Giving hope to those affected
by secondary breast cancer

Research. Support. Education.

Marette Edwards Story and fundraising for M2C

26th January 2024 by Lianne Bryce

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We recently caught up with one of our ambassadors Marette, who's husband has signed up to take part in the London Marathon in April. We wanted to know a bit about Marette and why her husband has choose to fundraise for Make 2nds Count.   

 

1. When/How were you first diagnosed?

I was first diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in the liver in May 2014, when I was 32 years old. I’d found a lump above my breast whilst fake tanning and knew instantly something was not right. However, when I went to my GP he told me it was hormonal and to come back in a few months. This just did not feel right to me, so I decided to see a breast cancer specialist. Within three hours I’d had a mammogram, a biopsy and was pretty much told I had cancer. They also decided to do a precautionary PET scan and unfortunately this also confirmed it had spread to my liver.

 

2.      Could you please tell us a little bit more about your personal story/experience of living with secondary cancer?

Once I had been diagnosed, I then had to have a lumpectomy, radio frequency ablation to the liver, chemotherapy and radiotherapy to the liver. This was an emotional rollercoaster for me physically and mentally. I had to take a year off work to get through the treatment and side effects, and then had to regain my strength and work out what I could and could not do. For 5 years I was stable with just Tamoxifen. I returned to work full-time and lived a fairly normal life. Then, following a PET scan in February 2020, just before the Covid pandemic, it was confirmed I had had recurrence in the liver. After another 3 months of chemotherapy I started long-term maintenance treatment consisting of Phesgo (Herceptin/Perjeta) injections every 3 months, daily Letrozole tablets, Zoladex injections every 3 months and routine CT/PET scans every 3 to 4 months. I am now back at work full-time, although I do have to be mindful of my side effects which mainly involve fatigue and low energy. I feel very lucky that I work at a company and with colleagues that are so understanding and supportive.

 

3.      Did you find it easy to access information and support following your diagnosis?

I did to start with but once the chemotherapy had ended I felt a bit lost and on my own. At the time, I didn’t know anyone else who was going through secondary breast cancer so felt quite isolated.

 

4.      How did you first hear about Make 2nds Count?

A google search! What a great search.

 

5.      Can you tell us a little bit about your relationship with the charity and why you have become an ambassador for them?

I was initially sent a Little Lifts box during Covid and I was so grateful and happy to receive it. I just wanted to find out more and more about the charity.

In 2023 I found out about the ‘Tea and Meet-ups’ and wanted to go along to meet women who were in the same position as myself.  My nearest was the London meet up held at Future Dreams House. I quickly realised how special these meetings were. The warmth, caring, fun, friendship and understanding of people that just ‘Get It’ is an amazing feeling.

I wanted to get more involved and so became a volunteer at the meet-ups. I know how daunting it is when you first turn up, so I wanted to be a friendly face when people arrive, to welcome them, offer them a tea or coffee, and explain about how our informal meet-ups work.  At each session there is always a mixture of regulars and new faces. 

I was delighted when I was asked to be an ambassador. I just want to inform as many people as possible about what secondary breast cancer really is and what the Make 2nds Count are doing to help those affected.

 

6.       What have you learned about yourself while living with SBC?

I’m rather resilient! I think if anyone had asked me before any of this, I don’t think I could have said I would be able to get through it. But with the help of my husband, family, friends, doctors, nurses and Make 2nds Count, it’s amazing what you can do.

I’ve also learnt not to worry about things that don’t matter!

 

7.       What would you want to tell other patients – whether at the start of their diagnosis journey or those further along into living with secondary breast cancer?

Be your own advocate - take an active role in your care and treatment.
Build a support network - You don’t have to go through this on your own! Make 2nds Count, along with many other resources/charities, are there to support you every step of the way.
Look after your mind as well as your body – there are lots of resources to help you look after your wellbeing. Yoga, breathwork, mindfulness and relaxation are just a few ideas.

 

8.       Your husband is running the London Marathon this year to raise money for M2C, can you tell us a little about why he chose to take on the marathon (ie. is he a runner, has he done a marathon before?) how is he finding training for this, how much is he hoping to raise and possibly include a quote in his own words about why he is doing this?

Paul's words:

I wouldn't exactly class myself as a runner...a plodder is probably more accurate! But I have completed the London Marathon before, in 2019 when I ran for Breast Cancer Now. Since Marette's diagnosis in 2014 we've both tried to help out where we can with various fundraising activities for charities that have helped support her through some extremely tough times. In the past year Marette has become increasingly involved with Make 2nds Count, making use of their fantastic support structure, as well as offering help and advice to other women going through similar experiences. The charity has helped Marette so much recently and for me personally, I feel that running a marathon to help raise a bit of money for them is a small price to pay...26.2 miles is a walk in the park compared to years of treatment and the difficulties that brings. I realise that money is tight for a lot of people in the current climate so I've set a fairly modest fundraising target, but I'm already some way to achieving it...hopefully we can bump it up a bit further.

Paul's Fundraising page

https://2024tcslondonmarathon.enthuse.com/pf/paul-edwards-m2c