How do you start the dreaded conversation?!

As Pats and I left the hospital, all I kept thinking was how on earth am I going to tell my Mum and Dad? My poor Mum had been through so much heartache and worry about my Dad and sister’s health these last few years and here I was about to go and hit her with another shocker.

I knew they would have been worrying so I called them straight away in the car on the way back home. ‘How do I start this one off then?!’ I nervously asked Pats.
‘Hi Mum, it’s Allie,’ I could hear the anticipation and worry in her voice as she answered the phone. ‘It’s not great news….but it could also be a lot worse’, I said. ‘Right…’, my Mum’s voice shakily replied down the other end of the line. ‘It is the dreaded c word I’m afraid – but it’s small, it’s stage one, grade one and I’ve caught it early which is all positive. They’re going to do a lumpectomy to remove the lump  and because it’s low grade I’ll only need radiotherapy not chemotherapy which is another positive.

My Mum’s voice started trembling, I pictured her poor face at the other end of the phone, undoubtedly trying to keep it together for me, with god knows what thoughts going through her head.  Nobody ever wants to hear those words from a loved one, especially not a parent from their child.

I explained about the anti hormone treatment that I’d be on for five years, but that there was a possibility that they could harvest my eggs for freezing and that they were referring us to a fertility specialist.

When I’d first told my Mum I needed to speak to her after that initial screening session, she said she’d thought I was ringing her to tell her that I was pregnant.  They were anticipating grandparents waiting in the wing, how different this all now looked for all our hopes and dreams.

I thought I’d cry on the phone but I actually felt very calm and assured and also defiant, the fight had started – this b@stard wasn’t going to win!

I proceeded to call my sister, Tara and Lou who I knew would have all been chewing their fingers off with worry. ‘It’s the best out of a shit situation’, Lou said.  I liked that – it wasn’t ideal, obviously, but boy it could have been a whole lot worse.  Tara as usual, after some serious talking began taking the p*ss and making jokes about how I could end up with a better set of boobs.  She made me laugh the way she always does, somehow making it all seem ok.

Tara and I had had a spa weekend away together already booked and were due to meet up the very next day.  She lives in Scotland so we very rarely get to spend quality time with one another so had planned to meet up half way between us in a place called Hope in the Peak District. She said she’d understand if I didn’t want to go, if I wanted to go with Pats instead, or even if Pats wanted to come with us. I still wanted to go, I’d been so looking forward to it, and I think it would do me the world of good.

After I’d got home and Pats had poured me a very large glass of wine, I called my friend Debs to let her know and also spoke to my dear old pal Tina. By then I’d had enough of telling the bad news and worrying people who cared for me.

Pats and I sat in the garden having a drink together.  We hugged and kissed each other and spoke only in a positive and upbeat way – it was the only option.

Advertisements

Shock number two…

As we left the office a breast care nurse, Claire, came and took us into a separate room.  ‘A bit of a shock, not expecting anything like this today, or…?’ she trailed off asking inquisitively. ‘My husband is a really positive person and he refused to believe it would be anything other than a cyst, whereas I certainly had hope but preferred to be prepared for either outcome,’ I replied.

Claire went on to explain a bit more about the cancer, that it was low grade which meant it was very slow, not a quick or aggressive growing tumour and that their plan was to go on and cure and treat this. She said it was obviously very frightening and that I’d clearly want treatment to start as soon as possible but that due to the nature of my tumour, it wasn’t going to change at all in a period of weeks.

Claire said that breast cancers these days are much more treatable and that success rates are very good and for grade one tumours in particular, however it would all depend on the size and grade after surgery and whether the lymph nodes were infected.

Pats asked Claire what lymph nodes were and she explained that they are part of the lymphatic system.  A filter system that gets rid of waste products – debris, infection…and cancer cells.  She said that if anything was in the breast that the lymph nodes might try to get rid of the cancer cells and that it often spreads to the glands under the arm. She pointed out that my glands seemed to be all normal and so were optimistic that it was confined to the breast.

