Meet Our Friends

I was diagnosed with primary breast cancer in both breasts with spread to one lymph node in June 2014 when I was 33. There was no history of breast cancer in my family but the doctors at the Royal Marsden and I were confident it had been caught early. 

I had a double mastectomy, reconstruction, lymph node clearance an chemotherapy. There were some complications following surgery but eventually I was able to go back to work after 15 months.

As time passed I thought about it less and less and I was wholly confident that it was behind me.

My husband and I really appreciated all we were able to do and enjoyed travelling and trying to train our new puppy. 

We were delighted when we got pregnant.

The consultants were happy for my husband and I to use the embryos we had frozen prior to chemotherapy and the process started in January 2019. I was lucky enough to get pregnant on the first IVF cycle and we were overjoyed that we could move forward with our family and our lives really. 

Following a short flight in February 2019 I was concerned that I may have symptoms of a pulmonary embolism due to the drugs I was taking. Unfortunately doctors found that I had an enlarged liver due to secondary spread of cancer, it had also spread to my bones.

They wanted treatment to begin straight away, and as I was 8 weeks pregnant, there was no way that we could continue with the pregnancy. This was the most difficult moment to get my head around.

Now I’m taking each day as it comes

A year on, I have had 5 months of chemotherapy and am now on an immunotherapy drug along with hormone treatment. I am ‘stable’ which means that my tumour markers are still remaining the same or reducing and there has been no further progression on my current treatment.  

I really feel like I am ‘living with’ secondary cancer rather than ‘dying of’ it.

I have always continued to walk the dog every day and now that chemotherapy has finished I exercise regularly with gym classes and run up to 4 miles. I am mostly very busy and active and get out every day with friends, although I sometimes have to rest in the afternoons as I can get fatigued. 

I have a scan every few months and until this is due, I tend not to think about the cancer too much. A year into the secondary diagnosis I am finding that I am coming up to anniversaries of ‘this time last year’ which can be a real jolt, however, I am only on my ‘second-line’ treatment and at the point when this stops being effective, there are still quite a few others that I can try.

My loved ones mean the world to me

I have learned to take life at a slightly slower pace and it has given me the opportunity to really be able to appreciate all my amazing friends and family. I have been shown so much love and support and not everyone is lucky enough to have the time to be able to tell those around them how much they mean to you. With a certain sense of urgency, we have prioritised spending far more time together, which in a normal busy life we might allow to slide. 

I applied for a gift on the Ellie's Friends website and was lucky enough
to get a facial at Gazelli House in London.

The treatment with Alexandra was bliss and the ambience in the room really transported me away from the here and now. There is such a beautiful atmosphere there and it was such a pleasure to be able to have a treatment with someone who wasn’t scared to touch me because of the secondary cancer and just to feel normal again. 

The facial was an amazing experience. Afterwards I strolled back through the Christmassy streets and beautiful window displays like I was walking on air. It gave me a real lift and is not something I would have done without Ellie's Friends.