Jill’s story

Last year, I was sat in the jacuzzi on a lovely holiday at my home in France when I noticed a small lump in my armpit. I’d not long since had Covid and thought, ‘I think it’s a gland, you’ve had Covid’. I pushed it to the back of my mind, but decided to get it checked straight away to be safe. As I sat there in the doctor’s surgery, my GP said, ‘I think it’s a gland, you’ve had Covid’, but decided it was best to get it checked. The following hospital appointment came around quickly and again, as I sat there the consultant said ‘I think it’s a gland, you’ve had Covid’ and again, decided it was best get it checked. 

Soon after, I had an ultrasound and mammogram and found myself back in the Consultant’s room, I was looking at a white and grey image of my breast on screen. There to one side was a fair size black spot. The words I never thought I would hear came out of his mouth.

‘You’ve got cancer.’

I’d been so convinced it was a swollen gland, I’d gone to the hospital alone. I stepped out of the Consultant’s room and onto a roller-coaster, and what is to be currently an eight-month bumpy journey. The worst thing was telling my three daughters.

I have learned so far that everybody’s cancer treatment and experience is so personal to them. The effects, side effects, emotions and coping mechanisms are very different, so listen to what the medical staff tell you and take everything one step at a time. I’m confident that the Oncologist will only put you through what you are able to deal with, and regularly reassess how each individual is reacting to the relevant treatment. The Cancer Centre at the Royal Stoke University Hospital is friendly and warm. Every member of staff I have encountered has listened, been helpful and caring and I’ve had lovely conversations with too many nurses to mention, especially while treatment is taking place. So much so, I’ve never once reached for the book I take each time.

Yes, of course, I have bad days, discomfort, and distress but also some laughs along the way too. Having my head shaved was made fun by the lovely ladies in the ‘Fresh Hair Salon’. My bob hat tucked behind my ears makes me look like ‘Dopey’ from Snow White. I don’t know where stop when blending my foundation.

I stay positive, I tell myself – this ‘thing’ is NOT coming back. I am making plans for the future and for when treatment is over. In the words of Stanley Gordon – ‘Smile and the world smiles with you’. This helps the people you love the most and the people working hard to make you better.

want to know more?

Breast cancer in women

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer

Breast cancer symptoms

Signs and symptoms of breast cancer

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