A touching story unfolds as Kimberley Findeis-Sparkes, a young mother, shares her journey of being diagnosed with cancer while her mother, Wendie, was undergoing treatment for leukaemia. What initially appeared as stress-related symptoms was a sign of a dangerous tumour.
Kimberley, a 35-year-old single mother from Kent, was devastated when she received the news of a malignant mass in her body. Her immediate concern was for her two sons, Harley, 12, and Hugo, 10.
At the time, Kimberley was grappling with “stress” and “depression” while caring for her mother, Wendie, 61, who was undergoing cancer treatment. However, her health issues took a sinister turn.
It was only when she lost a significant amount of weight that Kimberley noticed a “huge” lump in her chest.
“When doctors told me I had breast cancer, I was so scared that I was going to leave my babies and never see them grow up,” Kimberley shared.
“I had been feeling stressed and tired for five months but put it down to watching my mum go through leukaemia and resigning from my job to care for her.
“One night, I was in bed suffering from severe acid reflux. I put my hand on my chest and rubbed it to try and soothe the burning sensation, and that was the moment I felt the lump. Had I not lost the weight and been so stressed, I don’t think I would have discovered it when I did.”
Terrified by the discovery, Kimberley promptly contacted her doctor, who arranged for specialist tests.
“I started planning out letters in my head that I would write to my sons so they had a letter to open on their birthday from me every year if I couldn’t be by their side,” she revealed.
Kimberley’s emotional turmoil ranged from shock to anger. She couldn’t fathom how she and her mother could be diagnosed with cancer simultaneously, compounding her family’s hardships.
Her mother, Wendie, focused on her recovery, and discussions about Kimberley’s cancer were limited. Kimberley sought comfort from other family members to avoid adding stress to her mother.
Kimberley was diagnosed with cancer and embarked on a challenging journey, including six rounds of chemotherapy. She is currently awaiting genetic testing to determine whether a single or double mastectomy is best.
The road has been difficult, with Kimberley experiencing numerous side effects from chemotherapy and losing her hair rapidly. She emphasized the emotional burden of handling difficult conversations with her sons, preparing them for her hair loss and challenging days during chemotherapy.
In addition to battling cancer, Kimberley is a full-time caregiver for her mother. Determined to raise awareness about breast cancer, especially among young women, she urged others not to hesitate to consult their GP and push for referrals.
“At only 35, I wouldn’t have dreamt of being diagnosed with it. Don’t hesitate to go to your GP and push for a referral. I am fortunate to have a wonderful and supportive GP. Still, I know not everyone may receive the same level of care,” Kimberley emphasized.
Despite the uncertainties of the future, Kimberley remains hopeful. During chemotherapy, she learned to drive in three weeks to enjoy life more with her sons.
As she navigates the challenges of cancer treatment while caring for her mother, Kimberley’s story serves as a poignant reminder to cherish loved ones and the moments of life, as health can change instantly. She looks forward to celebrating the day when she, her mother, and her boys can rejoice as cancer survivors in remission.
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