Shola talks to us about her cancer diagnosis and how she was supported by Fiona Crowe, a Macmillan benefits adviser.
What was life like before your diagnosis?
‘It was fantastic, I had a great life. I was going to the gym about three to four times a week and was out most evenings just having fun.’
When did you first think something was wrong?
‘I had this horrendous chest pain and was having great difficulty breathing. I called the ambulance and they took me to the hospital where they ran tests.
‘When I got the results of my biopsy, the doctor and clinical nurse specialist sat me down and said, “Shola – you’ve got a thymoma.” I asked them to explain what it was and when they said it was cancer, I just felt numb.’
What was it like coming home after that?
‘I don’t have a family, I don’t have a partner, I don’t have children. So although I took a friend with me to get the results, I was coming home alone. I felt very, very scared. There were so many things that I wanted answered.’
And what happened about work?
‘I couldn’t work for many months. I was very concerned about my financial situation. But at the place where I had my chemotherapy, there was a Macmillan benefits adviser there called Fiona Crowe. I knocked on her door one day and asked for some support.’
How did Fiona help?
‘I felt so overwhelmed by the benefits system but Fiona helped me with my application. I probably wouldn’t have done this on my own. Her support was invaluable, she was very welcoming, she made me feel very relaxed and she took away a lot of the anxiety.’
As Shola’s story shows, cancer can be the loneliest place. At Macmillan, we want to make sure that no one faces cancer alone. Will you help us by donating?