Gayle's family visited Ben's Retreat in October 2023.
During Lockdown I had signed up for a webinar, where a lady shared her story of working at my workplace with cancer; she gave information of a text message service where it reminds you to check yourself once a month: https://coppafeel.org/get-a-reminder/sms-reminders/ little did I know that signing up for this service would potentially save my life. A year later, on the 1st May 2022, I was reminded to check myself and I found a lump, which was diagnosed as breast cancer.
The waiting to find out the type of breast cancer and implications was beyond stressful; the news came back that it was stage 3, an aggressive cancer which had spread to my lymph nodes. We now knew the treatment options, but the hardest part was going to tell my two sons, who were 10 and 15 at the time.
We knew we would be strong as a family, and we were very open and supportive with them; we informed their schools, and my youngest son was allowed to have a little stress toy on his desk and was looked after by his teachers and friends. After multiple ongoing heart (ECHO) scans, MRIs, CAT scans, bone density and nuclear medicine scans I was ready for chemo. After four rounds I had an operation and my lymph nodes removed; unfortunately the histology showed evidence of the cancer spreading further so I was put back on chemo. Another four rounds of chemo and then twenty sessions of radiotherapy every week day for a month followed.
A further six rounds of chemo completed the hardcore treatment in August this year; I am now having infusions every six months, hormone treatment injections and tablets. My husband, sons, family and friends have given unwavering support, for this I am lucky.
This weekend, we were grateful to Ben Saunders Foundation for letting us stay in Ben’s Retreat; this has been a much-needed break for us all, and so good to spend quality family time together whilst I am still recovering. The charity is amazing, and we are touched by its kindness and generosity.
Thank you for making a positive impact in my journey and the lives of others living with cancer.