Grace was one of the first consultant midwives in the UK when at 51 years of age she found a lump in her breast, two months after having her first routine mammogram. Her doctor was totally unconcerned as her mammogram was clear. Six months later the lump was still there, so she saw a second doctor who again was very dismissive. However, Grace asked for a referral to a specialist – which probably saved her life. She was so reassured by the two doctors that she went alone for the routine investigations and was stunned to be told she had cancer.
Being a senior midwife she knew that she had done everything right. There was no family history, she didn’t smoke, and breastfed her daughter, now aged 31. The worst thing for Grace during her yearlong treatment was losing her hair after having convinced herself that it wouldn’t happen. Then it grew back!! Before she was diagnosed she had been invited to speak at the first UAE Midwifery Conference in Dubai. At first she thought she would not be able to attend, but as she progressed through her treatment and continued to work she discussed the possibility with her oncologist – she laughed out loud but supported Grace’s decision and she spoke at the conference complete with wig!!
At the conference she was offered a post as the first Midwifery Specialist in Dubai. After discussing it with her husband and daughter she made the reactive and very uncharacteristic decision to take the post, moving to Dubai just months after finishing her treatment.
Three and a half years later she is in charge of the first UAE 18 month Midwifery course in Abu Dhabi, and is proud to have helped to graduate the first ever Emirate Midwives.
Breast cancer gave her the courage to change her life direction in a way she and Rob, her husband, would never have envisaged. They are happily engaged in their mid life adventure and have absolutely no regrets about their decision!!
Grace was waiting for her 5 year check up in August this year after a scare about bone secondaries when she saw the article about the Antarctica trip. She wants to use the opportunity not only to show women that there is life after cancer, but also to raise awareness about the importance of early detection and prove that following your instincts is vital!