OK so I started radiotherapy on 22ndNovember—the first of 20 sessions. Its ok – had an MRI and CT scan the week before to set me up. I have to give myself a mini enema 45 minutes before my session and then 30 minutes before drink two large glasses of water. First session they mark 3 little tattoos on my hips/tummy which they will use along with the laser to get me in the exact position every time. Once I am in position the staff disappear and the first thing is the machine performs a CT scan—this is used to make sure everything is in the right place and it takes them about 5 minutes to do their checking. Then the radiotherapy head pivots around my lower tummy which takes about 40 seconds and is completely painless. Then I’m off home.
When I got my diagnosis of breast cancer, a month after my 50thbirthday, I was the fittest I’d ever been in my life. I was training for the Women’s Head of the River Race which takes place on the Boat Race course, and my first reaction when I got my diagnosis was irritation that I wouldn’t be able to compete!
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, there were two things I was told would definitely happen to me. The first was that I would get constipation. The second was that my hair would never be the same again. Well, I never did get constipation and my hair - apart from the fact it is now in a style I would have the never had the confidence to pick - is still thick and straight. What no one told me as I was ferried between consultation rooms was that I would end up owning lycra; that I would turn to exercise and that exercise would change my life.
In October 2018 I completed my 50thfull Ironman triathlon at the tender age of 65 at the World Championships in Kona Hawaii—my third time there. It was very special as my oldest son Alan had also qualified and we raced if not together at least unusually in the same world championship race! Alan qualified in Thailand late in 2017 and I qualified at Ironman UK this year—not one of my greatest races but I qualified---unfortunately I already had an idea of what lay ahead !!
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.