Sarah’s Story

Sarah aged 50 from Stowmarket in Suffolk was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in January 2015.

Sarah got in touch with Cancer Recovery when she applied for a Cancer Recovery Fund grant of £300 in June of this year. After receiving the grant she got back in touch to thank our team.

Finances have been very tight since I have been going through treatment (there are so many hidden costs to being ill). I got into arrears with utility bills and the help I received off Cancer Recovery was a weight off my shoulders, Thank you.

The Survivor Pack from Cancer Recovery was also very helpful. I wanted to be pro-active about cancer and before the pack I had received no advice about how I might be feeling feel mentally or any advice about my diet. Eating better made chemo much more bearable and the advice being written by people who’ve had cancer made it much friendlier.

We asked Sarah how she was coping with the recovery process and her feelings about having her breast reconstruction surgery, after our conversation Sarah was kind enough to suggest we share her feelings with you.

How has cancer affected your life and your family?

I am a single parent to three children, one of whom is severely disabled, another has a life threatening medical condition. I am unable to function and care for my family as I have done historically and I can tell my children feel somewhat abandoned by me and are very frightened that I might die, as they have no one else.

What has been your biggest struggle during your treatment and recovery?

  1. Body image since mastectomy and loss of confidence
  2. Finances – there are so many hidden costs associated with being ill and I am now massively in debt as a a result of cancer.
  3. Chemo Brain – I am unable to function at a normal level, my mind works much slower than before and I have to repeat tasks and information so I retain it.
  4. Weight Gain due to steroid treatments, which has again caused a loss of confidence. My clothes are uncomfortable and I cannot afford new ones. (I really hate steroids)

I’ve stayed mentally strong during my treatment by not thinking about myself, I put the focus on my children and being strong and caring for them.

What has brought the most fun or joy into your life during your recovery?

I am currently unable to get a prosthetic nipple for my prosthetic breast, so I have been using an anti sickness tablet suck to it, as it was the only thing that was the same size as my other nipple. It has caused much hilarity and helped shift my focus to the positive things like my friends and my ability to enjoy my life after cancer.