My name is Gill Caldwell and I am 44, I have been married to my husband Nick for over 23 years. I have two lovely sons Jack 19, Will 15 and a beautiful daughter Grace who is 8.
I am a trained hair stylist, but my main role now is a full time carer for my daughter Grace who is severely disabled.
The past 18 months have been very difficult for us all and for me personally. In September 2012, we lost my father in law Walter and although in his 70s it was not expected. The following January my sister in law Jane was diagnosed with terminal cancer she was just 53, we were devastated.
In May 2013 while showering I felt my right breast was swollen and I immediately saw my GP who referred me to Stepping Hill Hospital.
I had scans and tests and two weeks later on the 4th June (Nick’s birthday) I was told I had breast cancer; it was advanced, aggressive with multiple tumours totalling 6 cm that had spread to my lymph nodes.
My son Jack was taking his A levels so we decided to keep it from the children for two weeks which was very difficult, we then told the family.
I started Chemotherapy, during this time my body struggled to cope and I was in shock. During this treatment, in July, I discovered that my step father Martin had been diagnosed with bowel cancer and in September dear Jane passed away.
I continued with my treatment and after 12 cycles I had to stop. Ten days later on the 5th December 2013 I had a full mastectomy and auxiliary node clearance, which has now been followed up with a three week course of radiotherapy.
In July I was referred to Beechwood and they have supported me through this difficult time. They have provided me with counselling, therapies and most of all I have been able to talk to others, in similar situations, which has been invaluable. I have been able to laugh, cry and share emotions without feeling I was affecting my family.
When I leave Beechwood I feel relaxed and recharged, pampered and well fed. Without their continued support I couldn’t have got through my battle with cancer. Thank You Beechwood staff and all the volunteers.