A mum who lost two stones and thought her diet was going well was devastated to find out it was breast cancer making her shed weight.
Emma De Jonge, from Woodville was told the devastating news after finding a lump that felt like a "hard pea".
The 50-year-old knew she had to get checked when she felt the growth a second time straightening her hair.
She said: "I'd been on a diet and lost a considerable amount of weight.
"I thought I was doing really well on the diet, but I had cancer and that's why I was losing it.
"I was sat in bed when I first felt the lump brush on my arm.
"When I felt it again two weeks later, I thought I couldn't ignore it again and phoned the surgery for an emergency appointment."
Emma had a lumpectomy at the Burton Breast Care Clinic at Burton's Queen's Hospital just weeks after her diagnosis.
After bouts of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, she beat her cancer.
But she still had to deal with "looking over her shoulder" in fear it had returned.
She said: "If I had a sniffle I would immediately think the cancer had come back.
"I needed to find peace of mind rather than continually looking over my shoulder.
"That is when I started the first level of Reiki, which is about self-healing and and is purely for yourself."
In the two weeks between diagnosis and the operation, the cancer had gone from grade one to grade three and the lump she had first noticed had gone flat.
Emma, mum to Ellie, 27, and grandma to newborn Nathan, now counts her blessings she went for the appointment, as she was warned cancer can "change and hide".
She said: "With the chemotherapy I was very wired, I had stiff muscles and was on edge.
"It made me really sensitive to other people and gave me heightened senses.
"I didn't want to advertise that I was ill as I needed to deal with it myself.
"I'd tell someone not to saying anything, then would meet someone else and I could tell they knew.
"I was very lucky to have an anti-sickness drug and travel band, so rarely experienced sickness, but I did feel drained.
"I got things like mouth ulcers and my immune system was low.
"I couldn't have a takeaway or street food in case it wasn't cooked properly.
The chemo was followed by 25 rounds of radiotherapy.
Emma said: "Radiotherapy made me sleep and sleep properly. It was a really deep, fullfilling sleep.
"I have always needed all the lights off and no noise to fall asleep, but I found I could fall to sleep on a hair pin."
Emma said: "I fixated on losing my hair as I couldn't face the rest of it. I realised that I had to make cancer the focus.
"I tried the cold cap (which reduces blood flow to the scalp to prevent hair loss) to stop me losing my hair, but it was brutal and didn't work for me.
"I decided the best thing was to shave my hair off and get used to it.
"It was liberating, actually, as I had demonised it so much in my head that when I saw myself it was actually a nice surprise.
"I didn't look as bad as I thought I was going to. It felt like I was taking control."
Through her brutal treatment, Emma was given aromatherapy treatment at the hospital, which was funded through the Burton Breast Care Clinic.
She said: "I had a lady called Josie and we got talking.
"She said to me she was a breast cancer survivor.
"I had this petite, perfect-form lady performing this lovely treatment on me and I just thought 'look at her now'.
"For me, most of all it was that I was having therapy and it is skin on skin.
"The human touch is comforting and the oils help to give you balance and are uplifting."
It was this complementary therapy that inspired Mrs De Jonge to train and open her own business offering treatments in Woodville.
The Pixie Retreat, above Buckenham's Hair and Beauty, in High Street, offers Swedish massages, aromatherapy, reflexology, reiki and hopi ear candling.
Although she cannot offer these treatments yet to cancer patients, Emma is planning to do oncology training so she can do the same for others as Josie did for her.
The local charity Every Cloud organises treats for women fighting breast cancer - it can be contacted at everycloudcharity.co.uk
Originally posted here:
Mum thought diet was making her lose weight - but it was breast cancer - Derbyshire Live
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