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Melanie’s Story: Surviving Advanced Breast Cancer

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When I was first told I was going to die I…in my head started a bucket list of things to do and going on an Oyster yacht was definitely at the top of the list. I’ve always wanted to even set foot on an Oyster. Not necessarily to sail on one, I saw one years ago and just thought how beautiful they were and when I rang Oyster they very kindly said I could come down and spend the day on one.

When I was first diagnosed with advanced breast cancer: shocked, to start with and then anger. And then, I think, you go through the, sort of, denial stage, purely because you don't want to deal with it.

I think initially, especially with parents, is difficult to have your child with something, you know, that could be terminal, wrong with them. My sister's a nurse, so she was very good. Obviously, the doctor's telling you, "OK, you've been diagnosed with Grade 3 breast cancer. This is the course of events that's gonna happen." And yet when I got home, I didn't remember any of it at all. Having friends and family with you is really important.

I didn't know anything about breast cancer at all before my diagnosis. I knew you might get a lump, and to keep checking yourself, and if you found something, to go to the doctor's. Which is what I did.

My main concerns following my diagnosis were: Was I gonna die? And I never asked that, strangely enough. I don't think you ever want to know that, do you?

What the surgery would involve was worrying me. I think, you know, losing part of your body and having to do it (you know: no choice); putting yourself in that situation where you're giving yourself to somebody else and saying, "Here, you know, it's now your responsibility to help me and to cure me."

I had my left breast off. I had chemotherapy, two lots of radiotherapy, hormone treatments, and it’s just ongoing.

One day I just got up and just thought, "Come on. I'm just gonna fight this all the way now. I'm not giving into this."

And after that, I started sort of making myself more active and making myself go out, and I think the positive attitude helps enormously.

So, the medication I’m on now, the moment I started taking it I felt better. Instantly, and very quickly, felt better than I have in 10 years.

My cancer treatment at the moment is being funded by the Cancer Drugs Fund and I'm receiving treatment at the Christie Hospital in Manchester.

Yeah, so, I'm full of life and just really happy. I've had eight cycles of it now and no problems.

Today we've had an awesome day. This has been one of my bucket list items of things to do is to actually come on an oyster yacht; sailing yacht. We've had a look 'round at two or three and they're incredible. I mean, the finish is amazing. They're just beautiful boats and I feel honored to have been able to have a look around.

Some other things I've always wanted to do is to fly, which, hopefully, I'll get to do this year. Play golf; learning to do that. So, sometimes the ball will go straight and sometimes it will be somewhere over there or somewhere over there. "Fore! Sorry!" You know.

I'm setting up some charity things this year as well, which, as I said, is another thing I've wanted to do. For me, really, just to be able to donate back to people less fortunate than myself, because there's always someone less fortunate than me.

10701Published April 2012

Review Scheduled April 2013


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