Thursday, 28 January 2016


Author: Bev

Normality is a variable concept. Once you've had news that shatters your sense of 'normal' you have to learn to adapt and find that 'new normal', or else your sense of self will be obliterated. This is a common thing that seems to happen to us ladies when we've been given the news that we have cancer.

Initially you are caught up in what seems to be a whirlwind as you are sent for various tests and have to attend many appointments. Generally most of us were fit and healthy individuals who had little contact with health professionals – yet all these hospital visits strangely become our 'new normal'. In fact it was spending so much time in hospital that made me want to work as a nurse again...but that's just me. I think most of my friends hated being there!!

When you get your treatment plan your 'new normal' shifts yet again. You live in three weekly/weekly) cycles when the poisonous chemotherapy drugs are pumped into your body; you submit yourself to the hands of the surgical team who – you hope – will remove the offender from your body; and you allow intense beams of radiation to fry the damaged parts...all in the hope that this will kill the perpetrator and prevent it from ever coming back.

After all the so called 'active' treatment is finished you may find yourself taking other drugs to help keep the cancer from returning. Or you may still be a frequent user of the health services due to side effects of the treatment. This is now your 'new normal'.

It's often hardest once all the treatment is completed and everyone thinks that you're all better. You start to look less ill, your hair grows back and it seems it's all in the past. I so wish that was the case. For me the after effects from treatment are quite mild compared to others. I wake up every morning with numb hands (which makes turning the alarm clock off interesting when you can't feel the button!). I have less energy than I did BC (before cancer), although I have more good days in between, and I'm hoping this will continue to improve. My brain seems to still be lagging behind. I have paper all over the house with lists and reminders on it...and I often get halfway through a conversation when I forget what I'm talking about, or forget the name for something. 'Chemo Brain' is recognised by the medical profession.

But despite all this, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. The alternative is a much less attractive proposition. This is my 'normal' now. Trying to adapt to this new life I have and all that goes with it.

What I am most envious of from my 'old' life is that I didn't have the worries and anxieties. If I hurt somewhere it was just 'normal'...maybe it was a pulled muscle from overdoing it, or I'd slept at an odd angle and it made my neck hurt.

Now my first thought is cancer. I seem to have a 'fast track' pass to the hospital...anything you have reason to see a doctor about – they'll be looking for cancer too. I don't think it helps that you will never get a bit of paper saying that you're all cured, it won't ever come back. It’s a little bit like a time bomb waiting to go off. My hip's spread to my bones. I have a's in my brain. I'm not alone in this either. I'm sure between the lot of us my beautiful tribe have convinced ourselves that we have got cancers and illnesses that probably don't even exist! Having cancer not only affects your body, but it messes with your head big time. 'Normal' people don't think like this do they? I certainly never used to think like this BC and I'm sure most of them didn't either. This is the 'new' normal we are trying to live with.

Of course, we don't all spend our days sitting worrying about this. We do try and carry on and fit in (when we can) with everyone else's normal...going to work, looking after the children, having holidays, going to parties etc.

We celebrate things that other people would think odd. Say if somebody went for a bone scan and results came back showing they have arthritis...we’d cheer those results. It's not cancer – yay! BC this would have seemed rather strange.

Sadly, for some of my friends their 'new' normal is the one none of us wants. They have stage 4 cancer. Metastatic cancer. Secondaries. That means it is incurable. Medical advances mean that there is a chance that the cancer can be stabilised with medication and they may live for a long time...but that 'terminal' word is always hanging over them. Their clock ticks a little bit faster and a little bit louder.

This week our tribe were all rocked to the core upon learning that one of us had been given this very news. Obviously we are all devastated that another of our friends has to undergo further treatment. Sadly it is not an uncommon occurrence in this new world we inhabit. At this time we aren't sure of the extent of the spread or what plan is to be put in place. We are all anxiously waiting to hear.

Nowhere else have I witnessed such an outpouring of sadness and love and heartfelt wishes that flowed upon hearing the news. The total togetherness was absolute. I think it true to say 'if one bleeds, we all bleed'. That is very much our mentality. However after the shockwaves diminished, we set about doing what we do best, rallying round and offering our unconditional support both practically and emotionally.

Whilst it is fair to say that what we can actually do is limited, what we can offer is limitless. Our 'normal' has shifted once again to encompass this new news. Our energies are now spent on buoying each other up, helping those who are drowning a little to stay afloat, and loving each other that little bit harder. We can't allow ourselves to be dragged down...we have to help each other ride out the storm, wherever it may take us and them. We have to keep OUR normal and not borrow theirs. That helps nobody.

