A mother-of-two has relived the harrowing moment she learned her breast cancer was incurable.
Becky Parker was reduced to tears when she was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer in September last year.
The 34-year-old tried to remain positive, but a week later she was told her cancer had spread to her liver and it was incurable.
“I just remember thinking ‘I can’t die’,” she said. “I then literally went into a whirlwind of emotion. I was shaking, having panic attacks, I could not eat or sleep – it was horrible.”
Initially, Becky’s GP believed the “egg-sized lump” on her breast, which she found while taking a bath in June, was a cyst but referred her for a biopsy.
That biopsy, that was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, came back clear and Becky also attended a private appointment with her fiancé Keith, where they were told it was a “cluster of cysts”.
But she continued to struggle with pain and noticed discharge coming from the bottom of her breast, so she managed to get another appointment where a consultant found a cancerous tumour.
Becky, who lives in Tongham in Surrey, said she has been struggling to come to terms with the devastating diagnosis, but is refusing to give up.
“I have tried to be as normal as I can with my children,” she said.
“I am still doing the school runs when I can, when the school is open. I really try to put on a front if I’m honest.
“There are some days where I am distraught and I can’t get out of bed, but I have to be positive and hope that I am going to be in that small percentage of people who get to NED.”
NED stands for ‘No Evidence of Disease’ and is also known as remission. It does not mean the cancer is cured and there is a chance it could return, but the person can go on and try to live a normal life.
Becky and her family are now exploring every avenue of treatment for her aggressive cancer, to ensure she has the best possible chance of reaching that stage.
In October, she was accepted onto a clinical trial at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London and underwent chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
Despite the “horrible” side effects, including hair loss, weight gain and inflammation of the liver, Becky said she responded well to the treatment at first and the tumour on her breast shrunk.
But a follow up scan revealed the tumour in her liver had enlarged and that meant she was no longer eligible to take part in the trial.
Refusing to give up hope, the young mum has been searching for another lifeline.
She has applied to AstraZeneca for medication called Olaparib and she is looking to undergo CyberKnife radiotherapy treatment, that could specifically target the tumours in her liver.
She is waiting for a response and has been told the NHS will not be able to fund either of these expensive treatments, but her family, friends and kind-hearted strangers have stepped up to help.
Becky’s sister Lucy Fowler set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for treatment and any other private scans or consultations she may need.
A £50,000 target was set and generous supporters have donated more than £28,000.
Becky said: “”I have received really lovely messages from friends, and flowers. Everyone has been so thoughtful and trying to take me out for walks and checking in on me the whole time.
“I can’t believe people’s generosity and did not think people would take the time to read my story. People that don’t even know me have donated.
“I have no words to describe how I feel about it.”
Becky said she will “try and stay strong” and continue to encourage other people to “keep pushing” for a diagnosis if they believe something is wrong and to “know your body”.