Llanberis woman tells of cancer battle


Rhian Waller

A LLANBERIS woman has told how she faced losing her home after being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.

Freelance camerawoman Meinir Siencyn, aged 35, was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago and quickly put on chemotherapy.

She said: "My first worry was that it had spread anywhere, because my father died nine years ago after he developed cancer.

"Being self-employed, you don't get sick pay. I had a summer of jobs lined up and all of a sudden I was having to ask the medics if I'd be able to do them, and how soon the treatment would be over.

"I thought it might be a few months, but I was told it would probably take a year."
Initially, the extreme sports fan thought she could fight through the chemotherapy, which causes extreme nausea and fatigue in many patients, but she was forced to cancel upcoming jobs.

She said: "Even if you have good days, because of my job, I can't expect people to reschedule a shoot around me.

"And as soon as you start feeling better you're on to the next wave of treatment.”

"I went to the mortgage people and explained my circumstances and asked if I could go on to an interest-only payment, but they wouldn't budge.

"That really shook me. I was in a situation when I was worrying about paying the bills, let alone the mortgage. it's the last thing you need when you're ill."

Fortunately, MacMillan Cancer Support were on hand to talk Meinir through applying for a MacMillan grant and an Employment and Support Allowance.

Meinir praised the service offered by the cancer support charity, but even then, things were not were not easy.

Meinir was allowed just enough to help cover her part of the mortgage and also insure her partner on their car so he could drive her to hospital and back.

She was treated at Glan Clwyd Hospital and Ysbyty Gwynedd, and the gruelling treatment involved a lumpectomy, strong chemotherapy and a course of radiotherapy.

She said: "They really wanted to make sure they dealt with it because I'm young
"It has still been a struggle to get by financially, but the support was a life-line which enabled us to keep the house. It also made sure I could eat.

"The last thing you want to worry about when you're fighting an illness is money, but it is important.”

The camerawoman is now concentrating on getting her life back in order.

She said: "I have started working again this week, which is good. It's a great feeling to get back to it.

"I'm getting there. I still feel tired and my memory has been affected, and it will take a while to get over that, but I'm keeping positive."

To find out more about MacMillan Cancer Support, visit www.macmillan.org.uk or call 0808 808 00 00.


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