FOCUS: Woman's battle with breast cancerBy Jon Nurse
October 17, 2012
Krys Sage has been through two divorces, but she says they bear no comparison to the pain she experienced in her fight with cancer.
The 64-year-old, of Goldsmith Close, Wokingham, found a lump in her breast in April 2011 but wasn’t immediately alarmed.
“I wasn’t too concerned because I have a history of breast lumps and each time I’ve been sent on to the tests and it’s come to nothing,” she explained.
“I went to the hospital and they told me there and then it was breast cancer. I remember I was dumbfounded.
“All of a sudden I was faced with this horrid nightmare and I remember I had suicidal thoughts.
“I was the biggest coward. I didn’t want to be maimed and have my mind destroyed by chemotherapy.”
She chose to seek help at Reading’s Spire Dunedin hospital where she met breast cancer care nurse specialist Roberta Haji.
“I found it hard to believe I would make it through it,” Mrs Sage said. “Roberta played a big role for me – she was my saviour if you like. She challenged me and gave me hope. She became like a best friend.”
Mrs Haji said: “It can be a confusing time when women find out they have breast cancer because they don’t feel unwell.
“Krys is like a different person now. She was extremely anxious when she first heard and she has really come through it.”
Mrs Sage, who has a son and two grandchildren living in Bracknell, had eight sessions of chemotherapy from July to December 2011.
“It does feel like you’re dying. But I wish I could somehow put across to ladies going through this that it’s not as bad as it seems at the time,” she said.
“My appearance has always been important to me so to be robbed of my eyelashes, eyebrows and nails plus hair was a nightmare beyond belief.
“They offered me an ice cap which they say protects your hair. I don’t know whether it was due to the cap but I only lost half my hair.
“I’m so thankful it’s all come back again now.”
Mrs Sage was told she was in remission after chemotherapy in December and has since had radiotherapy at the Royal Berkshire Bracknell Clinic, which she praised as being ‘absolutely wonderful’.
She added: “I’m doing my favourite things again like gardening and I’m being social again.
“I didn’t dare go out while it was all happening – I felt like I looked like an ogre.
“It does destroy your self-esteem.
“Now I have everything back. I’m confident again.”
Her advice to women that have been diagnosed is to surround yourself with family and friends and seek the support of a compassionate and dedicated professional like Roberta.
“With appropriate love and support, you can get through the ordeal,” she said.
“I managed to transform myself from a coward to a superwoman.”