My husband and I were diagnosed with cancer during the epidemic

Lucy Sims, Matt's husband and their two sons

We’ve changed cancer forever, but I really think we’re getting a lot more life now (Image: Supplied)

2020 wasn’t a good year for anyone, but for my family, it felt like the world was conspiring against us.

One day in late September, my husband Matt said his stomach was exploding. At first he thought it was bad indigestion but as the day went on it got worse.

When I got off putting the kids to bed that night, I found him on the phone to 111. After an excruciating 24 hours at A&E, he was sent home with a sedative.

He has private insurance with the business, so we agreed he should go see a specialist, just for peace of mind. We never considered it might be cancer.

About a week later, he was diagnosed with neuroendocrine carcinoma of the small intestine – and although it wasn’t mentioned regarding it at that point – an ultrasound also found spots on his liver.

This means that he was in stage 4. Stage 4 means that The cancer has spread or has spread from its original area to other parts of the body. This is what the spots on his liver were.

When I heard this news, I knew that the outlook for the fourth stage was not good.

However, neuroendocrine cancer is generally slow-growing and there are many options, which means that people can live with it for a long time.

The next few months were a blur with scans, treatment plans, and bowel surgery. I guess I was in “fight or flight” mode the whole time. He didn’t need chemotherapy, but had to have a monthly injection and take pancreatic enzyme replacement tablets when he ate.

Matt handled everything really well; He just got on his head and kept going. He had to change his diet to reduce the chance of another obstruction, so there was plenty of soup, yogurt, and low-fiber foods.

He has lost a lot of weight but at the same time he continues to exercise so that he is as prepared for the surgery as possible.

Matt and his two sons

I couldn’t believe I had cancer because my husband had cancer and we have two little kids who need us (Image: Supplied)

He had surgery at the beginning of December 2020, everything went well but the recovery was difficult, especially the first few weeks. However, by mid-December he was back home and was able to walk around and felt that perhaps there would be a bit of stability.

How wrong we were.

A few weeks later, while taking a shower, I could feel a large, visible lump in my right breast. How did I not feel that before?

I felt a strange calm when I went to see Matt. Weirdly, we both remember knowing in our guts it was cancer. We knew it was possible. Life has already been turned upside down, so she can definitely do it again.

I went to the GP and was referred to the breast clinic. When they did the ultrasound, I could feel the atmosphere in the room changing.

The counselor came for a biopsy and I explained through tears that I couldn’t get cancer because my husband also had cancer and we had two young children who needed us.

When I took a deep breath and immediately asked if it was cancer, I think they all knew it, but because of my situation, the counselor said it was hard to tell. She tried to reassure me, but her body language did the opposite. You couldn’t look me straight in the eye.

Lucy Sims's photo

Lucy underwent her chemotherapy during the pandemic (Image: Introduction)

I can’t remember much of the following days. I just went through the suggestions. A week later, I was back at the hospital, and received confirmation of my worst fears.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Matt and I were in shock. I didn’t cry, I just wanted to know what to do to get rid of it. I think we both felt kind of inevitable about that.

After a bone scan and a full-body CT scan — thankfully clear — I started chemotherapy.

I cried, it was the hardest four months of my life MuchI lost all my hair and a lot of myself, but I did, and I feel so proud of myself for getting over it.

I couldn’t get through chemo without Matt, my mom, and his parents. From keeping the kids happy to serving me food and organizing my medication, they all played their part.

Lucy Sims's photo

Lucy before she started chemotherapy (Image: Fitted)

Lucy Sims's photo

I underwent chemotherapy lost all of my hair and a lot of myself, but I did, and I feel so proud of myself for getting through it (Image: Supplied)

A month later, I had surgery to remove the mini lump and take a biopsy to see if it was successful.

Unfortunately, they found active cancer in the tissue.

So back on stage, this time I went to have all my lymph nodes removed. This time, success!

Then she started four weeks of radiotherapy and targeted chemotherapy, which will end next month.

Besides, I also started hormone therapy, which consists of an injection that shuts down my ovaries and a daily pill to stop any other cells in my body from producing estrogen. This has put me through medically induced menopause, which is not ideal at age 37. It has been Much.

Lucy Sims's photo

Since I was diagnosed with cancer, I don’t sweat over the little things. It is very liberating! (photo: attached)

Despite it all, there were many light and happy moments between them, provided mainly by my two wonderful boys, who were 36 when I was diagnosed, and who capture me every day with their smiles and cuddles.

We tried to be open and honest with them about what was going on, while keeping that age appropriate.

We told them Matt needed a tumor removed in his abdomen, but since his cancer hasn’t had a major physical impact on his life since then, we refrained from talking about him in those terms.

This is something we will bring up when we feel the time is right.

For me, we told the elderly that I had a “naughty lump” in my breast, which I needed to take medication for. I explained that this would make me feel lucky and that my hair would fall out, but that it would make me better.

Over time, as I continued to need treatment, I introduced the idea that the tumor was cancer. I feel the seniors have made great strides but I know they will have questions in the future.

My youngest found it hard not to host me like before, but before he died for the night cuddles and was sometimes too weak to play.

Lucy Sims's photo

Despite the continuing need for treatment, Lucy is looking forward to the 100km trek across the Sahara desert to raise money for breast cancer charity CoppaFeel (Image: Supplied)

We changed cancer forever, but I really think we’re getting more out of life now. It’s not like life is drastically different in practice, it’s just that I don’t sweat the little things. It is very liberating!

It also gave me the opportunity to meet some inspiring women who are going through similar things and get some great new experiences, which are still amazing to come.

This November, I will be making a 100km trek across the Sahara Desert for Coppaeel, to raise the same amount of money for this wonderful charity that is on a mission to educate people and remind them to recognize their breasts for early breast cancer. .

After our time as a family, I know, more than anyone else, how important that is.

To donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/lucyscoppatrek or to hear more visit my Instagram page my_bothersome_boob.

MORE: Mum says Covid saved her life thanks to hospital chest exam that detected breast cancer

MORE: Cancer survivor feels ’empowered’ by feather tattoo on reconstructed right breast

MORE: Asbestos-related cancer will kill me one day — but until then I’m determined to savor every moment

Do you have a story you’d like to share? Contact us by sending an email to jess.austin@metro.co.uk.

Share your opinions in the comments below.

Leave a Comment