In August 2019, Yvonne had her routine mammogram, just before she went on holiday. She gave the results little thought and instead enjoyed her break. On returning from her week away she received a letter explaining her mammogram had been “unclear” and was recalled for another mammogram the following week.
What followed that day was, in her own words, a nightmare. She was given five mammograms and an ultrasound. They found two tumours and a path of cells that were in the process of changing. They decided to biopsy the tumours there and then.
Yvonne’s next appointment was to find out the results. On September 10th, she was told she had Triple Negative Breast Cancer; thankfully caught early.
Yvonne then had to wait ten weeks for her surgery to go ahead, because her biopsies had caused internal bruising. On the 19th November, she had a lumpectomy, an option because her tumours were so close together. They removed three tumours. This was to be followed with chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
After her first round of chemo, on the 20th of December, Yvonne was floored. She began to lose her hair. Her consultant decided to lower the dose of her next treatment. Despite that, the second chemo went the same as the first – Yvonne was completely exhausted. She tried to rally herself and do things but found it too difficult even to dress. Sadly Yvonne found herself at her lowest point.
Her consultant took the decision to stop the chemotherapy, since Yvonne had experienced such an adverse reaction. Her body wasn’t tolerating it; he explained the risks far outweighed the benefits. Her radiation therapy went without a hitch, though, and she began to feel more positive.
Yvonne’s priority for remaining strong was her husband and daughter. She had to rally round and keep fighting. “No matter what happens, you can maintain your perspective and sense of humour.”
Throughout her journey, Yvonne found the support from ACS vital – complementary therapy sessions with Caroline, transport from volunteer drivers, and counselling once treatments ended. Not leaving the house for months while shielding due to being immunosuppressed left her feeling isolated from the outside world and low in confidence. She sought counselling from our accredited counsellors and they worked together on a plan to reinforce her body image and confidence and to help her feel safe when out in public.
At the time of speaking to us, Yvonne had just had her yearly check-up, and was celebrating being all clear. She also has cause to enjoy acclaim as her first book was published in May 2020 – “The Water Bailiff’s Daughter” – and is being enjoyed all over the world by young and old. What effect has cancer had on her, with hindsight? “I’m both more relaxed, yet more determined,” said Yvonne. “I go with the flow more than I did, but I’m determined to seize every opportunity life offers.”
How you can help:
To find out more about how you can help others like Yvonne, please click the link to donate to Ayrshire Cancer Support today.