Friday, 16 October 2015

Finding the Support I Needed - My Breast Cancer Story

Today’s post is from one of our beneficiaries who kindly agreed to share her story. Lorraine, 49, from the South East was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and found much needed support in Yes to Life.

One morning in June 2011 I looked in the mirror and noticed that my breast had an indentation running from under my arm towards the centre. I felt around and found a hard lump, then made an appointment to see my GP. After having a scan and biopsy at the local hospital I was called back to the consultant’s office.

He told me that it was cancer. My world suddenly collapsed, I was devastated and in complete shock. I was told that it was grade 3 and an aggressive cancer that needed to be removed the following week by a small operation. They also wanted to remove some lymph nodes to assess the prognosis.

I can’t tell you the fear and helplessness you feel when you are diagnosed with cancer. I had to try and explain it to my daughters, an 18 year old and a 10 year old. At 45 I considered myself still fairly young and I lived on my own with my 10 year old. My wider family were unsupportive and I felt very alone.

A week later I was taken into hospital and underwent a lumpectomy. The results were that it hadn't entered the lymph nodes, but I was encouraged to have chemotherapy, radiotherapy, Herceptin (as it was Her2 positive) and then to take Tamoxifen.

I started chemotherapy and was advised to have six cycles followed by 15 sessions of radiotherapy. I was then to have a year of Herceptin and then be on Tamoxifen for life.

I was reluctant to start the chemotherapy, I wanted to pursue a natural way, but this proved to be very expensive when I looked into it. I looked at the Oasis of Hope in California and Mexico but this would cost thousands. I was a single parent and had been advised to stop working by my oncologist, so it was well out of my price range.

My friends encouraged me to have the chemotherapy. I had done so much research on alternative therapies that I really didn't want to go down the conventional medicine route, however in September 2011 I started the chemotherapy. I felt sick, I vomited and hated it. I had to let my daughter stay at a friends as I didn't want her to see me so ill, I didn't want her to be any more frightened than she already was.

I lost chunks of hair after the second cycle and by the third I had lost most of my hair. I wasn't working, but I tried to keep active. I also tried to also eat as healthily as possible although the nurses and oncologists told me just to eat anything I felt like.

When I got to the fourth cycle of chemotherapy I decided to stop. I didn't feel comfortable poisoning my body. After the four cycles of chemotherapy my friends encouraged me to have the radiotherapy. This was just as bad, being stuck under a machine that burnt the cells with radiation. I did the full time for that. I then was given Herceptin which wasn't so bad though apparently the side effects are not good for the heart. After I had nearly finished my course I was put on Tamoxifen but it made me feel so ill I decided to stop.

During this time I went to see Dr Andre Snell of the Visionof Hope Clinic in Brighton and was given a full consultation. He suggested for me to change my diet completely, take many supplements including Liposomal Vitamin C, use certain creams and undertake counselling. I did everything he suggested except the counselling, I couldn't afford it all.

I went back to work gradually, but had lost my confidence and could only work part time. I was very low in myself and financially in difficulty. I knew that my body had taken a pounding from the drugs and I knew in order to stand a chance I needed to do what was suggested. I had no support or help. I was on a low income and was trying to deal with emotional difficulties from family. I bought the supplements and organic vegetable for juicing where I could, but I was getting into more and more debt.

Then Dr Andre Snell put me in touch with Yes to Life. I phoned and spoke to someone who told me I could apply for funding. I was so surprised; it was like a hand from heaven.

After all the difficulties in my life, my daughter getting bullied at school, emotional and psychological abuse from my daughter’s father, unkindness from my family, the cancer treatment itself and the feeling of being completely unsupported, finally someone out there was giving me help.

I have been receiving funding on a monthly basis. I spend it on supplements and have seen a herbalist. I also buy organic vegetables for juicing when I can and progesterone cream.

Lately I have finally been having counselling for all the difficulties in my life, which has helped tremendously.

Yes to Life is a hand from heaven when I think of the help they are and have given. I feel unbelievably grateful, I can’t tell you what a difference it has made to my life. Financially I couldn’t afford to fund what I need without help.

There are times in my life that I have been so low, so lonely, and struggling. I’ve never met the team and I don’t know who donates or gives but when my life has felt at times like it’s falling to bits they have always been there, reaching out in generosity and giving me faith and hope.

Thank you so much from my heart.

With awareness rising and demand for our services at an all-time high we need your backing more than ever.  Donate today and help us support more people like Lorraine

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