I am in a good place in my life, I am stronger and happier and calmer than 5 years ago.  I don't know if I would be the same person without having cancer, because I did.
What I did learn in those years and because of my experiences, was to treat myself the way you treat the person you love the most, have no more expectations of yourself than you would them.  Look to people who give you hope, inspire you and give your courage when you feel the most alone, but don't measure yourself against them especially if your point in this journey is not the same as theirs.  You will get through this, sometimes a week at a time, sometimes a day and sometimes a minute.  You will experience a whole range of emotions; it’s OK to cry and be scared, let it out. Hibernate when you need to.

 

 
What is a normal day for you?
 
Up at 6.15am breakfast in bed, 7am power walk before work, work, then I generally meet with friends/family in the week.

What have you got planned in the next year?
 
I am going to Portugal to play golf and my son travels so I will meet up with him at some point, oh and to only intentionally embarrass my kids!

Unusual fact about yourself?
 
I had an elephant tattooed onto my left hip for my 40th, I use it as a gauge to my fitness when I don't train it looks like it is limping.




Was there anything that helped you through your treatment?
 
My two consultants are the most amazing human beings, I trust and admire them.
 
This would not normally be a place I would see myself going but at Derriford Hospital they have this place called the Mustard Tree. It was fabulous, like a sanctuary - they gave you tea and biscuits, I found it really calming. You would chat to people who had cancer and were going through treatment and share tips.  Someone told me to eat pineapple when I was feeling sick, they showed me how to paint on my eyebrows and told me to practice before they fell out.  If you can control some of the practical elements of your treatments it helps you with the emotional side of things.

Who did you turn to when you first found out and who helped you the most throughout?
 
My big sister, my mum and my best friend.  My sister, she was so calm and reassuring, we were the "Brooks" girls she literally held my hand when I needed her to, she stopped me running away when I was waiting to go in for my surgery, she always had a packet of jelly tots in her bag for me when I behaved.  She was my rock. 




Why did you decide to become a Nicola Jane Inspirational Woman?

When I first knew I had cancer, I took the advice of my consultant.  First, approach what is to come in stages and second, don't Google! I always spoke to my consultant if I needed answers.  I needed hope not just about my prognosis, but how I would feel as a woman.  I found it reassuring that there were products available, but I did notice that the women modelling the products obviously have not had a mastectomy.  To me it said the products are available but you do really need to have two breasts to be attractive.  I understand that advertising is so important to a business, and that you can only use real life models if they are available.  So with that in mind I applied. 


What do you look for when purchasing a new bra?
 
Depends what I am up to! On a workday comfort mostly I need support on the side, as I still get quite uncomfortable.  I need a higher cup as I chose not to have a reconstruction and some of my skin is marked from the radiotherapy.  But let’s say at the weekend...I would go for something a bit more lacy and colourful.



Gill is wearing the Seychelles Multiway Bandeau Bikini (S709)