Hi my name is Liz, I’m 54 and I live with my wife and our son in Edinburgh. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by family and friends here. I also had a very fulfilling career as a police officer in Edinburgh and Lothians. I think that used to define me but since 2016 when I was diagnosed with primary and secondary breast cancer, within a month of each other, I struggle to ensure that cancer does not.
I had a lumpectomy to remove the cancer in my breast along with some lymph nodes. My secondaries were diagnosed in my spine and ribs. I’d been living with severe back pain for the previous 15 months so it was almost a relief to be diagnosed and at last get the help that I needed. I was immediately admitted to the WGH and spent two weeks getting intensive steroid and radiotherapy treatment to reduce the tumour in my sacrum that had been starting to press on my spinal cord. I now know it’s a tricky place to have a tumour as it grows and spreads among your bones and nerves. Because of the pain I was experiencing I was transferred to the Marie Curie Hospice to get help with pain management. After 10 weeks I was fitted with an intrathecal pain line into my spine connected to a pain pump in my abdomen. My miracle device! I was on Letrozole hormone therapy and bone strengthening injections/ infusions for three years.
Then in January 2020 I found that the cancer had spread to my pelvis and from my bones to my liver. I was symptomatic in my left leg and worried that the sacrum tumour may be pressing on my spinal cord again. Thankfully scans showed it was not but that it was enlarged. I had five more radiotherapy treatments to shrink it and get my pain under control again. I’ve now started a new targeted therapy, Palbociclin. It’s a kind of chemo-light, targeting the cancer cells specifically. I’m also on a different hormone therapy administered via injection every 4 weeks. I still get my bone strengthening infusion to keep these moth-eaten bones strong.
My purpose in life now is to stay as healthy as I can for as long as I can to see my 7 year old son thrive and steer him through life with my partner in crime! And while cancer doesn’t define me,I have a strong desire to raise awareness of this awful disease through charities that have been set up to do just that. With the help of family and friends, I’ve raised several thousand pounds through three events at home and been fortunate enough to participate as a model in the annual Breast Cancer Care/Now Fashion Show. Life is good.