Working in healthcare communications means we’re lucky enough to see first-hand the vital studies required to research and develop new medications and therapies to manage viruses, diseases, and other conditions around the world. But what if the treatment required was for a member of our own family?
After years in the industry, LOVELIVE Presentations Manager, Alex Ford recently discovered that her older sister Kath had been diagnosed with HER2-positive breast cancer. The news came as a shock to the family, however together, they are making it their mission to increase awareness of the disease, encourage others to share their stories, and raise money too.
Kath’s journey started in July of this year, when, after a long-overdue catch-up with a close friend in Wales, the conversation turned to her friend’s breast cancer diagnosis only two years earlier.
“I was so thankful that she was out the other side and things were positive,” said Kath. “The conversation prompted me to check myself and even though I’d had a few boozy beverages I found a lump in my left breast albeit very small.”
On returning from Wales after the weekend, she immediately booked an appointment to see her GP to have everything checked out.
“I saw the doctor on the Monday morning, and she instantly referred me. That Thursday I saw a specialist consultant who sent me straight for a mammogram and ultrasound which showed the lump was roughly 1.1cm.”
A biopsy of the lump was taken and sent for analysis and Kath was reassured at the time that her lymph nodes looked clear on the scan. It was then a waiting game for the results which she was told she would receive in about a weeks’ time.
“I was called in to see my consultant the following Friday and we got the news we were dreading… It was cancer.”
She was then told that she would need surgery to remove the lump and 3 lymph nodes. 10 days later she went in for the operation.
“At this point, I still didn’t know what type of cancer it was. It was then a long 10 days while we waited for my next appointment.”
Then Kath received the news that her cancer was HER2 positive and had already spread to 2 of the 3 lymph nodes.
“It was the worst day of my life. I didn’t fully understand the diagnosis and I assumed because it was in my lymph nodes I was done for!”
Thankfully for Kath, this isn’t the case and she learned the chemotherapy treatment she is currently receiving is for preventative measures. She has since learned that she needs to have further surgery to remove more following her chemotherapy.
“It’s called adjuvant therapy which basically means additional treatment is given after the primary treatment to lower the risk of the cancer returning.”
Kath has now decided to share her story on Instagram allowing the world to follow her courageous journey with honesty and determination with her family by her side. We’re following her, and we encourage you to do the same www.instagam.com/my_bc_journey_
“By sharing my story, like my friend did, it may encourage people to get checked and if it helps just one person, it will be worth it. I will be forever grateful to my friend for that conversation, I can honestly say she probably saved my life.”
In support of Kath’s journey, the LOVELIVE team is taking part in this year’s Wear it Pink Day on Friday 22nd October. The office will be a hive of pink-themed activities throughout the day and we would LOVE YOU to get involved!
We have a plethora of prizes up for grabs in our raffle, including a bedroom carpet, candles, beauty products, chocolates and WINE to name a few. So, if you would like to help us raise money and purchase tickets simply visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kathsjourney9