Derry woman Stephanie McKeever, who now lives in Leeds, was diagnosed with breast cancer just over two weeks ago on 12th August, 2014.
And next weekend she will be at home in Derry taking part in the huge charity slide down Shipquay Street in aid of Cancer Research UK.
Speaking this week she said, “I cannot wait to take part. ‘Slide On’ is a really positive way of raising much needed funds for the charity, and as I’m in-between chemotherapy sessions I thought I could fly back and do it.”
Aged just 28 Stephanie also has a young daughter Caomihe, aged two, and it’s her that keeps Stephanie focussed.
She said, “Caoimhe keeps me going, most definitely, and my partner Dean has been great. There were a lot of tears initially but I’m so glad it has been caught early.”
“I have been given a treatment plan that includes chemotherapy, surgery and then radiotherapy which will take place over the next year. It’s a long road ahead but I’ve got my head around it.”
Talking about the tumour Stephanie said, “I don’t normally check my breasts but I was half asleep one morning and it was almost like I was dreaming when I noticed it. Once I was awake properly I definitely felt a lump and immediately went to my doctors. They weren’t too concerned but sent me to the breast clinic just to be on the safe side.
“After a check-up, mammogram and needle biopsy the cancer clinic said the lump seemed ‘suspicious’ and booked me in for a week later so they could examine the results better.
“I couldn’t wait the week, it was a huge cloud hanging over me, so I rang two days later and assured the breast cancer nurse that I wanted the news early, even if it meant her telling me over the phone,
“She then confirmed that the lymph nodes were showing signs of cancer and the lump was most likely to be a tumour. The scheduled appointment the next week also confirmed the lump was a three centimetre tumour.”
Upbeat and positive, Stephanie is still at work as a pharmacy technician three days a week, and is taking each day as it comes.
“My first chemotherapy session was last week and I was petrified going in but I wasn’t too sick afterwards and I haven’t lost any hair yet which is good.”
Stephanie is also hoping that the ‘Slide On’ event will make it to her adopted home of Leeds in the future.
“All of my friends here think it’s a great idea and it would be amazing to see it travelling around.
“I’ve tweeted my local newspapers, MP and council to see if they could get involved and hopefully the Cancer Research UK team could make it happen!
“But in the meantime I’m really looking forward to getting home next month and sliding down Shipquay Street. I’m really close to my granny so I can’t wait to see her too. She’ll think I’m mad but it is all for a good cause.
“I’m just living for now.”