Having been diagnosed with breast cancer at the end of July, BBC presenter Victoria Derbyshire has now undergone a mastectomy and has thanked NHS staff, saying, “I feel alright, I can't believe it”.
Derbyshire made a video diary from her hospital bed documenting her treatment and is sharing her personal experience in the hope of proving that cancer can sometimes be “manageable”.
In the video, posted on her Facebook page, she explained she'd discovered having a mastectomy “is totally doable. I didn't know those things until I got cancer. And that's what I want to tell people.
“I know everyone's different when they're diagnosed – every cancer is different, everyone has a different experience, but that's mine and I hope you don't mind me sharing it with you”.
First holding up a sign reading, “Hi, this morning I had breast cancer”, the presenter then reveals another reading, “This evening I don't”, and thanked the “awesome” hospital staff treating her: “I am completely in awe of them. They are so inspiring and so caring and I feel so grateful to them.”
Derbyshire, 47, was diagnosed with lobular breast cancer, which is when cancer starts in the lobes and has spread to surrounding tissue. She underwent the mastectomy on 24 September in a Surrey hospital, and will have radiotherapy and chemotherapy in the next few months.
She explains that she hopes being open about her treatment will take some of the perceived power away from the disease.
“The word cancer has such a chilling effect on people, me included, but I've learned over the past few weeks that this illness doesn't have to be elevated to some uber-powerful status,” she said. “It's simply an illness that the NHS treat with expertise and care [...]
“Everyone who's diagnosed with cancer, I've learned, has a different story, a different experience and a different way of approaching it. I, for what it's worth, don't feel like I'm battling cancer, I don't feel that I'm fighting cancer, I am simply being treated for cancer.”
On painkillers following the procedure, Derbyshire described the “slightly frustrating” after effects, but insisted, “It's not the end of the world, it's really not.”
“It feels like someone has punched me in the right-hand side [...] I couldn't lift a book, or a laptop, I can't hold a shower head to wash my hair or use my right hand to brush my teeth.”
She added: “I feel really positive, I've got no reason not to feel positive. My overriding emotion is that I have to make sure that this cancer doesn't come back.”
Watch the video below.
Images: Rex Features / facebook.com/victoriaderbyshire