Originally posted around 15th May 2014
I was really looking forward to 2014. I was just about to turn 30 and really felt my life was coming to together. I was married and had two beautiful children, I was working towards a degree (something I never dreamed I’d do, especially in Photography) and I had started my own business.
It was two weeks after my birthday that I was told, what I can only describe as the most soul destroying words, “I’m sorry, it’s bad news. You have cancer”
You can’t really put into words how heart breaking it is to hear that and then my thoughts immediately turned to my babies, both under 3 years old. What would they do without their mummy? How can I leave my family? Why me? I’m too young to have this.
The first few days after I was told were the hardest, there is no way to just forget what you have been told and carry on as if nothing is happening; especially knowing what is in your body.
I went back a week later and was told that I would have to have a lumpectomy and they would take a sample of my lymph nodes to see if the cancer had spread. I can remember it all happening so quickly. Thursday I was told I was to have surgery, Friday I was having my pre-op assessment and Monday I was in surgery. I couldn’t quite process it all at the time but I was glad that they were moving quickly and getting rid of it.
I was told by the breast care nurses that often people name theirs to help talk about it. They suggested names like Bill or Fred but the only name I could think of was ‘Little Bastard’. Hardly a mature approach but it was how I felt. How dare this thing come in and think that it can take over my life?
It was at that point I was determined not to let it get the better of me. If I was going to beat this, I wasn’t going to let it get me down.
From quite early on I’d tried to make light of the situation. I kept telling people not to worry as I didn’t plan on keeping it. I also joked with my husband about hair loss (after years of his thinning it turned out I was going to go bald first) and often would joke about playing the ‘cancer card’. Must admit that last one worked pretty well when I met the Backstreet Boys (yes, they are still going).
Following the first surgery, I was told that the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes they had removed so I full clearance would be needed. Due to this finding, I would also have to have a full body CT scan and bone scan to see if the cancer was in any other areas of my body. My second surgery was booked for 21st March.
It was during all of this that I started having my hair cut short and eventually decided to shave my head to raise money for Breast Cancer Care. I chose to shave it just before I started my chemo as I was determined that I was going to decide when I lost my hair not the chemo. When the day finally came I planned to do it after I had seen the oncologist to receive my scan results back so I was ready for a fresh start. It was then that I was hit with a second ton of bricks. The cancer had spread to my pelvic and hip bones and was therefore incurable. The oncologist assured me that it was manageable and that there were plenty of years left in me. Although I was upset I tried to remain positive. I’ve still got plenty to do and see and God only knows how my husband would cope without me (for a start he’d never find anything).
On 15th April I had my first chemo and suffice to say it’s really not that exciting. The nurse used syringes to put the chemo drugs in me, we talked about the weather and sadly for my husband, he sat around like a bit of a spare part. Wasn’t 100% sure what I was expecting to happen but it really was just nothing. Sadly though I came down with a cold which then over the Easter weekend turned into the flu and a chest infection which meant a lovely trip to A&E and a hospital admission.