My name is Debbie Irene Paton, I am 51 years old and have been married to my husband Gus for 23 years. We have 2 daughters, Georgia aged 18 and Phoebe aged 15. We have 2 Parson Jack Russells called Fizz and Dave. I trained as a florist and ran my own business, taught in agricultural colleges and managed a large national wholesalers. I re-trained as a counsellor when the girls were small and I have worked in that field ever since. I specialised in Drug and Alcohol Counselling and am currently the Substance Misuse Worker for the Youth Offending Service in Northamptonshire.
What is a normal day for you?
At the moment a normal day for me, depending on where I am in the chemo cycle, is to get up and potter round the house and garden – I love the garden bit! I am working from home on some projects until I go back to work officially. I bake a bit and I am enjoying spending more time with my girls.
What do you do for fun? Any interests or hobbies?
I am learning to play the piano, we walk a lot, I play badminton and I go to a yoga class.
What have you got planned in the next year?
Lots of holidays with my family! I have booked up loads of things including a stay at a country manor and tickets to see the Pet Shop Boys in February.
Biggest achievement in life to date?
Other than having my 2 gorgeous girls I would say running my own business and winning a regional heat award for the business at the age of 19, some challenging charity walks up mountains in Switzerland and more recently my Blog which is currently at 32,000 words!
Was there anything in particular that helped you through your treatment?
Knowing I had the support of so many lovely people and remaining positive even during the difficult times.
Having been through your journey if your present self could give your past self, advice on something you will experience during the time from diagnosis until now what would it be?
The imagination often blows things out of all proportion and if I could tell myself to be more rational that would be a good piece of advice.
Why did you decide to apply to be a Nicola Jane Inspirational Woman?
Because I am not special – because I am ordinary and I want other women to aspire to do things they wouldn't normally put themselves forward for.
How has wearing Nicola Jane lingerie made you feel?
"Complete" again – feminine and normal
What do you think are the most important aspects of a mastectomy bra/what do you look for when purchasing a new mastectomy bra?
The fit first and foremost, but also the femininity of the range is important to me.
Do you have an inspiration story to share with other ladies?
I think the fact that this period in your life gives an opportunity for reflection and this can lead to all sorts of things. For me it was about keeping a diary which turned into an online blog – lots of people have commented on it and said I should try to get it published. I am so pleased I have recorded all my feelings – good and bad – people have told me that they have laughed and cried reading it and if it can ease just one person’s mind that is going through this, I would be happy! (debbiesdiaryblog.wordpress.com)