I didn’t go to the doctors until the end of March, which was right at the height of COVID-19 and at the beginning of our first lockdown.
They checked it and referred me to the breast clinic – Shrewsbury and Telford Breast Clinic. I got a referral in two weeks to go and see the team there. At Telford, I had the breast screening. The ultrasound quickly turned into a biopsy, and at that point, that’s when the alarm bells started ringing. I was just supposed to have an ultrasound and within probably 30 seconds they decided they wanted to do a biopsy on the lump. They did it, it got sent away and I had to wait two weeks. After the ultrasound, the doctors spoke to me and she told me to prepare for either news. At that point, I didn’t even think cancer, but I think I was starting to get worried.
At five weeks I had my appointment at Telford basically telling me that I had breast cancer. I had to go alone, which was horrible. It was strange because I almost knew – they asked me if I was on my own and then said that I could go and get Dave if I wanted to. At that point, you think “okay yeah, it’s going to be bad news”.
I first came to Lingen Davies at Shrewsbury in July time. I’d had my surgery and I was ready to start the next part of my journey. I spoke with the Oncologist there and we discussed what the plan would be going forward. Naturally, this was going to be chemotherapy because of the nature of the cancer that I have, radiotherapy followed by hormone treatments. I sat there and they told me that I was going to have six rounds of chemotherapy and it was going to be a mixture of drugs and you go through the side effects and things like that.
I had one of the nurses, the Breast Care Nurse, with me again from the Oncology Department who sat with me and that was that was really emotional. I think that’s the most emotional I’ve been, but I felt incredibly supported considering that the most emotional I’ve been. I think I think anybody who has a diagnosis, you immediately associate chemotherapy with feeling horrendous, losing your hair, not being yourself and all those changes that it puts your body through. It’s the hardest part of the journey and so when they were telling me what chemotherapy I was going to be on I just got really emotional.
It scares me the amount of people that are sitting at home and not being diagnosed – maybe not going to the doctor or maybe not having the swift service I have had from Shrewsbury from Lingen Davies. It’s terrifying to think the ramifications it’s going to have in the future, because it will it, unfortunately. We are in an in a very unprecedented time, but cancer doesn’t wait, and the problem is people are worried that they’re wasting NHS time or their doctors time. I was guilty of this at the beginning. People just have to be brave and know that the NHS is there for you. Hopefully, you don’t have a long referral or wait time, but the problem is if people don’t take action then we are going to see thousands and thousands more diagnoses deaths going forward.