Friday 23 August 2019

Victoria Derbyshire 'low and disconsolate' after chemotherapy

Victoria Derbyshire during her first chemotherapy session (BBC/PA)
Victoria Derbyshire during her first chemotherapy session (BBC/PA)
Victoria Derbyshire has been recording a video diary about her cancer treatment

BBC presenter Victoria Derbyshire revealed she felt "low and disconsolate", as she underwent her first cycle of chemotherapy.

The 47-year-old journalist will have five further sessions of chemotherapy over the coming months, followed by radiotherapy, after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in July. She had a mastectomy in September.

In a video diary, which aired on her BBC2 show, Derbyshire admitted she had "a fear of the unknown" as she sat in a hospital bed, wearing a cold cap, on November 4.

"While the drugs were pushed into me, it felt absolutely alright. What does feel weird to me is the cold cap and the temperature, which is freezing obviously, and that has given me a headache. It makes me feel sleepy and dozy," she said.

She added: "In the build up to this first session of chemotherapy, I have been feeling quite vexed and anxious and apprehensive, because it's a fear of the unknown. How is it going to affect me?"

Derbyshire, who is due back on air on Thursday before her second chemotherapy session, described becoming "increasingly queasy and drained" following the treatment, spending the next 48 hours in bed, before adding she was glad to get the first cycle "under my belt".

She also revealed the cold cap was the worst part of the session because it reminded her of "a hangover".

The journalist, who decided to record the video diary to open up on some of the procedures and treatment for cancer, was next filmed on November 6, taking a walk with her dog, where she admitted to feeling "lethargic, with no motivation to do anything" for the past day and a half.

"I'm under no illusions. I know as chemo goes on, things will get a little bit worse but so far, so good," she added.

Derbyshire admitted the chemotherapy has taken its toll on her as the days go on.

On November 10, the presenter admitted: "It's been six days since the first chemotherapy session and the way it has just drained my body has made feel a bit low. You can feel alert and normal for a couple of hours, and then suddenly, this wave of tiredness just hits you and you just have to go to bed.

"I have to say, that makes me feel disconsolate," she said, before adding: "There are five more sessions to go, and this time will pass, and that is something for me to hold on to."

Derbyshire's frank and open admission about her cancer has won her praise on Twitter, with Raz Shaw posting: " bravery is embracing the scary situation you find yourself in. @vicderbyshire is brave and honest & raw & inspiring."

Tim Stevens called her "very inspiring," while Maureen Parkin described her as a "wonderfully strong lady".

Samia al Qadhi from Breast Cancer Care, applauded Derbyshire for speaking out about her experience.

She said: "We welcome Victoria's brave decision to speak so publicly about her treatment for breast cancer. Her comments will resonate with many women and highlight the issues many face as they go through chemotherapy.

"Emotionally women deal with treatment very differently. Some are open like Victoria, whereas others prefer to be more private. It just depends what's right for them. Breast cancer treatment also affects people in different ways. Some experience very few side effects while others find treatment difficult."

PA Media

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