Louisa was diagnosed with breast cancer at the start of 2019. Throughout her treatment, she turned to Breast Cancer Now for help and support.
All my plans came crashing down
14th February, 2019: not only my first Valentine’s Day with my partner, Duncan, but also the day I found out I had breast cancer.
I had just turned 41 and it had taken a lifetime to find Duncan, but our plans of travelling and starting a family - albeit quite late at my age - came crashing down around us in an instant.
It is a weird feeling. I felt like I stopped breathing. I went into autopilot.
By the time I’d left the hospital car park I’d cancelled my place on an upcoming scuba trip and called my friend at work to tell my boss that I wouldn’t be in for the rest of the day. I began work on writing a will.
Breast Cancer Now were so easy to speak to
A few weeks passed, during which time I had been given so many leaflets on what was happening. Now was the time to rip the plaster off and deal with them.
I found some information about Becca and downloaded the app, which subsequently provided information on Breast Cancer Now’s Someone Like Me service. I registered online and they called me back quickly. It was so easy to speak to the people at Breast Cancer Now. I gave them a summary of my situation and they endeavoured to find someone who I could relate to.
Within two weeks, I was speaking to Zahida – our first conversation was the day before my first chemo session. She was my saviour. I could talk to her about how I was feeling emotionally and physically – she completely understood everything I was going through. I could cry, rant, ask questions and voice all my anxieties to the extent that I felt I couldn’t do with my family and friends.
It kept me positive in dark times
Zahida was the voice of reason and reassurance that what I was feeling and experiencing was normal for the situation I was in. She shared her similar experiences. It wasn’t all doom and gloom. We laughed at certain things that had happened just as much as I cried. If she could do it, then so could I.
It was as if Zahida had a sixth sense about when to call. When I was low or was having a particularly tough time, she called. My grandfather passed away in the middle of my chemo on the same night that I was hospitalised with an infection in my PICC line and blood clots in my shoulder. She called me the following evening, just when I needed her. When my liver function results delayed one of my chemo sessions, she called.
Zahida’s calls kept reminding me that there is light at the end of the long tunnel, which helped me stay mostly positive. I am so glad that I decided to reach out to Someone Like Me, and I’ve since told many people about how wonderful it is. I will forever be grateful to Breast Cancer Now and to Zahida.
I had so much support
I am also extremely lucky to have an amazing partner, family and friends. Their response was an outpouring of love and support, which was overwhelming.
Now, my partner and I have a dog and a house together! Onward and upward!
My advice to others would be to not suffer in silence. There are people there to help you and to make your life a little easier. Use Someone Like Me. Get yourself a Zahida.
If you or someone you know is going through breast cancer, the Christmas period can be an especially difficult time. We are here to help.
You can also find information about our other services and support available to you on our webpages.