Tears rolled down my cheeks. I couldn't breathe. I thought 'They must have the wrong girl.' I was a healthy 36-year-old with two gorgeous toddlers. I didn't have time for cancer.
I'd been to see my GP because of my slightly asymmetric breasts. (Who hasn't, right?) I wasn’t at all concerned. Even the speedy referral for a biopsy didn’t phase me. So I went alone.
During the procedure, the consultant told me it couldn’t be anything but breast cancer. It had also spread to my lymph nodes. My head spun. I remember asking myself over and over again, "But how? What had I done wrong?". I was a healthy vegetarian and had breastfed both my children. Now they were just one and two years old. They needed me. How could I possibly cope?
But of course I had to, so my cancer journey began. And it began with treatment. Firstly, six rounds of chemotherapy with the difficulty of losing my hair. It left me feeling unrecognisable. My little boy cried for days because his mummy looked so different. After the chemo, I had a mastectomy and full axillary clearance, then radiotherapy weeks later. They were difficult times.
I remember asking myself over and over again. "But how? What had I done wrong?”
Yet those times were made easier by support. My close friends and family rallied around, helping with food parcels, chores and childcare. My husband was with me every step of the way - I certainly pushed my wedding vows to the edge. For richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. All our energy was spent in getting me well.
I was also incredibly fortunate to see some of the top consultants within the field of integrative cancer treatment - combining conventional healthcare with therapies such as diet, lifestyle, exercises, stress care and nutrition. By the 30th December 2016 my treatment was complete. Now it was time for me to get healthy in body, mind and spirit. I continued with my research to live a healthy lifestyle and understand more about the causes and prevention of cancer. Within that research, I found my passion.
I certainly pushed my wedding vows to the edge. For richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.
Looking back, I now appreciate that my cancer came as a message - one that my body was desperately trying to communicate. To slow down, manage my stress, to set boundaries and to accept what is. My goals are now personal happiness, health and nutrition. I am passionate about the importance of a non-toxic internal and external environment both physically and mentally. Because I believe, a healthy mind is a healthy body. Life is about moving on, accepting changes and looking forward to what makes you stronger and more complete.
I recently celebrated my 38th birthday. I can honestly say I love my life and those around me who help to enrich it. Looking to my future, I want to share my passion by helping others through their cancer journeys. I want to help shoulder the burden and help them get to know the many therapies and mindsets that have helped me on the way. That's why I've started Beyond Breast Cancer. So if you are reading this, if you want to share where you are on your cancer journey, and if you think some of my experiences could be of help, then please get in touch. I'll be looking forward to hearing from you.