Vicky Saynor, a 47-year-old luxury holiday accommodation owner, was diagnosed with breast cancer after finding a lump in her breast at Heathrow Airport in 2018.
She finished active treatment for her breast cancer in 2019. However, just a few months later, she experienced incredibly painful joints and declining mental health to the point where she “could not look after” her children.
Vicky “really struggled” to get doctors to listen to her and felt as though younger women were prioritized when discussing the fertility effects of cancer.
She was not told that early menopause, or medically-induced menopause, could happen to her.
After eventually trying hormone replacement therapy (HRT), Vicky’s mental and physical health improved, and she finally felt as though she got her “life back”.
Vicky said to her doctor, “If you don’t do something, my potential suicide is going to be on you because you will not listen to me.”
Vicky discovered she had breast cancer while waiting to board a flight with her husband Chris for their honeymoon to India.
She had a lumpectomy in December 2018, and in January 2019, she found out that the cancer was triple negative, and she needed chemotherapy and radiotherapy until November later that year.
Vicky was not informed of the impact of cancer and cancer treatment on the menopause or fertility.
Just four months after finishing all active treatment, lockdown struck, and Vicky almost instantly felt the toll on her mental and physical health.
She began to have issues with her period – when starting chemotherapy, they completely stopped, but in 2021 they came back. Her bleeding was so heavy that she bled all over the floor in Tesco.
Vicky “insisted” on being seen by her doctor and, after having some scans, they decided it was best to have surgery on her womb, as she had large fibroids and cysts, and doctors said that was probably why she was having such heavy periods.
At that point, Vicky asked them whether it could be the menopause, but they said no as she was too young for that.
After the operation, Vicky continued having heavy periods and painful joints. Her mental health was spiraling, and she was basically at the point where she felt suicidal.
She thought this was life after having a cancer diagnosis, and everybody’s focus was on her surviving it.
Vicky continued to think that she may be in the menopause and so wanted to try HRT to relieve some of her symptoms.
It was not until she visited a menopause-specific doctor at the end of 2021 that she found out it was, in fact, a medically-induced menopause.
After much back and forth, in January 2022, Vicky was prescribed a low dose of HRT. Within a week, she felt like she’d got her life back.
Her joint pain was the first thing that improved, which meant that she could then get out and walk the dog, which helped her mental health.
To anyone going through medically induced menopause, Vicky advised: “Follow your gut instinct and don’t be afraid to push back and keep trying for HRT.”