Claire then went on to say that radiotherapy would be likely afterwards.  This is an x-ray treatment that sterilises the rest of the breast. She said I may not need chemotherapy as its a grade one and that the benefit to me would be very minimal, but that they would need more information. I asked again about what effect this would have on my fertility.

As most of our friends and family know, Pats and I had been trying for some time to get pregnant with a little Moonmin but sadly to no avail. I’d already rang a fertility clinic the week before to ask about what options might be available and the lady I spoke to said they would be able to harvest my eggs. Claire also said that this could be done, but that it would very much depend on timing. ‘Often by the time they can harvest eggs we would need to have you in for your treatment but that’s certainly something that we can look into.’

The  cancer I have is hormone receptive (it feeds off of oestrogen) so I would need to take anti hormone drugs. Claire said  that there is a possibility that the medication could potentially switch off the ovaries which would affect my fertility. I’d have to take the tablets for up to five years with a recommendation of being off them for two years before getting pregnant. ‘It’s like a double whammy isn’t it?’ said Claire. I began to cry again.

All our hopes and plans had been on starting our own little family for such a long time, to hear that those dreams could now be taken away from us was just absolutely heartbreaking. It sounds strange but it kind of hurt more than hearing about the cancer diagnosis.

Pats and I had certainly taken our time in deciding when we wanted to have children.  We’d spent many fun-filled years enjoying ourselves, having a great social life, travelling the world together and not marrying until eight years after we’d met. Starting a family was something we’d always said we wanted to do but had left it to a much later stage in our lives than most couples.

I was already rather neurotic about the desire to get pregnant. I constantly read books, websites and blogs on the best tips to maximise success.  I was having regular acupuncture treatment and had spent god knows how much money on ovulation kits, tests, potions and vitamin supplements – you name it, I had it! Poor Pats had felt the pressure from my yearning, especially since moving into our new home which we’d especially chosen as it was perfect for a family. We’d already started investigations into why things hadn’t been working for us…in a way it was a blessing that I wasn’t already pregnant at this stage.

Claire went on to say they had a fertility specialist at the hospital and that she would make an appointment for us so we knew what our options were. She said there were possibilities that we might potentially be able to wait a month or two whilst my eggs were harvested before starting the treatment. She said if my cancer was a higher grade or lots of the lymph nodes were affected we’d be in a different situation, but said that we may have time and might be able to wait one to two months before starting the anti hormone drugs.

Claire said she’s known ladies who have successfully got pregnant after  breast cancer treatment, which raised a smile and some hope within me. However she said they may not want to me to have IVF as that would involve giving me hormones and they would need to be mindful of the breast cancer risk. ‘We’d need to take age into consideration as you would be on the tablets for at least five years, but it may be that you’d be able to take them for two and then…well, that would need to be a consultant decision. We want to give the best treatment for you, what’s safe for you, against the risk of breast cancer returning.’

Claire then went on to book  in my pre-op assessment for 11 May and gave me some blood test forms saying I could have the bloods done that day or if I’d had enough I could get them done when I go back for the mammogram on Monday.

As she left us in the room alone together, Pats gave me a massive hug and said how positive it was and what a good job that I’d caught it early. He said you just don’t ever think it’s going to be that. “It can do one anyway,” I replied, my fighting instincts kicking in. ‘That’s the attitude,’ said Pats. ‘Will you still love me with a deformed breast?’ I asked Pats. ‘I’d still love you with no breasts,’ he lovingly replied.

Thursday 23 April 2015 – the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer

Prior to this period Pats and I had been on a bit of a health kick and had cut out drinking alcohol on school days, saving it just for a treat at the weekend (technically called binge drinking I think!) However in the days leading up to my next appointment god knows how many bottles of wine we drank!  It was the only thing that seemed to get us through those long days filled with worry.

