Case Study. I could not have got through it alone.


ANGELA Horsepool, 48, found a lump in her left breast at the end of January last year.

I just had a feeling, an ache, and when I checked there was quite a big lump.
She asked her doctor to look at it during a routine appointment a few days later and was immediately sent for a mammogram. On 26 February, she was told she had cancer grade two invasive ductal breast cancer and would need a mastectomy.

I thought it was probably nothing. Women get lumps and bumps all the time and are often told not to worry, so it was a shock, she said.

Mrs Horsepool said telling husband Brian and their three daughters Sam, 24, who was at University in Plymouth, Chrissy, 18, and Charlotte, 15 was the hardest part.

I didnt want it to be a secret, I wanted us all to deal with it together.
She also had to then tell her parents, sisters and friends.

You do it almost automatically because you are still in shock. You think by elling people it will go away.

She said that, while she approached it pragmatically, there were tough times.
Following a mastectomy in March, Mrs Horsepool had six sessions of chemotherapy, every third Wednesday, at Bulstrode House and then a five week course of radiotherapy in Southampton.

The Bulstrode House nurses were fabulous. Sometimes it was a wrench to leave because you are in a bubble where everyone understands.

She said the chemotherapy made her feel particularly ill for the week afterwards but, when she did feel well, she enjoyed precious time with family and friends.
Three weeks after her first session, 80% of her hair fell out in just three days.
It was hard, especially when my hair fell out. That is definitely the hardest part for a woman.

When I look back now, it was a very emotional time.

She said that, while holding her daughters hand, her husband shaved what was eft off.

Her hair is now growing back and curly. It was a straight bob before the cancer.

The Pink Ladies first made contact when Mrs Horsepool was in hospital following the mastectomy.

She knew member Amanda Brown and when they bumped into each other on the school run, she said she had joined her club.

We went for a coffee and Amanda was brilliant. She sent me texts and offered me so much support. I couldnt have got through it without her.

She went to her first Pink Ladies meeting during her chemotherapy last summer.
Mrs Horsepool is now back at work as an accounts assistant at Active Group and currently has three-monthly check-ups.

She is also hoping to have reconstructive surgery to replace the prosthesis she currently wears.

All you think at the time is that having your breast removed has saved your life, but as you get better you do start to miss it, she said.

GEP Article 1st March 2011

Back to previous page