Breast Cancer

Aisha’s Story (Breast Cancer)

Star Throwers was an absolute life-line to me when I was first diagnosed with cancer and for that I will be eternally grateful.

My journey started in October 2020 when I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma which was oestrogen positive. (Diagnosis was just a few months after qualifying as a solicitor and getting my first decent job, which I had worked so hard for!). I wasn’t really sure how to navigate this diagnosis as I do not have a family history of cancer and being young, I felt really scared and ashamed that I was going through this.

I was fortunate enough to be put in touch with a lovely woman who had gone through a cancer diagnosis 3 years before me, and she told me that Star Throwers had helped her enormously and that I should contact them. Following an email to Star Throwers, I received support from the lovely Nurse Tina. Tina was able to answer the million questions that I had which I unable to ask my consultant, either because there wasn’t enough time or because my mind just went blank when I was attending an appointment with my breast care team.

Tina carefully guided me through my diagnosis and explained my cancer treatment options. These meetings were therapeutic for me, and I don’t know what I would have done without this support.

I was also signposted to the amazing Anticancer Fund, their team of experts discussed my treatment path with me and gave me their expert opinion as to the risks based on past and recent trials. This discussion was important to me as I needed to understand in detail what my diagnosis meant, and I wanted to be involved in the decision making process. I understand a lot of people don’t want to know the detail and they are happy to trust and go with what their consultant tells them is best, which is fair enough but for me having the expert opinions from Star Throwers was beyond valuable to me.

I was also introduced to Edwina, the Nutritionist, who was so helpful and lovely to talk to. I really appreciated the personalised written report that she provided me with at the end of our meeting as I was able to refer back to it. (I make sure I have a side portion of cruciferous vegetables every evening!!).

I found the nutritional service so informative. Edwina tailored her support around my personal concerns. She explained the risks of certain food groups, in particular sugary foods. We all know sugar is bad but it was interesting to understand that cancer can use sugar as fuel. I think it is important for cancer patients to have access to this service so that they can make informed lifestyle choices.

I went through 6 rounds of chemotherapy, 3 breast surgeries, 15 rounds of radiotherapy, bone strengthening medication, and I will continue to take hormone therapy (zoladex injection and tamoxifen) for the next ten years.
A big part of my healing was being able to return to the job I studied so hard for. Although working helped me keep some degree of normality, after completing radiotherapy I became exhausted and therefore decided to take a couple of months off work. Now I am back at work I can start putting the past year and trauma behind me, something I never thought was possible!

I turned 34 in February, and the good news is following a recent CT scan I was advised by my oncologist that there is no evidence of disease. This news comes 16 months after I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Sue’s Testimonial (Breast Cancer)

I think that Star Throwers are the best. Saying the word ‘normalise’ to me, by Tina, was a turning point for me, it really was. Instead of thoughts going around my head a million miles a second, that one word did it for me.  And her clear explanations and diagrams, helped me enormously.

The counselling I had was marvellous, I found that I could talk to Jacqui, she listened and understood, I could cry, tell her anything I wanted to, to let it all out. The same for the nutrition 1 to 1, I had lots of questions about soya, fruit, and the information I received was so interesting and helpful.

Linda’s Testimonial (Breast Cancer)

Star Throwers has made an immense difference to my life in my journey of recovering from cancer. Having been recommended it by several people I initially didn’t want to mix with others who had cancer because I didn’t want to talk about how I felt. I wanted to show the world that I could cope and not admit to how frightened I was especially in comparison to some. I felt I’d got off quite lightly, neither needing a major disfiguring operation or chemotherapy and this resulted in feeling guilty when I spoke to others who had.

I eventually went to a nutrition workshop and although I still don’t always eat the right things, it did make me realise that I was ignoring my body and not giving it the nutrition it needed.

I have fooled myself into thinking that if I ignored my body’s needs then I didn’t really have a problem, but I found that listening to other people in the workshop, many of them were feeling the same way as me and I realised that there was help available.

I registered with the nurse, Tina who I found to be an amazingly empathetic, gentle and yet strong individual who encouraged me to talk about how I was coping. Inside I was screaming that it wasn’t fair but on the outside – people were saying how well I was coping and she helped me to be honest about it all and that it was okay to think that is isn’t fair. Of course it isn’t fair but it’s the same for everyone.

I next joined a writing therapy group with Jacqui which again gave me an insight into my muddled thinking and a gentle opportunity to use my brain. I followed that with going to Rosie for wonderfully soothing reiki treatments and head massage. I have also had a few sessions of hypnotherapy and was surprised that I relaxed enough to find some benefit. The treatment I am having now is acupuncture with Janet which has helped with my energy and back problems and a good chat as well!

I have been completely overwhelmed with the sensitivity and safe haven that these lovely people offer with their treatments.

