Ever since getting diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, Rachael Bland, a 40-year-old mum and former BBC presenter, has been fighting the disease. After briefly going into remission, Rachael got the devastating news in April that the cancer was back — and this time it was incurable. In a blog she wrote for HuffPost, Rachael described the moment she was told she would not be able to beat the illness.
"My D-Day call, I jokingly refer to it as 'Death-Day,' came back in April, while I was out playing with my 3-year-old son, Freddie," she wrote. "Hearing those words ripped the air right out of my lungs and I had to lean against a wall to steady myself. Holding in the huge sobs I knew were coming, I just needed to get home and call my surgeon in peace with my husband Steve at my side. On the short journey back I wept and kept telling Freddie, 'I'm so sorry.'"
"I'm also planning and wrapping birthday presents which he can open between the ages of four and 21."
As soon as she heard the news, Rachael admitted her sense of denial immediately kicked in. She began looking into experimental treatment options — even though they were all long shots — in the hopes of seeing Freddie grow up.
"When you are in my position — knowingly approaching the end of your life at just 40 years old, with a husband you adore with all your heart and a 3-year-old son you love so much that if you looked at him too long your heart could burst — you need two major things to get you through. Hope. And denial."
She added that: "It is as a mother that I have to employ my strongest skills of denial. I'm too scared to ask the doctors how long I've got left — it would be a guesstimate number that would hang over me. So we make plans, knowing it's not very long."