• Julia Sidwell

GLAD I got cancer

I've loved working with the amazing Jo Bayles who has been working with me to reveal to the media why she's GLAD she got cancer, this time in That's Life magazine... #feelinggood#raisingawareness #breastcancer

Glad I got cancer

Jo says:

Lying in bed, I felt a dull ache in my armpit.

Something’s not right, I thought.

I’d already been to my GP twice because my right breast felt uncomfortable to touch, but had been told it was nothing.

That week, I returned to the doctors.

‘Please could I be referred?’ I said.

‘OK then,’ the GP replied.

At hospital, I had mammograms and biopsies.

Then three weeks later I got my results.

Stage 3 breast cancer.

It had spread to my lymph nodes.

‘I’m going to die,’ I said to my partner Hadleigh.

‘You’re not,’ he said. ‘We can fight this.’

I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving him and our two sons Stan, nine, and Mack, seven, behind.

After the shock had worn off, I looked in the mirror.

Come on then cancer, I’m going to take you on.

I had six rounds of chemotherapy and a mastectomy, choosing to have a reconstruction at a later date. Then I had radiotherapy.

I supplemented my NHS treatment with complimentary treatments, including NLP, oncology acupuncture, massage, reiki, aromatherapy, crystals and meditation. I also hired a life coach and focused on sleep, exercise, positivity and nutrition.

Then I found a cancer specific personal trainer and started working out. After just three months I was back into a mainstream gym.

It felt amazing to be making changes, removing stress and toxins from my body.

But I still had my wobbles.

‘We’re all here for you,’ Hadleigh assured me.

I was so thankful for my support network - my close family and friends.

‘I’m naming you all Team Bayles,’ I smiled.

Almost a year after my diagnosis, I saw my oncologist who gave me the news I’d been wishing for.

The cancer was gone.

‘I’m releasing you into the wild,’ he said.

I raised a glass of bubbly with my family to celebrate.

Now I still use natural therapies and I’ve decided I don’t want a reconstruction, preferring to see my scar that I’ve named ‘warrior’ – a reminder of the battle I’ve won.

I love messing about on the beach with my boys and going on long family walks. And I’m writing a book about how breast cancer has made me stronger.

I know I’m one of the lucky ones. I stand by the fact that I wouldn’t change my diagnosis, even if given the chance. I’m glad I had cancer. It may sound nuts, but it’s true.

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