Mum's thanks to 'amazing' Royal Derby Hospital staff after cancer all-clear

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A mum of two has told of the "amazing" help she had from Royal Derby Hospital after being given the all-clear following a battle with cancer.

Nichola Tatlow said they helped her explain the difficult subject of breast cancer to her children and were always available to help and speak to her throughout chemotherapy and the hair loss that followed.

Now - although she is still on medication - doctors have told Nichola that she is clear of cancer and she has held a big fundraising evening for the hospital's Combined Day Unit to say thank you.

That was the place where Nichola had to endure the toughest part of her treatment, six rounds of chemotherapy, but she is also thankful to the staff behind her two operations and radiotherapy.

As with any cancer patient, it was tough right from the time she found a lump in her armpit after coming home from a wedding anniversary trip with husband Colin in July 2014.

Nichola Tatlow wearing a cold cap which can help to preserve hair during chemotherapy

Nichola Tatlow wearing a cold cap which can help to preserve hair during chemotherapy

She said: "My doctors sent me to the breast unit and it only took two or three days for me to be called back in to get my results. You have family, friends who have had cancer but you never think it will happen to you.

"With my age at the time, 38, it was a shock because it's young compared to a lot of people that get breast cancer. I was the youngest in the waiting room.

"I told family members that night but, with the children, it was August, during the school holidays. We waited because we wanted to know exactly what we were dealing with."

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Nichola and Colin sat down with Ellie, then 10, and Harvey, then six, to explain what was happening.

Nichola, of Littleover, said: "We explained to them in terms that children could understand. That just sort of sat and looked at us, as kids do. My daughter said 'You're not going to die are you mummy?' I said 'I am not'.

"But I did wonder what was going through their heads."

Nichola Tatlow with husband Colin, daughter Ellie, 10, and son Harvey, six.

Nichola Tatlow with husband Colin, daughter Ellie, 10, and son Harvey, six.

She said the hospital gave a her a specially written book for children called Mummy's Lump to help her son and daughter understand.

Nichola said: "I've still got it. It's got easy illustrations that explain the treatment to young children."

She said the thought of losing her hair during chemotherapy was her "main concern".

But Nichola said the nurses in the Combined Day Unit helped put her mind at ease.

She said: "They told me that, for a lot of women, it's the first thing they think and worry about. They suggested places I could get a wig.

"My friend had cancer and she shaved her hair off but I couldn't do that. I ended up with a wig which looked very similar to my own hair. I didn't want to look poorly."

Nichola said the hospital staff were fantastic throughout her treatment. She said: "There was always someone to talk to - whether it be someone at the other end of a phone or a nurse while I was having a blood test.

"That wasn't just medical advice they wanted to know how I was, how I was coping."

Nichola Tatlow raised £2,800 for the Combined Day Unit at Royal Derby Hospital

Nichola Tatlow raised £2,800 for the Combined Day Unit at Royal Derby Hospital

Doctors said they were sure she was cancer free in April 2015 and, last month, she held her charity night for the Combined Day Unit where she had chemotherapy.

The charity disco and raffle evening at Littleover Social Club raised an impressive £2,800 with prizes including a signed Derby County shirt.

Nichola said: "I'm honoured and feel very lucky I've got such great family and friends around me who have supported me through the last three years and especially at my charity night. I can't thank everyone enough."