The ‘World Cancer Day’ post

I’ve been dabbling with the intro to a new blog for weeks now and not getting very far at all.
Mostly it’s because I didn’t have anything I particularly wanted to say.
I’ve been feeling very up and down both health wise and emotionally. I’m taking steps to kick start those new year’s resolutions, namely losing some weight, getting stronger and trying to address some of the after effects that cancer so kindly bestowed upon me.
The reason I have chosen to pick up my pad and pen (Ok, my phone) and write a little is that it is World Cancer Day today and as I see it I have two options:

1. Hide under my duvet, stay away from social media, watch and read nothing which mentions ‘the C word’ (which is almost fricking impossible by the way!)

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On a previous hiding expedition

2. Face it head on. Acknowledge that life has been pretty rubbish since cancer came-a-knocking and, raise a little awareness and/or cash for Cancer Research in the process.

No.2 it is then.

I still live in a world where cancer surrounds me every day. This can mean a lot of things, for example, I can hear about a lady who was diagnosed in her 30’s and, 40 years later, is still here to tell the tale.
On the other hand, it can be hearing from a friend that her primary breast cancer has spread into her bones, liver and lungs and she is now termed ‘incurable’.
The word rollercoaster is often used to describe this type of experience. I see it more like being bipolar. The exhilaration of good news, positive test results, happy smiles from oncologists and surgeons are indescribably wonderful. The world seems better and a bit of the old you is released. However, this feeling of glee can be cut down in an instant. It can be bad news, unclear results, a series of headaches or joint pains that have you convinced the cancer has made it’s new home in other parts of your body and that your life must be on a downward spiral. The isolation, anger and fear can leap at you from nowhere and within minutes, turn you into a tearful, panicking mess.

When I have conversations with people about their understanding of cancer (I’m talking about breast cancer here as that is my specialist subject), I find myself coming back to two stark realisations:
1. People seem very breast aware. I’m not sure how much more ‘awareness’ we need? Check your breasts regularly. If you feel something that is unusual for you, get it checked out!!

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Touch. Look. Check.

We’re off to a great start. Keep it up. *claps hands*

2. People are very unaware of secondary cancer. Once cells from your original cancer find a way into your lymphatic system or blood stream they will then cling onto other areas of your body, commonly your bones, liver, lungs and brain. Once detected, these tumours can be treated but never cured.
Much more money goes into awareness raising than into researching treatments for secondaries. This has to change! If we could find a way to prevent or successfully treat metastatic cancer, it would change cancer from a deadly disease to a chronic illness. 

So, my plea on this day is to reach out to someone you know who’s been affected by cancer. Do not tilt your head in sympathy. Do not try to make them see the bright side. Instead, be real. Acknowledge the situation and listen. A simple, honest act of kindness and empathy will go further than you realise!

Also, if you can, donate to a cause which is looking for new treatments and a cure.
I’ll be donating here: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/support-us/donate/world-cancer-day

If you’re out and about and want to make a quick donation of £3, text WECAN to 70200

Let’s make secondary cancer a thing of the past!

My experience with cancer is far from over. I still have several operations in my future and at least another 8 years of hormone therapy to go. I’ve come this far though. Might as well keep going!

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From here, at my worst...

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To here, celebrating my anniversary with Steph

Thanks to everyone who has supported me, reads my blogs and puts up with my regular rants. I love you all! Xx