“Being a GP I know the importance of self-checking and regularly self-examine my breasts for lumps, however, during a check just before my birthday, I unfortunately found a lump in my right breast.

I was given a two week waiting time before my appointment, but finding it too difficult to get on with day to day life, I decided to pay for a private doctor to check. It turned out that the lump in my right breast was a cyst, but they also found a lump in my left breast which was cancerous. Luckily it was still a very early stage (DCIS – the earliest form) and treatable. It was still malignant and there was only a 1 in 5 chance of the doctors finding invasion.

Nothing prepares you for having a diagnosis of cancer. But I knew I had to pull myself together as I was diagnosed just before Christmas and didn’t want to ruin the big day for my nine year old. I felt ready to take cancer head on in the New Year.

I feel my experience of cancer was very different to every experience I had had with patients. I felt lucky to have detected the lump but being a GP who speaks to people with cancer a lot, I never thought this would happen to me. However, since my diagnosis I haven't thought ‘why me’ but instead, ‘why not me’.

I started attending Breast Cancer Haven after receiving radiotherapy. This really was the worst time for me and I felt that I really needed the services and emotional support that they could provide.

I received acupuncture, hypnotherapy and took mindfulness classes. The classes and services really took the guilt that I was feeling away and made me realise that I needed to take the time to recover before going back to work. My counsellor at Breast Cancer Haven also gave me tips on combatting busy days at work, and the nutritionist was fundamental in helping me to create an effective diet plan.

The thing I loved most about Breast Cancer Haven is that everyone understands. Debra Horsman, the Leeds centre manager, was one of the most understanding people throughout my experience of breast cancer.

I have also made friends for life and me and some of the other ladies that I met at Breast Cancer Haven. We’ve even got a Whatsapp group and regularly keep in touch with one another to share our experiences and let each other know how we are getting on.”

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