In an ideal world my 'normal' would be just like everyone else's, and I would have little knowledge of what I know now. But then I suppose everyone has their own demons. And without this constantly changing 'new normal' I seem to live in, I wouldn't have my tribe. And whilst I wish that I hadn't had to meet them I am so very glad that I did. They can make what others see as abnormal seem all right. I would be totally lost without them. 

Monday, 11 January 2016

As the new year approaches

Author: Tamsin

As 2016 approaches, everyone’s eyes are firmly on the new year’s horizon - the sparkling glimmer of an exciting future and the limitless possibilities that lie ahead. It’s a chance to move on, to forget past mistakes and hurts - to close one chapter in our lives and start another. The new page is tantalisingly fresh, not yet marred by typos, blots or smudges. I don’t need to buy a magazine or newspaper in January to know that the pages will be filled with advice on this year’s latest diet and exercise regimens, with their promises of energy, vitality and a long, healthy life; as though food and fitness are talismans which ward of the ‘evils’ of illness, disease and ageing. 

But 2015 has been a kind year to me - it’s the first year since my first diagnosis of cancer that I have enjoyed stability in my health. And it’s been amazing! I am filled with gratitude to be alive, something of a small miracle considering I have had two bouts of cancer treatment over more than two years, including 11 months of chemotherapy for an aggressive breast cancer, 6 ½ weeks of radiotherapy, more surgeries than I can remember, although three stays in a high dependency unit were memorable for all the wrong reasons! As I sit here writing, I realise that this will be the first new year since 2009 when there hasn’t been treatment or a major decision - about preventative or corrective surgery - ahead of me, with all the accompanying fear and uncertainty. 

It’s been a year of milestones, but not ones that are easy to share - it’s been the year that I finally started buying full-size bottles of shampoo (having gone through hair-loss and re-growth twice, hair-care has been a never-ending series of experiments), got to grips with my new, changed, half-breasted body with its lymphodema and early menopause symptoms. It’s been the year that I began enjoying being around babies and toddlers (even baby George) instead of nursing the grief of my lost fertility and where I’ve felt I could trust myself to cry openly at my daughter’s school concerts instead of sobbing silently into my pillow in the middle of the night.

One of the ways I’ve coped with cancer has been to stop looking too far ahead - ‘the future’ has become something to fear; I am always on guard, my defences at the ready in case I need to deal with another set-back. But as much as cancer has taken from me, I have taken something from cancer too - I’ve learned that I am loved, that I am resilient; that I am lucky (as well as unlucky). These were the easy lessons, what I call ‘my silver-linings.’ But, there were bitter lessons too, for instance the discovery that ‘patient’ means ‘the ability to accept suffering without becoming upset’ has been an experience which has taken me to the outer limits of my soul. As Thomas Wolfe wrote from his hospital bed in 1938 - ‘I’ve made a long voyage and been to a strange country, and I’ve seen the dark man very close; and I don’t think I was too much afraid of him, but so much of mortality still clings to me.’

Most of us have been confronted with our mortality at one time or another - maybe you’ve been in a near-miss while crossing the road, or driving your car. You are really quite shaken and you tell your friends, maybe your partner, who give you a hug, make you a cup of tea. Maybe your boss sends you home to recover. Maybe that evening, you find yourself thinking ‘what the hell, I’m buying that expensive bag’, maybe you decide to go on that trip of a life-time, or maybe you just want to sit quietly and be thankful you survived. This feeling might stay with you for a few days or weeks, you might be more forgiving of the irritations we all face in our daily lives for a while, but we move on and forget.

For me, living with a cancer diagnosis - without being told I am cured and living with high risk - is a bit like knowing that out there is a car waiting for me. It’s somewhere on the road ahead. I don’t know whether or when it might race towards me; I wonder whether I will see it coming or whether it will come without warning. If I am lucky, it will miss me. I hope. I really hope. Living with breast cancer has meant passing through a doorway into what has felt like a parallel world where my awareness of what it truly means to be mortal is brought into sharp focus. I am afraid of the long voyage and the strange country but I have learnt to accept that my fears are just a small part of the gap between the person I was and the person I am now. Fear isn’t a constant anymore and though it ebbs and flows like the tide, it reminds me that I am a ‘human being.’ So, I won’t be disheartened if I find I have abandoned many of my goals before the end of the month. Instead I will show myself the same compassion I would a beloved friend. I want to try to learn from my mistakes and to be content with my small and faltering steps forwards. After all, New Year’s Day may be a special day, but it’s also only one day amongst 366 other days this year (it’s a leap year) and each one is a new day, a new year, a new beginning and a chance to start anew.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

I don't believe

Author: Eve

Today was Boxing Day , two years ago I celebrated it with a pint or two of FEC-T, for those of you reading who don't know what this is, in a nutshell it's a pink chemo drug that beats the complete shit out of you..... so much so even typing the words brings an involuntary retch to my throat.

