The moving story of the doctor who planned her own funeral - only to fight back and survive cancer

Dr Baker during treatment

In hospital

Dr Baker now

First published in News

A BRAVE mum of two has written a moving account of her battle to beat cancer.

Dr Sarah Baker, of Michigan Place, Chapelford, first wrote the blog as a coping mechanism following her diagnosis of stage III adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus on June 20, 2013.

But, by documenting her intensely personal journey online, it was also a way of keeping her loved ones informed and avoiding the inevitable questions.

The 55-year-old said: “I was inundated with phone calls and people wanting to know how I was getting on.

“There were so many people supporting me and praying for me. We just couldn’t keep up with telling people.

“So I thought the easiest thing to do was to write about it. It also helped me work stuff through in my head.”

The candid entries also enabled Sarah to push cancer to one side as best she could and try and find some sense of normality during the difficult times.

“If I met up with people they didn’t have to ask me how I was.

“They knew because they had read the blog. We could just move on. It took the focus off it,” she said.

“We actually banned the ‘how are you question’”, remembered Sarah. “I just said don’t ask. I felt crap so what’s the point in asking.”

But the blog quickly grew with people who Sarah had never met before finding solace in her positive yet honest account.

“There was quite a daisy chain of people reading it which I didn’t expect.

“It was just meant for my family and close friends but the side effect that other people have found the blog helpful is really lovely,” she said.

Sarah, who has recently retired from her job as chief clinical officer at NHS Warrington CCG, has shared some of her most personal and honest entries from the blog with the Warrington Guardian.

In the first of this two part series, Sarah shares snapshots of her journey to beat cancer.

To read Sarah’s blog in full visit sarahbakercouk.tumblr.com.

Life before cancer

I used to joke I expected to live to be 100. I followed the best advice on health and diet and my family on both sides regularly live into their late 80s with no cancer of any sort anywhere.

On the diagnosis

I bought waterproof mascara. I went shopping with a friend for new PJs, dressing gown and slippers. I bought candles, vases and flowers and new bedding, so if any GP colleagues did a home visit my bedroom was presentable. I checked my life insurance, will, and planned my funeral.

On chemo

Chemotherapy left me feeling like I was operating in a fog. I lost confidence in my thoughts and judgements. My balance went to pot and my spatial awareness was dreadful. I didn’t recognise the person looking back at me in the mirror.

On life with cancer

I resented the twenty years of life I should have had, and all the things you thought were in the future, but now were probably not. I could feel my tumour crouched insidiously inside my stomach – and I wanted it out.

On the news they had been praying for

In December, I had the results from the operation. My husband Peter and I were told: “The histologist could not find any tumour or cancerous cells. It could not be any better. Consider yourself as cured.”

We were jumping for joy, weeping with relief, giving thanks to God. There were weeks and months of recovery ahead but I had my life back.

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