Cancer is an unpredictable disease.

You just have to take it one day at a time.

A 50-year-old woman from England, who had cervical cancer when she was back in the UK 15 years ago, speaks about her experience dealing with a second diagnosis and seeking treatment at Mediclinic City Hospital’s Breast Centre.

Rapid response

In May of 2018, I found a lump in my right breast. I knew what this could be, and I knew getting to the doctor as soon as possible, was key.

Someone in HR at work recommended Mediclinic City Hospital and within 24 hours of my first appointment I had a diagnosis.

Within 4 days of the diagnosis, I was getting my first Chemotherapy treatment.

I was floored by the speed of the whole process and touched by the care I was given. 15 years ago, when I had Cervical Cancer, it was a completely different experience.

Yes, the last time I didn’t have to go through Chemo (just a pretty major surgery), but even still, the specialised care I received from my team at the Breast Centre made all the difference.

Getting ‘that’ news

I was scared before going in for the diagnosis. I had been down this road before and I knew enough that if it was Breast Cancer it wasn’t going to be easy. I took a friend with me, to have someone there if it was bad news.

It was, obviously, but at that moment I was somehow able to focus and think: okay, that’s what it is, now let’s get on with it and get rid of it.

During my diagnosis, they used the ‘cancer’ word once and only once. From that point on, my treatment plan was always referred to as a maintenance programme.

It was simple psychology, but it kept me focused, especially during the diagnosis. And it was the little things like that made me feel like I could really do this.

The future is uncertain

As much as you may want it to be true, you can’t know what’s going to happen 6 months from now.

That’s why they make a point to keep you in the now and focussed what you can handle. They only tell you what’s going to happen this week - your tests, your therapy, your check-ups, only looking at what’s next. Staying positive and encouraging you all along the way.

That positivity is key for me.

And the nurses and doctors at Mediclinic helped me hold on to that. They explained everything to me carefully, ensuring I always understood what was going on, they offered plenty of help and were impressively organised.

Part of the family

They encouraged us patients to talk to each other. Although it looks like a fancy hotel, getting us to connect with each other actually did begin to make Mediclinic feel like being part of a family.

I was able to talk to my fellow patients, bonding in hospital waiting rooms over things like both not having hair. Able to share our experiences and lift each other up.

The Head Chemotherapy Nurse, even asked for my help to get some of the other, younger patients, who perhaps didn’t have as much support from friends or family, to come out of their shells. Allowing me to mentor them as someone who knows what they’re going through.

It’s because of this that I know what I want to do next.

When I can put this chapter behind me, I want to use it to do more counselling of cancer patients. To take the special care and positivity, I received and pay it forward.