Angela, age 51, from Derby, is taking on RideLondon with her boyfriend Chris, from Cornwall, after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016.
The couple met on holiday in Lanzarote in the summer of 2016, and after a whirlwind romance, despite living so far apart, the pair continued their relationship back in the UK.
Just a few months later, in the autumn of 2016, Angela attended a routine mammogram, and was called back for further tests after the doctors picked up some abnormalities in both of her breasts. After two biopsies, the doctors were unsure whether there were cancerous cells present, so Angela had surgery to remove some of the cells for a further biopsy.
A week later, Angela was called in for her results, and the doctor delivered the news that she had ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS, a very early form of breast cancer) in both of her breasts, and that she would need a double mastectomy. Angela broke down, unable to believe the news.
“It was partly the fact that it was cancer, and partly that I’d have to have surgery and lose both of my breasts. Chris was so supportive through the whole thing, he just held me and let me cry.”
After a further biopsy, and having talked it through with Chris and with her surgeon, Angela decided to go ahead with the double mastectomy, and have immediate reconstruction.
On 14 November, six months to the day that she and Chris first met, Angela was in hospital having the surgery, with Chris waiting for her when she woke up.
“It was a strange way to celebrate our six month anniversary. The morning of my surgery I was distraught. I didn’t know what to expect, or what I’d wake up to, and it’s fair to say I feared the worst. But my surgeon was amazing, I was so relieved when I eventually plucked up the courage to look at myself.”
Angela had to carry drains around with her for two weeks post-surgery and be careful not to get her wounds wet. During this time Chris helped shower her, and washed, blow-dried and styled her hair when she wasn’t able to. “We didn’t stop laughing”, says Angela. “At times it was just so funny.”
Angela has always been fit and active, so taking time off exercise to recover was really difficult. She’s now back to full fitness, and is running again, doing circuits, and training hard for RideLondon. Since her surgery, Angela has moved down to Cornwall to be with Chris.
“Receiving a diagnosis really makes you value life, and makes you realise how precious it all is. I’ve got friends who have had breast cancer, and know some people who have died from it. I feel lucky that mine was picked up very early, and I’d encourage all women to go to their screening appointments. If I hadn’t gone, my situation may have been a lot worse.
“I’m cycling RideLondon for Breast Cancer Now to raise awareness of the disease, and to raise as much money as possible to help other women with the vital research the charity funds.”
You can support Angela by visiting her JustGiving page