Indeed every time I have been to Star Throwers, whoever is ‘on duty’ including Steven and Victoria, they all give a cheering greeting and offer a cuppa. On cold days there is also a glowing real fire with papers and magazines to read and the invitation to stay as long as you like. I have found that, especially in the early days, so comforting and when you are responding to the overwhelming effects of your condition and vicious treatment sessions, the love and support from all these people (and there are more treatments I haven’t touched yet) offer support to enable you to deal with your recovery. It also has to be said that all the therapists do their work on a voluntary basis, although donations are welcome and I find that overwhelmingly generous.

Sam’s Testimonial (Breast cancer)

Star Throwers not only supports the cancer patient, but the carers too. It has been a haven of calmness and positivity for me and my husband, with free treatments that helped us through the utterly devastating rigours of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery.

Although I have been given the all clear, I appreciate the therapies that were made available to help manage the ongoing effects that have impacted my quality of life.

Star Throwers demonstrates a consistent level of professionalism which is not always evident in local charities. They manage to provide excellent care to those whose lives have been completely torn apart with the diagnosis of cancer. They have a very capable core team who oversee the facilities, yet do not see themselves as above those seeking comfort and information.

Star Throwers actively assist anyone needing help, sourcing documentation and evidence to support a chosen path or treatment.

With the increase year on year, of people being diagnosed with cancer, Star Throwers provide invaluable benefits to the community, as without their support, many patients and carers would struggle to survive the sheer enormity of what a diagnosis of cancer really means.

Deb’s Story (Breast Cancer, Paget’s Disease of the Nipple)

2016 was supposed to be a really exciting year for my husband and I as we were eagerly awaiting the birth of our second grandson. However, on 10th December 2016, upon returning home from a family meal, I went upstairs to get changed and as I got undressed I noticed my left nipple looked pink. I saw my GP five days later who thought it wasn’t anything nasty, but after trying two  types of prescription creams I was referred to the hospital for a mammogram and biopsy, which was two days before Christmas.

It was on Thursday 19th January that it was officially confirmed that I had Paget’s disease of the nipple, a condition that is associated with breast cancer. It felt very overwhelming to receive the diagnosis and of course there were a few tears.

My cancer was treated with two operations. After the second operation I was told they definitely ‘got it all’. Of course this was a huge relief for me and my husband and it was at this turning point that I decided from now on there is no looking back, only forward.

I really wanted to start getting “back to normal” but felt I needed some support in doing so. It as at this point I decided to visit Star Throwers to find out a little bit more about them. Prior to this I knew they helped people with cancer but not specifically how.

I was a little nervous as I walked into the centre on Melton Road but upon arriving I was made to feel very welcome.  Someone sat down with me in their homely lounge area to listen to what I had been through. They also kindly explained about the all the services they have on offer for someone in my situation. I was particularly interested in their Cancer Information service, complementary supportive therapies, and especially yoga as I enjoyed fitness activities but didn’t feel ready to go to the gym yet after my operation.

I had my first cancer information session a week later, which was very informative, and over the following few weeks I also had an Indian Head Massage and Reiki, and took part in their yoga class, all of which helped me slowly regain my strength; not just physically but also mentally and emotionally.

I felt I was speaking to friends. I came away feeling happy and positive that I would make a full recovery.

In the course of my visits at Star Throwers I have met some wonderful, friendly people who always greet me with a smile. It was lovely to have such kindness and support. I also greatly benefited from speaking to others who were in similar situation to me. Although my family and friends were great, until you have cancer you can never fully understand what people are going through. Just talking to others in my situation really helped.

Currently, I’m trying to live life to the full and do things now instead of putting them off, as I feel I’ve had a wake up call with having cancer. It’s definitely made me appreciate life and how quickly things can change. I am also an events volunteer for Star Throwers, helping them run stalls at various events.

Thank you to Star Throwers for their support in my recovery.

Jane’s Story (Stage 3 Breast Cancer)

I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer with lymph involvement in 2016. I had left mastectomy and level 2 lymph clearance, chemotherapy and radio therapy. All of my scans where clear. This treatment finished in 2017. I have a little lymphoedema in my left arm which has been treated here by Tina with great results. I had a friend who told me about Star Throwers, and once I was well enough I came along, as I was feeling very lost with everything that had happened, and processing it all was very hard.

I had many sessions with Jacqui, the counsellor, who has been amazing; listening and guiding me at times to look at what losing a breast meant to me. I then decided to go for breast reconstruction which I had in August 2018. The support I received at Star Throwers has been paramount in my recovery not only from the volunteers but also finding new friends who are on either the same or similar journeys. I have found my femininity and a new life. All the therapies here are amazing from massages, reiki, reflexology – they have all played a big part in my recovery.