My name is Nicky Wakefield. I am nothing out of the ordinary, a 52 year old mother, a dedicated gym lover who has used her nursing and fitness instructor background to get through an extraordinary medical history. I have HLA B27 associated diseases (Rheumatoid arthritis, Crohns disease, complete with ileostomy and iritis). So far so good and managed well with exercise and drugs, including a low dose chemotherapy agent. Therefore a diagnoses of breast cancer stage 3 was not expected or predicted.
I was first diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2012. I should have known it was coming - my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in her 50s, and my grandmother and great-grandmother in their 70s- but at age 40 breast cancer was not top of mind. I was focused on my career and had a very active life.
At the end of 2014, start of 2015 I kept complaining of feeling tired, having a tight chest and a constant cough. I didn't really think too much of it as I do shift work and it was winter, so I just thought I needed to cut down a bit and get some antibiotics in me.
Previously I’d already survived: Hodgkin’s lymphoma 1999 Germ cell Tumour cancer 2009 Skin Cancer 2013 Testicular cancer 2015
But in February 2016 I was told the Germ cell cancer had returned and that it was very aggressive, I was sent to St James’s hospital in Leeds as my local cancer hospital in Hull were unable to treat me with the suitable chemotherapy. I was to stay a week at a time and have chemotherapy 12hrs a day.
Heard of a robust evidence-based reason for not doing some form of exercise, within your own capabilities, despite chronic illness? And yet hospital management won’t allow claims that physical exercise can help improve outcomes for cancer patients. I’m Emily. 42, wife, mum, runner, swimmer, scientific communications specialist, joke-lover and unwilling cultivar of a hardcore 4-year relationship with stage 4 cancer (leiomyosarcoma).
The start of my journey into triathlons started on the 24th January 2009 the day I was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus. First bit of advice if you having an endoscopy always go for sedation, however being aware meant I knew that something had been found, and I had no doubt what it was when the endoscopist asked for the biopsy kit. Having been symptomatic for a number of months, seen by my GP who made a diagnosis of helicobacter for my symptoms, something I had never been convinced about, I knew this was not good. Not being sedated meant that I could ask that question, but I will always remember the photograph taken via the endoscope which I knew to be an oesophageal cancer, so the question was somewhat mute. I was told that it wasn't good. Not good meant adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus, T3N2M0. Treatment was oesophagectomy and chemotherapy epirubicin, cisplatinin and capecitabine (ECX).