Melanie’s story: Surviving advanced breast cancer [video]

Video author: Streaming Well
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Video Transcript
Melanie Sibley - Living with advanced breast cancer

When I was first told I was going to die, I in my head started a bucket list of things to do, and going on an Oyster yacht was definitely at the top of the list. I've always wanted to even set foot on an Oyster, not necessarily sail on one. I saw one years ago and just saw how beautiful they were, and when I rang Oyster, they very kindly said I could come down and spend the day on one. Oh, wow. Oh, yeah, this is me.

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, shock to start with, and then anger, and then I think you go through the sort of denial stage purely because you don't want to deal with it. I think initially--especially your parents. It's difficult to have your child with something that could be terminal wrong with them. My sister is a nurse, so she was very good. Obviously, the doctor is telling you "Okay, you've been diagnosed with grade 3 breast cancer." "This is the course of events that's going to happen."

And yet when I got home, I didn't remember any of it, so having friends and family with you is really important. I didn't know anything about breast cancer at all before my diagnosis. I knew you might get a lump and to keep checking yourself, and if you found something to go to the doctor, which is what I did. My main concerns following my diagnosis were was I going to die? And I never asked that, strangely enough. I don't think you ever want to know that, do you?

What the surgery would involve was worrying me. I think losing part of your body and having to do it, no choice, putting yourself in that situation where you're giving yourself to somebody else and saying "Here, it's now your responsibility to help me and to cure me." I had my left breast off. I had chemotherapy, 2 lots of radiotherapy, hormone treatments, and it's just ongoing. One day I just got up and thought "Come on, I'm just going to fight this all the way now." "I'm not giving into this."

And after that, I started sort of making myself more active and making myself go out, and I think the positive attitude helps enormously, so the medication I'm on now, the moment I started taking it I felt better instantly and very quickly felt better than I have in 10 years. My cancer treatment at the moment is being funded by the Cancer Drugs Fund, and I am receiving treatment at the Christie Hospital in Manchester. I'm full of life and just really happy. I've had 8 cycles of it now and no problems.

Today we've had an awesome day. This has been one of my bucket list items of things to do is to actually come on an Oyster yacht, sailing yacht. We've had a look around 2 or 3, and they're incredible. I mean, the finish is amazing. They're just beautiful boats, and I feel honored to have been able to have a look around. Some other things I've always wanted to do is to fly, which hopefully I'll get to do this year, play golf, learning to do that. Sometimes the ball will go straight, and sometimes it will be somewhere over there or somewhere over there. Fore! Sorry.

I'm setting up some charity things this year as well, which, as I say, is another thing I've wanted to do for me really is to be able to donate back to people less fortunate than myself because there's always someone less fortunate than me.

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