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Burntwood woman reveals her own “emotional rollercoaster” ahead of 2017 World Cancer Day

A Burntwood woman has spoken about the “emotional rollercoaster” of living with cancer.

Vicky Rogers was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, before being told she had developed secondary cancer in her lymph nodes and sternum in 2016.

Speaking ahead of World Cancer Day on Saturday (February 4), she revealed how her battle with the disease has taken her on an emotional journey.

Vicky said: “Prior to my diagnosis in 2013, I was happy and laid back, living with my husband, daughters and two cats. I had been working part-time and looking after my girls, but I had just started a new phase in my life working full-time as a family support worker when I was diagnosed.

“At that point my world just fell apart. I was so shocked I didn’t even cry at the time. Life completely changed, I couldn’t stop thinking about cancer and I just thought I was going to die.

Vicky Rogers

Vicky Rogers

“I carried on working through all my chemotherapy treatment. I was most concerned about keeping my hair, as I thought if I could keep it, everything would just feel normal. So I used a cold cap, which was very painful and made the treatment really hard, but I managed to keep most of my hair.

“After the chemotherapy I had a lumpectomy, which was a whirlwind of emotion, I remember crying all the way to the theatre. Afterwards I was told that the surgery had not been successful. I was really knocked back by that because it meant I had to have a mastectomy and that was when I went off work.

“I was still all over the place emotionally and realised that I couldn’t keep carrying on as normal. I was waking up having panic attacks at night.

“After surgery and radiotherapy life sort of got back to normal, I went back to work, I did a 10K run and signed up to do a half marathon, but inside I was knocked about something rotten, I had this fear of it coming back.

“That first year was the hardest. I kept checking myself again and again as well as all the further tests and scans, it was massive rollercoaster emotionally.”

The diagnosis of secondary cancer in March 2016 forced Vicky to take retirement through ill health – and she was determined to stay as positive as possible.

She contacted the Penny Brohn charity, which aims to support people living with cancer.

“I decided that I was still here, so I was going to enjoy every day as it is. I was going to do lots of nice things, spend time with friends and family and book holidays,” Vicky said.

“I went to a local support group and found out about Penny Brohn through a women’s breast cancer group on Facebook. I decided to go on the charity’s Living Well course to create some time out for me, so I could be with people of like mind and be able to speak my mind, away from the kids, to challenge myself a bit. I was also interested in the diet side of things, that had got me thinking and I wanted to know more.

“It gave me a sense of normality by hearing how other people are also experiencing the sorts of things am I going through, and that it is ok to be angry, and to be sad, that really helped me come to terms with those emotions.

“Being part of a group working together and supporting each other was such a powerful experience after feeling so alone.

“Getting the emotional support that I needed has made a massive change to my life.”

The Living Well services are operated in partnership with Macmillan in Staffordshire.

They include the two day courses and support through a Facebook group.

Staffordshire Living Well Services Coordinator Chris Bettson said the courses offered much-needed support to cancer patients.

“People often say how much it helps them to connect with others who understand what they are going through, how it breaks the isolation they can feel, even when they have supportive family and friends around,” Chris said.

Living Well with the impact of Cancer courses are scheduled to take place on:

  • April 25 and May 2 at the Dudson Centre in Stoke.
  • June 13 and 20 at the Northfields Centre in Stafford.

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