Five-stone weight loss was lifesaver for super-slimmer - Yorkshire Post

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Losing five stone has not just improved Joanne Jackson's health – it helped doctors spot that she had cancer.

She survived breast cancer but doctors told her if she had not lost weight so dramatically they might not have been able to save her life.

Mrs Jackson, 40, piled on the pounds when she began comfort eating after she had suffered four miscarriages.

When she tipped the scales at 15st 4lb, the mother of two finally decided she needed help. The decision which undoubtedly saved her life, as otherwise she would have been unaware of a cancerous lump had she not dropped from a 40HH bra cup size to a 30C.

Mrs Jackson, of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, who went from a size 22 to a size 10, said: "I'm so thankful I'd lost weight. The doctor told me had I not lost weight I wouldn't have found the lump until much later when it could have been too late to do anything.

"I met my husband Andrew in 2004, and in 2005 we decided to try for a baby. I got pregnant straight away but miscarried at nine weeks.

"I was upset but I was determined to try for another baby. I fell pregnant again at Christmas in 2005.

"I went for a scan and I'd miscarried again at nine weeks. I was devastated, I'd done everything I should have, I stopped smoking but it made no difference.

"I turned to the one thing that was constant and that was food."

Mrs Jackson would often eat a loaf of bread a day or get through a box of chocolates with little thought. Her weight increased and she was surprised in May 2006 to discover she was pregnant.

This time it was good news as she gave birth to second son Evan, now four. But throughout the pregnancy she continued to eat a lot.

In 2008, the couple decided to add to their family, but Mrs Jackson miscarried two more pregnancies in the early stages.

"I told myself I'd never go through it again, I hated my body because it wouldn't keep a baby – and I still turned to food," she said.

Doctors told Mrs Jackson she had an elevated immune system which meant it treated the foetus like a foreign body.

At dress size 22 and weighing 15st 4lb, she joined Slimming World in April 2009, and dropped four-and-a-half stone in her first year.

She said: "I was absolutely thrilled with my weight loss, my self-confidence was restored and I was learning to love my body again.

"My weight dropped to 10st 5lb and my bra size went from 40HH to 30C."

Mrs Jackson continued to lose weight and thought there might be light at the end of the tunnel, but after being made redundant from Kirklees Council, she was at home on the sofa when she felt a lump in May this year.

Doctors found three types of cancer in her left breast, two of which were invasive.

Mrs Jackson, also mother to 18-year-old Connah, said: "I had a choice to make, have a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. There was no debating it, I had a mastectomy.

"I thought there could be every chance it would come back and I didn't want that."

Just one week after having the mastectomy on June 29 at Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax, Mrs Jackson took part in her second Race for Life.

Her breast care nurse Debbie Weevel said: "If Joanne hadn't lost the weight that she did, the lump wouldn't have been spotted until much later and it could have been too late.

"Losing the weight saved her life."

Mrs Jackson, who has been given the all-clear, has now joined Slimming World as a consultant. She still attends classes but has set up her own and her 70 members have lost a whopping combined total of 200 stones in eight months.

14 Sep, 2011

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