Debbie

How old were you and how did you come to be diagnosed?

I was 51 years old and my cancer was discovered at my very first routine mammogram.

What would be your one piece of advice for others starting this journey?

Breathe! Take it a step at a time and try to take time out to relax. I learnt to meditate during my treatment and I can honestly say I feel that this helped to keep me sane.

What type of surgery did you have? What were your first thoughts?

I had a single mastectomy. My first thoughts were “I just want to live!”

What is the best thing to come out of diagnosis?

I literally wake up each morning and “smell the roses” – it has made me stop sweating the little things and learn to appreciate the things around me. Life should be as enjoyable as possible and not marred by being in a state of anxiety, especially about things that are out of my control.

Who or what couldn’t you do without during treatment?

My husband, Gus and daughters, Georgia and Phoebe – they were my solace and gave me the strength to get through the tough days.

Describe yourself in three words.

Positive, resilient and compassionate.

Biggest achievement to date?

Apart from my two beautiful girls, I wrote a blog during treatment and in March 2018 it was published and is available to buy on Amazon. “Storm in a D Cup” was begun as a piece of cathartic writing for myself but it’s now a paperback book with me as the author – I’m incredibly proud of this achievement – they say everyone has a book inside them but I never thought I’d do it.

Craziest thing you have done since treatment?

Jayne and I were asked to do a photo shoot for Nicola Jayne in September 2016 – I had my last chemo cycle 2 days before this event but I still did it. We had an amazing day and as a result of this we were asked to model swimwear the following spring at a fashion show for Nicola Jayne. I have always been quite self conscious about my body so there was no way I’d ever have done anything like this before – catwalk, audience, swimwear – I’d have run a mile!

Share an unusual fact about yourself.

I hold the highest qualification available in the UK for floristry – the National Diploma of the Society of Floristry.