Meet Carol, one of our amazing Inspirational Women featured in our 2020 catalogue!
Getting To Know Carol
Tell Us A Bit About Yourself
I’m 60 years old and live with my partner on the South Coast. I am a Consultant Solicitor, specialised in Commercial Property and work at a firm of solicitors in Brighton.
What Is A Normal Day For You?
There is no such thing as a normal day for me. I could be swimming, walking, doing some voluntary work, working in the office, practising golf or gardening!
What Do You Do For Fun?
Gardening is my main interest. I go to the Chelsea Flower Show two or three times during the week that it is on in London and I book my tickets as soon as they go on sale (six months ahead which my friends think slightly mad!). I also belong to a local horticultural society and they always have a Spring show including a category for “tallest daffodil”. I have won it a few times, including a couple of years ago with a daffodil that measured 32 inches tall! I also enjoy cooking, travel, watching cricket and learning to play golf.
What Have You Got Planned In The Next Year?
In November 2019 I turned 60 so I have started my 60th year at Chelsea Flower Show in May 2019 and it will end at Chelsea Flower Show in May 2020. I have made a list of 60 things that I want to do in that year, including hold a bird of prey, get a golf handicap, walk part of the South Downs Way and plant more daffodils in the garden.
Biggest Achievement In Life To Date?
This must be qualifying as a solicitor 35 years ago although I do not work full-time anymore.
How Would You Describe Yourself?
Tall, a Sagittarius and outgoing!
You & Nicola Jane
Why Did You Decide To Become A Nicola Jane Inspirational Woman?
I sent in my application to be featured in this year’s catalogue because I hope that sharing my story gives other ladies hope and motivation. There is so much support and guidance available for women affected by breast cancer, you just need to ask for it!
Why Do You Shop With Nicola Jane?
Nicola Jane always offers brilliant customer care and advice and extremely good quality products which are fitted in a relaxed but very professional environment which helps me puts me at ease.
What Do You Look For When Purchasing A Post-Surgery Bra?
I guess it depends on your particular needs, but I want to be comfortable in a new bra, so I try to look for one that works with my prosthesis and of course fits well. I like seamless bras such as the Beth (7045) because they look really good under tight fitting clothes but still look pretty.
Your Diagnosis & Surgery
When Were You Diagnosed With Breast Cancer?
I was diagnosed in November 2007.
What Type Of Surgery Did You Have?
I had a right mastectomy and had some lymph glands removed. During the operation, they actually found a second tumour that wasn’t visible on the scans.
How Did You Feel When You First Found Out – what was your first thought or worry?
I was immediately very concerned for my partner Tony – the people close to you have a pretty rough time too, as they have to stand by and watch what is happening to you. It did come as a shock when I knew that there was no alternative to a full mastectomy, but I also had elderly parents alive at the time and for their generation a diagnosis of cancer was always terminal. Telling them that I had been diagnosed with breast cancer was one of the most difficult conversations that I had to have as I was determined not to worry them and be as positive as possible.
Who Did You Turn To When You First Found Out And Who Helped You The Most Throughout?
My partner Tony was my absolute rock and I could not have got through it without him. Huge credit must also go to his family, my parents and friends and work colleagues.
Was There Anything That Helped You Through Your Treatment?
Cosmetically, having a good wig for when I lost my hair. It helped me feel a little bit like myself. My surgeon was (and still is) amazing!
What Advice Would You Give Your Past Self?
Take control of as much of the process as you can. For example, when my hair began to fall out, I had my head shaved and bought a wig that was like my previous hair style. I also had my eyebrows tattooed as I felt it was important to try not to look any different whilst undergoing treatment both for my own self-esteem and for family and friends around me. That may seem shallow, but I think you should not be shy about caring for your appearance when something so personal is happening and challenging an aspect of your femininity.
Do You Have An Inspirational Story To Share With Other Ladies?
I was asked whilst I was undergoing treatment how it felt ‘to be living with cancer.’ I gave that person a hard stare and told them that as far as I was concerned, I was living without it! Just stay strong and don’t let other people bring you down.
Do You Have Any Post-Surgery Styling Tips?
Wear your prosthesis with pride! Get some good fitting bras which will give you support and confidence. Since my diagnosis in 2007, I have had my bra size properly checked and measured on a regular basis – I never did that before and just winged my bra/cup size! It absolutely boosts your confidence when you have a good fitting bra that you can rely on!
Any Advice For Other Ladies Who Have Or Had Breast Cancer?
Be kind to yourself. It is not your fault that you got breast cancer. Everyone is different but I was keen to be as open as possible with those who wanted to know what was happening to me. One last advice would be to try to stay as fit and active if you can, it helps your body recover and adapt.