Fast forward two years on, the festive season is ending and I suppose we all reflect, I know I have and I have had a few epiphanies....

My babies are growing fast, I suspect this is the last year Santa will be left mince pies and it makes me sad, they are starting to have their own opinions, their own thoughts and believe in their own way of thinking which as a mother of girls is a tough one. I don't believe in Santa is the one line I won't want to hear next year but I hope with all my heart I will be here to hear it.

The mothers from my group who never made it are constantly in my thoughts. Their babies are 'celebrating' Christmas without their mumma. My heart aches with sadness when I think of them all. A cruel roll of a dice that made them unlucky. There are at least 9 children I know who have lost their mum to breast cancer. To know you are leaving your children must be the worst pain imaginable.

And so I have to replace those thoughts, put something in their place that means I don't burst into tears because my eldest rolls her eyes at Santa, I am there to see it, to feel it, to breathe it in and to wrap my arms around her still, which despite her protests at my display of over excited Elf emotion I do.

Having girls you worry about weather they will go through what you have? I have told them to have mastectomies, I figure prevention is the biggest weapon I have and boy am I going to bloody use it for them.

Back to my epiphanies... brought on by the emotions of Christmas and the cruel blows delivered to the online ladies going through treatment.....

Little girls are fed bull shit, I have decided, and I have also decided that I for one will not be filling my daughters heads with such bollocks.... The following apply and I will write it in a book if they want me to.

I do not believe in the following .....

Things happen for a reason
(What a load of crap! Like you are meant to get illness and sorrow)

Just wait, karma will deliver
(Again, bull steaming shit, no it doesn't, no one gets what they deserve,  the rich get richer, the bad prosper and the good get taken advantage of and the sweetest, gentlest people have some terrible 'karma' delivered)

You are only given what you can handle
(Load of ...... You handle what you are given and put your gloves on and punch, you didn't receive it because you were stronger than Thelma the class shy girl)

Good things come to those that wait
(ha ha, yeah right, excuse me while I run in front of you cus if I don't get it for myself, it just ain't gunna happen, sit there if you want but I'm off )

I could go on but you probably think I am a bitter old hag, I know I am not. As a mother of girls I will bring them up with an inner strength, a mental strength that gives them power, power to make their bubble happy, to find true friendships and real love, the type that is not contaminated with fairy tale cliches that somehow justify suffering and pain and other people treating them like doormats. The only way to do this is to lead by example, to show them , for all the ladies that desperately wanted to but can't, I will .

And Santa will still get his mince pie even if my girls laugh at me, just because I can.

Saturday, 28 November 2015


Author: Bev

The Oxford English Dictionary says that a friend is 'a person that you know well and like'. Since being diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2014 I'd like to challenge that friends are so much more.
When you get your diagnosis your world shifts on its axis. Nothing is the same as it was before. Everything is different. You are not the same person you once were.
Now don't get me wrong - those I classed as my friends before cancer are definitely still my friends now...the support offered to me and my family during the last year has come from old and new friends. It often surprised me who withdrew a little and who stepped up to the mark to make that difference. Maybe it shouldn't have done. I understand that being around me may have made people realise their own mortality, and that this is often something people shy away from. I don't blame anyone for trying to preserve their own sense of being. I can't say that I would have done the same were the roles reversed, but I love all my friends for their differences and if everyone acted the same all the time the world would be a much duller place. There is great beauty in our differences and I would never expect anyone to be someone they weren't on my behalf.
During the period between my diagnosis and the beginning of my treatment I refused to Google...I was pretty au fait with all the medical jargon having trained as a nurse and midwife (although I think my poor husband was undergoing a mammoth learning curve!). I trusted that my doctors knew what they were doing and would plan what was best for me. However, a lady on a Facebook group pointed me towards the Younger Breast Cancer Network UK. It was a couple of weeks before I felt ready to sign up...but I'm oh so glad I did. I'm sure my Macmillan breast care nurses had their lives made easier as well as I learnt most of what I know from lovely ladies on YBCN! 

Sitting in the breast clinic I felt so very young...everyone else there seemed at least 20 years older than me. Here (online), all the ladies were under 45...I'd found my new friends who would sustain me through the next year. There were ladies who had just been diagnosed, ladies undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy or surgery, and ladies who had finished all their treatment and were just there to offer advice and support. 

