Before I was diagnosed I had a really busy life. I was working part time, had two kids, was running a household. My husband’s a vet, and I’m a freelance journalist writing about health policy. So we had a lot going on.
I was diagnosed in early 2014. I’d had a period that simply wouldn’t stop and I had gone to my GP who checked me for menopause. I was then sent off for an ultrasound to see if it might be fibroids (benign tumours), and very quickly I saw a gynecologist. It was a complete bombshell when the consultant gynecologist said, 'I’m really sorry, you have cancer.'
Very early on after my diagnosis a film called Gravity came out. It’s a film about two astronauts who are in an accident in space. They are hurtling through space and every time they get a foothold or a hand on something that seems secure, it blows up again – and that is what I felt like. I felt like I was spinning through space and that every time I got my hands on what seemed like something secure, it blew up under me.
That feeling of being out of control and giving your life over to this is relatively easy in the immediate aftermath of the diagnosis. It’s when you've been lying on the sofa for nine months that it’s more difficult – because it takes so much longer than you might imagine at first. What really helps in that period when you are feeling very out of control is to keep busy. It quickly became apparent to me that I needed to give myself over to dealing with the immediate aftermath of the diagnosis and getting the treatment under way.
In October 2015, I had some really devastating news that the cancer had recurred. It was very, very difficult and a dark time for me personally. But I was able to post on the forum and say, 'I’ve had this really difficult news,' and again, within a few hours, I had responses from so many people saying how sorry they were and offering support. It felt like a sea of hands holding me up.
I made the decision to become an Online Community Champion, which means that I’m part of the group of people who make sure that everybody who comes on to the Community gets a response. We signpost people to the information on the main website, and to the groups where they might share their experiences and get the sort of support I did. As the 'womb cancer group', we even won a Macmillan Volunteer Award.
When Daloni received a late diagnosis of womb cancer, her life was suddenly turned upside-down. She felt that the time between diagnosis and treatment was particularly hard, but
found comfort in speaking to Online Community members. Later, she decided to give back to Macmillan by becoming a Community Champion herself.