Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

The Text Message That Saved My Life

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

The Text Message That Saved My Life

Article excerpt

A SIMPLE text message had extraordinary consequences for Nicola Ryder.

A monthly ping notification, something she had signed up to months earlier by chance, triggered an uncanny physical reaction.

"My phone went off," Nicola, 45, said. "As I reached over to get it I felt this awful pain in my breast. I realised I'd had the same pain on holiday in Mexico when I was lying on my front sunbathing.

"Ironically enough, the text message was actually a monthly reminder to check my breasts, something I'd signed up to a few months before. So I did the check and that's when I felt the lump.

"It came out of nowhere, I'd only been home a few days and before that I'd been in a bikini and putting sun cream on."

Finding that lump was the only the beginning of a difficult, but hugely important, journey for Nicola, from Bolton. The following day, she booked in to see her GP, who referred her for further tests.

"I didn't really think anything of it if I'm honest," she said. "But the more tests they did, the more worried I became. I kept thinking, I'm only 42, I'm too young for this. I was the fittest I'd ever been, I had a personal trainer and had lost weight." Several weeks later, Nicola's biopsy results confirmed her fears - she was diagnosed with Stage 3 triple negative breast cancer.

She began her treatment just over a month later and in that time the lump had grown so much it was visible through her clothing.

"It was so painful, every day I'd have to hold myself getting out of bed because of how much it hurt. But the day after my first treatment I could barely feel the lump, it was a huge relief to know it was working."

It was while undergoing chemotherapy doctors confirmed Nicola was a carrier of the BRCA1 gene mutation - which put her at high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer and of it returning.

It wasn't until Nicola spoke to her dad that she discovered that two of his cousins had had breast cancer and that one had died from ovarian cancer and that the gene could be passed paternally. …

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