Speaking to Claire, 37, it is hard to believe she has been given a diagnosis of incurable breast cancer. The picture of health, she is chatty, articulate and friendly – and admits herself that she feels fine, despite undergoing oral chemotherapy treatment.
How long this feeling might last is something that she freely admits to not knowing: ‘Before my diagnosis I’d have introduced myself as ‘Claire, wife and mum’ – now my first instinct is to say “Hi, my name’s Claire and I have cancer”. It totally changes the way you see yourself, which is just so wrong!’
Signs of Claire’s young daughter are everywhere in her home – toys, a play tent and clothes show just how cherished every moment together has become. Claire was diagnosed in 2011, when her daughter was only nine months old, at a time when Claire was preparing to return to work following maternity leave. Noticing a minor change in one breast after she finished breastfeeding and suspecting a blocked milk duct, she visited the doctor – only for her doctor to find a lump and refer her for further tests. Her initial diagnosis of breast cancer was a tremendous and completely unexpected shock.
‘They told me the same day I went in for tests. It shattered my world, totally shattered it. It seemed impossible that I, as a young mum, could get cancer. I was completely convinced that I would go to the Breast Unit and be told it was nothing. My husband was sitting behind me and the Consultant told me “I’m sorry but it is cancer. ”