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Caroline's Story

I Should Be So Lucky!!


In April 2005 I went to Dublin to see Kylie Minogue in concert and if anyone would have asked me then what we had in common I would have struggled to come up with something!  However one month later we were both being given the same news on virtually the same day ..... we had breast cancer!  I was then  not only trying to come to terms with what I had been told but, because of the press interest in Kylie, I seemed to be reminded of it in every newspaper and tv news programme as well.  Spooky to think we both had it when I saw her in concert and neither of us had known.


I was living on my own and working in London at the time, close to one of the largest teaching hospitals in South London, so thought it would be best to maybe have my treatment there and come back to my family in Lincs to recover but that didn’t happen (and looking back on it I am very glad now).  At my first consultation with the doctor he very proudly showed me his portfolio of successful breast reconstructions after mastectomies ... a bit of a shock when I had been expecting a lumpectomy!  After being told a more significant operation was required I decided the only place to be for the whole thing was with my family in Lincs so I set about finding a consultant and hospital close to my parents house near Brigg.  I abandoned my job and flat in London and moved back for treatment over the river in Hull.  At this point I have to say that my work were wonderful and gave me as much time off as I needed to have the treatment and recover.  My consultant in Hull took a different approach to my treatment and I therefore had my chemotherapy first to try and shrink the tumour.  This worked successfully and it ended up being under three quarters of its original size.  I could then have a lumpectomy followed by radiotherapy and of course the tablets for five years.


One thing I forgot to mention ..... my Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer about a month after me!   I came home to be looked after during my treatment and ended up looking after her!  She had a mastectomy straight away, followed by radiotherapy so it actually helped me keep myself occupied whilst going through my chemo.  I was then fully prepared for my much smaller op and radiotherapy.  She unfortunately had to have chemo at the end of 2008 when secondaries were found.


I went back to work in London about 11 months after leaving.  It was very strange and tiring being back.  Again, work was brilliant and I started back on reduced hours and then made that permanent.   However I found after a year of being back I was still struggling with tiredness and stress was creeping back into my life so I decided it was time for a big change.  I gave in my notice, sold my flat and moved permanently back to Lincs.  My life is now less hectic and certainly less stressful!  I joined Brigg & District Breast Cancer Support Group in September 2008 and have enjoyed meeting people who have been through similar experiences as myself and welcomed their warmth and support. 


(Added Oct 2010 - my youngest sister has also now been diagnosed with breast cancer and is nearly half way through her chemotherapy treatment!)

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