When were you diagnosed with SBC?
In December 2019
How were you diagnosed with SBC?
In Feb 2019 I went to see my GP about some aches around my breast. She thought I was peri- menopausal so I thought nothing more. Throughout the year I suffered with a lot of migratory back pains and a cough that wouldn’t clear up. I had no end of appointments with GPS, physios, osteopaths and a rheumatologist but no one could get to the bottom of what was wrong. In Nov I was becoming really ill and I knew something was seriously wrong – I couldn’t breathe and my back pain was chronic. My GP referred me to another physio, I nearly didn’t go as I thought it was a waste of time, but this was the turning point for me. He could see what no one else seemed to see – that I was really ill. He recommended a private doctor that specialised in diagnosing problem cases. I got referred through my company medical scheme and within a week I was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer.
What has been your treatment Journey?
The first thing the doctors sorted out for me was my pain. I was admitted into hospital for 5 days and referred to a palliative care team. Once my pain was under control my treatment could get started. I was on oxycodone for the pain – Abemaciclib and Letrozole chemotherapy tablets plus denosumab and zoladex injections. This was a magic combination for me. Within 6 months I was pain free and my cancer was stable with NEAD. Incredible! I no longer take pain killers and I am on cycle 17 of these drugs. I have had to learn to live with the side effects but I deal with them one at a time.
What would have helped make your journey so far easier?
Having someone to talk too that understood what I was going through. The early days were tough, I couldn’t stop crying and felt very down ( and let down by my GP). I joined a local breast cancer support group, whilst they were all lovely no one had secondary cancer and I wanted to understand what the future might look like for me. Since connecting with make seconds count I don’t feel so alone and there is plenty of advice available. I would love to meet another secondary cancer patient face to face for a coffee and a chat.
What advice would you give someone who has just received their diagnosis?
Do not google! I scared myself to death when I tried to understand my prognosis. My mental health suffered quite badly and at the end of the day the facts are very out of date so it did me no good. Try to exercise every day, with a friend if possible. A strong body is important for successful treatment, it also gives you an opportunity to clear your mind. I now walk around 25 miles a week – it has really helped strengthen my body and gives me something healthy to focus on. Don’t worry about the future – live for now - and trust your oncologist to find the right treatments for you.
What is your favourite holiday destination?
Holidays are my favourite thing to do. I think South Africa was my favourite ever holiday – we went on safari – amazing and something I would love to do again
Do you have any great TV/film recommendations?
I love a good box set;
Big little lies
This is us
Films, anything with Theo James
Tess of the d'urbevilles -Thomas hardy
A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
Where the crawdads sing - Delia Owens
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen