This week on Stylist’s Nobody Told Me… podcast, Nicola Mendelsohn, CBE discusses the reality of life after an incurable cancer diagnosis. Listen to the episode now.

The Nobody Told Me… podcast, sponsored by Clinique, is back with a second season, and the first guest has an incredible story to share. 

Nicola Mendelsohn, CBE, is Facebook’s vice president for Europe, the middle east and Africa, where she’s worked for the last seven years, running initiatives to empower women both inside and outside the company. She has won awards and accolades across the globe for her influence and power in an incredibly competitive and fast-paced industry. Nicola is just as busy at home as a mother to four children. 

She has also been living with an incurable blood cancer called Follicular Lymphoma for the past four years. 

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Nicola has undergone two years of gruelling immunotherapy and chemotherapy, all while dealing with the emotional and mental turmoil of living with a poorly understood cancer. 

But through it all, Nicola has kept on working. 

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In the podcast, Nicola talks about the total shock of receiving a cancer diagnosis after finding a pea-shaped lump in her groin. 

“The life I had the day before was completely different to the life ahead,” she shares.

“When I’d heard about cancer before, people would talk about ‘beating it’… Nobody told me that there were types of cancers that you can live with.”

Nicola details how she told her colleagues about the diagnosis: “I’ll never forget Sheryl Sandberg saying to me, ‘What can we do to help? Take the time off’. And I remember saying, ‘I don’t want to take the time off.’ I don’t have anything to do except the treatment so the last thing I want to do is to not be at work. I’d be sat at home twiddling my thumbs and thinking about dying’.”

She continues to explain how her love for her job is what helped her get through, and she refused to stop doing she “loves and adores” because of the diagnosis. 

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Nicola also talks about the importance of being honest with colleagues and clients about what happens in our lives, and how we need to break the stigma in conversations around the “lows” in our lives. 

Nobody Told Me… I Would Carry On Working Despite Having Incurable Cancer is available now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Acast. New episodes will be released on Wednesdays and you can go back and listen to episodes from series one.

Images: Stylist

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