- Healthy living
- Real lives
- Your questions
- Good food
Trisha Goddard: My breast cancer diagnosis
Trisha Goddard: My breast cancer diagnosis
Talk show host Trisha Goddard reveals how running helped her through treatment for breast cancer and why cooking shepherd’s pie made her feel normal.
As the models took to the stage for the Breast Cancer Care fashion show in October 2012, one of them was no stranger to the spotlight. Having presented talk shows for many years, Trisha Goddard should be more comfortable than most with having a room full of people watch her every move. But this, she says, is far from the case.
‘Everyone keeps saying to me “You’re all right, you’re used to being in front of people,” but this is totally different. When I’m interviewing people I’m thinking about the person I’m interviewing and thinking of it technically. I once introduced a concert with Nelson Mandela, in front of 40,000 people, and friends say to me “Oh, you’ve done that, you’ll be fine.” But all I could see were lights and I was more interested in the fact I was interviewing Nelson Mandela and meeting him. Walking alone along the catwalk is a different thing altogether.’
'Running helped me cope with breast cancer'
Trisha was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 after a visit to the hospital for an x-ray on a running injury. ‘The lady doing the x-ray asked me if I’d been for an x-ray before’, says Trisha. ‘I said “A mammogram; does that count?” She asked when it was and I couldn’t remember so she looked it up and said, “2001. Due for another one.” She booked me in and things went pretty quickly from then. So thank God for running.’
But it’s not just the diagnosis that Trisha says she owes to her love of running. Lacing up her trainers and getting out into the fresh air is something that has helped her to deal with the physical and emotional effects of her treatment.
‘I went running every day, even if I just staggered for an hour or so. Even if I didn’t feel like doing it. First thing I did when I got out of bed was put my running gear on so it wasn’t a question of not feeling like it. Nine times out of ten I did not feel like it but I knew at 17–20 minutes that I’d get that kick. So I thought “What’s 17 minutes?”
‘The only time I didn’t run was after my second operation and I was going mad – I was looking outside dreaming of running. Honestly, I could not have got through treatment without it.’
Friends and family
Trisha also says she owes a lot to the support of her friends and family. And though her family were looking after her, she was also determined to continue looking after them.
‘I always said to my husband, “I’d rather I go through this than you.” I think a lot of women are like that. You absolutely don’t just switch off being mother protector.
‘I still made sure I did the shopping and cooking. I’m a vegetarian anyway but the smell of meat was just horrific for me during treatment. My family loves my shepherd’s pie, but that meant I had to fry meat. I had to sit outside the back door while it was cooking. It sounds over the top but to see them enjoying my shepherd’s pie – that was being normal. When I look back I think, “Why didn’t I just buy a ready meal?” But it was important to me.’
Wanting to protect those close to her meant not always sharing with them how she was really feeling. So, for Trisha, it was important to have another outlet to talk about her feelings, such as the Breast Cancer Care Helpline.
‘There’s a lot of stuff you can’t say to your partner and family. You just can’t tell them everything you’re feeling. It’s either because you know they won’t understand or because you don’t want them to go through the worst with you. I do believe that there’s some other area that you have to take stuff.’
Like for many people who have had breast cancer, the end of treatment didn’t mean life could go back to normal. She says: ‘If people think you’re going to have the last treatment and that will be it, it’s not. There’s always going to be that doubt. Some stupid newspaper report on a “Pill to cure breast cancer” – you think you’re over it but you’re reading every line. It never goes away, but as long as you’re aware of that, you can be kind to yourself.
Trisha took to the catwalk in October 2012 with 23 other models for the Breast Cancer Care London fashion show. Take a look at the video of them in action.
Content last reviewed 2014; next planned review 2016
People often say that having breast cancer is life-changing. What best describes your experience?