Speaker • Author • Storyteller

Speaker • Author • Storyteller

My Story

This was me in July 2015 the day before my life changed forever. I was 40. I was working as a consultant breast surgeon and married to the man of my dreams. Life couldn’t get better.

Two weeks later I started five months’ of chemotherapy for a Grade 3 breast cancer. I was about to have every treatment I recommended for my patients and realise just how little I knew.

Chemotherapy was followed by a nipple-sparing mastectomy and implant reconstruction. Although I was a surgeon, I was still scared. I hated not being in control of what was happening to me.

Sadly my cancer had spread to my lymph nodes which meant more surgery and radiotherapy. I was then started on Tamoxifen and discovered just how bad the collateral damage of breast cancer treatment could be thanks to an instant menopause and chronic pain.

Going back to work was a struggle. I didn’t realise I was now legally disabled and had rights. I contacted Working With Cancer who were a huge help and I’m now an ambassador for them. It was incredibly hard to treat women now I had been in their shoes.

One thing that kept me sane during that difficult time was exercise. My husband got me into cycling which then led to triathlons. I did my first just a few months before my diagnosis. With his support, I carried on training and did a small triathlon half-way through chemo.

One year later I was cycling up mountains in Italy and finished a half-Ironman. I swear that staying active helped me cope with the mental and physical side effects of everything I’d been through. Exercise made me feel like Liz again, instead of a cancer patient.

I started talking about my experience of being on the other side of the table, beginning with a TEDx talk in Stuttgart. The feedback from the audience moved me to tears. I continued to talk to health care professionals and patients, striving to improve the quality of cancer care.

In July 2018 my cancer came back on my chest wall. It meant more surgery (which also meant going flat) and radiotherapy. My ovaries were removed, and I had hormonal therapy. As if that wasn’t enough, I couldn’t move my left shoulder fully which meant I was forced to retire.

I’m not going to lie. There were some dark days. The illness I’d devoted my life to treat had robbed me of my breast, my fertility, my libido and my job. By talking and writing about how I overcame the challenges of a cancer diagnosis I’ve gained a new purpose in life. Get in touch if you want to know more.

APPEARED IN

If you want to say hi or just want to know more – drop me a line

Email me

This was me in July 2015 the day before my life changed forever. I was 40. I was working as a consultant breast surgeon and married to the man of my dreams. Life couldn’t get better.

Two weeks later I started five months’ of chemotherapy for a Grade 3 breast cancer. I was about to have every treatment I recommended for my patients and realise just how little I knew.

Chemotherapy was followed by a nipple-sparing mastectomy and implant reconstruction. Although I was a surgeon, I was still scared. I hated not being in control of what was happening to me.

Sadly my cancer had spread to my lymph nodes which meant more surgery and radiotherapy. I was then started on Tamoxifen and discovered just how bad the collateral damage of breast cancer treatment could be thanks to an instant menopause and chronic pain.

Going back to work was a struggle. I didn’t realise I was now legally disabled and had rights. I contacted Working With Cancer who were a huge help and I’m now an ambassador for them. It was incredibly hard to treat women now I had been in their shoes.

One thing that kept me sane during that difficult time was exercise. My husband got me into cycling which then led to triathlons. I did my first just a few months before my diagnosis. With his support, I carried on training and did a small triathlon half-way through chemo.

One year later I was cycling up mountains in Italy and finished a half-Ironman. I swear that staying active helped me cope with the mental and physical side effects of everything I’d been through. Exercise made me feel like Liz again, instead of a cancer patient.

I started talking about my experience of being on the other side of the table, beginning with a TEDx talk in Stuttgart. The feedback from the audience moved me to tears. I continued to talk to health care professionals and patients, striving to improve the quality of cancer care.

In July 2018 my cancer came back on my chest wall. It meant more surgery (which also meant going flat) and radiotherapy. My ovaries were removed, and I had hormonal therapy. As if that wasn’t enough, I couldn’t move my left shoulder fully which meant I was forced to retire.

I’m not going to lie. There were some dark days. The illness I’d devoted my life to treat had robbed me of my breast, my fertility, my libido and my job. By talking and writing about how I overcame the challenges of a cancer diagnosis I’ve gained a new purpose in life. Get in touch if you want to know more.

APPEARED IN

If you want to say hi or just want to know more – drop me a line

Email me