Meet Jaqueline. She’s living with secondary breast cancer. And she’s one of the bold and brave women featured in our ‘If I had more time’ campaign, where we’re putting a spotlight on our research into secondary breast cancer.
This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Jaqueline tells us her secondary breast cancer story, and why, if she had more time, she’d spend less of it being angry.
Tell us about your experience of secondary breast cancer
I received by primary breast cancer diagnosis is 2017. In 2021 it came back, and I had a mastectomy. And then, in 2022, I was given my secondary breast cancer diagnosis.
I got a phone call from the oncologist. The thought that it would be secondary breast cancer hadn’t even crossed my mind. I was in such a state of shock, my whole body shut down. It’s difficult to explain, it felt like I wasn’t in my own body.
Because my grandmother and mother both survived cancer, I assumed I would have the same experience. I thought, “We don’t get secondary breast cancer in my family, so I won’t get it.” There were lots of emotions involved. Both my husband and I had to take time to process it. Then I was scared, scared it would soon take away my life.
What’s life like now you’ve had that diagnosis?
I thought I’d lost control and wanted to take control back, so I started reading books about secondary breast cancer. My advice to others is: don’t use Google, as it gives information overload and leads to so many other things.
I decided I was going to live as best a life as I possibly could. Life is precious, and it’s a shame that I had to get to that stage in my life to realise that.
Why did you want to be part of the ‘If I had more time’ campaign?
When I had my primary breast cancer diagnosis, I decided that I wanted to get the word out about how I felt. It felt like a great opportunity to write a play. It was such a creative relief. I’m normally a private person, but I thought that it was important for people to see how people diagnosed deal with cancer. I hope this campaign will further show this experience for people with secondary breast cancer. I hope this campaign can help me to further explain my experience now that I’ve had a secondary diagnosis.
Why is our research important to you?
Breast Cancer Now’s research is important because it gives me hope. Hope that research is getting closer to make more discoveries to prevent secondary breast cancer, and support those living with it. I will never give up hope.
What would you do if you had more time?
If I had more time, I would have the pleasure of enjoying every celebration and milestone with my children and enjoy every second.
I would continue to make my life full of love, joy and kindness. I would continue to be thankful for every day.
I would travel the world with my husband and have an amazing adventure together, with the Great Wall of China first on my list.
I would write a novel or maybe publish a book of short stories.
I would create and exhibit my art – maybe about cancer, to express myself in a creative way.
There is so much I would like to do. The list is endless.