It is rare to find the words 'incredibly lucky' linked to breast cancer, but having been told that after a successful mastectomy she would need no chemotherapy or radiotherapy, lucky is exactly how Jude felt.

Lucky until she returned to the hospital one year on to find that not only had the cancer come back, it had spread to her bones and liver.

Speak to Jude, however, and you don't feel like you are talking to someone with a life limiting illness. Having responded brilliantly to treatment, she currently has no evidence of active disease and is enjoying living every day as a friend and mother to her son.

'He's my reason,' says Jude, who insisted on taking her son to school every day during her chemotherapy (for secondary cancer) to make sure she got out of bed and kept going.

It is easy to find a reason to keep going for someone you love. It is, however, less easy to tell the person you love that you may not always be around - especially at a time when you are struggling to cope with a divorce.

That is where Breast Cancer Haven comes in. 'I felt like I could control the cancer, but not this. How would I tell my son? The counselling was superb and, in fact, I liked the advice so much I asked if I could take out my notebook and write it all down.'

Haven in name and nature, the London centre gave Jude the chance to talk through her fears and emotions, enjoy treatments without having to explain her situation and scarring and start a friendship based on mutual understanding. 'I met people at different stages in their lives who I wouldn't have otherwise met. I discovered new things such as ear acupuncture and Qi-Gong that I would never have tried. Walking through those silver gates, I knew I had found a safe place that felt just right.'

Not only did Breast Cancer Haven give Jude the strength to face those difficult conversations and the uncertain road that lies ahead, but it gave her the strength to support her sister who has also been through cancer treatment. 'I loved finding out all of those treatment tips. So much so, that I made a chemo box for my sister.'

With three PET scans a year to monitor the spread of disease, Jude doesn’t know what the future may hold. What she does know, however, is that, with Breast Cancer Haven by her side, she is ready to face it. 


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