My nightmare started the day after Boxing Day 2007, when I felt a tiny, hard lump on one of my
breasts. The doctor referred me immediately to The Nightingale Centre, where I was seen on New Year’s Eve.
Following a mammogram and an ultra-sound, I was told I’d receive an appointment for the following week. I remember saying to the doctor you probably can’t see anything; he said he could, but that it was probably nothing. So, I left the hospital with a false sense of security.
On 14 January, I returned with Salim, my husband, for the results. “You have breast cancer”. Believe me, nothing can prepare you for those words. I had a biopsy and remember the consultant saying it might hurt. How can anything hurt after you’ve been told you’ve got cancer?
I left the hospital with the whole year planned out for us. I was to have a lumpectomy on 29 January, followed by chemo and radiotherapy.
We have our own business, so, fortunately, someone was able to step in and take my place. My main concern was the children; we told my two older children, but decided not to tell the younger three. However, with hindsight, I wish I had. I spent a year wishing my children’s lives away, wanting them to be older, to cope with what, at the time, was the unknown.
I finished radiotherapy in mid-November, just in time to enjoy Christmas, but once you’ve experienced cancer it never leaves you. You don’t think about it every minute of every day, but any ache or pain triggers something in your brain and you end up going back to where you started.
At the time, I didn’t know Beechwood existed, nor the amazing work they do. It would have made such a difference to me I’m now a corporate ambassador, and very happy to be supporting their great work getting the message about their services out and hoping that more people may support them too.