The Wednesday night before my appointment I didn’t sleep well.  Once again I was up in the night making tea and tapping away on my iPhone at some ungodly hour.

The appointment was at 1.15pm so I’d tried to do some work in the morning but had so much on my mind it was so impossible to concentrate. We arrived at the clinic and took a seat – ironically Pats selected the exact same two seats that Lou and I had sat in last time. We sat clutching each other’s  hand whilst we waited for my name to be called.  After what felt like an eternity I heard …’Allison Moon.’ Holy cow here goes.

We were shown into a room by a nurse where a lady consultant was sat at a desk and the nurse stayed in the room with us. ‘Don’t worry about it’, she said. ‘Even if it’s there, it’s small. So for this small lump it’s just a lumpectomy, that should be enough, ok,’ She said asking me to relax. ‘It’s been caught early. Even just the name of cancer makes people go oh my god. It is very early, you picked it up yourself and it’s a grade one cancer (there are three stages).’ I burst into tears.

Everything in my being had been willing her not to have said those words. How could this be? I heard what she was saying that it was caught early, it was small. But it was the dreaded ‘c’ word. I’m 38, I felt far too young to be hearing this.

‘It’s tiny, it’s small, it’s low grade. So we should look at this in an optimistic way. Breast cancer is not one of those cancers that can kill you so don’t worry about it ok? I appreciated her optimism, but ‘don’t worry about it’ – really?!

I’ve since pondered over what methods doctors use to relay upsetting news to their patients. I now realise what she was doing and am very thankful to her, as it enabled me to later translate what I’d been told to my family and friends in a similar context and allowed me to think about the positives in the situation.

She then went on to say that they didn’t find anything in the biopsy of the lymph node which was also good news as indicates it hasn’t spread. What a relief.  She said they weren’t able to have the complete management plan there and then because I hadn’t had a mammogram as yet. She said they’d plan to do a lumpectomy but it would be if’s and buts without the mammogram and that they’d already made that appointment for me for the Monday coming.  The multidisciplinary team (surgeon, oncologist, radiographers etc) would then discuss the results and me on the Thursday.

Pats asked how long the surgery would be to which she said it would be within 31 days from today. She asked if we had any holidays planned. We’d booked to fly out to Cyprus on 27 May to spend my birthday and our wedding anniversary there. There was that fecking Murphy’s law that my Dad says is always against us. She said they would try their best to fit the op in 8-10 days before the holiday so that we’d still be able to go. Our eagerly awaited holiday, which had taken me weeks of hunting to find a nice place at a reasonable price, now paled into insignificance.

She went on to explain that there were options in that I could have a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. She said there was absolutely no need for a mastectomy and that the survival rates after each were equal. She then said that after the surgery I would go on to have radiotherapy – external x-ray beams – just to the breast area. She also said that as it was grade one I wouldn’t need to have chemotherapy (but that would need to be confirmed after they’d removed and analysed the lump). More relief.

She explained that they’d remove one lymph node during the operation and that whilst they were doing the lumpectomy they would test that under a microscope to check it hadn’t spread. If it had they would remove the lymph nodes at the same time.

I had already prepared a list of questions, those to ask if it was good news, those to ask if it was bad. Was I just being uber prepared or did I subconsciously know? I proceeded with the bad news questions. Amongst these, I asked if I could be scanned to check there that weren’t any other lumps in my body that I wouldn’t be able to feel. She said there was no need for any further scans at this point. I also asked whether this would affect my fertility and she said that neither the surgery nor the radiotherapy would affect that.  She said that they don’t recommend getting pregnant for eat least two years after finishing the radiotherapy treatment and that if I had any further questions regarding that to ask one of the breast care nurses.

She presented me with the mammogram appointment letter and out we walked. I felt utterly dazed, shocked and didn’t have a clue what to say.

Waiting is the hardest part

I didn’t sleep well funnily enough the night after that appointment.  I found myself up at 2am drinking tea and watching some old rubbish on the TV.

