In March 2016, Nicola Dunne and her husband Robbie were one month away from the birth of their second child when Nicola was diagnosed with breast cancer. She found a growth in her right breast which she brought to the attention of her GP and was quickly referred to Beaumont Hospital’s Breast Clinic.
Nicola says, “I had convinced myself that what I felt was pregnancy related and I wasn’t concerned. I had no familial history, I was 36, fit and was feeling reasonably well, albeit a little tired given I was in the third trimester of pregnancy”.
Everything changed in a moment when Nicola and her husband received news that what she had been feeling was a cancerous tumour. As the diagnosis was explained to her, Nicola remembers feeling shock, disbelief and then terror as she thought of her new baby and her 18 month old daughter at home.
Nicola recalls, the multi-disciplinary team had discussed a treatment plan for her which immediately kicked into place following the delivery of the couple’s baby son in April. Shortly afterwards she underwent surgery for a mastectomy followed by chemotherapy.
It has not been all plain sailing for Nicola who experienced a local recurrence of breast cancer in January 2018, which she describes a being a major setback. However, Nicola recounts, “Again the team in Beaumont were there for me and I was given the full regimen of care and attention”.
Fast forward to the present dayand Nicola is feeling well, enjoying family life and is back at work as a lawyer in a busy legal department. Her experience has given her a newly found appreciation for life and a respect for her health. She credits the staff at Beaumont Hospital for their care and dedication to patient care.
Nicola is thanking Anne Staunton, Breast Nurse Specialist.
“Anne was there when I needed her, saying the right things, rationalising my fears, helping me to be practical and to take each day as it came. I am naturally inclined to seek out all the facts and research as much information as I can find (often times this is not beneficial and well beyond my knowledge!). I trust Anne because I know she has so much experience and she genuinely cares. She has been a phenomenal support to me, and I am not sure how I would have gotten through all of it without her”.
What is special about Anne is that notwithstanding her ever-increasing number of patients, she always had time for me and never made me feel like I was a burden. She is so supportive and ready to help and by nature is a smiling, cheerful, positive person – which are wonderful qualities for someone working in such a serious and sensitive discipline. I can’t thank Anne enough – it takes a special kind of person to show that level of care and dedication and Anne deserves recognition for that” says Nicola.