Getting to know you:
- Tell us a bit about yourself
I am a 74-year-old retired senior nurse manager and have been happily married to my husband, Hans, for 52 years now. We also have a son who is married with two teenage children, living in New Zealand.
- What is a normal day for you?
A normal day for me begins with a shower followed by a visit to my local swimming pool where I meet up with other swimmers for the ‘Early Bird’ 6.45am pool session and I swim 80 lengths of the pool five mornings a week. Back home I tidy the house and prepare our evening dinner. I do chores every day and as I am retired sometimes meet friends for coffee or lunch. I often walk the mile into town to do small errands or visit the library.
- What do you do for fun? Any interests or hobbies?
My interests and hobbies include reading, gardening and different active activities such as walking, swimming and tandem caravanning. I also love to travel the world!
- How have you kept yourself busy during the lockdown?
I have kept myself busy during lockdown by maintaining close and regular contact with my son, David, his wife, Debbie and my grandchildren Emily and Matthew in New Zealand via face time, letters, e-mails and telephone conversations along with other family members and friends both here in Britain and abroad. Sadly the International Mini Meeting due to be held in Germany in May was cancelled as well as other travel plans including the Vietnam and Cambodia cruise which was to culminate in a visit to NZ to see our beloved family and friends there. However, my husband and I made the most of the lockdown period by painting the garden gates, workshop, children’s tree house, summer house and Samuel the tortoises’ travelling pen for when he next accompanies us on our caravan trips. The usual gardening, home maintenance, reading and crossword puzzles has also kept me occupied and I have been able to keep up my connections with, and support of the Brooke Animal Hospital, the local Hospice and Cancer Research organisations.
- Have you got any exciting plans for 2021? (obviously hoping that the current Covid-19 situation will improve)
My plans – Covid-19 permitting - is to continue to take breaks away in our touring caravan which restarted on 4 July 2020 when the sites reopened for business and we are currently considering travels to foreign regions when allowed. What I am truly looking forward to is undergoing a total hip replacement before the end of the year. Unfortunately, this procedure has been cancelled twice due to the pandemic so, along with thousands of other people in similar circumstances, I am in the ‘what cannot be cured, must be endured’ brigade! But Hey, Ho, onward and upward! I am looking forward to preparing the garden for the start of spring.
- Unusual/fun fact about yourself?
A fun fact about myself is that I enjoy entertaining friends to a home cooked lunch or dinner with wine and I love a good conversation.
- Biggest achievement in life to date?
My biggest achievement in life to date is that I have created, with my husband, a safe, secure and happy home environment in which to raise our son, David. I think this has resulted in him continuing this ethos within his own family life. I also consider it an achievement to have had a successful 47-year career working in the National Health Service.
- How would you describe yourself in three words?
In three words I would describe myself as conscientious, reliable and (according to my husband) loving.
Your diagnosis and surgery:
- When were you diagnosed with breast cancer?
I was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993.
- How old were you?
I was 46 years old when I was diagnosed.
- What type of surgery did you have?
Initially, I had a right sided radical mastectomy and axillary clearance later followed by a left sided lumpectomy and removal of my ovaries having been diagnosed with BRCA 1 and 2 genes.
- Can you tell us a bit about how you felt when you first found out? - What was your first thought/worry?
When I first found out I had breast cancer my first thought was that of relief as I had initially been wrongly diagnosed and my case had not been followed up. I knew instinctively that I needed further investigation and once the diagnosis had been confirmed I felt confident that I would be treated appropriately and hoped for a good outcome.
- Who did you turn to when you first found out and who helped you the most throughout?
When it was confirmed that I had breast cancer I told no-one apart from my husband as we had planned an immanent special wedding anniversary celebration and I didn’t want family and friends concerning themselves with my health rather than enjoying the party as nothing could be done about the situation at that moment in time.
- Was there anything/anyone that helped you through your treatment?
What helped me through my chemotherapy treatment was keeping busy with everyday activities and appreciating the unfailing support of my husband, family, work colleagues and friends.
- 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?
If my present-self could give my past-self advice on something I would experience during the time from diagnosis until now, it would be ‘Keep Battling’!!!
- Do you have an inspirational story to share with other ladies?
An inspirational story to share with other ladies would be to have faith in yourself and especially the medical teams involved in your treatment, care and recovery. They know what they are doing!
- Do you have any post-surgery styling tips?
My post-surgery styling tips would be to live your normal life as far as possible. Have a shower/bath every morning, dress nicely and if you have lost your hair due to chemotherapy put your wig on, even in the house, and wear your lipstick. After all that, look in the mirror and give yourself a big smile!
- Any advice for other ladies who have or had breast cancer?
My advice to other ladies who have or had breast cancer is to ‘Bite the Bullet and Keep Battling’!!
You and Nicola Jane:
- How has wearing Nicola Jane lingerie made you feel?
Wearing Nicola Jane lingerie has made me feel confident as the design and structure of the garments is wonderful and I feel feminine as the lingerie is so pretty and looks good under different types of clothing fabrics.
- Do you have a favourite Nicola Jane product?
My favourite Nicola Jane product is the chlorine resistant swimwear for its beautiful design and durability essential for regular, long distance swimming. My favourite non-resistant style is the Mauritius V-Neck Swimsuit – I love how flattering the neckline is!
- Why did you decide to become a Nicola Jane Inspirational Woman?
I decided to apply to become a Nicola Jane Inspirational Woman because I enjoyed meeting Vicky and Carol in the 2020 Catalogue. I just thought ‘Go for it’!
- Why do you shop with Nicola Jane?
I shop with Nicola Jane because of the ease in which orders can be placed for products and the efficiency in rapid delivery. It is also great to have the option of returning goods which may in some way be proved unsuitable – although I have never had to return any purchase.
- 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 most important aspects of a mastectomy bra for me are the support, the comfort and of course the fit. I look for a bra which is pretty, and which suits the purpose for which I have bought it.
- What type of swimsuit do you find works best with your type of surgery?
The type of swimsuit which works best for my type of surgery is the chlorine resistant, high neckline swimsuit. I tend to go for the chlorine resistant styles as I swim very regularly.
5 quick-fire questions:
- Cats or Dogs? Dogs
- Coffee or Tea? Coffee
- Books or Movies? Books
- Fried or Scrambled eggs? Scrambled
- Autumn or Spring? Spring