The following day I decided I needed to tell my parents about what was going on. There was a fine line between not wanting to worry them and not involving them and I thought to myself that if I had a daughter of my own that I’d want her to tell me.

I wasn’t able to deliver the news to them myself.  I’d tried to psych  myself up to it, but every time I pictured their faces at the other end of the phone I broke into tears.  I’d texted my Mum in advance to check of their whereabouts – I didn’t want them to be in the post office or at the garden centre when answering the phone.  Pats explained to them what I’d found and what they’d said to me at the hospital and  after I’d managed to calm myself down I chatted to my Mum.  I explained that we needed to now wait for two weeks to find out the results.

Time usually goes by so fast.  I have a busy life and I work in a very fast paced environment where days hurtle by at a rate of knots.  I always wished if I had a super power it would either be to make time slow down, to add more hours to the day or to allow myself to be in more than one place at once so I could fit in all the things I wanted to do.

In those two weeks following my initial appointment it felt like someone had paused my life.  Like someone had pressed that button on the remote control, you know, the one that moves each pane of the film on step-by-step.

I’d told my manager and HR at work, both of whom were incredibly supportive.  I couldn’t focus at work let alone concentrate on what I was supposed to be doing. It became all encompassing.

My sister had sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers to my house.  When I opened the door to the florist I started crying – the poor woman was probably expecting a happy face to open the door!  This was the beginning of a succession of very pretty flowers to be delivered to me.

IMG_9162

I tried my hardest not to worry.  Tara kept gently telling me that there was no point wasting energy in worrying until there was something to worry about and so that’s what I kept telling myself. It was the only option but to think positively about what they might say.

We are ‘concerned’…

We waited for what seemed like an eternity in the waiting room until they called my name. Lou came in with me this time and we both sat in front of an older lady (I forget what her name and job title was) along with Claire, one of the breast care nurses.

She asked to examine me (the silly looking white boobs out again!) so stepped behind the curtain and she felt about and agreed she could feel the lump too.  She then felt under my arm pits and around my neck area saying she couldn’t feel anything else.

I then sat back beside Lou.  I could tell from the serious look on their faces that they weren’t going to say something positive.  I knew ‘that look’ only too well.  Only 18 months previously I had sat in a hospital room clutching my sister’s boyfriend’s hand so tightly it could have dropped off, with two Doctors giving us the terrifying news of the potential consequences she could face as a result of her fall, whilst she peacefully lay in a coma in intensive care.  I thought our family had seen the back of those worrying days.

The lady told us how they grade lumps initially on a scale of one to five.  One being normal and five being definite cancer.  She said mine was graded between three and four.  Lou instantly grabbed my hand and held it in a comforting grip.  ‘We are concerned about it’, she said.  Once more the tears began to fall.  How could this be? This is not what they were meant to be saying.  It felt completely surreal, like it wasn’t happening to me, like I was in a dream (or a nightmare).

They said they wouldn’t be doing their job if they were to tell me there was nothing to worry about.  She asked if I had any questions.  Now I’m a forward planner and like to be organised, but I hadn’t really contemplated this moment at all beforehand and just sat there stunned in shock and disbelief. This particular lady was really lovely, but her eyes seem to be staring right into mine, not saying a word, waiting for me to open my mouth.

She explained to us that they’d have to send the biopsy sample off to be tested and that I’d need to go back in a weeks’ time for the results. A week? How on earth was I going to get through waiting a week for the answer.

They handed me a card with some phone numbers on in case I had any questions or if I wanted to speak to one of the nurses.  Lou and I had previously agreed earlier on in the day that we’d go and enjoy a few drinks together after we’d left the hospital.  Thankfully at this point Lou asked the nurse if it would be okay for me to have an alcoholic drink.  ‘Yes’, she said. ‘I think you deserve the whole bottle.’  Now those are words you don’t often hear from a health professional!

