4th May 2018
Dear Breast Cancer,
So you decided to rock up 10 days ago and whilst you initially shook my world you brought the gift of overwhelming love and life for which I am eternally grateful. Especially for the friends and family who have been there for me.
Whilst I’d normally be rushing to work and taking the kids to their clubs you put that on hold. This week you’ve brought me mammograms, biopsies, MRI scans, radioactive injections and today surgery -but you also brought me perspective. Now I wake up and look out the window. I haven’t rushed anywhere. In fact I’ve slowed right down and savoured every step whilst holding the hands of those closest to me. You’ve made me realise that it’s ok to spend an hour seeing how many Barbie outfits one can make out of kitchen roll (it’s quite a few if you’ve got the robust stuff) and it’s ok to do the floss at high speed in tandem with your kids whilst waiting to pay for said kitchen roll.
Whilst I’ll not be sorry to see you go nor regretful for changing the locks over the next few months to make sure you don’t return, I can’t help but feel some gratitude that you’ve opened my eyes to life and to love in a new shiny way.
Oh and don’t bother calling into see any of my family and friends. I’d give my right boob to tell them myself what you’ve taught me – in fact that’s what I’ve just done (who needs two anyway). So I hope my friends all read this and that they hold everyone around them a little closer, do the floss dance if they so desire and check themselves for any signs of you.
Thank you for stopping by to show me that my life is ace. Now bugger off.
Inspired and inspiring words and prose from the heart Helen. Beautifully and thoughtfully articulated, your letter will resonate with so many who’ve had their lives turned upside down by cancer in the space of weeks like you. Your capacity for life and love, your calm and positive approach, not to mention your sense of humour are your secret weapons. I always knew you were strong and resilient and now I know you are a warrior. You might come in peace but look out breast cancer, Helen’s coming to get you xxx
Thank you for lovely comment Sue and for always supporting me x
Thanks for all the inside important info regarding how you actually feel about everything from the beginning to the end (ish).
Its helped me fully understand how my friend of 50 years is really feeling, when she tells me she fells “ok”. I’m a bloke and know nothing and understand less about womens things, my wife is relatively healthy, so we can only assume. At least now I can show that I have some real empathy and understanding.
Power to you and your family.
Thank you too from all of us men.
My first male response! Thank you Llewellyn. Best wishes to your friend 🙂
Helen …….I saw you on Lorraine this morning you are truly amazing ……
I had Hodgkins Lymphoma not same I know but still the horrible C word …….if you ever need to talk sound off or help im here …..raising awarenesss despite how your feeling is inspiration to many ….lots of love n strength lovely lady xxxx
Thank you so much for your support Lisa and sorry to hear that you’re in the cancer club too – it sucks x
After seeing you on Lorraine last week i was interested to read your blog and find out more about your story. I found that i could totally relate to your experiences as I am a 48 year old Mum, who had a mastectomy in July and am currently undergoing chemotherapy. Breast cancer is in my family – my Grandma, Mum and sister, but interestingly my sister and i don’t have the BRAC1 or BRAC2 genes. We therefore think we must be like the Nolan sisters (although it’s a pity we can’t sing like them!!) Wishing you all the best with the remainder of your treatment. xxx
Hi Alison, thank you for your message. Which chemo plan are you ok? It’s horrific isn’t it! That’s so unusual that you don’t have the gene but still got it – then I guess no one is immune. Best of luck with your treatment x
Hi all, I have just heard about the blog on Lorraine and just thought I’d drop a line . I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2013. After a lumpectomy, 6 chemo’s, 15 radiation, a year on herceptin and five years on Letrozole I am soo happy to say I have just been given the 5 year ” all clear ” and discharged from Oncology.
My main long term effect from the treatment has been fatigue/dizzyness. You must listen to your bodies and rest to assist with recovery.
My hair starting coming back like baby hair about 6 weeks after last chemo, it was then course and fuzzy. I finally had “proper” hair after about 6 months !!!
Its not a nice journey but you must all stay positive and keep smiling ( difficult at times) but it definately makes you feel better.
