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Della's story

Posted on February 25, 2020

Della is participating in wear it pink following a primary diagnosis.


Throughout treatment, I just wanted to be well

My name is Della, I’m 54, and in May 2017 I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I underwent two operations: one to have my left breast removed, and another to take away my remaining lymph glands. My recovery from these operations took six weeks, and I began living my normal life again doing things I love such as running, and sauna steams.

In September of 2017 I started six months of chemotherapy, which wasn’t nice at all. Before the treatment could take it away, I decided to shave all my hair off, as it helped me feel that I had some sort of control over what happens to me.

My last chemotherapy was in January 2018, and I took myself on a holiday to Benidorm in Spain to celebrate. I had a lovely chilled-out week, and was even brave enough to take off my wig at the beach. My partner was so proud of me, and I was proud of me too!

We came home from our holiday, and commenced my radiotherapy that very Monday, which lasted for three weeks. For me, it wasn’t as bad as the chemotherapy. I just tried to focus on the fact that I wanted to be well and okay!

I cried a lot, but I also made sure to smile every day too

But the truth was, I was scared and frightened. I had anxiety attacks, which were brought on by the amount of stress that my mind and body were both being subjected to. I yearned to be back to normal: running, losing weight and getting back to my fit self - being ‘Della’. I felt almost embarrassed to have this horrible disease, and felt like I had let my family down. I know it sounds silly, when it wasn’t my fault, but it’s just how I felt.

I cried a lot, but I also made sure to smile every day too.

My partner is brilliant, and my two daughters are my life. They really helped me throughout, especially after my first operation as I was so sore and needed help showering. My close friends, family, and my breast cancer consultant were an amazing source of support for me, and I am so grateful to them. Even my beautiful cockapoo puppy, Alfie (named for my Dad in Heaven) was a source of comfort for me.

I’m lucky to be alive, and I love my life.

Getting back to ‘being me’

Now, I am back to my sport: running, gym twice a week, four marathons, a half-muddy run – all to raise cash for those affected by breast cancer. Since my diagnosis I have written in a diary every day, and plan to turn it into a memoir. I’m also going to be a Nan in November, as my eldest daughter is having a baby boy! I really do love my life!

If this journey has taught me anything, it’s to enjoy life. It’s special and short, so relish every moment.

I’ve decided not to have a breast reconstruction; I personally believe my body has been through enough. And hey! I have a tiny perfect scar to prove that I’m a survivor of breast cancer.

This year I will be wearing it pink, and I'd love for you to join me.

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