"I am now enjoying life again, especially with my precious family and wonderful friends. I hope to continue to take on new challenges."
I live in Chilwell, a suburb of Nottingham with my husband of 42 years, Phil. I have three amazing children who are all married to wonderful partners and we have five gorgeous grandsons. My parents and sisters family also live locally and we all get together as often as we can.
I have a fabulous group of friends we cycle with and have taken part in the Ride the Night challenge supporting breast and ovarian cancer charities. In 2019 we completed a coast to coast cycle and in 2021 a Lake District tour.
I also enjoy walking, talking and coffee. Phil and I love the sea and love our holiday home on the East Yorkshire coast where we sea swim. We’ve bought a kayak and taken to the waterways and also enjoy holidays, especially in France. Being with family and friends is my greatest pleasure, whether it’s taking part in an activity or chatting over a coffee, I love being with people.
For years I volunteered for several different organisations and a church outreach programme, supporting people suffering with addictions and other challenging life circumstances. During this time, I met a very special friend who was also going through the breast cancer journey. Together we set up a Vintage China hire business for ten years but have since retired following the pandemic.
In August 2006 I felt a lump in my right breast, it was during the night as I turned in bed...
A few days later I asked Phil if he could also feel it? Having confirmed there was something unusual I went to the GP and was referred to the Nottingham Breast Institute. Having no history of breast cancer in the family I was completely shocked to be told that I did have breast cancer.
I have a strong Christian faith, and this has been my strength and comfort along with immense support from family and friends. I soon entered the world of waking in the morning and thinking “this is not my life!” But of course, it was!
Following a total mastectomy, I hoped there was no further treatment, but they discovered several lymph nodes, so I had four cycles of chemotherapy followed by five weeks of radiotherapy. It was a hard road and there were times I felt overwhelmed and defeated, but with all the loving support I got through it. Three years of taking Tamoxifen followed, as the consultant said at the time “belt and braces”. It’s hard to explain the feeling of losing hope for a healthy future but for several years that was a strong underlying thought. As time has gone on, I put it all behind me and embraced life to the full.
In April 2020 the week before my 59th birthday, I noticed a lump on my mastectomy scar. I couldn’t believe it was serious as there’s no breast tissue there. However, after a phone call to the GP I was referred again to the Nottingham Breast Institute and following an ultrasound, a CT and MRI scan, it was diagnosed as a recurrence of the cancer. I received the diagnosis by telephone, in the car with Phil, and felt the bottom drop out of my world! I was totally shocked and traumatised.
Due to covid I had to attend all the appointments and surgeries alone which was a difficult experience and I know many more people have had to do the same. Thankfully, there was no further spread, but the lump was bigger than they thought and it took two surgeries to make sure the margins were clear. Three weeks of radiotherapy followed and I’m now on medication for five years.
Once again faith, family and friends have been my strength and support...
I'm so grateful for the professionalism and care I received from the NHS.I am now enjoying life again, especially with my precious family and wonderful friends. I hope to continue to take on new challenges, such as modelling for Nicola Jane!
Written By Nicola Jane
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