Nicola, when you got diagnosed with breast cancer 3 years ago, can you explain and capture your experience of how and what had happened up to that point previously to you had breast cancer.
OK, so I had 2 young children, wasn’t sleeping, was constantly ill, picking up every bug and not recovering very quickly. My immune system was really poor but I didn’t really understand what that meant. It didn’t occur to me… I was 39, nearly 40, cancer wasn’t on my radar, I just thought I was tired.
I contracted swine-flu and I got very very ill with that and I was bed ridden for a few weeks – which is big time if you have 2 small children. So, I lost a lot of weight and at that time I felt a lump in my breast. So my DR came out, did a house call, straight to the breast clinic – it was clearly quite big and quite serious.
I went straight through this ‘one stop breast shop’ or some horrible thing they call it -so from a physical examination to a mammogram and then straight into 7 biopsy’s. At this point I was in a wheelchair and was quite ill.
The Doctors were very concerned that it had spread so they threw everything at me, but obviously this process takes a while – between biopsy and diagnosis, I think it takes a week. And then there was the CT scan which was a further week, showing no obvious spread. And then another week for a pet scan- it went on like that for maybe a month?
I really thought ‘this is it’ – I’ve known something is wrong and this is what it is and now I can stop working. It was scary, obviously I thought am I going to die, am I going to leave my children. I felt a really strong resistance to doing chemotherapy because I was already so ill. I really thought that chemotherapy would kill me at that point.
I lost a lot of weight, had no immune system and it just didn’t make any sense to me and I never felt I was looked at as an individual. I felt they were trying tick boxes and full quotas – I questioned that a lot and they didn’t like that very much.
More in the video….
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