Positivity is key when it comes to fighting cancer
PUBLISHED: 11:54 30 June 2012
'IT WAS as if my whole world fell apart' - that is how a Worle mother described the bombshell that hit her ahead of her successful battle with breast cancer.
Alison Ashford, aged 46, was one of 50,000 people diagnosed with the condition last year. But the mother-of-two found at Weston General Hospital she was not a simple statistic and cannot praise staff enough for their help.
Doctors and nurses worked tirelessly through seven months of treatment to ensure that Alison was supported and treated as well as possible and now she urges fellow sufferers to remain positive.
She said: “It was completely out of the blue and you think ‘Oh my God’, what do we do now.
“But you are kind of carried along with the whole process because the diagnosis is done in a day, you then have a biopsy and scan and you can then find out by lunchtime whether it’s cancer. There’s no two-week wait like there used to be.”
The operation to remove the lump and lymph nodes was followed by months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in Weston and Bristol.
Alison said the sessions were particularly gruelling and urged anyone going through the process to keep smiling and to chart their progress so it can be cut down into manageable chunks.
She said: “You have to stay positive. If they tell you it’s treatable then stay positive and don’t focus on the negatives.
“I have been completely zapped and you have to focus on the end. The chemo makes you feel really ill but don’t be afraid to tell them because staff can help.
“I can’t praise them enough on that particular day unit. They were just wonderful.”
Alison, who lives in Jocelin Drive, still has regular checks and continues to work at Worle Community School.
She talked to the Mercury about her own experiences after her husband Steve and 16-year-old son Adrian handed over a cheque for £435 to the hospital’s oncology department this week.
A spokesman for Weston Area Health Trust said the money is set to be put towards chemotherapy pumps.
The pair, alongside Hutton Moor Leisure Centre manager Andy Dockrell, cycled 124 miles from Weston to Steve’s parents in Stafford on June 2 to raise vital funds for the unit.
Andy joined the team after hearing how gym member Alison had been helped by the hospital and she was full of praise for the commitment he showed to help raise money.
Extra money was raised through a competition in which people had to guess how many calories each would burn in the mammoth ride, with Andy’s colleague Tracy Bernard scooping the main prize as she was closest to the 5,948 figure.
Alison, by her own admission, was lucky to have a great support team and her 12-year-old daughter Emily to help her through her cancer treatment but said hospital staff were always there for her too.
She said: “If you do need to go in to speak to someone, then do. I’m lucky I have Steve and my family who are there to support me, but it’s nice to know that staff are there because not everyone has that backing.”