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.