Giving hope to those affected
by secondary breast cancer

Research. Support. Education.

My SBC Journey: Jen

24th January 2021 SBC & Me

Jen Hardy SBC Me

When were you diagnosed with SBC?

18th October 2017

How were you diagnosed with SBC?

I had lost my voice over several weeks which we thought was laryngitis. A return visit to my GP and I was referred to ENT for further investigation.  Turns out my left vocal cord was paralysed.  My ENT doctor arranged a CT scan and about a week after that, the doctor called to let me know I had ‘advanced breast cancer’.  Nothing to do with my vocal cord (which has now been fixed), coincidental apparently.  If it had not been for this, my cancer could have lain untreated for goodness knows how long.  Looking back, and knowing what I know now, I did have signs – slight dimpling in my left breast and a small ‘knot’ just at my collarbone.  Nothing that raised alarm bells with me at the time.

What has been your treatment Journey?

I started on Docetaxel chemotherapy but a few minutes into my first time, I took a bad reaction and couldn’t breathe.  So I was swapped to a sensitivity programme and weekly Placitaxol from November 2017 to April 2018.  I also was given Herceptin every 3 weeks. 

After chemo, I stayed on Herceptin and started Letrozole.  My cancer is hormone-driven and HER2 positive.

October 2018 I had 4 weeks of daily radiotherapy and since then, my cancer has thankfully remained stable. 

What would have helped make your journey so far easier?

More support for my family.  They were lost. My husband, my mum and dad, my girls, my sister.  They were struggling to understand what was happening, how best to help and were in complete shock.  It hit them so hard, it was awful to see.

What advice would you give someone who has just received their diagnosis?

Breathe, take your time, let the news sink in. 

Talk to the professionals – Maggies, Macmillan, Marie Curie, etc

Don’t Dr Google!  Use reliable sources of information only. 

Find your tribe – I have met so many wonderfully supportive people who are living with cancer and who have now become great friends.  They offer so much love and understanding, support and advice. 

This is your cancer – live how you want to live, tell everyone or tell no-one, scream from the rooftops or cuddle up quietly.  Whatever works for you.  This is your time to focus on you.  Be kind to yourself, love yourself, prioritise yourself. 

Accept any help offered – and ask for help. This can be a difficult thing to do, but please do try.   It can make all the difference.

What is your favourite holiday destination?

North Cornwall every time.  We’ve been going there for over 25 years and have had some amazing family holidays.  I love the beaches and the sea, the long windy roads with high hedges either side.  I love the people there and the freedom.  I can breathe there.  And slow down to Cornwall time. 

Do you have any great TV/film recommendations?

My favourite film is Born Free – a story that touched my heart when I was a young girl and still does to this day.  It’s closely followed by Dirty Dancing!

Favourite books?

Little Women, The Time Traveller's Wife, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine