Published: 21-03-2024 16:17 | Updated: 25-03-2024 10:02

Anna suffered from breast cancer: "I am not the same person today"

Anna Sylvan was diagnosed with breast cancer in the autumn of 2021. Three tumours were treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and anti-hormones. In this interview she talks about her experience.

Anna Sylvan. Photo: Linnea Bengtsson

Text: Annika Lund, first published in Medicinsk Vetenskap nr 1 2024 / Spotlight on breast cancer.

Anna Sylvan's breast cancer journey began when she discovered a lump in her breast one evening. She immediately realised that it was not good. The medical intervention and process for diagnosis went quickly. Three operations were performed in close succession, the first one revealing a new tumour. Eventually the entire breast was removed.

“I was exhausted already at that point. Then the chemotherapy started," she says.

For 6 months, Anna was periodically completely knocked out, sometimes bedridden.

“I was given a lower dose but a longer treatment period. When I thought that everything was finished, I was told that I would also receive radiation treatment. It was very difficult to constantly have new plans to adapt to," says Anna Sylvan.

During treatment, she focused on the things she could actually have an impact on, such as her mental attitude and exercise. She walked almost every day, despite nausea and phyisical pain. And she planned fun things for the days when she knew she would feel better.

"Then I was put on anti-hormones. They made me very blue and depressed, I did not recognise myself at all. After a change of medication, I feel much better", says Anna Sylvan.

But she thinks of herself as another person than before she became ill. Her ability to organise things and be super efficient has been reduced.

"I mourn these losses, because I very much enjoyed the efficient person I was before. I needed that extra gear, both in my business and as a mother," she says.

Anna Sylvan believes that many people with breast cancer would feel better if more people understood that you are not suddenly fine when the most intensive treatment is over. Many struggle with side effects of drugs they will be taking for many years and with general feelings of anxiety and worry.

"At the same time, I feel so much gratitude – for the people around me, for the fantastic medical care and for being here. I can live with being a little less efficient. I have always been sure that all things happen for a reason, even if you do not always understand why they happen," she says.

About Anna Sylvan

Age: 46 years old.

What she does: Founded and runs the interior design company Mrs. Mighetto.

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