Woman who had nightmares of dying, sought doctor’s advice and was diagnosed with breast cancer

Fri, 12 February 2021, 12:15 pm

Carolann Bruce believes her vivid nightmares saved her life. (SWNS)
Carolann Bruce believes her vivid nightmares saved her life. (SWNS)

A woman who went to the doctor after dreaming she was dying was shocked to discover she had advanced breast cancer.

Carolann Bruce, 51, from Stockport, Lancashire, believes her dreams actually saved her life as they pushed her to get checked for a second time, even after negative mammogram.

The mum-of-two had been experiencing nightmares on a nightly basis for nearly a year since January 2011, which left her terrified to go to sleep.

One of her dreams included a shadowy figure taking her to a hospital where she was a patient who kept dying of cancer.

The following day, Bruce felt a lump on her breast and certain she had cancer, visited her doctors to get it checked out.

Read more: Mum diagnosed with incurable breast cancer days after giving birth to twins

Carolann Bruce in hospital following her breast cancer diagnosis. (SWNS)
Carolann Bruce in hospital following her breast cancer diagnosis. (SWNS)

Having been told she’d have to wait two weeks for a test Bruce booked an appointment at a private hospital.

The mammogram came back negative, but with her vivid dreams still fresh in her mind, Bruce challenged her diagnosis and insisted on more tests.

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 mastectomy to remove it.

“The dreams were just the scariest dreams you can ever imagine, I had a dark shadow man who would visit me on a daily basis,” Bruce explains.

“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.”

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Having started to keep a journal to see if she could make sense of her dreams, Bruce had her 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,” she explains.

“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.”

Read more: Sarah Harding undergoes treatment for breast cancer: How and when to check your breasts

Carolann Bruce in hospital having chemotherapy. (SWNS)
Carolann Bruce in hospital having chemotherapy. (SWNS)

Having been told by doctors her tumour had been doubling in size each week and the cancer was on the verge of turning into stage three, Bruce now believes those dreams helped save her life.

“They told me that maybe a year later I would have been terminal,” she explains.

In January 2012, Bruce began the first of six rounds of chemotherapy which she describes as being the “worst thing in the world”.

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.

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Bruce had life saving surgery followed by chemotherapy. (SWNS)
Bruce had life saving surgery followed by chemotherapy. (SWNS)

Thankfully, Bruce’s tumour has not returned since, nor have her nightmares which she hasn’t had since her surgery in late 2011.

“I look back on it now and I thank God I had the nightmares as they saved my life,” she adds.

“Never had a dream after I was diagnosed, the dreams, the dark man, all vanished.”

She had been writing journals throughout her ordeal which have now become a book, The Dream That Saved My Life.

Additional reporting SWNS.