Teacher's Breast Cancer Spotted By New Boyfriend As They Cuddled On Sofa
Nicky Hewitt recently celebrated her 40th birthday in good health, surrounded by family and friends - but it could have been very different if it hadn't been for her boyfriend Ben Brewer, who found a lump in her breast as the pair were cuddling.
The pair had only just started dating in December 2015, some nine months after matching on Tinder, when 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 pyjama 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 unravelled 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 results confirmed that the 6cm tumour in her right breast was cancerous and 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 terrified ahead of the three-hour operation, which also included a full breast reconstruction, but this wasn't the end of it, as a week later when she went to see her oncologist he told her cancer had been detected in her lymph nodes, meaning it was classed as stage two.
She then agreed to chemotherapy, knowing it would put her into early menopause and cause hair loss - prompting her to freeze 14 eggs and wear a cold cap.
After completing her three-month chemotherapy course and subsequent hormone therapy treatment, Nicky is now doing well and was told 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."
Featured Image Credit: PA Real Life