THE Haven provided invaluable support to mum-of-two, Sarah Dean, as she struggled to come to terms with being one of eight women in the county affected by breast cancer every year.

Mrs Dean, now 39, was diagnosed in October 2012 – just a week after her youngest son’s second birthday.

The Little Birch resident said she went into survival mode and wanted to make sure her children, Tom, now six, and Harry, now four, weren’t affected.

She told her husband, Graham, 42, that she did not want to talk about it at home and went through surgery twice, followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy which ended in May the following year.

Mrs Dean said: “I think the only thing I felt was shock, and I felt numb, and it lasted until the treatment finished.

“I went into some sort of survival mode – just to deal with it and get on with it.

“I refused point blank to let anyone talk about it in the house. My only concern was the children.

“I used to email everybody – my family – and tell them what had happened and what the latest situation was. I didn’t want to talk about it ten times over.

“If they came to our home, it was business as usual. I didn’t want to see the fear on their faces, I saw it a couple of times, and that freaked me out.”

Her sons helped her shave her waist-length hair and then even offered to shave it again when her hair started to grow back.

Hereford Times:

During treatment, Mrs Dean used The Haven’s library to read information about breast cancer, but it was when the treatment finished that the service became invaluable.

She said: “When I finished treatment I found myself crying at the most inopportune moments.

“I realised I needed to talk about it. I didn’t want to talk to my family about it as I didn’t want to upset them.

“I came and talked to someone who was detached. Having somewhere safe I could come and discuss it all was incredible. I could not have managed without it.”

Mrs Dean said it also helped to have the other women to talk to who were going through the same thing. She also had treatment sessions and continued visiting The Haven until October last year.

She said it gave her the strength to feel normal at home.

Mrs Dean said: “It is a safe place to be. It doesn’t seem clinical. It is like having a big hug and that is all you need in life sometimes.”