I was diagnosed with breast cancer on 9 March 2020. On the 23 March, Boris Johnson put the UK into lock down.
Changes to my treatment plan
After my diagnosis, my treatment plan consisted of approximately 6 months of chemotherapy, followed by surgery – probably a single mastectomy with an auxiliary node clearance – followed by three weeks of radiotherapy.
Nine days later, before I had started any treatment, my consultant called me back into the hospital to discuss my case. In that meeting I was told that, due to COVID-19, cancer treatment was changing. It was recommended that instead of chemotherapy, we should move straight to the surgical part of my treatment.
Three days after the lockdown I had my mastectomy and auxiliary node clearance. Right up until the day of surgery I was unsure if it would go ahead as medical directives were changing hourly. It was a time filled with anxiety.
Surgery during lockdown
I was dropped off at the hospital door by my husband. No visitors were allowed in. The hospital was eerily quiet compared to the bustling place that I had come to know during my diagnosis and subsequent appointments.
After a surgery such as mine, patients would normally stay in the hospital for a night or two to be observed. I was home that evening with my drains attached as it was deemed less risky. That night was the first ‘Clap for Carers’. I clapped from my bedroom window, joining in with the street below. It was emotional. I felt so thankful to my medical team at the hospital for carrying out my surgery, and for the care and consideration I was shown during my diagnosis, surgery and post surgical recovery on the ward.