“I went to see my local consultant, who requested I had an MRI just to be sure so the anxious waiting continued. Over three months I underwent three MRI, a CT and PET scans, two lumbar punctures and lots of blood tests before he admitted they had actually run out of tests to perform and he was referring me to The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital (ROH) for a biopsy.
“Unfortunately, the first biopsy come back inconclusive! So, I was told I’d need another biopsy preformed this time under general anaesthetic and I would be an inpatient for five days. The anxiety was high as I’m also a single mum to a child with special needs so preparing her for me leaving and being away from her was hard on top of the anxiety over the surgery. The surgery went well, however, and I was discharged after five days with a 3cm wound to my knee.
“On the second day of a holiday in Wales, I got the call from my team nurse. “Natasha, we have the results and I’m afraid its cancer.” It didn’t come as a surprise to me. We arranged for me to come into clinic the week after and I ended the phone call in a daze, not knowing if I should just carry on the holiday with my daughter as normal while inside my head was spinning.
“A week later I was given a consultant: the fantastic Scott Evans, who has such a manor about him he fills you with confidence, reassurance and has a general caring nature about him.
“In September I was taken in for removal of some swollen nodes and another wait for the results. By this point I was getting frustrated and scared. I now knew it was cancer and I’d had it since March when I found the lump and we were now six months in with no treatment. A week passed and I received a letter to come in the following week. I arrived at that appointment just ready to discuss treatment and get things going. Scott told me he was surprised to find that the swelling in my lymph nodes was actually the cancer that had spread.
“The reconstructive surgery was then brought forward a week to reconstruct where the cancer took over. This was a nine-hour surgery due to the fact I had lost three muscles to the cancer and they had to fill the hole the tumour had made. I remember when I was waiting to be put to sleep, Scott come into the room and asked how I was feeling, to reassure me I was in safe hands etc. I asked him how many people were waiting to work on me and he said around 15 people! I still can’t quite believe I had that many people helping to save my life in that one surgery alone. ROH were there for me again and I had Carol, a Macmillan councillor, to talk through my worries and help me through and who continues to be there for me to this day.
“I look back on the last 18 months and I can see how strong I have been. Learning to walk three times, multiple surgeries and third-degree burns from radiotherapy have been extremely hard to deal with but I recently celebrated being one year cancer-free! I had a tattoo done with the saying “with pain comes strength” because if I can take anything from this it truly is the strength that I never knew I had. I don’t think I would have gotten through it without Scott and the wonderful staff at ROH making sure I feel 100% supported and I felt reassured through the whole process that they truly do have the best interests of their patients at the forefront of their work.”
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Registered Charity Number: 1078046
Call: 0121 6854379