Hi my name is Linda Wagstaff - I am 63 years old and a retired Payroll Consultant. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in February 2009; I woke up one Sunday morning and discovered a very noticeable lump in my right breast. I went to see my GP on Monday morning and was referred to hospital. After all the tests and biopsies my worst nightmare came true and I was diagnosed with a Grade 3 aggressive tumor - the only good news being it was not in my lymph nodes.
I was absolutely devastated, fortunately my youngest son Scott was with me at the appointment and took in what the doctor was saying. He was due to go on holiday 2 days after I was diagnosed but cancelled. I had 8 doses of chemotherapy and 19 radiotherapy which was grueling. Scott was with me for all my treatment. My older son Lee was working abroad at the time and I wanted to wait until he was home before telling him but his wife thought he should know straight away. He was worried and phoned me constantly.
I think I was more upset for my sons as my husband of 33 years died very suddenly a couple of years earlier and that was devastating for us all. I didn’t want them to think they had lost their dad and they might lose mum too, so I tried to put on a brave face when I was feeling low. It is very hard when you wake in the middle of the night or when you want a good cry or reassurance and there is nobody to put their arms around you. My sons, family and friends were, and still are, there for me all the time, but I didn’t want them worrying and so when I was feeling down I just put it to the back of my mind and got on with it.
Everything seemed to be going ok ,all my follow up appointments were fine, however in the middle of last year I started to feel unwell. I just felt my get up and go had got up and gone and I felt very down and couldn‘t eat or sleep properly. I went to my GP who did all the usual; she then referred me back to my consultant who did scans and all tests were normal. The doctors came to the conclusion that I was suffering from anxiety and depression (which was a shock as I thought I was a strong person) but they weren’t surprised after what I had been through.
My consultant suggested I go to Beechwood for some counselling and I am so glad he did - what a wonderful place it is. I have been able to open up and talk to my nurse about how I feel, she understands all the anxieties and fears that I seem to have been putting to the back of my mind for the last couple of years. She has made me feel so much more positive about things and I can’t thank her enough. Everybody at Beechwood is so compassionate and caring- I met a lovely group of people on my programme who were going through their treatment and it was so nice to be able to speak with them, and hopefully we will remain good friends.