Well it’s 01.36 on 24th April 2019 and I can’t sleep. A year ago today I was told that I had invasive breast cancer and my life changed. I’m feeling numb if i’m honest. I’ve got that sensation you get after being in a nightclub when you feel slightly deafened and disconnected from life (or was that just me going to dodgy clubs?). What will today mean from now on or am I overthinking it? It’s a weird anniversary to have and you could say just ignore it but it’s ingrained in me. I’m not sure i’ll ever forget that random Tuesday last Spring. I remember what I ate that day, what I wore that day, what I was told that day and then putting my kids to bed that day. So a cancer-versary is a thing. I’m not saying that I want to roll out the jazzy balloons and party rings but I can’t ignore it. I’ve got a lot to be super duper happy about and a fair amount to be reflective about. I’m pretty sure that i’m not alone. I hope i’m not alone.
So what has the year brought me (and did it all really happen)?
UNDER THE KNIFE
I had a right mastectomy followed by lymph node removal surgery, Then a port inserted in my arm (for the chemo to go in). Oh and I started growing a new boob but that’s still a work in progress…plus sandwiched into this I had to have a wisdom tooth removed (which incidentally i’d take a mastectomy over any day).
From diagnosis I was in having MRI / CT scans just days later. After that the various scans / blood tests / urine tests etc felt endless but now a week wouldn’t feel the same without some sort of poke or prod (medically, I might add).
I spent a good seven months having sixteen gnarly rounds of chemotherapy. Below is a pic from each session…
Then in February 2019 I had 15 blasts of juicy radiotherapy which I had every weekday for 3 weeks.
I lost the hair on the crown of my head but it’s growing back thick and fast. I now have a short crop hairdo which I never thought i’d have but I bloody love it. I lost all the hair on the rest of my body but it’s all grown back now (back to spending sh*t loads on waxing) however my nose hair is taking it’s sweet time. Who knew the importance of nose hair? At any given moment my nose runs without any warning and the goods are firmly on my top lip before i’ve known anything about it. Appreciate your nose hair people, it does wonders.
I’ve got one 40 year old (sad looking) boob and one shiny new fake (almost finished) boob. Still just one nipple (which my 6 year old told the amazon delivery man recently) but I will be getting one tattooed soon.
In the last few months i’ve been hurled elegantly into the throes of the menopause thanks to the chemo and my hormone positive cancer….so when i’m not sweating my neck off i’m mostly yelling / plucking / lubing. I spent 7 months trying not to lose my hair during chemo and now i’m trying to prevent a beard from growing. Ace.
The main thing that hasn’t quite sunk in is that I lost my mum halfway through my treatment. No words on that right now but it’s been the biggest part of the last 12 months and I can’t not mention it. Love you mum.
Now I don’t want to be a mood hoover at all. Yes it’s been a year and I’ve still got a long way to go (more drugs/surgery) but so much good has come out of it. I’m genuinely not just saying that. My relationships have grown to new levels which sounds weird but the cancer has brought those who mean the most to a new layer in my heart. They know who they are. There are new friendships that have come from nowhere that I’ll cherish for life.
My outlook has changed as much as my body has. My mind has had a mastectomy of it’s own and I’m slowly reconstructing a new me. My feet feel firmer on the ground.
Finally I’m on a mission to get the nation to feel their boobs. There has to be a reason why I’m going through all this and it makes it all seem worthwhile if I know I’m helping spread the boob love.
I’m mahooooosively proud of my work with ITV Lorraine where they’ve followed my journey and supported me throughout. I even had an article in The Sun and a social media #booberang campaign which encouraged peeps to check themselves.
If there’s one thing this year has taught me, it’s to be grateful, be kind and nose hair is everything. So to celebrate I’m going to send myself my first Cancerversary card….
Just a quick note to wish you a very Happy 1st Cancerversary. You don’t know it yet but you smashed it. Who knew. Here’s to a less eventful next 12 months. Cheers.
PS. Is there a gap in the market for cancerversary greetings cards? Probably not.
Happy cancerversary you mad, amazing woman! Here’s to a less stressful, healthy next 12 months. I’m about to come to my cadaversary ( carotid artery dissection plus stroke) and also feel abit weird about it-would really like to sleep through it if I’m honest but maybe I’ll just try not to think about that day a year ago and concentrate on looking forward like you. You give me such hope. Sending love to you 💕
You’re an inspiration and the true definition of a woman…a true badass female leader. Not often far from my thoughts lovely…loved seeing your recent holiday pics too…looking fab. Keep sharing and keep that positive attitude 👍xx
Think I will have a cancerversary in October love your posts they help me on my journey and really nose hair was one of my weirdest hair losses as well. Here is to the lovely flushes and getting everyone to check their boobs and use the 40’s screening.
