Nicola: ‘I regained control of my health’
Weight lost: 2st 6lb
WW Workshop: EK Business Centre, East Kilbride
"Cancer treatment left me feeling like a different person"
You know those moments you read about that always seem to happen to other people? Finding a lump in my breast was one of those moments. I was mum to an energetic two-year-old, Ava, wife to Brian, and had a busy job as a physiotherapist; I convinced myself I’d be okay. But a biopsy revealed I had triple negative breast. I was totally floored.
Friends and family rallied around me as I started treatment. My life became a series of hospital visits, but it wasn’t until I was nearing my last chemo session that I began to realise how much the experience was affecting my mind and body. Cancer treatment had left me looking and feeling like a different person. It was such a stressful time that my regular meals and routines had gone out the window. Plus, the medication had made me gain 2st.
A new focus
Feeling desperate to regain control of my health, I joined WW, and signed up for the marathon-length Shine Night Walk London, in aid of Cancer Research UK.
So just a few weeks after my final session of chemotherapy, I went to my first WW meeting. I’d been in bed for 11 days prior, knocked out by the chemo, and arrived feeling self-conscious and emotional. But my Coach Christine and the other members were all so supportive. They became a source of strength and laughter.
Back home, I ditched the ready meals I’d become reliant on during treatment and stocked up on fresh, healthy food. Every Tuesday night, even when I felt tired or low, I went to my meeting. I even went the night before my lumpectomy – an operation to remove what was left of the tumour – before going home to make a packed lunch to take to hospital with me the next day. Nothing was going to derail me – not even surgery!
Back to health
Luckily, the chemo had worked, and my doctors referred me for radiotherapy. I was still in the process of having radiation when I started training for the Shine Night Walk. At first, I walked round the four-mile track at a local park, then each fortnight I tried to add another four miles to my route. Brian, was my biggest supporter, encouraging me to keep going. Gradually I felt my energy returning.
I reached goal in August 2016, shedding the 2st I’d hoped for, just as my radiotherapy ended. Eleven days later, I completed the walk with my mum and sister. It gave me an incredible sense of achievement, knowing we’d raised £5,000 for charity.
I’m now in remission and feel like my old self again. I know that losing weight and getting fitter played a huge part in that. No one can predict the future, but I know I’m on the best path to a healthy life, by eating well and staying active. I’m focusing on the positive and only looking forward.