Former nurse went from healthy to having stage four cancer in two weeks
PUBLISHED: 07:45 24 October 2019 | UPDATED: 13:22 24 October 2019
A retired nurse who is living with stage four breast cancer has shared the importance of staying positive and knowing support if there if she needs it.
Fee Sharples, 64, from Hardingham, near Wymondham, was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer almost five years ago after she discovered a lump in her breast.
She initially thought the lump might be down to hormones, and tests showed she was right, but the scans also detected an abnormality in her other breast, which did turn out to be cancerous.
Mrs Sharples said the diagnosis came as a shock.
"I went from a 'normal life' to stage four in two weeks, and that was difficult.
"I have always been an incredibly well person, with a strong immune system. Having not experienced any symptoms, it was understandably a shock for everyone."
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Mrs Sharples was then referred to a surgeon and biopsy results revealed the cancer had spread to her lymph glands, bones and abdomen.
Since her diagnosis Mrs Sharples' cancer markers have increased year on year but despite this she has not had any symptoms, she said: "Strange as it sounds, I go days forgetting I have cancer. I think it's because I am a very positive person. If you're lucky enough to be like that, it will do a huge amount for you."
She said her support network of family and friends had been key to helping her through the last five years: "I used to try to protect my family, and friends, from the situation but that made them cross. So we talk about it now.
"In fact, we talk a lot, we're open and honest and that's really helped us all. It makes it easier for other people too," she said.
Mrs Sharples, who recently met with one of the Big C's breast cancer specialist nurses at the charity's centre at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital said it was good to know the Big C offered support in a non-clinical environment.
"I have been extremely lucky during my cancer diagnosis but what felt particularly reassuring was to know Big C was there if and when I need any support.
"None of us thought I'd still be here and I'm going to keep a positive mindset that my health continues to do well. I'm not in denial, I just live every day and make the most of every day," she said.