In June 2015 a week before my 32nd birthday, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I became a statistic and my plans for the life I wanted to lead fell away whilst I tried to absorb what was happening. Truth is, I didn’t really absorb much but went through the surgery and treatments with the support of my surgeon, oncologist and breast nurses. This is where I met Mr Desai, a trustee of SELBCT, a man who will be etched in my memory forever. The support I received from him and his team was fantastic and when I received the all clear I knew I wanted to create an opportunity to give something back. Why? Because 2 years on I can, I am alive and healthy.
In April 2017 I met a group of strangers at Heathrow and flew to Kathmandu, Nepal where I embarked on a 9 day trek of the Himalayas. Each day was a challenge, climbing thousands of steps in 30 degree heat, descending step after step, walking through forests in a thunder storm and heavy rain, temperatures dropping the higher we climbed and trekking for up to 9 hours a day. The accommodation we stayed in was pretty basic, no electricity, some running water but you would rather use the great outdoors than brave the facilities! Sleeping arrangements were interesting – moths shared my bed, floors were wonky, lights didn’t work and a sleeping bag and a head torch became my friend.
I have never eaten so much rice in my life but I guess it must have kept me going because I managed to complete the trek even when feeling the effects of altitude. One day was particularly tough, I couldn’t get enough oxygen in, felt like I’d aged about 40 years, couldn’t sleep properly and had nosebleeds. At this point I had had enough and considered stopping but when I thought of how lucky I am and realised I can actually do this, I managed regardless.
Doing this made me realise how fit and healthy I am and I will always be grateful I have the gift of life. The world is a big place and there is much to see and experience. I’ve been given a second chance and I do not intend to waste it.
I received fantastic support from many people, donations have come in thick and fast from people I know in the UK and Overseas including those I haven’t and live abroad! The money has gone to a great cause and I do not doubt it will be put to fantastic use. You see when you have cancer, certain things no longer matter money, arguments, trivial things and other smaller things become little gifts. During my treatment and surgery I managed to use the node analyser at the PRUH in Farnborough. This machine was purchased for the hospital by SELBCT and it is this machine that determined whether the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes. I knew the moment I woke up from surgery the results, this meant I didn’t need another agonising sleepless night waiting. You will know if you have been in contact with cancer either personally or with a loved one that sleepless nights become the norm. Not having these results hang over me was one small glimmer of light and I am very grateful that the hospital had this thanks to the charity. SELBCT do wonderful work for patients, the list is endless and if I am only too pleased I could help give a little funding their way so they can continue their work. Cancer exists but how we deal with it matters and SELBCT are dealing with it face on. One day I hope Cancer will not stand a chance.
Sending my very best to all those battling cancer and thank you to Mr Desai, Ms Veronica Grassi – my surgeons, Ms Elinor Sawyer – my oncologist, Vanessa and Jacqui the best breast nurses! and the ladies of SELBCT.