Thank you for your lovely message of support! I’m so happy that my blog has helped you a wee bit. I’m also glad that i’m not the only one with bloody nose hair issues! Best of luck and love, Helen x
I love love your blogs.! I’m nearly coming up to my diagnosis and bilateral mastectomy anniversary. I now have 2 cancer diagnosis anniversaries but I’ve blurred the first one out…plus that would just be greedy!!! Totally with you on the nasal hair…when will it bloody grow back!? You’ve done amazing, hope you’re having a cheeky glass of something cold and wet!! X
I’d like to say congrats on your cancerversary but it sounds too weird. I mean, just well done on getting through this far! TWO diagnosis??? I’m sorry to hear that. That sucks. Hope you’re doing ok and you’ve coped with the treatment alright xx
You are one inspirational lady 💖💖💖
Thank you Shaz. That’s made my day! x
Happy cancerversary to you & me both. Your journey seems to mirror mine month for month! I have a cupboard full of Kleenex as like you I find my nose now has a life of its own. Unfortunately I have though turned into a hypochondriac worrying about every ache & pain & when I go into the sun I cook from the inside out with the radiotherapy🤣. Unfortunately I lost my mum 5 years ago but to loose her during your toughest year I feel for you. Sending love💕. Onwards & upwards & congratulations to you, me & our fellow fighters💪🏻X
Thank you for your lovely message of support. I’m glad i’m not the only one with nose issues too!! So sorry to hear about the loss of your mum. It’s so tough isn’t it. I’m told it gets easier! Anyway, I hope you’re doing well and not driving everyone up the wall by being a hypochondriac like me!!! Hahaha
So, so chuffed I got to randomly bump into yesterday, you have been in my thoughts all year and I think your amazing! I thought you were amazing prior to all this but you’ve truly inspired me even more.
Happy Cancerversary beautiful lady, look forward to seeing you again soon. ❤️ Your crazy Australian neighbour.
Here’s to a better next year for you. My mastectomy is drawing near and I’m getting very nervous. My journey started last November and I think it will be Christmas before it is hopefully done and dusted. Just hoping the results show I don’t need any more treatment.
Reading your blog has helped me come to terms with it all and know that there is life during and after this, so thank you and Happy Cancerversary x
I think you are fabulous, I have been on my own Breast cancer journey, which started September 2018 and I am still receiving treatment at this moment in time. I have learnt a lot from you and I admire your honesty. Just before I was diagnosed I lost my own mother too, also to breast cancer. It is a hard journey and now I have also been given tamoxifen, which is another story for another day. Wishing you all the best and please keep blogging.
Thank you so much for your message. I’m so sorry to hear you’re on the cancer treatment train too and even more sorry to hear about the passing of your dear mum. That’s just such awful timing. I still can’t make sense of why it happened to me at the worst time of my life. Oh and yes, Tamoxifen, that’s a whole other can of wanky worms . Please keep in contact and best of luck with your treatment xx
Your blog is amazing..and so are you..I’m going through the exact same thing.Im half way through my 8 sessions of chemo..had a right masectomy and lymph nodes removed..radio therapy afterwards.Reading your blog are truly inspired me to keep going.Thanks x
Thank you so much for your lovely message. Sorry to hear you’re going through it all yourself but happy that my blog has helped a teeny bit. Best of luck with the rest of your chemo. It’s a tough bloody slog but you’ll get there xxx
I loved reading your blog I always positivity all the way. You will love your tattoo it took a long time to have it done but it is when you pass a mirror and it looks normal……. just been diagnosed with cancer again after 22years, inplants and finally a mastectomy and reconstruction, only grade 1 this time but still annoying radiotheropy next. Good luck
Thank you so much for your kind message of support. I’m looking forward to getting my tattoo done! Sorry to hear about the 2nd diagnosis but you sound like you’re taking it all in your stride. Best of luck with the radiotherapy x
Happy Cancerversay 🙂 I had my first one in April too..it’s a very weird feeling….aside from continually having hot red ears from the hormone treatment (. …or someone is always talking about me !) I feel I’ve made it thru ok..hair is growing back albeit in 10 different directions and my eyebrows clung on to the bitter end. Heres hoping to an uneventful 12 months! Thank you for this blog…it’s helped me more than I can say xx
Thank you. You have helped me emmensley, my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer 6 weeks ago, on the 7th May she had her right breast removed, just had her dressing removed and the liquid drained off. She has been swishing since the surgery. She is so brave just like you reading your blog has helped me and my sister Pat to accept what is happening, she wont know for a few weeks whether she will need chemo, time will tell. She has been suffering with lung and throat cancer for 5 years and this was just the icing on the cake, wish I. could have taken some of it away. Will carry on reading your story as it gives us lots of hope, she is just like you she makes us laugh her sense of humour is amazing always smiling and her appetite is really huge as she is on steroids.
Oh bless your sister Pat. What an awful time she’s had. I’m so glad that my blog has helped a bit. Do send her my regards and much love to you too xx
As always, you are so inspiring. It is my Cancerversary tomorrow and I can definitely echo what you wrote about the positives. I feel so humbled by the love that has been shown to me, and I feel very positive moving forward. I had the 16th of my 18 Herceptin injections today! Only two to go, though I haven’t found that part a problem. . Looking forward to a reconstruction at the end of the year. Best wishes- you have helped so many ladies who are going through breast cancer treatment. Jane