An inspirational mother has opened up about undergoing treatment for breast cancer amid the Covid pandemic.
Donna Bloy was diagnosed with the disease in March 2020 after finding a lump on one of her breasts and undergoing a biopsy and mammogram.
She was then faced with the daunting prospect of having to battle the potentially deadly disease while the UK dealt with the worsening coronavirus pandemic.
The 33-year-old has now bravely opened up about the turmoil in her life and how she tried to face down her worst fears.
The mother-of-three says she first suspected something was wrong when she was trying to wean her youngest child off breast feeding.
“I was breast feeding my youngest child and started to wean them off and noticed that one of my breasts wasn’t getting as full as the other so I felt it and that’s when I found a lump,” she said.
“I went to my GP and was then booked in for a biopsy and mammogram. It was shortly after this that I had a call from the breast clinic. They called me in for an appointment on 4 March and that’s when they told me I had breast cancer.
“It was such a strange time to be told I had cancer as the kids were at school and I was worried about them and the risks posed by Covid-19. I was worried about how I was going to tell them I was ill and how they’d take it. My whole world just exploded.”
“The side effects from the first type of chemo, EC (named after the two types of drugs used – epirubicin and cyclophosphamide), were what I can only describe as the hangover from hell,” she said.
“I felt nauseous, dizzy, weak and tired. Half way through I was changed onto Docetaxel and that made me feel like I’d been hit by a bus. Everything ached. Bones I didn’t even know I had were aching, even between my fingers and toes hurt. It was really tough.”
After her chemotherapy was finished, Donna had a single mastectomy ahead of radiotherapy in December.
However, she also struggled with her mental health as she tried to deal with the relentless negativity of social media.
“It was really hard and there were some dark moments,” Donna said.
“The worst of these were when I’d go and sit and watch the kids sleeping and just cry. I was so scared that I’d never get to see them grow up and that they’d have to grow up without me.
“This was made worse by social media as everything on there was so negative. This is why I started my blog. I thought I either need to change the things people are seeing or get off social media entirely.”
Donna says she wants to help other people who might also be going through similar treatments for illnesses, and to allow people to speak candidly about cancer treatment.
“I wanted to post about things that I was going through so other cancer patients knew what to expect during their treatment,” she said.
“People have been really receptive of it and I’ve had some lovely messages which is great because it’s so important that we talk about and normalise these things.
“I will carry on the blog as I continue to recover. A lot of cancer patients say that once your contact with the hospital comes to an end, it’s like a light’s gone off and you can feel quite alone.
“My advice to anyone would be to just talk about everything and don’t bottle it up as it’ll just make you worse.”
Donna’s course of radiotherapy finished on December 9, and she says she is grateful for the way staff at the hospitals treated her, and how they put her at ease amid the pandemic.
“Everyone at the hospital has been fantastic,” she said.
“I was treated at Queen’s Hospital Burton for the majority of the time, but I’ve had some treatment in Derby too and everyone’s just been great. I can’t thank them enough.
“The nurses even gave me a book to give to my children called ‘Mummy’s lump’. This was to help them understand what was going on and to help them get through it and to know what to expect.
“It’s been a strange time to have cancer during a pandemic, but the staff just got on with it. I would never have known I’d have been going through it during a health crisis.”
You can follow Donna’s journey on Instagram: @covid_cancer_and_me