For Women’s Wellness Week, Sky Sports presenter Vicky Gomersall, talks about finding out that her mother had breast cancer, and how important it is to stay aware to #bekindtoyou.
In this, Women’s Wellness Week, I wanted to help raise the awareness of breast cancer as its something that my mum suffered with just over ten years ago.
In this, Women’s Wellness Week, I wanted to help raise the awareness of breast cancer as it’s something that my mum suffered with just over 10 years ago.
It’s crucial that all women make a conscious effort to check their breasts regularly for lumps … it’s something we probably all forget to do, I’m definitely guilty of that, but it’s so vital as early detection really can improve your chances of fighting the disease.
Back in 2002 my mum, then aged 60, found a lump in her breast the size of a pea. My Nan had suffered a double mastectomy late on in her life and naturally Mum didn’t want to take any chances.
A visit to the doctor next morning resulted in her seeing a breast surgeon within their 14 day rule, and he went by the name of Mr Bristol. (Actually his name used to make the family chuckle for obvious reasons - good to make light of a difficult situation at times I guess!!)
So after about 10 days of worrying mum’s appointment eventually arrived - 2:30 pm on an average Wednesday afternoon. Mum was prodded and poked as she underwent various ultra sound scans, mammograms, and a painful fine needle aspiration to further detect what this lump actually was. It was a long day. Mum was asked to wait in the waiting room a lot so the doctors could examine their findings in detail; a nerve-wracking time for both my mum and my stepdad.
Eventually some time after 6pm Mum and Eric were ushered into a very nice room, mum always says the flowers on the table were a dead giveaway … she knew she was getting bad news…..and they were told the worst; Mum had breast cancer.
Having been a nurse during her career Mum’s first question was, “what’s my prognosis?” “Better than you think,” came the reply … and actually he was right.
I guess being told you have cancer is probably one of the worst news you can ever be given - but I remember Mum staying very strong throughout telling me later that night on the phone, “This isn’t going to get me …”
By the time Mum attended her next appointment with Mr Bristol they had found out more - the cancer was of a higher grade than first thought but this wasn’t a problem, he was confident he could remove it either with a lumpectomy or mastectomy. Understandably mum said she would be ok with a mastectomy and just wanted rid of it … a brave and bold statement but one the nurse felt may not be necessary so advised her to just see what was needed before making any hasty decisions.
Eventually after several visits, more tests, more needle extractions, biopsies and mammograms Mum was given a date for her operation. 16th July 2002.
Mr Bristol was spot on a lumpectomy was enough to remove the cancer in one go. Mum was very sore following the op and underwent seven weeks of daily radiotherapy … but she was free of the cancer and it hadn’t got her!
Mum has had to see an oncologist every year for the last ten to check the cancer hadn’t returned and thankfully it never did. Finally last November she was fully discharged. Relief!
Mum always says she got off lightly - other women lose a breast or both or worst still their lives to breast cancer. I’m not sure about that - no matter what she still had to deal with the news she had cancer - a terrifying experience for anyone.
So in this week where we should all be taking just that little bit of extra time out for ourselves do make sure you check yourself regularly to give yourself the best chance you can have against cancer.