Name: Carole Pollard
Diagnosis: Stage 3, grade 3 HER2+ primary breast cancer diagnosed in December 2019. Bone mets diagnosed in February 2020 (likely there since diagnosis). Brain mets diagnosed in March 2021. Leptomeningeal disease diagnosed in April 2021.
Age at Diagnosis: 38
My name is Carole and I live in Manchester with my husband, Andy, and my tiny ginger cat, Flo.
In December 2019, on the day I ran the Valencia Marathon in Spain, I found a lump in my right breast. When I got back to England, I went to me GP who referred me to our local breast clinic. On 18 December 2019, I was diagnosed with primary breast cancer. Initial CT scans indicated that the cancer had not spread beyond my lymph nodes.
However, I kept complaining of ongoing back, rib and shoulder pain that was dismissed as running-related, despite the fact the marathon was by that point months earlier. I started chemo (docetaxol and carboplatin), alongside HER2+-specific immunotherapy drugs Herceptin and Perjeta.
After one session of chemo, a subsequent bone scan in February 2020 showed extensive bone mets throughout my skeleton, including my skull, sternum, right shoulder, left humeral shaft, spine (which was fractured in three places), ribs, pelvis, hips and left femur. At this point I started denosumab too to strengthen my bones.
In March 2021, I was diagnosed with a single, 3mm brain met. During the planning for targeted radiotherapy, leptomeningeal disease was diagnosed, and as a result, I had to undergo ten sessions of whole-brain radiotherapy instead of the targeted radiotherapy I was due to have.
I’m still experiencing a range of side effects from this nearly five months later. The prognosis of leptomeningeal disease is absolutely dire and that, as well as the lack of effective treatment for it is almost too hard to even think about.
Why you wanted to be involved with the MetUpUK campaign: I want the government and policy makers to be aware of MBC and how it devastates not only our lives, but also our families’ lives. We need more urgency to raise funds, create new and effective treatments and to distribute these fairly.
Public Facebook: Carole Louise