MoonWalk challenge for Oundle woman who beat breast cancer

After undergoing six rounds of chemotherapy and a double mastectomy, Kim has set herself the challenge of doing six positive things for her

Friday, 28th February 2020, 6:00 am

A science teacher will be taking part in London's MoonWalk exactly a year after getting the all-clear from breast cancer.

Kim Li-Lakkappa, 46, from Oundle, was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2018 and has undergone six rounds of chemotherapy and a double mastectomy.

Her successful treatment means she is now looking forward to taking part in The MoonWalk in London in May, one of six positive things that she's decided to do for herself.

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Kim Li-Lakkappa of Oundle

Here is Kim's story in her own words.

She said: "I was diagnosed with breast cancer on 19 November 2018.

"A few months earlier, my daughter had come home from school and was talking about a friend of hers who had found a lump in her breast at the age of just 16.

"That evening, I was lying in bed doing a self-examination of my own breasts when I found a lump on my left breast.

Kim Li-Lakkappa and her husband

"For some reason, I waited about three months before I told my husband.

"He is a doctor so he did an examination and we then followed up with my GP the next day.

"A week after my GP appointment I went to the breast clinic at my local hospital.

"I met a breast surgeon consultant who did an examination and said he was highly suspicious of the lump.

Kim Li-Lakkappa

"I had a mammogram, breast ultrasound and followed by a biopsy.

"To further make sure that the cancer hadn’t spread into the lymph nodes, I also had a CT scan done, which thankfully confirmed that the tumour was contained only in my left breast.

"The following week, I went back to the hospital where the consultant confirmed that I had a stage 2, Grade 3 triple negative breast cancer.

"The tumour was 23mm.

Kim Li-Lakkappa and her husband

"My aunt died from breast cancer at 49, 20 years ago.

"She’d had breast cancer for the first time when she was in her early 30s.

"My grandmother also died of cancer, but I don’t know what type as dad never talked about it.

"I had gene testing and received the results just before my breast cancer surgery, which confirmed I was BRCA 1 Positive.

"My treatment included six rounds of chemotherapy and a double mastectomy.

"As my tumour was triple negative, invasive and potentially carrying the BRCA1 gene, I was given strong advice to have a double mastectomy.

Kim Li-Lakkappa and her children

"After every two rounds of chemotherapy, I would have an ultrasound to monitor the state of the tumour.

"Luckily for me, the chemotherapy was shrinking the tumour significantly.

"The chemotherapy treatment took place between December 2018 and March 2019.

"Four weeks later on 1 May, I had three surgeries in one session, which included a double mastectomy, Salpingo-Oophorectomy (removing ovaries and fallopian tubes), and the removal of three lymph nodes.

"Throughout my treatment, I had tried to stay very healthy- mentally and physically.

"Exercising regularly really helped me – I walked every day, not always very far, but it was great to get the oxygen into my lungs and to clear my mind, especially as the side effects of the chemo seemed to get worse with each round of chemo.

"Losing my hair was the worst part of my cancer experience.

"I tried using a cold cap, but I didn’t continue after the second rounds as I had lost the majority of my hair.

"In my mind I thought I’d be going back to work at the end of May this year as I had a trip to Zanzibar that I was leading, but on reflection, that was a little optimistic.

"On 16 May this year, I was given the all clear and discharged by my consultant.

"This meant I didn’t need to have any radiotherapy treatments or anything further treatments.

"My husband and I just couldn’t believe it.

"We were thrilled to bits as we didn’t think it was going to be our last visit to the hospital.

"I have two teenage children, and at the time of my diagnosis, my daughter was in the final year of her GCSEs, and my son had recently been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

"Despite everything that was going on, my daughter did really well in her exams, and that summer we had three holidays to Portugal, Turkey and Vienna.

"We are really excited about doing The MoonWalk.

"We are doing the Full Moon and I am hoping that my two children will sign-up to take part too.

"I can’t wait for the big night, the atmosphere will be brilliant, with everyone taking part in the event for different reasons.

"The MoonWalk is very much a personal celebration with those close to me.

"Being a science teacher, I am very much looking forward to the Out of this World theme for The MoonWalk London 2020.

"I am looking forward to going back to work, but I am not going to return to teaching.

"I am applying for a role in a hospital which is related to supporting patients through their cancer treatment.

“As I had six rounds of chemotherapy, I have set myself the challenge of doing six positive things for myself.

"So far, I have taken part in the Macmillan Mighty Hike, I’ve held a cake sale, and third on the list is taking part in The MoonWalk London to raise money for Walk the Walk.

"I’m not sure what my final three challenges will be yet, but I am looking forward to setting them.”

The MoonWalk London raises money and awareness for breast cancer charity, Walk the Walk.

It takes place on Saturday, May 16, and there are 10 people in Kim's team so far.

The team, called 'From melons to pancakes,' includes Kim's husband, his colleagues and friends from university.

For more details go to https://walkthewalk.org/