Health & wellbeing

Nicola: How I faced my breast cancer fears

Published 3 October, 2016 | Updated 31 January, 2023

When Nicola discovered she was carrying the same breast cancer gene as Angelina Jolie, the support she found at her WW Workshop helped her through the tough times. Here, she shares her tips for facing your fears and starting out with WW.

Face problems head on: Because of my family history, I decided to get tested for the BRCA gene mutation, known to be a cause of breast cancer. When the test came back positive, I was confronted with some big decisions – not only about whether to have a double mastectomy and have my ovaries removed, but also about plans for a family, as my baby would also have a 50/50 chance of inheriting the mutation, too.

Lose weight for the right reasons: There was a special kind of IVF my partner, Colin, and I decided to try, which meant only healthy embryos would be implanted. But the odds of success were low at only 25 per cent. And in order to have the best chance, I needed to be at a healthy BMI for treatment, so I decided to join WW.

Find support: I didn’t have lots of weight to lose, but the stakes were high, so I needed all the help I could get. From the outset, my WW Coach, Susan, and fellow members were unfailingly encouraging and supportive, and soon became great friends.

Love your network: Not only was WW there to help me shed weight, but through my Workshop, I was given the gift of ongoing support and friendship. And after two rounds of IVF, we were thrilled to welcome our beautiful baby, Murray, into the world.

Future-proof your body: After my six-week postnatal check-up, I went back to my Workshop and set a new goal to lose my baby weight. I know that if I keep going, even once I’ve reached goal, I’ll be healthier and happier for life because of it.

Stay strong: I know that my cancer journey isn’t over yet. Ultimately, I want the preventative surgeries that will give me the greatest chance of watching my son grow into a man. I’m determined not to let cancer, or the risk of it, get in the way of my wonderful life.

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