its Friday 9th October today, my "Cancerversary". Its 7 years today since our lives changed forever when i was diagnosed with breast cancer. I can still remember that meeting as clear as day, as though it was yesterday. I had found the lump myself and gone to see my GP, at that point the rollercoaster ride that we are still on started. Shaun and i went over to UHCW to meet with my nurse Kristn and the Doc, Stephen Parkes, he very calmly told me that i had DCIS, whitish is almost pre-cancerous, but as the lump was so large it meant that my whole breast would need to be removed, but as i wouldn't require any further treatment i could have an immediate reconstruction, this was all booked in for 4th December. Thats the day they discovered i didn't quite have DCIS, but a grade 3 tuner and also activity in my lymph nodes, meaning chemotherapy and all that jazz. All of this happens at such a speed that its hard to take on board what is actually going on and what is being said to you. The doctors use long words, many of which i could not pronounce, let alone spell, and all at a time when you need to be taking on board and understanding what is being said. I think my head starting spinning on that day 8 years ago and has not quite stopped even now.
When i first me Professor Christopher Poole, my fabulous oncologist, he told me i needed chemotherapy. he had a very clever little program on his knackered NHS computer that told us, if i didn't have chemo, the cancer was 66% likely to return, but if did have chemo it was only 33% likely to return, so it was a no-brainer, chemo would cut my chances of a recurrence in half. so i embarked on the first 6 months of gruelling chemo, it was hell as i was also contending with my reconstructed boob leaking and not being able to heal whist on chemo.oH, it was all the fun of the fair in our house at that time. the kids were ten and eight, we had a new puppy and Shaun was still trying to juggle everything.
But fast forward 7 years, and I'm still here, I'm alive and well. I had a CT scan last week and learned on Wednesday that showed that i was still showing NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE!! Which is just amazing. One of the statistics i was old in the early days has always stuck in my mind, and always scared the living crap out of me - when i was first diagnosed with Triple negative breast cancer (the most aggressive for of BC) statistically, only 15% of those with a similar diagnosis lived for a further 5 years.
So, here i am 7 years later feeling quite smug, but also very, very lucky. It has been tremendously hard for everyone involved around me, for Shaun and the children, i can only begin to imagine how they have been affected by this, but they all seem relatively normal! Lucy has ventured of to Sheffield, to University, and whilst i miss her company (not her washing) loads, i am bursting with pride. She has settled in so well, and made some lovely friends so easily and quickly, i have no worries, i know that our girl will succeed in her chosen path and be fab at all she does! Love you Lucy Loo. James, well, he is James, adapting well to his only child status - or as he calls himself, The Child who Wont Leave Home, like thats meant to make me feel better! He has a great group friends and football team mates and he even managed to score a goal last week (the fastest in the league so far at 28 seconds!)- Go James, I'm so proud of you buddy. Then theres Shaun, a man of very few words, and to be honest, when he does speak, it very rarely makes sense - but the man is amazing. He has cooked, cleaned, washed, taxid, everything for all of us all of the times i have been on treatment, he has broken sleep to be able to attend hospital appointments with me and he has never once moaned - well not to me anyway!!! I also have the most amazing sister, whose support has been second to none throughout this whole journey, cards, flowers, pressies, even hot meals posted to us at all time. just amazing.
I have so many friends and work colleagues (most of whom i class as friends) who have helped me along the way, whether by cooking us a meal, taking me to chemo and entertaining me, taking me for days or nights out, the list has been endless and i will always be eternally grateful to every single oe of them.
It most certainly has not been all doom and gloom though, we've had some right laughs along the way and some personal achievements too. Between treatments I've completed two London marathons - a childhood dream, but it took getting cancer to give me the drive and determination to get off my arse and do it. Ive also done the moonwalk - ok i cheated and did it in a wheelchair, but i feel that Coz and Beck got a better workout because of it, so i don't feel guilty!! As a family, we've had some great holidays and some fun times, I've had weekends away with friend and just laughed so much. I just now have such an appreciation for life and all that it can bring.
Of course, i realise and remind myself everyday - i am one of the lucky ones. I think of Julie and Gail everyday in disbelief that they are no longer with us. But it also makes me realise that life is too short not to make the most of it, we need to be out there every day doing what we love and being with he people we love, because all too quickly it can be gone.
Get out there and live your dreams.