Becki Nock’s toughest ordeal nearly killed her… but it also supercharged her life.
Diagnosed with advanced lymphatic cancer, she amazed doctors by getting the all-clear after just four months.
Then she became a mother despite medics saying chemotherapy had left her infertile.
Next the overweight manager shed nine stone, ended an unhappy relationship and found a new man.
Becki, 26, said: “Every element of my life feels perfect now. It’s almost impossible to believe how just a few years ago I had life-threatening cancer, was morbidly obese and was told I’d never have kids.
“Hugging my son Leo and feeling so healthy and happy is beyond my wildest dreams.”
Becki piled on the weight after leaving home at 18 and moving in with her childhood sweetheart.
She said: “We lived off takeaways, regularly having a family-sized Domino’s pizza with all the sides several times a week, along with crisps and chocolate all day long, and huge amounts of thick, white bread with every meal.
“I thought I was happy, so really didn’t care about my weight.”
Becki got a management job at Marks & Spencer, which meant a discount on food. It only added to her comfort eating and she ballooned to 18 stone.
Then, in September 2013, she went to her GP in Swindon, Wilts, after finding a lump in her armpit.
Two weeks later there were five lumps and a biopsy showed the 20-year-old had rare Hodgkin lymphoma. Further scans showed the cancer had spread to her neck, chest, stomach and hips.
“It was aggressive and stage three, just one stage short of being terminal and in my organs,” Becki said. “It felt like my world had fallen apart.”
Becki was asked if she wanted to be part of a US trial of new chemo drugs.
“Of course I agreed. I had to try everything,” she said. “But I had no concept how bad that chemotherapy would make me feel. I remember telling my mum I’d prefer to die rather than carry on.”
After a month of chemo in November 2013, Becki was told she had no eggs left and would never conceive.
“I was devastated but of course in that moment it wasn’t a priority,” she said.
After just eight weeks and four rounds of chemo, scans showed her cancer had gone. Doctors were amazed.
“I clearly remember that day, Friday 13th December, crying for hours at the news that I was in remission at all, let alone in a fraction of the time possible.”
Becki finished her chemo in April 2014 and felt she had a second chance at life.
Two years later came another shock – she was pregnant. “Straight away I called my consultant with the amazing news, who told me sometimes he always felt I’d be a mum one day,” she said. “It was my second miracle in two years, and I was overjoyed.”
Becki piled on the pounds again until baby Leo was born in January 2017. Bigger than ever and also suffering from post-natal depression, Becki snacked on junk food and soon weighed over 18 stone again.
“Looking at photos of myself I started to cry. I’d been given this second chance at life and had this amazing baby, but here I was killing myself.”
Determined to change, she joined Weight Watchers, now called WW.
“It clicked with me because no foods were off-limits. I could indulge myself with the occasional takeaway at weekends.” Becki would typically have a bowl of fruit and yoghurt for breakfast, bread with chicken and salad for lunch, then homemade chips or pasta with salad for dinner.
Going to one gym class a week as well as walking Leo as much as possible, by April 2018 she had lost five stone. That month she went on a hen do to Marbella.
“I remember sitting by the pool with my friends, wearing a size 14 swimming costume, feeling mentally and physically strong for the first time in years,” she said.
But her partner’s life was the same – gorging on takeaways, putting her in temptation’s way.
When she got back from that trip, Becki decided to ditch him as well as her weight.
“We were on different pages now, and while cancer had changed my life outlook, he had stayed exactly the same. I needed to move on.”
Last June Becki ended her relationship and, taking Leo, moved back in with her parents.
“I stopped taking the anti-depressants I’d been prescribed after my cancer and carried on losing weight, getting stronger by the day. I weighed 10.5 stone then. By the time Leo and I moved in to our flat in November, I was down to 9 stone.
“I’ve got a new partner, Darren, and can fit into a size eight for the first time. I’ve got a part-time job as a receptionist in a GP’s surgery, so get loads of time with Leo, which I love.
“It’s amazing to think that if I hadn’t had cancer I don’t think I’d have changed my ways and become half the woman I was. Every element of my life feels perfect now.”