Jill Johnston was diagnosed with breast cancer in July last year, during the coronavirus pandemic. She and her son Tyler were able to benefit from a therapeutic short break in Daisy Lodge. Speaking of her experience of Cancer Fund for Children’s support Jill said,
“I found a lump last March and thought nothing of it. I just thought it was a cyst under my arm. By May it had grown so I contacted my GP and was sent for blood test and a biopsy. I was told I had cancer, but they were unsure what type, so I had ongoing tests to determine whether it was skin or breast cancer.
Going through this during lockdown was tough on my own. I had my boyfriend Cameron but there was only so much he was allowed to do and certain appointments that he was allowed to attend.
I decided not to tell my son Tyler until I had all the information. On 23rd July I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It completely shocked me, especially as no-one in my family has had it.
Telling Tyler About My Cancer
Once I knew the date of my operation, I decided to tell Tyler about my cancer. I wanted to explain it to
him in my own way. Tyler and I have a very close bond and I can talk to him very openly. He was very upset and scared. Like most children when they hear the word cancer, they associated it to death. All I could do was reassure him that I was gonna be OK, that I was strong and would beat it.
I had my operation on 23rd August to remove the lump but whilst they were operating, they also removed 38 lymph nodes from under my left arm. The surgeon was happy that he got it all. I then started chemo on 29th October. I was having six rounds and I will admit it has been a rough journey so far. Every round has made me ill and put me in hospital with either a side effect or an infection. I have to get Herceptin and Pertuzumab every three weeks for the rest of this year and I will be starting 15 rounds of radiotherapy in three weeks’ time. All being well that is all the treatment I will need.
Tyler has been such a brave boy, but I could see that he was suffering. I was put in contact with a girl called Karen from Cancer Fund for Children and she has been amazing. Karen has been working with Tyler on zoom chats for a few weeks now and he seems to get some comfort from them. He enjoys talking to her.
Tyler Was So Excited
Karen arranged our visit to Daisy Lodge and Tyler was so excited. We were very lucky to get lovely weather when we stayed. Even though it was only us and one other family due to the pandemic it was so nice.
The staff were amazing couldn’t do enough for us. Tyler’s favourite thing to do during the two days we were there included playing foosball with me (ha ha). He had never played before and took great pleasure in beating me and laughing at me losing to him. He also took part in some arts and craft work and made a calming down jar and a framed picture of himself and his dog Cora from rocks. We even went into Newcastle, got some chips, sat on the beach with a blanket and it was lovely. ❤️
Quality Time Together
Being in isolation for almost a year and then getting those few days away together was just perfect. Thanks again to everyone for making my beautiful boy happy and giving us the chance to have some quality time together.”
We are so grateful to Jill for sharing her experience of cancer. Children and families who are struggling with the emotional impact of cancer need our support now more than ever. Please, donate what you can today to help us support more families like Jill and Tyler’s.