Facebook’s Europe vice president has revealed how telling her children she has incurable cancer is the hardest thing she has ever done.
Writing in the Sunday Times Magazine, Nicola Mendelsohn said she was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma in November 2016.
She said her diagnosis came after she discovered a small lump, measuring less than half a centimetre, in her groin with a CT scan showing she had tumours all over her body.
Vice president of Facebook in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Mrs Mendelsohn said alongside her husband Jon, they eventually sat down their four children to break the news.
She said: “It is not a conversation I could ever have imagined having with them, not even in my worst nightmares, until it hit me in the face. It was the hardest moment of my life.
“The children (aged 13-20) have been incredibly supportive.
“I promised them I would be completely honest about everything; I wanted them to understand that they could ask me any questions.
“I recently spoke to each of them individually about how they felt a year on, and how they had felt that weekend.
“They said: ‘We take our cues from you, Mum. You seem to be doing all right with it, so we’re doing all right with it’.”
Mrs Mendelsohn, who is Jewish, wrote that her type of cancer is “slow growing”, that it is “currently incurable”, and how 60% of those living with lymphomas live more than 10 years.
The 46-year-old said she has chosen to monitor her cancer through the “watch and wait” approach, and will begin treatment – a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy – if and when her symptoms worsen.
She revealed how she has given up processed sugar from her diet, and now exercises twice a week, admitting she ironically feels “much healthier”.
Hoping to publicise her illness, she said she wants to encourage others to check for the tell-tale signs of the disease. These often include sudden weight loss, night sweats, lumps and bumps.