I Found My Cancer Army

WOMAN'S OWN|December 02, 2019

I Found My Cancer Army
After a devastating diagnosis, Fiona Podmore, 41, discovered the true power of friendship
Kim Willis And Louise Baty

Holding the steaming mug of tea between my hands, I watched as my friends chatted and laughed together. It was just a simple meet-up at a local café – but as I looked at the group of women surrounding me, I felt so grateful to have each of them in my life. Despite not having known them for very long, they’d got me through one of the toughest times imaginable.

When I moved from London to Gloucestershire in October 2014, with my husband and our daughter Katie, then three, I didn’t know anyone. I was heavily pregnant with our second child and while my husband focused on work, I concentrated on finding a preschool for Katie. I was so busy just getting through each day and sorting the house that making friends had to take a back seat.

Martha arrived six days late at Gloucester Hospital on 12 November 2014. We were thrilled, but with Christmas approaching, seeing twinkling lights in shop windows reminded me just how far we were from our loved ones.

Desperate to meet new people, I took the girls to playgroups and grew friendly with Lucy and Kath. But it was hard being sociable when I was utterly exhausted. Martha had settled into a pattern of night waking, and rarely napped during the day. ‘Sorry, I got hardly any sleep last night,’ I’d have to tell my new friends, making excuses for not being very chatty, or missing lunch dates.

Petrified

Then a year later, in October 2015, I was breast-feeding Martha when I felt something in my left breast – a golf-ball-sized lump. Fearing the worst, I saw my GP who referred me to a breast clinic. ‘I’m sure it will be fine,’ my husband tried to reassure me. But I was petrified.

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December 02, 2019