'2020 took my boob, my hair and my sense of humour'
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
A Haughley woman who got told she was a bit too chatty during chemotherapy has said it was her playful attitude which carried her through a mastectomy during lockdown.
Liz Wilkins was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2020 and underwent a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment at West Suffolk Hospital — which has now removed a breast, ovary and appendix from the family.
The freelance marketing consultant lost her father to cancer in 2013 and is keen to retrain the discussion of the illness after finding support groups incredibly depressing and filled with 'horror stories'.
"I got told off by my oncologist for not taking it seriously," the mum-of-one admitted. "I know it is serious, but I also know that attitude plays a huge part in outcomes and I don't want other women to read only sad stuff, because you can do anything you put your mind to.
"I felt something in my boob at least two years ago and I brushed it under the carpet, so ended up losing a whole boob and nipple — I'd've have quite liked to keep both boobs you know.
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"I think you can find humour in the darkest of places and situations, and those Facebook groups scared the living daylights out of me they were so depressing.
"Now I am overweight, 49, not fit and didn't even buy new trainers, but since starting jogging in November I can now run for 30 minutes without stopping — every time I set off, I think how amazing that is and I'm like my own cheerleader.
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"Coming out the other side of treatment is tough, but all we have is the now and anything is possible."
Donning her Sweaty Betty leggings and old trainers, Liz has challenged herself with running a total of 100 miles for Suffolk Mind and has raised hundreds of pounds already.
Upbeat as ever, she has her own podcast called 'Today I am sober', detailing her experiences as a recovered alcoholic and broaching the topic of cancer recovery on her journey to bring more joy.