Leicester woman with incurable cancer ‘gutted’ as reunion with mum is delayed

A Leicester woman living with incurable cancer has said she is “gutted” that the city’s new lockdown means she will not be able to see her mum for the first time in 17 weeks.

Michelle Teale, 58, has stage four breast cancer which is “treatable but not curable”, putting her in the shielding group for Covid-19.

A change in government advice which comes into force on July 6 meant she was preparing to travel to Cleethorpes next week to see her 85-year-old mother, Marian, who lives on her own.

Michelle Teale and her mother Marian
Michelle Teale has not seen her mum Marian since March 2 (Michelle Teale)

But now Leicester is being placed in additional lockdown measures because of a spike in coronavirus cases, that trip will have to wait.

“That’s the upsetting part for me because she needs me as much as I need her,” Mrs Teale, who lives in Thorpe Astley, told the PA news agency. “She’s been really worried about me since I had my last surgery and I just haven’t been able to see her.

“I’d arranged to see her the week commencing the sixth, so that was a big thing to create a little bubble with her, and I can’t do it now, because it’s non-essential travel.

“So that’s a bit of a downer really. I feel quite gutted.”

Mrs Teale has scarcely left her home since March, except to go on occasional short walks, having undergone her most recent surgery in February.

I’m gutted as was looking forward to seeing my mum 100 miles away from me as I’ve stage4 breast cancer , I’ve not seen her in 17 weeks #leicesterlockdown

— Michelle Teale (@ChelleMel47) June 29, 2020

She feels the spike in Leicester is because of “people not following the guidelines” and believes advice from the government has not been clear enough.

“You’ve got to give people clear guidance and I don’t think that has been clear,” she said. “When you’re at school you have rules to follow and if you break the rules you get punished – and I think it’s been a little bit lax. I don’t think it’s been as good as it could have been.

“I don’t think there’s been any one person to blame, I think it’s been a collective. I don’t think you can pinpoint a certain person, obviously we know there are people in the government who haven’t done as they were told, and yet you expect us minions to carry on doing it.

“I’ve had to do it to save my life, I’ve had no option. I couldn’t go scurrying off to another home or anything like that.”

Mrs Teale, who works for Loughborough University but is currently off sick, believes the situation could be tough on people like her who have been looking forward to new freedoms.

Michelle Teale and her mum Marian
Michelle Teale had been due to travel to Cleethorpes to see her mum next week (Michelle Teale)

She said: “I run a couple of support chat lines for my other cancer girls and I know they’re all suffering and it is affecting their mental state so when you find out you’ve got to wait another couple of weeks minimum, I just don’t know how they’re going to feel and I don’t know how I’m going to feel.

“I’ve just got to concentrate and get on with it.”

Although she is disappointed she will not get to see her mum next week, Mrs Teale said the Government was “doing the right thing” by putting the city on lockdown.

“When they were thinking about it, I was saying ‘don’t think about it, do it’,” she said. “If you think there’s an issue, don’t hang about, just tell people, give them clear direct information and shut the place down.

“If it’s got to be done to save lives, shut it down.”

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