chapter 1 done! – Rob’s perspective

Last night saw me have to give Sue her final post chemo daily injection however, for me, Sue’s journey began on the 20th September 2022 when she went for her appointment for a routine mammogram. Whilst I was very aware that it was painful, I didn’t think anything more of the situation. Sue had previous mammograms that were fine so why should I worry for this one. Then on Friday (30th September), I was in Boots at the Festival Park when Sue called me to say that the hospital had called and that she needed to go to hospital on the Monday (3rd October). I didn’t know what to think, I spoke to friends, and many said not to worry and it could be anything.

The Monday was my birthday, I went to work in the morning and then took Sue to hospital for her 1pm appointment. We couldn’t park and I had to drop Sue at the Reception entrance and I drove back to work whereby a friend then dropped me at the hospital. Sue had already been called in and due to the COVID restrictions, I couldn’t be with her, so I sat alone in the Breast Care wating room until I was called in to join her for us to speak to a consultant at 4pm.

Following different scans, X-Rays and biopsies, the life changing news was delivered to us. They explained that the scans had shown something too technical for me to write both in her breast and her arm pit. They couldn’t say it was cancer but given my profession I intuitively knew that they were all but confirming breast cancer. After giving us this news, they took us to a private room, and we cried.

Then we had to wait until the results of the biopsies came and we received the letter to meet with the consultant on the 18th October. This was undoubtedly the worst day of my life. They told us that it was Her 2 Positive Hormonal Breast Cancer and that it had travelled to Sue’s lymph nodes. We had already assumed the worst and considered what it would be for Sue to have a Lumpectomy and some Radiotherapy. The Consultant then delivered the news that she would need Chemotherapy, a Mastectomy and Radiotherapy. It was so matter of fact. We were then taken to a private room where we waited to speak to a Macmillan nurse. Again, we cried and cried. Those who saw and spoke to me on this day definitely saw me at my worst. We spoke to the nurse who gave us reams of information to take away with us. From this moment on, it felt like we were on a treadmill of appointments and meetings.

The next step was to meet the Oncologist on 9th November who wanted even more tests before the Chemotherapy would commence and eventually the first Chemotherapy session was on the 24th November 2022. A good friend of ours dropped her at the hospital and 5 hours later bought her home. We sat in the living room waiting for her side effects to come in and we waited and waited. Sue was fine and we hadn’t realised that it may take a few days for them to kick in.

Over the 6 sessions, Sue had side effects that included nose bleeds, dizziness, sickness, diarrhoea, loss of feeling in extremities, cold head, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t stay awake, aching body and she lost all her hair. It has been truly awful to watch her go through this. The darkest moment was watching her be violently sick whilst blood pumped from her nose. Watching her helplessly on her hands and knees it was hard to comprehend how the thing making her better was causing this.

This is not to mention we have had to miss trips scheduled for Paris on Valentines day, a trip to Rome and Tuscany and a holiday to Menorca. Our life went on hold and has felt like it is passing us by.

I write this a few days on from the final chemotherapy session and there is so much more to come for Sue but she is a fighter. It was laughable how many friends said to Sue that the cancer should be scared as it would not be ready for her battle.

One of my best friends went through his own battle with cancer during the pandemic and he once told me that I would be surprised who we wouldn’t hear from in support, and we would be so humbled by those that did. I couldn’t fathom what he meant with this. 5 months into this battle and I completely understand. The love, kindness and generosity from so many people to both Sue and me has been mind blowing.

Its been so hard so far but Sue is winning this battle. Watching our 13-year-old son deal with this has made me the proudest man alive.

Strategi Solutions Group Limited created the Big Girl Pants Fundraiser to raise funds for the breast Care Cancer team at University Hospital North Staffordshire. Our aim is to raise £20k this year to try and help make a difference to the tens and thousands of women who are diagnosed with this awful disease each and every year.

F*ck you cancer, Sue has got this! Rob

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