Nicky Hewitt recently celebrated her 40th birthday happily with her family and friends. All thanks to her boyfriend Ben Brewer, who found a lump in her breast as the pair were cuddling.
The pair had started dating each other in December 2015. Nine months after meeting on Tinder, Ben found the lump.
French teacher Nicky said: “I will never forget the night, back in 2016, when he found the lump.
“I was lying in my bra and pajama bottoms one Friday night at his house, just after we’d started seeing each other and he gave me a cuddle while watching telly.
“He noticed the lump and told me straight away – then it all unraveled from there.
“If he hadn’t have been so worried about it, I might not have survived to turn 40.”
Nicky went to see her GP within a couple of days and he referred her for a breast screening at St Albans’ City Hospital in Hertfordshire, where she was examined before having a mammogram and an ultrasound scan.
Nicky said: “The sonographer kept going over the same spot with the ultrasound and that’s when I started to panic. The consultant told me they had found calcium deposits in my breast and wanted to run a biopsy.
“The day after my hospital visit I was back at work but, for the first time in my career, I walked out of the classroom, as it was all too much to bear.”
Nicky’s biopsy report proved that the 6cm tumor in her right breast was cancerous. She was advised she would need a mastectomy to remove it.
She said: “They couldn’t tell me what had caused it and the doctor was very honest, telling me it was just ‘s**t luck’.
“When my consultant told me the date for the operation, my first response was, ‘Sorry, I can’t do that – my class have their first oral exam.’
“She turned to me and said, ‘I don’t think you understand – we need to move as quickly as possible.'”
Nicky was scared of the three-hour operation, which also included full breast reconstruction. A week later she went to see her oncologist and he told her cancer had been detected in her lymph nodes. It means it was classed as stage two.
She then agreed for the chemotherapy. She knew that it would put her into early menopause and cause hair loss. It also prompted her to freeze 14 eggs and wear a cold cap.
She completed her three-month chemotherapy course and subsequent hormone therapy treatment. Nicky is completely fine now and doing well. Doctors told her that there was no evidence of cancer at her most recent check-up in October last year.
What’s more, her relationship with Ben has gone from strength to strength, with the senior manager at London Heathrow staying by her side ever since he first found the ominous lump.
Nicky said: “He’s put up with such a lot. Me losing a breast, going through fertility treatment, worrying about losing my hair and now going through early menopause with my hormone therapy.
“He’s such a positive person and that’s so good for me and he’s taken it all in his stride.
“I know if I hadn’t met him I wouldn’t have gone to the doctors when I did and, by the time I’d noticed a lump, it could have been too late.”
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