Just as we were about to get up and leave the lady said the good news was that it could well turn out to be something else and that if it was the ‘c’ word, I’d have caught it early and that it wouldn’t have spread.  I do wish she’d started the conversation off with this fact!

Lou and I walked out of the clinic together and I just burst into tears and she gave me the biggest hug.  I really don’t know what I would have done without her there that day.

We walked out of the hospital and I immediately rang Pats whilst Lou went off to pay the car parking ticket.  It was getting late in the day at this stage and we’d been in there for over two hours and I knew he’d be worrying.  I tried to compose myself as I told him what had happened, but I couldn’t.  I broke down sobbing hysterically in front of all to see at the entance the hospital.  He said he was setting off from Plymouth immediately and would come and get me from Lou’s.

We stopped off at the shop on the way back to Lou’s to get some supplies – cider for me (keeping it classy as always!) and some painkillers and wine for Lou.

We sat in her back garden trying to weigh up the odds I’d been given and Lou very adamantly put a positive slant on it all. I called my sister, Sarah, and then best friend, Tara.  She reminded me of the lumps she’d had in her neck some years before which had turned out to be benign and she helped in making me feel slightly better about it all.

It took Pats about four hours to get back from Plymouth and once we’d both given Lou Lou a big hug and thanked her for looking after me, off we went home.  Being his usual thoughtful and caring self, Pats had stopped at the shops to get us something light to munch on – my favourite, cheese and biscuits and a nice bottle of wine.

A note from the Universe

Courageous is the soul, who adventures into time and space to learn of their divinity. For while they cannot lose, they can think they have, and the loss will seem intolerable. And while they cannot fail, they can think they have, and the pain will seem unbearable. And while they cannot ever be less than they truly are – powerful, eternal, and loved – they can think they are, and all hope will seem lost.

And therein lies their test. A test of perceptions: of what to focus on, of what to believe in, in spite of appearances.

Mike Dooley – TUT (The Universe Talks)

Daily reminders of life’s magic and your power: http://www.tut.com/Inspiration/nftu

Twitter: @mikedooley
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mikedooley

First trip to the breast screening clinic

Shortly after my visit to the doctor’s surgery, my appointment to the breast screening clinic arrived and was scheduled for two weeks’ time.

Pats has always been around if I’ve ever needed him to take me to any appointments or to give me lifts anywhere.  Like the time he had to take me to the emergency dentist when I was in severe pain with a tooth abscess just days before flying out to Italy for our wedding. (Which incidentally “on a scale of one to ten” of painfulness was about 9!). Or the countless times he drove me back and forth to Haywards Heath to visit my sister in hospital and not to mention all the times he’d dropped me off or picked me up from various social gatherings or events.

But this was one time (when we were at band camp!) that Pats wasn’t able to take me. Well in theory he could have, but he was working in Plymouth the day before so would have meant him doing an eight-hour round trip.  He kindly offered to take me, but such a long journey would have been a ridiculously crazy thing to do. Besides, it was highly probable that the lump was just a cyst.

Despite this hopefulness I still felt somewhat scared to go to the clinic by myself.  I decided I wouldn’t tell my parents anything about this at this stage. My Dad had very poorly back in 2013 having to have his gallbladder removed followed by pneumonia and a lengthy stay in hospital which gave us all a bit of a fright.  Literally two months later my poor sister was admitted to intensive care after sustaining a major head injury after a bad fall.  There was absolutely no point in worrying them unnecessarily, they’d had far too much of that.

My lovely friend Louisa (aka ‘Lou Lou’) very kindly offered to take some time off work so she could come along with me on the day. After having some lunch we arrived at the clinic in the hospital and took a seat in the waiting room together.  Lou chatted away and was making me laugh which helped to take away the anxiety.  Having told her about my awkward experience with my male doctor, she also commented on how all the nurses there were women which gave me a sense of relief.  Having waited for a few minutes, an older gentleman then appeared around the corner of one of the curtains with a clipboard and I instantly knew what he was going to say.