Wishing you all the very best xx
Hi Hazel, thank you for your really encouraging message. 5 years all clear!? Amazing. I’ll definitely listen to my body like you say x
To titty gritty,
I appreciate your information linked to life experiences and do wish you well 100% however I have
my scary-pants on today. I had surgery to remove lobular tumour and lymphs, right breast, at the end of last week. Now I wait for the 14th November to see what treatment I will receive.
My older sister by one year has secondary cancer from the breast, and is diagnosed as terminal with two tumours in her liver, she is not well at the moment but is determined to get well again, to the best of her ability.
Thank you for your support/blog and will keep a close eye on how you are doing
Love from Diane Briggs XX
Hi Diane, I’m so sorry to hear what you’re going through. It sounds doubly hard with your sister having such a rough time. I’ll be thinking of you this week as you find out your treatment plan-let me know if you have a second. This ‘waiting’ part is always the worst bit x
After seeing you on Lorraine this week, it took every party of me not to switch over when I heard the words breast cancer, it seems like it’s all I tune into on the radio, TV, magazines. I was diagnosed with breast cancer on the 18th October and told I start chemo on the 22nd…. I had no time to process it and in all honesty I couldn’t even bring myself to read the consultants letter detailing the type and grade I just wanted to block it all out……
I rocked up to the first session of chemo completely unaware of what really was ahead of me and being the control freak that I am hated not being in control of this awful thing………
After reading your blog OMG it was like a breath of fresh air it’s so inspiring, positive and just bloody brilliant. Instead of the doom and gloom and the head tilt have you had that yet …… it’s given me such a boost as I have exactly the same type and grade I couldn’t bear to read about it until now.
Thank you and keep up the fabulous work I’m off for my second round on Tuesday again but I now know what lies ahead so I have some sort of control.
The hardest thing has been telling my 4 and 8 year old but I’m so glad and me and my husband have been open and honest and we can all talk about it now no secrets , guess you can’t when you only have about 5 strands of hair left, the most traumatic thing so far has been seeing the wig lady, I swear one of them resembled my nieces guinea pig!
So on that note I wish you a speedy recovery and count down those weeks and hold onto the good days as there are plenty ahead xxx
Hi Charlotte, thank you so much for your message. I was in complete denial too at the start. It’s so hard to get your head around things when it’s happening a million miles an hour. So our kids are the same age too! I hope they’re coping ok with the changes at home? Mine seem to have adjusted but I do get the odd question asking if/when I’m going to die 🙄.
What’s your chemo plan? I’ve had 4 EC and now on weekly Taxol until Xmas
A brilliant concise blog. I am having to decide which treatment to go for but I’m concerned about lymphedema in the arm – Have you had any problem ?
Hi Elaine, thanks for your kind words about my blog. I haven’t had any issues with lymphedema thank goodness. I’ve been strict on the exercises and haven’t had a whiff of it. It’s definitely a concern though isn’t it?
My chemo is 6 sessions of Docetaxel, Carboplatin, Herceptin and some other awful drug that’s supposed to do the job, every 3 weeks I finish the chemo in February………. I’m not sure if I was prepared this time I’m just starting to feel ok again but the last week just seems to have blurred…….
My youngest she is brilliant I think the younger they are the easier it is on them they can’t really comprehend what’s going so she makes up jokes to tell me to make me laugh but my older son is finding it tougher to process, i can only really just keep telling him everything will be ok but when their little world gets turned on it’s head and mums out of action and dad is going to try and run the ship I’d probably be the same if I was him.
There’s not much more we can do but just get over this next year of treatment, recovery and enjoying the time with our families and being selfish something that needs to happen in order to get better but is one of the hardest things to do when your a mum, wife, daughter, best mate, and colleague …………
Hi Helen…ISeen you on T V…you are more than a wonderful woman but a wonderful loving Mother …It brought memories back 22years ago with my Mom what she was going through..then also my sister then my moms mother …I wish you all the love and best in the world …you and your family have a lovely Christmas and a brilliant new year …love Sue xxx
Thank you so much for your kind words. It means a lot. I hope your mom and other relatives are ok x
Love and best wishes