When Leonel de Oliveira took part in the Reading Half Marathon, he raised over £1000 in sponsorship. It was his opportunity to show support for his wife Ros, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer three years earlier
In 2010, Ros, then aged 45, found a lump on her right breast whilst on holiday. On her return to the UK, she was unable to book an appointment to see her doctor for several days, until she explained that wanted to have a mysterious lump checked. She was offered a space 20 minutes later.
The medical profession understands only too well that early diagnosis and treatment of cancer makes for a much better outcome. A week later a mammogram and ultrasound scan indicated that she should have a biopsy and a few days later she went in as a day patient.
The diagnosis was confirmed, she remembers being told that she had breast cancer. Ros had 2 lumps of 23mm and 13mm which were diagnosed as having grown by 6mm in 5 weeks, particularly aggressive, high risk, stage 3.
The next day was Ros’s birthday which she describes as ‘not my best birthday ever’, and 10 days later she had a mastectomy at the Royal Battle Hospital in Reading where she stayed for a week.
She considered having a reconstruction at the same time but was advised that and post operative radiotherapy could affect the fabric of the reconstruction material so decided to postpone this.
It was scary but its not the be all and end all, I am happy to talk about my experience. I want people to know what its like, particularly if it helps them.
Side effects of the radio and chemo are often the hardest parts of breast cancer treatment. After her first session of chemotherapy Ros felt so energised she painted 2 rooms, but it didn’t last and she succumbed to the familiar side effects of tiredness, nausea and hot flushes. Even now nurses have difficulty attaching a canula to her arm and finding a vein to extract blood. After losing her hair Ros declined a wig or hat, instead No. opting for henna tattoos on her scalp!
Ros was off work for a total of 7 ½ months and really appreciated the support and understanding she received during that time from her employers. She is now back working full time had feels she has her old energy levels back.
Following her reconstruction Ros joined a breast cancer support group and has found that sharing experiences with other members of the group has been very helpful.
Ros had a successful outcome. Having been treated with a gruelling regime of radiotherapy and chemotherapy she was given the ‘all clear’ in June this year.