'I thought the doctors would tell me it was nothing, but it hit me like an avalanche'

A mum-of-three has described her cancer diagnosis as 'like an avalanche' since hearing the news in February. Three months ago, Stacey Gregson was enjoying a relaxing bath, when out of the blue, she experienced a "shooting pain" in her chest area. As the pain took her by surprise, the 39-year-old from Nelson says she grabbed herself and noticed a hard lump in her breast.

"I remember, I got really dizzy and got out of the bath and I was just like, wow," Stacey told LancsLive. "I went to the doctors and I remember thinking, they're going to tell me it's nothing, it's hormonal or something."

She added: "It was tiny [the lump] I don't really know how I even felt it to be honest. You know your own body and I knew then what it was.


"Everyone was saying, it will be nothing but I said, you don't get lumps there for nothing. It's just one of those isn't it?" Stacey visited her local doctors over a week after first noticing the lump and was seen a couple of days later.

The mum-of-three was told it was unlikely to be anything sinister due to her young age and good health, but more tests would be conducted if anything was found. From there, Stacey says "everything happened so fast" and she underwent a mammogram, a tomosynthesis, a scan of her lymph nodes and a series of biopsies.

After receiving her results, Stacey was diagnosed with breast cancer - news she certainly wasn't expecting as aside from tiredness, Stacey hadn't experienced any symptoms. The mum added: "It's just snowballed, it's been like an avalanche for me.

"They said it's cancer and they see you fairly regularly on a Wednesday, so I went back for my MRI results and they said another area has shown up and we need more biopsies. I said for god's sake, I'm still sore for my last biopsies because it's like a needle through the tumour.

"I had more biopsies and they got me back two weeks later and said they found a second area of cancer, but they were pretty confident they could sort it." Stacey underwent surgery to remove the secondary cancer, but her results from this took a little longer than expected.

Returning to the hospital last week, the mum was told the cancer had been removed from her breast but unfortunately, had spread to her lymph nodes." They said we can't rule out it's nowhere else in your body," Stacey said.

"They also said there's no test on this land that can show us that. Obviously I'd been for an MRI, ultrasound on my lymph nodes and all those tests showed my lymph nodes were fine."

Sitting down to hear the news, Stacey made it clear to medical professionals she didn't want to go ahead with chemotherapy due to the likelihood of losing her hair. Having long hair her whole life, she's recently grown it to reach her bum, but could face losing it all with treatment.

The mum added: "I know it sounds really vain, but I've got kids at home and I didn't want them to see me poorly. I'm putting on a brave face at the minute and it's going to be bad enough them watching me go through chemo."

Stacey will undergo surgery on Thursday (May 16) and receive the results three weeks later. A week after that, she'll then be looking at starting her course of chemotherapy.

As Stacey puts on a brave face to prepare for the upcoming months, she says the "uncertainty" of her journey is the worst part. "They've basically said in the next five years, make memories," Stacey recalls of a conversation with medics.

"It's not certain it's gone anywhere else but they're basically saying, just go and live your life. We don't know what's around the corner."

Stacey was told she could wear a cold cap for the upcoming chemotherapy, but her hair may be patchy as a result. Determined to turn the situation in to a positive and regain control, she's decided to shave her hair off on June 8 and donate her long locks to Make-A-Wish Foundation UK.

In advance of doing this, Stacey has set up a JustGiving page with all proceeds going to the charity, supporting thousands of critically-ill children across the country.