Teresa describes going through breast cancer – not once, but twice

It’s been a lot harder second time around. I’m keeping positive, but I’m a little anxious about what comes next.

Teresa (left), with her daughter Rachel


“I’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer twice and am coming to the end of my treatment second time around. It’s been a lot harder this time and I’m a little anxious about what comes next, but with the wonderful help and support of my friends and family, I’m positive for the future!

I was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014. I have a condition which means that I develop cysts in my breasts. Most of the time they’d be checked and drained at the hospital and everything would be ok. Only this time it wasn’t – it was breast cancer. I was lucky that I only needed surgery and radiotherapy, but no chemo.

My second breast cancer diagnosis at the start of 2021 was a lot more daunting. I’d continued to check myself regularly and noticed a sort of dimple in my breast. I’d been wearing a sports bra, so thought it was something to do with that. On Christmas Eve, I noticed a dent in the dimple and decided to do something about it, but had to wait until after Christmas to see my GP. I just had to put everything to the back of my mind over the Christmas period.

I was referred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and seen within two weeks. I had the results of my biopsy on 15th January – this time it was a diagnosis of HER2-positive breast cancer. The doctors actually discovered two tumours in my breast and this time the treatment wasn’t so straightforward – a really strong dose of chemotherapy for six months, followed by a mastectomy and reconstruction. I’m also taking the hormone therapy Herceptin, as well as having bone strengthening infusions. I’ll have a second mastectomy and reconstruction further down the line.

There have been moments since my treatment started when I’ve asked myself “why me” – but I just have to accept that it’s happened and I’ve got to get on with it!

Because of Covid, I’ve had to attend a lot of appointments on my own. But I wasn’t really on my own – other than physically – because I had my daughter Rachel texting me, as well as my son Joe and my husband Frankie, throughout my treatment. My grandchildren have been an inspiration too. We never kept anything from them, because they all knew that I’d had breast cancer previously. My granddaughter Megan told me that she wasn’t worried about me, because I’ve beaten breast cancer before and would beat it again!

Despite my treatment, I was delighted to complete the Half Moon at The MoonWalk London 2022 with my daughter Rachel and our friend Gemma – Rachel and I also took part in 2019. The finish line was very emotional and I am so glad we took part and raised money for a great charity. We loved the whole experience. I’m a huge fan of walking and it’s very much part of my life – it helps me so much. It clears my mind and makes me feel so peaceful. And it’s so beneficial physically too.

As I come to the end of my treatment, I do have anxieties about what the future might hold, although I’m keeping positive. Because of the type of breast cancer I have, we’ll need to keep an eye on things and I’ll have regular check-ups.

My last actual treatment - for bone strengthening – is on New Year’s Eve 2022 and I can’t wait for my treatment to be over. It’ll be the end of a chapter and time to start a new one. I class myself as one of the lucky ones, as I’m still here. Others aren’t so fortunate”.

Teresa’s daughter Rachel:

“My Mum is the strongest lady I know. She’s battled cancer twice, the second time claiming her breast, her hair and a whole year of her life. After her second diagnosis, we thought she might not make it to Christmas. Mum was told that if she’d waited another three weeks to get herself checked out, her prognosis would have been completely different. However, because they’d caught the cancer in time, she is 99 percent likely to survive. I was so glad that my family was living with my Mum and Dad at the time. It meant I could talk to Mum and support her – we’re very close.

I remember when Mum started losing her hair during her chemo. The strawberry-scented Body Shop products are her favourite and she was smelling a new bottle of strawberry shower gel, which I’d bought her for Mother’s Day. She said that the smell reminded her of when my brother and I were little. She always used it on us as well! She went into the shower in such a good mood. My Dad then came into the living room saying that Mum needed me – he looked very upset. I went upstairs and Mum was pulling out her hair – it had started to fall out due to the chemotherapy. She then asked me to shave off the rest of her hair. This second breast cancer diagnosis has been a very long road.

My Mum is amazing. Throughout everything, I think she’s been so strong, but she’s a lot more modest. When she was experiencing the side effects of chemo, she got very upset. I asked her why and she said it was because everyone kept telling her how strong she was and she didn’t feel that way. I told her again that she is strong. I’m so proud of Mum’s courage - she is a role model to me, my daughter and my nieces”.

Thank you for sharing your stories Teresa and Rachel.

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month register your interest for The MoonWalk London, The MoonWalk Scotland or The MoonWalk Iceland, make a difference to those with breast and other cancers! Or make a donation today!


Bra picture

Get involved

Here's just a few ways of supporting us!