‘Allison Moon?’ he called out.  ‘B*llocks’, I muttered under my breath, I just knew he’d call my name! Just to set the scene here, I’d had a couple of days off work prior to the appointment which had been nice and warm and sunny.  Following a particularly stressful week working on a bid, I’d taken the opportunity to chill out in the garden and do some reading.  In the process however I’d managed to get some very dodgy strap marks.  You can imagine my embarrassment as I had to remove my top and reveal the unsightly marks on my chest. ‘Been sat in the sun have you?’ ‘Ummm, yes…’ I replied meekly. What on earth was I thinking?  I clearly hadn’t thought that one through!

Laying there exposing my white boobs on the bed I felt completely vulnerable.  The gentleman began to move the ultrasound scan around the area of the lump.  I could see the screen he was looking at just out of the corner of my eye and I strained to be able to see what he was seeing.  He then moved the scan towards the outer edge and up to my armpit area.  That’s when the first real worry crept into my head.

After the scan he told me the lump was solid and so I would therefore need to have a biopsy so they could investigate further.  That’s when the tears started rolling.  I lay there weeping and feeling completely helpless, but the two people by my side showed me no empathy at all.  Perhaps they were having an off day? Who works in this profession without being able to give a little TLC? I thought to myself. More to the point what sort of a man feels women’s boobs all day long for a job too?!

I then laid at the opposite end of the bed and they found the lump by ultrasound again and gave me a local anaesthetic to numb the area.  They demonstrated what the noise would sound like when the needle goes in so I was prepared for it (it was a spring-loaded contraption so made a clicking sound).  It went in once and then again to take another sample. It wasn’t as painful as I had imagined.

The female nurse started chatting to me at this point, asking me what I do for a job and saying that I would need to take it easy. ‘I’ve got a proposal to get out tomorrow’ I said defiantly. ‘You just make sure you look after you,’ she said.

I then joined Lou outside and we went and sat in a different waiting room.  I explained what they had done and we tried to decipher which option I’d had from the leaflet I’d originally received in the post. After about 15 minutes I realised I’d been clutching a leaflet in my clammy hands that they’d already given me. It said “Core Biopsy” and was the final screening option listed in the previous leaflet.

That was the start of my (what is usually a pretty much together) head going slightly AWOL (these moments were set to continue).

Discovering ‘the lump’

Up until two weeks ago I was happily getting on with a very busy life.  My husband and I have recently moved to a lovely little village in Hampshire and were enjoying living in our new home.

Once the festive cheer of Christmas had gone and we’d waved goodbye to 2014, we decided to make a start on all the home improvements we’d been planning. One of these was making the old separate kitchen and dining room into one big space.  Just before the Easter weekend we had taken a couple of extra days off so we could make a start on our next project.

Let me just tell you a little bit about my fab hubby.  Darren, also known affectionately as ‘Pats’, is a man of many talents. This is no word of a lie. (By the way he’s nicknamed Pats after the Absolutely Fabulous character by my sister on one of the very first occasions she’d ever met him due to his penchant for champagne!)  Now Pats can literally fix almost anything.  From computers and electrical gadgets, to plumbing disasters or the many things that I’ve accidentally broken over the years. He recently lovingly built me a new bike out of various parts he procured, he’s made a compost bin for our garden, installed our new water filtration/softener system and as I type, he is currently laying the floor in our kitchen.  He is also an amazing chef  and I am extremely lucky to be on the receiving end of the many delicious culinary delights  he conjures up.

With no DIY job impossible for him, the weekend before Easter Pats had taken it upon himself to knock the wall down between our dining room and kitchen.  You know, as you do. I’m a natural born worrier and had to leave the house at this point. Not before repeatedly asking him ‘Are you absolutely sure that’s not a supporting wall?!’

