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Grace is hopeful her story will educate and encourage other women to speak freely.

I was diagnosed with gynaecological cancer in 2016 after having suffered symptoms for two years.

During that long and uncomfortable time, I had many appointments, was referred to several different hospitals and was prescribed many, many things to try to alleviate the problem but nothing worked.

One day things got so bad that I just didn’t know what to do any more. I called my friend who advised me to call 111. They, in turn, told me to go to a sexual health clinic. Initially I was so ashamed of myself having to go to that type of place at my time of life.

When I got there I was attended to quickly and saw a very kind young doctor. He did an investigation for all the possibilities and the results came back straight away. He said it was cancer. I immediately collapsed into tears.

He then wrote to my GP to tell him his findings. I was then referred to the North Middlesex hospital where they did a biopsy. A week later I went back for the result. I was anxious to know and being in there I just knew something bad was coming my way. When the doctor called me in he said, I’m sorry but this is what we have found. No-one could stop me crying. I was there for almost two hours before I felt able to drive my car back home.

It was while I was at the North Mid that they told me about The Nightingale and they gave me some leaflets. That was when I thought, I am facing reality now. This is real.

I have looked after people with cancer and worked with people who have cancer all my life so was angry when I was diagnosed. I felt like I wanted to commit suicide. I know the pain cancer patients go through and when I heard about this news about me, I thought I don’t want to live through this. Why can’t I take my life?

Fortunately for me, The Nightingale intervened. It was explained to me that my cancer doesn’t spread like others and they managed to calm my anxiety.

The staff have been fantastic and so supportive at every stage as well as being there for me morally and emotionally. With everything I have been through I have kept them informed. Everyone I’ve seen at The Nightingale have been fantastic and they alway asks how you are feeling, how you are doing. I couldn’t have asked for more.

Now I feel positive again. My family don’t live in this country but the ladies at The Nightingale have been like a family to me when I have needed it most.