Fun & Togetherness – A Dream defiant of Cancer & COVID-19

Cancer diagnosis throws up a host of obstacles and complications, outside of the obvious fear that naturally comes with the word…. ”Cancer”. What we do may sometimes seem small to some, but to the patient and their surrounding families, that Dream, wish or little bit of assistance, can be essential. Your support makes that happen!

The following dream supports Ayshea Bright and is written in her own words:

“I was first diagnosed with breast cancer (invasive ductal carcinoma) in 2016, leaving my family naturally scared & devastated. The waiting for the results was the worst and goes on for a couple of months. That period is very hard to deal with mentally…for all of us. I went on and had a lumpectomy, which in itself was a drama. I ended up having anaphylaxis to the blue dye they used to find my lymph nodes but was very lucky it was in theatre at the time, but it took me a while to get over the operation.

Then again, with the waiting for results – lymph nodes were clear, but they had not got all the cancer so i needed a mastectomy. Facing this news, together we made the decision that I would have reconstruction during the mastectomy. I was in theatre for 8 hours and the pain was quite bad for a few weeks as i had a muscle taken from my back to use in my breast. They also fitted a port under my skin so they could add fluid to the implant when my scars had healed.

I had a test on my tumour and the score came back quite low which meant i was at low risk of it recurring if I just had medication, so no chemo or radiotherapy.

I then went on to start my medication which would put me into the menopause so that my estrogen levels would be lower, this was what the cancer was feeding on.

The medication was really hard and  was told I’d have to take it for 10 years, hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia, fizzy brain to name but a few. I went back to work and ended up with another 3 months off due to mental health issues. 

Fast forward to 2020, I found a lump next to my mastectomy scar but I just thought, and I guess hoped, it was scar tissue, but a nagging feeling inside me made me get it checked… The cancer had returned!! 

A second diagnosis just devastated me, I felt like its out to get me, not satisfied with the damage it did first time, but now it wants to take my life!

I also had a lump under my armpit which they thought the cancer had spread too… I had the operation but unfortunately, they did not get clear margins and they removed all my lymph nodes under my arm. It turned out that there was no cancer in the lymph nodes but another 3 areas of cancer under my armpit. I was told I would have to lose my reconstruction in the next operation as it could have spread to more tissue. I found this operation quite difficult as I lost my breast.

This time I would need to have chemotherapy. I managed my first round but then ended up seriously ill over Christmas and was rushed to hospital, the chemo had ravaged my immune system and I had neutropenia sepsis. I was advised not to carry on with the chemo as it was likely to happen each time I had it and there was a chance it would take my life.

So, it was on to radiotherapy, which I completed, but my chest was badly burnt and very painful but i got through it.

I needed my ovaries turning off to try and reduce my estrogen even more, so it was decided I would have my ovaries removed, luckily it was done keyhole, so my recovery was a little bit quicker.

I have started knew medication now which I have to take daily until i am through the menopause, which has lots of side effects. One of which meaning I am struggling with bone pain at the moment due to low estrogen. I am just awaiting some other medication to try and help this, and it should help to protect my bones from secondary breast cancer. 

I sought and completed counselling with McMillan, which has definitely helped my mental health, although I know I have to take care of my well being on a daily basis and have medication for this also. It’s the impact you don’t really take into account when you think about Cancer.

I have to say my second cancer journey was especially difficult due to Covid-19 restrictions on top of everything I have said above, something nobody could have accounted for. I had to attend appointments alone most of the time and had to do my operations and treatment by myself.

However, I’m Hoping this is the end of my cancer journey, although it will always be in the back of my mind, but time does heal and I will always try and live in the moment and enjoy my blessings. 

It’s at this point EvesTrust came into my life, saying they aim to help families dealing with Cancer conditions, as well as the mental health impacts seen during the process. It was nice to have something for us to look forward to and enjoy, like a family again….its the little things…the “Fun”.

EvesTrust were fantastic! They arranged to send us away, all together and what a fantastic and well needed 3 days away we had!! 

We spent 3 days in Flamingo land with my hubby, daughter and grandson. It was definitely tiring as you can imagine, but totally worth it!!

We had a lovely 2-bedroom villa which was like a home from home, although we didn’t spend too much time in there as there was so much fun to be had. The weather was amazing as well so I really enjoyed being out and about, the kids went on most rides and loved them, they even talked me into going on a couple of them lol…but I had just as much fun watching them. I think their favourite was probably the water flume, which they ended up soaked every time but loved it!! 

The Zoo was amazing too, we saw so many different animals and being in the fresh air was lovely. Sounds crazy doesn’t it, but after the year we’d just had, treatment and COVID-19 isolation, it felt like everything in that moment.

I cannot thank my friend Amanda enough for referring us to the EvesTrust, and The Eves trust charity have been amazing too. The break away, together, remembering the feeling of “Fun” after a year of treatment……it was just what we needed. Thank you again xx

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