We’d had new carpets laid on the Wednesday and had to move everything from all the bedrooms (which felt like moving house all over again) and whilst they were being fitted, two chaps were plastering our ceiling and walls in the new kitchen/diner. We both worked all day outside in the garden, mowing lawns, raking, weeding and laying mulch in the borders.  I was so tired at the end of that day, I literally had to go and lay down as I felt so exhausted. That is not normal behaviour for me! I then ran a nice hot bath to soak away the aches and pains from our hard day’s work.

Whilst washing myself, my soapy hand discovered something I hadn’t felt before. I have to confess, I don’t check myself very regularly at all, but I knew this felt unfamiliar. It felt kind of hard, the size of a marble. All sorts of thoughts came rushing into my head. What on earth was it? Was I imagining it? How long had it been there? Could it be…no, it couldn’t be, it must be a cyst.

After laying in bed a few hours later, I finally plucked up the courage to ask Pats to feel it for me and tell me what he thought. He initially said he didn’t think it was anything and that I probably had something identical on the other side of my body. But as I pointed out that there definitely wasn’t one on the other side as well, he suggested I ring the doctor in the morning and get it checked out.

My doctor’s surgery were  absolutely fantastic. I called at about 9am and spoke to the receptionist, at 11am I’d then spoken to my doctor and explained what I’d found and by 11:45 I was sat in the waiting room.

To say I was apprehensive was a complete understatement. I was not only nervous about what he might say, but also at the fact that I had to get my boobs out in front of a male doctor! I know, they’ve seen it all before but that didn’t make it feel any better.

Having only just moved to the area I had no idea whether he would be young or old. Luckily as soon as I got into his office, despite feeling awkward and embarrassed as he was in fact a younger doctor, I immediately saw that his walls were covered in photos of his family and adorned with pretty pictures and paintings that his beautiful children had lovingly made for him. I instantly felt more comfortable.

After a very quick examination, he agreed that he too could feel a lump and reckoned it was roughly 1cm in size.  He said it was most likely to be a cyst and that these are apparently very common. He told me that one in four women have them and I think he also said 80 or 90 per cent of all lumps turn out to be cysts.

I felt slightly relieved by these statistics whilst he typed up a referral for me to go to the breast screening clinic at the hospital. He said the clinic was really very good and that they are  very efficient in these things.

So off I trotted with the long Easter weekend ahead of me, one I had previously been very excited about,  but now felt rather woeful and like a little grey cloud was now following me about.

For more info on what to lookout for and how to check your boobies please see  http://www.breastcancercare.org.uk/breast-cancer-information/breast-awareness/being-breast-aware/changes-look-feel.

And so it begins…

I’ve always thought how cool it would be to write my own blog, but then immediately wondered what on earth I could blog about that would be of the slightest interest to others?  Unfortunately now, for not very cool reasons at all, I have a million and one thoughts in my head, that whilst may not be interesting to anyone else, I feel I need to get out of my head and onto paper (or virtual paper!).

As a rather quiet and shy person, throughout my life I’ve always found it difficult to be able to talk about my thoughts and emotions and have always turned to the written rather than the spoken word.

So this is the tale of my journey.  Two weeks ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. There I said it. That horrid word that puts the fear into everyone.  It came knocking when I least expected it – incidentally who really expects it? It’s one of those things that happens to somebody else right?

Having watched the heart breaking portrayal of Lisa Lynch’s battle with cancer in the BBC drama ‘The C-Word’ a few days ago, her story resonated with me and I could relate to what was happening to her and the thoughts that were going through her mind. The story she chronicled in her blog seemed to help her get through, whilst also helping others and she has inspired me to create my  own.

If you are reading this you may already be walking on this journey with me or you may have just started your own or be supporting someone who is going through the same thing. Whatever your reason , thank you for joining me – I hope we can share thoughts, concerns, support, ideas, remedies and tips between us along the way.