continues to look for the positive in everything that happens to her.
Lynsey with the boys and husband Neil on a trip with the charity Something to look forward to
"I would never have wished for cancer but it has changed my life and I am actually much happier and much more contented since my diagnosis," she said."When I was diagnosed, I had to work through it mentally and get into a place where I could heal from breast cancer - it's a message for me to change my life for the better for my boys. "I feel it is a message for me. I am thankful for my body and want to heal. I won't be negative. I want it to be as positive as it can be. There is always a positive - you have sometimes got to look a bit harder to find it."
Cancer
Breast cancer
Breastfeeding
Denny
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