Fighting a cancer battle and finding the strength within

Roisin Pelan
Roisin Pelan
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We welcome new columnist Roisin Pelan, who will be sharing her cancer journey.

I’m Roisin Pelan, I’m 36 and I live in Lea, Preston. I’m here to share my story of the worst blow someone could be dealt – incurable breast cancer. You’ll hopefully get to know me better as time goes on, so get comfy, make a cuppa and have a read...

I was originally diagnosed with breast cancer, aged 32, and at 34 weeks pregnant. I had a terrible pregnancy, feeling sick, exhausted, with acupuncture for sciatica and the icing on the cake – a 3.5cm lump in my left boob. What a whopper of a blow.

Read more: Sisters undergoing chemotherapy 11,000 miles apart launch ‘Feel the Boobs’ song to help reunite them and Roisin’s baby joy rocked by breast cancer torment


My hormones were bonkers and I went into melt down. What on earth was I going to do? Would I die? Would my little babe be harmed? How was I going to tell my poor mum and dad? My younger brother, Sean, had cancer at the age of 18, and I’d already seen the damage, the desperation and heartbreak it could cause, and now I had to put them through it all over again.

Fast forward two weeks and I was induced at 36 weeks pregnant and after a long slog of puffing and panting, crying and hoping, our little perfect human was born. My little Ivy Brown.
I didn’t know at this stage whether or not the cancer had spread, and I was just so desperate not to love my little babe. I didn’t know if I would have to leave her, if she’d even get to know me and I didn’t want her to depend on me if I wasn’t able to stay. But my heart exploded with that protective love for my little peach.
I just knew I would fight with every single part of me to be her mummy and protect and love her always.

Six days later, I had a mastectomy and I seethed with fear and desperation after the surgery. They’d given me medication to stop me producing milk so they could operate, and after the surgery, I looked down to see a neat little scar. I could see my rib cage and my heart beating; It was weird and at the time, I really did not care. I just wanted to be alive. Cut to three weeks later and we got the incredible news that it hadn’t spread. Almost four years passed, I had more surgeries, lots of checks, medication and then...

In January this year, the little rascal came back and this time it was advanced and they told me it was incurable. On my day of diagnosis, they asked me did I need any help with practical things? In my hysterical state, I asked what they meant and they said did I need any help making a will? I lost the plot, I grabbed at Michael’s jumper (and made a snotty mess of it – sorry Michael) I begged for it not to be true, I told them I had a four-year-old and she needed me, I couldn’t leave her, I just couldn’t. I asked them how long I had and they couldn’t answer.

I went home and lived in hell for a week, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t even be around Ivy because my heart just broke every time I looked at her little face, knowing I was going to have to break her heart and ruin her life. I wouldn’t wish this pain on my worst enemy, I truly wouldn’t.

Cut to 11 months later, I have done everything humanly possible to make sure I am here for my little girl. I’m doing a keto diet, lots of herbal things, a trial from London, I pushed for surgery, pushed for a second opinion at the Christie and pushed for more chemo. Now for the drumroll please – my latest PET scan showed NOTHING. My new incredible oncologist told me recently they were aiming for a second cure. That’s all I need, an ounce of hope and the right people fighting my corner and I feel like I can do anything.

I’ll be telling you all about the things I do to help kick its backside and, hopefully, this will open doors for others. Just that little drop of hope can create gallons of the stuff.

I’m delighted to be given the opportunity to write for you all and I’m looking forward to sharing my story with you. I hope it’ll give you strength when you need it, hope when you feel there’s none, company when you feel alone and the fire in your belly to fight through the storm to get to your rainbow.
Love, Roisin x