My Story - Turning a curse into a blessing…
My name is Lorena and I am a 7-year breast cancer survivor.
My story began in November 2011. I was 31, living in Rugby and working in the City of London and I had a healthy lifestyle, I was vegetarian, attended ballet classes regularly and apart from my job I was generally happy. But for sometime I had felt that there was something wrong.
I had constant pain in my left breast, so I decided to replace most of my bras with a more elastic, non-wired type, hoping that would solve it. I was putting it to the back of my mind and hoping the pain was temporary and it would go away.
Eventually one night while I was in bed I found a lump and I got terribly scared.
After that I went to see the GP who very quickly dismissed the possibility of it being cancer, since apparently cancer does not hurt. I had private health insurance through work, so I insisted that she write a referral letter for me to go and see a specialist doctor.
I contacted my insurance provider and I was given an appointment straight away.
I went to my appointment on my lunch break and a mammogram and a biopsy were done, with the nurses promising me that I would get the results within hours. I left the clinic and before I made it back to the office they called me to tell me to come straight back. I thought this was pretty weird and I assumed it was that they had forgotten to do a test. As I walked back into the oncology room I saw there were 3 people, all ready to break the big news to me:
We are sorry you have cancer, they said.
The diagnosis was grade II invasive ductal carcinoma, HER2 positive, in my left breast.
Cancer is a word, not a sentence
I was so frightened, not knowing what to expect, but no tears were coming out.
I remember sitting right next to another woman in the waiting room who had also been told she had breast cancer and she was asking me how I could be so serene after what they had just told me. But I was in absolute denial and there I remained for a long, long time. So much in denial that I even went back to work that day like nothing had happened. It certainly took some time to sink in - so long, in fact, that it has taken me 7 years to start writing about it and looking at it straight in the eyes.
Being diagnosed with cancer was such a shock but looking back, I was very stressed at work, I was commuting long hours, and I was tired all the time.
My breast surgeon scheduled me in for a lumpectomy only a week later.
Once the lump had been removed the results showed that I had stage 2, oestrogen positive breast cancer. I asked myself all the typical questions: Am I going to lose my hair, am I going to die?
By the end of November I had my port inserted in my chest and, shortly after, began my 6 rounds of chemo. Little did I know that chemo not only would make me lose all my hair but also it would give me excruciating pain making my joints and muscles hurt so much.
I'm here, that's the miracle I've been looking for
On my non-chemo weeks, I still went to work, commuting an hour and a half each way from Rugby to London. I tried to enjoy life but I was badly bullied at work, so in the end I took a couple months sick leave. I started losing my hair a couple of weeks after the first chemo infusion so I decided to ask my partner to completely shave my head. I bought myself a couple of wigs and wore them constantly. My hair started to grow back in May the following year.
Radiation came next, 35 days of it. I did very well, and was so proud of myself. The worst was behind me. After that I was given Herceptine hormone treatment. Overall I had 14 months of treatment and was advised to take tamoxifen tablets for 10 years. I have recently taken a break to have a baby and raise her before I resume the drugs. And although I was advised at the beginning of the treatment to freeze my eggs as the whole process would make me infertile, here I am, the proud mother of a beautiful and healthy baby girl. I plan to be hormone-therapy free in 2023.
Life is good and there is a whole new world out there for me to explore.
I thought having cancer would alter my life in a negative way, however the biggest change has been to my career.
I knew it was time to hit restart.
I began exploring yoga, meditation and mindful eating.
The more I studied, the more ways I learned for people to reconnect with their authentic self. I decided to train as a yoga teacher in 2015 as a result of finding solace, a better and healthy lifestyle and inner spirituality in this ancient practice of yoga. I have since done many courses, trained as a specialised yoga for cancer instructor and gathered all sorts of knowledge and skills to be able to help, inspire and aid people affected with cancer and their loved ones to thrive and rise against cancer, empowering them to live a more conscious and more fulfilled life.
My illness triggered the re-evaluation of my priorities in life.
You have already taken the first step by accessing this page. Now take the next step – let’s sit down for a free consultation where we discuss your values in life, your priorities today, your future goals, and potential roadblocks as you move forward embracing this fresh outlook on life.
I am here to support and encourage you as you take control and prioritise yourself.
• Certified Professional Coach (CPC), I
• Certified Yoga Teacher (RYT-200), Yoga Alliance
• Yoga 4 Cancer Survivors
• Reiki Master & Teacher
• Qi Gong Teacher
• Certified Aromatherapist
• Sound Therapist
• Business Management and Tourism, University of Birmingham (BA Hons)