A healthy woman who decided to go to the doctors after having ‘terrifying nightmares’ she was dying was shocked to discover she had advanced breast cancer.
Carolann Bruce, 51, says her dreams saved her life after they pushed her to get checked twice even after doctors told her they were “80 percent sure” she didn’t have cancer.
The mum-of-two had been experiencing nightmares on a nightly basis starting in January 2011, which lasted for nearly a year and left her terrified to go to sleep.
She began to journal her dreams and on November 11, 2011 she dreamed a shadowy figure took her to a hospital where she was a patient who kept dying of cancer.
The following day she felt a lump on her breast, and headed to Marple Cottage Surgery in Stockport, Lancs., in tears as she was certain she had cancer.
She was told she had to wait two weeks for a test, but Carolann said she “couldn’t wait any longer” and booked an appointment at a private hospital.
A consultant at the Alexandra Hospital in Cheadle conducted a mammogram which came back negative but Carolann said her dreams were so vivid she challenged her diagnosis and insisted on further tests.
The following day, on November 15, she returned and told doctors they were wrong despite assuring her they were “80 percent sure” she didn’t have cancer.
However, a further scan and biopsy revealed she had Stage 2 breast cancer which needed immediate surgery.
Doctors said her malignant carcinoma had been doubling in size each day and performed a life-saving £10,000 mastectomy in early December to remove it.
Carolann, who was born in Glasgow, Scotland, says she hasn’t had a single nightmare since her surgery nearly a decade ago.
Carolann, from Stockport, Lancs., said: “These dreams were just the scariest dreams you can ever imagine, I had a dark shadow man who would visit me on a daily basis.
“I’d think I was awake and he would take over my body. It was absolutely terrifying. I used to tell my mum I wanted to stay up all night because I was so scared.
“I didn’t know if I was awake or asleep.
“I started keeping a journal to see if I could make some sense of it.
“One night I had the most terrifying nightmare yet, I was taken to a hospital I’d never been to before and I saw myself – I was a dying patient.
“I felt so helpless and I kept crying because I kept dying over and over again. When I woke up I put my hand on my breast and I felt a lump – and I knew I had cancer.
“No one has been able to tell me why I had those dreams, people thought I was crazy.
“Even the doctors didn’t think I had cancer, but I was sure of it. My dreams were too real and they saved my life.”
The former nurse was told her tumour had been doubling in size each week and the cancer was on the verge of turning into stage three.
Had she not gone to a doctor despite showing no symptoms, she said there was a very real possibility she would have been terminal within a year.
In January 2012 she began the first of six rounds of chemotherapy which would last until the summer, which she says was the “worst thing in the world”.
The grandmother-of-two said: “They told me it was doubling in size each week, but I was just turning into stage three and maybe a year later I would have been terminal.
“Going through chemotherapy was worse than any nightmare I could have imagined.
“The only way I can describe it is they poison you and take you on the brink of death and then bring you back to life, only to bring you to the brink of death again.
“It’s the worst thing in the world.
“I needed my son and partner to help me in the toilet. I was so unwell, it was so horrific.”
Doctors believe the cancer had been growing in her breast for roughly six to nine months before the surgery – around the time her nightmares began.
Thankfully, her tumour has not returned since – nor have her nightmares which she hasn’t had since her surgery in late 2011.
She said: “I look back on it now and I thank God I had the nightmares as they saved my life.
“Never had a dream after I was diagnosed, the dreams, the dark man, all vanished.”
Carolann gets tested every two years but has otherwise led a healthy and normal life supported by her husband Jarrod Plant, 51 and her two kids Ryan James, 29, and Jenna Browne, 36.
She had been writing journals throughout her ordeal which has now become a book, ‘The Dream That Saved My Life’.