Becky needs your help!
I have set up this page for my younger sister, Becky. Becky a mother to Bailey (15) Lola (10) and Fiancée to Keith. A typical 34-year-old busy, working mum with a real zest for life!
Becky was diagnosed in September 2020 with Stage 4 Triple-Negative Breast cancer which had metastasized (spread) to her lymph nodes and her liver. Most of you reading this will probably be thinking what this even means. Trust me you are not alone-this has been a very steep learning curve for us all!!!
Only 10% of Breast cancers of which there are many types, are Triple-Negative Breast cancer (TNBC)
Triple-Negative Breast cancer is considered an aggressive cancer because it grows quickly, it’s more likely to have spread at the time it’s found and affects younger women.
Becky’s journey to this diagnosis was not an easy one….
On first finding her breast lump she sought face to face medical advice-not an easy feat during a global pandemic! Her GP agreed that the lump needed investigating and told her to expect delays of an NHS appointment due to COVID-19. Worried and anxious she decided she could not wait on the NHS appointment and arranged a scan privately. Scan day arrived and it wasn’t what she expected, after all she had paid for this appointment! She was back in her car after just 7 minutes-the whole scan felt extremely rushed and her lump was dismissed as nothing more than a cyst.
As a family were all very relieved and thought that was the end of it. However, Becky spent the next few days unsatisfied that something still wasn’t right. Her NHS appointment came through, she explained that she’d had a private scan but wanted a second opinion. She also logged a formal complaint about her private appointment-the outcome was extremely poor to say the least!
The NHS scan day came, they also thought it a possible cyst, they took a biopsy to investigate further. Over the next few days Becky noticed discharge from the side of her breast, she sent photos to her GP who said it was an infection from the biopsy (even though it was in a different place) prescribed her antibiotics.
The biopsy results came back confirming it was a cyst, once again we thought that was the end of it all. Becky, still unsatisfied, anxious and uncomfortable returned to her GP and asked if they could drain the cyst because it was painful, she’s sent to a consultant to have this done.
A Dr looked at her scan results, said she should be able to drain it. She proceeded to feel the lump and became concerned-the lump she was feeling did not match the scan!!? Another biopsy was taken and the possibility of it being cancer was discussed.
She was given an appointment to come back for the results and told to bring her partner (Keith) with her.
Becky and Keith went along to the appointment, along with 3 Drs a nurse. And given the devastating news: ‘You have cancer’ 3 words that change your life and those close to you forever. From that moment her life changed.
To also hear ‘I’m so sorry, we are so thankful that you went with your gut and didn’t give up going to your GP’
Unfortunately the cysts that were showing on all previous scans were masking a 5cm solid mass that did not show up on a CT as the soundwaves bounced off of it.
The following weeks dragged, a blur of emotion, scans, tests, blood tests and waiting on results. All of which would help to determine the type of breast cancer and its stage which would ensure the most effective treatment plan for Becky and her type of cancer.
The results-Stage 4 Triple-Negative Breast cancer which had metastasized (spread) to her lymph nodes and her liver now incurable. We also discovered that Becky carries the BRCA1 gene which is hereditary-our whole family are all currently going through gene testing to see who else may also carry this gene.
Had there not been a global pandemic, would the signs be mistaken and dismissed for so long? This is something we will never truly know...
The wait to commence treatment was agonising and stressful, she put off NHS standard treatment to get onto a clinical trial. Through researching (she loves a Google session) her own cancer and the most effective treatment options, Becky found a trial that could potentially be the lifesaving opportunity she so needed. In October, Becky was accepted (due to her incredible perseverance and determination) and would be under the care of St Barts Hospital London. This trial in its third and final stage-and specific to Becky’s type of aggressive Breast cancer. The trial consists of two different types of chemo (yes two) alongside a targeted therapy (immunotherapy) Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that boosts the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer. It uses substances made by the body or in a laboratory to improve how your immune system works to find and destroy cancer cells.
She has been back and forth every week since October, to sit scared and anxiously through treatment alone due to COVID-19. My sister often says how much easier it might be if someone was with her-upsetting and soul destroying to hear when there is nothing you can do about the situation.
COVID-19 has not only impacted the support she receives during treatment but in her day-to-day life, she is shielding and only those in her support bubble can see her. All other family and friends are supporting via text or over the phone, by post or doorstep deliveries. Not even close to holding a hand or offering a hug-what I would give to hug her right now!
Up until a few weeks ago Becky was responding well to treatment, tumours in her breast and lymph nodes appeared to be responding well and reducing in size, she’s been coping incredibly well with shocking side effects of treatment. But her liver had other ideas, it wasn’t meant to be- she received devastating news that since her last scan (6 weekly) the treatment wasn’t working as they hoped on all areas-an existing liver tumour had in fact increased in size. They call this ‘chemo resistant’. These latest results meant that Becky’s condition no longer fits the strict criteria for the clinical trial and her treatment has since been terminated. A huge blow mentally and emotionally for all.
This has raised huge questions over the direction of Becky's care and treatment moving forward. St Bart’s Hospital still has a duty of care for Becky, and she is currently finalising a new treatment plan. The scans, tests and blood tests continue…
It is important to get as much mileage out of each line of chemotherapy as each line decreases the effectiveness and response rate as the cancer out smarts the chemo, hence why its incurable.
We need to raise funds for targeted treatments, future scans, private consultations, further testing, second opinions, cyber knife and any other medical requirements along the way that could give her extra time. One thing we have learnt along the way is with each scan the treatment plan can change in that instant. It is all so unpredictable.
Thank you for taking the time to read her story so far. I have also set up a facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Beckys-cancer-journey-109304427861801 please could you like and share this to raise awareness. I will also be adding regular updates on Becky's care treatments and what the funds raised have helped us achieve.
If you can donate anything, no matter how small, we would all be eternally grateful. Becky has children to see grow up and a life still to live xx
Please do not share this on Instagram at the moment to protect Bailey her son from reading her full diagnosis at the moment. Thank you x
- Doreen CUTTING
- Chris Ward
- Neil Thacker
- Elmira Thacker
- Laura Bee@Love Beyond Words and Oli Bee Funds From Sales
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