JUST eight short months ago, she couldn’t have been happier as she became a mum for the second time.
But by the end of last year, Kirsten Chisholm’s mood had turned after she discovered a lump on her breast.
It was painless and doctors told her not to worry – but as a trained medic herself, the 28-year-old nurse knew deep down that something was wrong.
Given that breast cancer is uncommon in her age group, she had to wait almost three months to see a specialist.
That meant it was March before she was given the devastating diagnosis, not only confirming her worst fears but revealing that the disease had already spread to her lymph nodes.
Kirsten, who works at the Sick Kids, is now preparing to undergo a mastectomy and faces gruelling treatment.
And today she warned other young women who recognise her story to follow their instinct if they feel something isn’t right.
Kirsten, who lives in Dunfermline, asked her best friend Ailsa McAdam, 31, to speak on her behalf as she focuses her energies on getting better.
Ailsa, also a nurse at the Sick Kids, said: “Kirsten wants to warn other young women that just because they are in their 20s, it doesn’t mean the lump won’t be cancerous.
“If you feel there is something not right, be forthcoming and trust your instinct. Don’t just dismiss it, be persistent.”
Ailsa, who lives in Livingston, said Kirsten had experienced abnormal bleeding and unusual night sweats after giving birth – which her doctor “put down to hormones”.
She said: “The doctor gave her the contraceptive pill in an attempt to stop the bleeding, but Kirsten knew something was wrong.
“When the pill didn’t work, she booked another appointment to go back to get the contraceptive implant, and while she was there she mentioned the lump.
“Despite the fact she had been panicking, the doctor reassured her that because of her age, it was unlikely to be anything sinister.”
Ailsa, who has known Kirsten since they studied together at Edinburgh Napier, is now fundraising to help pay for her friend’s travelling costs and is helping to look after her children.
She is also having 20 inches of hair cut off to donate to the Little Princess Trust, a charity that makes wigs for children with cancer.
Ailsa said: “Kirsten is so selfless and she spends her life caring for others as a nurse, so now I’d like to raise some money to care for her.
“She hopes her story will encourage other young women to know their own bodies and to act immediately if they notice anything suspicious.”
To donate visit: https://www.gofundme.com/BreastiesIn20s