Meet Beryl Pearce-Carr

“Once I had come to terms with needing a mastectomy, although I was scared, I was determined to get it over with and get on with my life.”

Tell us a bit about yourself......

I am retired from my Image Consultancy business, which I ran for 21 years. During this time I was a consultant to lots of people, including a few famous ones! My husband, Tom, and I can now spend as much time as possible relaxing on our boat and regularly escape for a few days holiday when ever possible.

We have two gorgeous grandchildren and love spending time with them. We also spend a lot of time socialising – Tom is a great cook, so we often have people coming round for dinner. I’ve been extremely lucky and travelled a great deal of the world as Tom used to be a BA Captain and I feel very privileged to have experienced many different places and cultures. Since recovering from surgery, I now help out at a local Hospice where I can use my experience as an Image Consultant to help patients to find the colours and styles to give them a boost. Because of my own experience with the cancer, I feel a lot more empathy with other sufferers and it’s also very rewarding.

How did you first discover you had breast cancer?

I had been feeling tired for a few months and had lost weight when I found a “thickening” at the junction of my breast and shoulder. After some consultation and a needle biopsy, an ultra sound scan confirmed the presence of a large, 3cm, lump which was malignant. I went on to have a radical mastectomy and lymph node removal followed by five years of, at first, Tamoxifen and, later, Arimidex. Five years on, I no longer take any medication.

How did you feel when you learned that you would have to have a mastectomy?

Because I was an Image Consultant, appearance has always been very important to me and I believe that, if you make an effort, it will make you feel a lot better. So, as you can imagine, besides the natural fear of the surgery itself, I was concerned about how I would look in my clothes afterwards. Once I had come to terms with needing a mastectomy, although I was scared, I was determined to get it over with and get on with my life.

How did a mastectomy affect you?

I was surprised how well I coped, really. I thought because image was so important to me I would be devastated. It was such a relief to find such a range of prosthesis, bras and other mastectomy wear available, that it’s never been a problem and I decided not to have a reconstruction. I feel very comfortable and at ease with my body now. I haven’t had any urges to climb a mountain or to swim the Channel since surgery but I have learned much more to put things into perspective. I used to be a terrible worrier but I’m more relaxed now. I have learned to value my friends and family so much and I love spending time with them.

What helped you to get through?

Tom, my husband, was my main support. He was my rock. He made me feel loved and, because it wasn’t a big issue for him losing my breast had much less of an effect on me. Recently, Tom has been diagnosed with cancer himself so our roles have been reversed and I am now looking after him!

Why did you apply to be a Nicola Jane model?

After reading about last years models, I was inspired to apply myself. Looking back on it I don’t know what possessed me and when I got the call to say I’d been chosen, I was in shock. I think it’s fantastic that Nicola Jane use their real clients as models and I couldn’t wait to give it a go!

Any advice for ladies reading this?

I would say that cancer gives you the impetus to re-evaluate what’s important in your life and reminds you how lucky you are to be alive. Take time to look after yourself, relish the good things. You are a survivor - look as good as you can, you deserve it.

  • Beryl's entry photo to become a Nicola Jane model
  • Modelling the 5362 bra
  • All together! Beryl and the other 2010 models
  • Beryl and husband Tom on their boat