Emma's experience through breast cancer
Emma shares her story to provide reassurance to others and raise awareness
In this patient story, Emma shares her experience of breast cancer to provide reassurance to others and raise awareness of things that helped her through her experience.
"When you hear cancer, you think like if going to be changed forever. Life is different, but actually, the whole experience gave me more than it took away."
Going through treatment
"It’s not the diagnosis it used to be, there is hope and many options for treatment. The plan of action was really specific to me as an individual, my cancer type and stage, which gave me comfort and made me feel confident in my care.
Something that surprised me was the difference reflexology and acupuncture made. They were offered to me as part of my treatment. If you’re offered complimentary therapies, I highly recommend taking it – or looking into ways to access it. Reflexology made so much difference to my energy levels and all-round wellbeing through radiotherapy."
Having experts on hand to answer questions
"Having someone to listen to the questions I had made a big difference. I didn’t always want to ask my consultant; it was good to check with someone else first. And I also didn’t always want to worry my immediate family. It’s not just you in the situation, your family goes through it with you. So it was good to have other people I could turn to.
I could text or email my breast cancer nurse or contact Reframe Cancer with any questions I had. I wasn’t alone, there was always somebody at the end of the phone.
For example, I had a side effect of treatment that my consultant said was rare. The Reframe Cancer nurses explained it was a likelihood of 15 in 100 – which to me didn’t feel rare. The knowledge they shared with me framed the problem in a way that gave me reassurance and confidence – I knew then that I wasn’t on my own in terms of having this side effect, that actually 15% of people experience what I was experiencing. It made me feel better to know this wasn’t just happening to me, and that I wasn’t being silly or not being brave."
Learning not to compare
"At points I almost felt like I shouldn’t complain or be upset. I kind of felt like a fraud going to some of the support events when some of the people were much worse off than I was. It’s important to know you feel what you feel, and you shouldn’t compare to anyone else’s journey. It’s still a big deal what’s happened to you and your feelings are always valid."
Reframing my thoughts
"I feel like you can’t get away from hearing about breast cancer, it’s always on the news or on social media. I can feel sometimes that when anybody looks at me, that’s all they see. The hardest thing is feeling like it will either define you, or you move on from it. I want to move on from it, and give other people going through this experience the reassurance that you can. A year down the line and I still think about it at least once a day, but time does really help with that. I’m still getting there, but I’m starting to put it in the past.
I’ve always floated through life in a glitter filled bubble and everything was lovely. When I got my diagnosis, I felt like the bubble had popped and there was no more glitter. Now, there’s more sparkle in my life than before. I don’t worry about the small stuff. If I get given an opportunity, I take it. I’m throwing myself at life and experiences. My experience has changed my outlook on how I live my life for the better.”