I have set up this supporter group in memory of the most amazing woman I have ever known, my mum, June Powell, who devastatingly died on 20th February 2016 aged 57. I want to share the story of her condition and how it progressed as the way she dealt with it sums up my mum’s character perfectly – a fighter who remains positive herself and encourages positivity in everyone around her, regardless of how bleak everything looks. She is the most inspiring person I have ever known and I am so proud she was my mum and my best friend.
Mum was diagnosed with brain cancer in January 2008. She had surgery to remove the tumour which was followed by radiotherapy and 18 months of chemotherapy. It was during her chemotherapy that she started running. She started by running around the living room in her slippers – an image I will never forget!! She knew that fitness was important to help cope with the gruelling treatment she had to have and she wanted to do everything in her power to give her the best chance of living. She changed to an anti-cancer diet and followed it rigidly. The treatment, the changes to diet and fitness and her positive attitude all helped as mum remained cancer free for 5 and a half years. She even decided to set up her own charity whilst she was recovering to help raise money for cancer research and arranged various events including fun runs which raised a lot of money. She actually ran the fun run herself whilst on chemo!!!
“I have set up this supporter group in memory of the most amazing woman I have ever known, my mum, June Powell, who devastatingly died on 20th February 2016 aged 57.
I want to share the story of her condition and how it progressed as the way she dealt with it sums up my mum’s character perfectly – a fighter who remains positive herself and encourages positivity in everyone around her, regardless of how bleak everything looks.”
In October 2013, we received the devastating news that the tumour had returned and it was inoperable. Mum restarted chemotherapy and continued to run 5k per day on her treadmill. This kept it at bay for six months but then she started to lose the feeling on her left side. She tried her hardest to continue to go on her treadmill, she refused to even let a broken foot stop her. Unfortunately as the tumour progressed, she became bedridden and we thought that the cancer had won – mum had other ideas! She persuaded her GP to arrange for physio to help her get the movement back – it worked! With a lot of hard work and perseverance, she got back on her feet and was able to walk again, although very tentatively. She wasn’t able to use the treadmill so she got Garry (my amazing stepdad) to buy her a pedal machine so she could sit on the sofa and still exercise – she did this for up to two hours at a time!
In January 2015 mum deteriorated rapidly and had to go in to hospital. The doctors said she only had about two weeks to live. I refused to let them tell her as I knew if they took away her hope, we would lose her very quickly – mum had always refused to talk about dying as, to her, that was not an option. I disagreed with the doctors prognosis and said ‘but you don’t know mum’. I was right. Two months later in April 2015, mum was transferred home. Although mum was completely bedridden, needed round the clock care, and couldn’t always express what she thought, you could see from her eyes how happy she was to be at home with her family around her. She improved whilst at home, became responsive, chatty and at times was back to her normal hilarious self. I loved the days that we had the old mum back. She never complained. We were able to get mum out of bed and into a chair. The physio said she would probably manage 30 minutes to start with – mum did 8 hours! We also put her in a wheelchair to take her out for a walk with the dog on a couple of occasions.
In February 2016, a year after we were told she had two weeks to live, mum deteriorated rapidly. She was unable to swallow food, drink or medicines. The thing I am most sad about is that for her last few weeks, mum was unable to speak.
Mum had never tired of telling us all how much she loved us all and how proud she was – she would even just stare at us – in her words ‘just because I love you’. She was so brave and fought hard right until the end. I still can’t believe she has gone. I always believed that her immense positivity would help her beat anything.
When she died, it was the hardest and most heartbreaking thing I have ever had to go through, but I know that seeing the strength that she approached everything with all through her life will help me through it. I love you mum and always will ❤️ xxx