A BATTLING mum who beat breast cancer today revealed how going on a diet saved her life.
Debbie Baines, 48, lost a stone and a half in just 12 weeks after vowing to get fit for the sake of her five grandchildren and signing up to a weight loss programme last year.
But after shedding the pounds, the nursery caretaker disovered a lump in her breast and just three days before Christmas she was given the devastating diagnosis that she faced a battle for her life against cancer.
Today, after gruelling treatment which led to the moment of “sheer relief” when she was given the all clear, Debbie told the Mail: “If I hadn’t decided to lose weight it might have been too late.
“Going on a diet saved my life.”
Debbie, who lives in the Rossmere area of Hartlepool with husband, David, 54, admitted she “cried uncontrollably” after the shock diagnosis last year.
She says she spent the Christmas and New Year period in a state of shock before starting a three-week course of chemotherapy at the University Hospital of Hartlepool in January.
“It all happened so quickly,” said Debbie, who a mum of David, 28, and Alan, 25, and is also grandmother of Lily, six, Reece and Nicole, both five, Alfie, four, and two-year-old Olivia.
“I decided I wanted to lose weight, I wanted to be able to get about more and do things, especially with my grandchildren.”
Debbie signed up to a fitness programme and lost one and a half stone in 12 weeks.
She improved her diet by cutting out carbohydrates and started enjoying more exercise such as water aerobics and Zumba.
But after discovering a lump, she went to the doctors to get it checked out and within weeks was given the heartbreaking news that she was suffering with breast cancer.
“I had tried to tell myself that it was going to be ok before my appointment but it was always in the back of my mind,” added Debbie, who is caretaker at Kiddikins Nursery, in Hindpool Close, in Hartlepool.
“But when they told me I was gobsmacked. I cried so much, I just couldn’t control myself.”
Debbie said the support of her family, friends and colleagues at the nursery was incredible, without which she said she doesn’t know if she would have beat the cancer.
“It is hard to stay positive but because of the response and support I have had off everybody it made it easier, they pulled me through.
“The kids at the nursery were brilliant as well. I tried to go in and see them whenever I was well enough and they always managed to put a smile on my face.”
After the gruelling treatment, Debbie was handed the news she had been waiting for last month, that the cancer was gone.
She now faces three weeks of precautionary radiotherapy at James Cook University Hospital, but she says the ordeal is now behind her.
“The difference between walking out of the hospital crying and sitting in the chair and being given the all clear is incredible,” added Debbie.
“It was such a good feeling, a feeling of sheer relief.”