Real Lives: I won’t allow cancer to consume my whole family

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Geraldine Wellington, a mum of five, has cancer for the second time. She says the Beatson Cancer Charity is once again helping her and her family manage.
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3rd April 2017 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

In October 2015 I was 38 years old and the youngest of my five children has just started primary one when I found out I had breast cancer.

Geraldine Wellington

Geraldine Wellington

Hearing those words was a massive shock, I remember thinking to myself "this can’t be right". But it was. I went through all the dreaded treatments – chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. They were horrible. But, In July 2016 I was given the all clear.

At that point we thought my cancer scare was simply a bump on the road so we all celebrated my triumph by booking a big family holiday to the Dominican Republic and adjusting back into every day normal life. It felt so good.

Fast forward one year, however, and I was back in the doctor’s surgery being told that my cancer had returned; it had spread to my neck and lung. As a family we went through hell, it felt like one big rollercoaster ride with no end in sight. It was then that I thought, I can either sit feeling sorry for myself or I can pull myself together and get on with it.

So that is what I am doing. I am living with cancer and I choose not to let it beat me. Every time I complete a hospital appointment or achieve even an everyday task it’s me putting up a fight; I won’t let it take me away from my kids. I told the doctors I’ll get through the next six years to be able to see my youngest start secondary school.

It’s very important to me not to let the cancer dominate my life, if I do then everything ends up becoming about my cancer and that spreads into the family. I won’t allow it to consume them and ruin the time we have together. I very much believe if your mind and brain are telling you to keep going then the body follows. I go to the gym once a week to do a body combat class, and although I stand at the back of the class for that one hour I feel normal. I’m not the person with cancer. I still manage to take my kids to school every day and that in itself is a huge accomplishment for me.

Although I try to keep a positive frame of mind and keep moving, I do get days when I feel like I can’t do it anymore and my brain won’t shut off.

The first time around I visited the Beatson Cancer Charity’s wellbeing centre for reflexology treatments to ease the pain in my knees and ankles and it helps to make the chemotherapy that little bit more bearable. The therapists were always wonderful, regardless of the number of patients they would see they always went above and beyond to make sure I left feeling better and in less pain.

Now I go for peace and tranquillity. I step into the centre and I get 50 minutes of pampering, it’s wonderful, there’s nothing and nowhere like it. I get the chance to lie there in peace and not think about my cancer; I can pretend that none of this is happening. I am just normal.

One of the special things about the Beatson is how experienced the staff are and how much they empathise with the patients and families, it’s a very special and unique place. Without them I wouldn’t be so strong.

The Beatson Cancer Charity was set up in 2014 to raise funds to help beat cancer and support and enhance the treatment and care of cancer patients and their families. For more information on its work and how to donate please visit beatsoncancercharity.org.