There was a group of ladies who all had similar time frames to me, and there was always someone online 24 hours a day 7 days a week. And we told it how it know – all the things the medical professionals don't tell you. All the things that make you sit at home thinking 'is it just me?' And when you're not able to get out and about because you've just had surgery or are recovering from your latest chemo session, these ladies are all there. Nothing was out of bounds and there was lots of tears and lots of laughter.

There was one lady in particular who I chatted to quite a lot. She was diagnosed a couple of days after me and we had all our treatments within a couple of days of each other. We were 'chemo twins'. Once we'd finished our active treatment we celebrated together, and finally met in person to share a few drinks and hugs in September this year at a Breast Cancer Care Younger Women Together event.

Our bodies were still recovering from all the harsh treatments, but we could start planning the future. In fact, my friend wrote a poem about that very subject on this blog.

Over the last few weeks my friend was told the cancer had spread to her lungs. It was now incurable, but with drugs she may be able to extend her life. She was taken into hospital a couple of weeks ago. I sent her regular messages and sometimes she replied, sometimes she didn't...but I just wanted her to know I was thinking of her.

Last week she was moved to a hospice. Now these places aren't always doom and gloom. They are a much more homely place to be stuck in than a hospital, and their medical teams are second to none. They help people to live with illnesses – they are not just places to go into and never come out.

I made a box up and posted it to her. It was not much, but it was just full of things that I hoped would make her smile and know that she was being thought about. I don't know if she ever got to see my box. Not that it matters in the grand scheme of things – she knew she was loved.

My last message from her was Tuesday. She knew that her time was limited. I was so saddened on Sunday when I received a message saying that she had passed away on Saturday evening. Everything seemed to happen so very fast. In fact, I drunk a lot of wine and had a bit of a meltdown...something I'd not really done since my diagnosis. Life is so unfair and cancer is so cruel. Two more children left without a wonderful Mother.

She is not the first friend I have lost but she was my closest. Love you lady - you will be in my heart always.

My first instinct was to tell all my friends (we now have our own little group away from YBCN where we talk about everything and anything) – they were her friends too. To know that even in this I wasn't alone helped immensely.

You know when you say or do something and then stop and think that it's just you – nobody else can possibly feel like this / do this? Well this bunch of ladies just get it. They've all been through what I've been through. Yes everyone has very different experiences and we're all individuals. But I have told them things that nobody else knows...and vice versa. When we meet up in person – which I have done already with some of them, and am so looking forward to doing in a couple of weeks when we have a mass meet up to celebrate Christmas and remember our friends no longer here – there is none of the awkwardness of meeting new people.

Because we know each other. We know so much about each other.

I'm sure that I would never had crossed paths with many of these amazing ladies had I not had cancer. We are all so very different, but also all the same. So in a way I am grateful to cancer for forcing me down a different path to that which I had planned. Now my plans have changed. I plan on living life to the full, spending time with my family and making many new memories. I plan on doing it with the lovely friends we have all lost along the way at the forefront of my is wrong to waste your life when there are those who are no longer here and tried so very hard to stay.

Chatting to my new friends is a daily occurrence. Distance is irrelevant online. And when we discuss things there is no need for explanations. I am my new me. I don't need to pretend to be someone else, or pretend to be the person I was before cancer. I'm the same person I was but very, very different. I love all my 'new' friends and having them at the end of my fingertips is invaluable. I don't feel different because I've had cancer. There is none of the sympathetic head tilts or gentle questioning or avoidance of subjects that often come from friends after a cancer diagnosis. I think a lot of it is down to not wanting to upset the person. But with these ladies we have no subject that can't be discussed. All of us has stood face to face with our own mortality and I really wouldn't wish that on anyone of my 'other' friends. I hope against hope that none of them ever have to cross the line I have crossed.

We laugh a lot. I've learnt lots of new (rude!) words. We cry sometimes. We love deeply always. With these ladies I am just me. I am home. I cannot imagine being without them. I love them fiercely.

I have found my tribe.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Happiness and Love

Author: Anonymous

BD - ( that's what I call it now , before diagnosis) I would liken myself to Dave the minion. I would walk around in complete ignorance of the world really ......funny because now I think I'm more like the Dalai Lama but with more clothes and less tolerance. How does he not swear, I must fucking work on that one ...

I love deeper, I mean REALLY love deeper, I tell my daughters hourly I love them, if they sneeze "Bless you sweetie, mumma loves you." They usually roll their eyes and say "tell me something I don't know", then wipe the snot on my sofa ...... but I do it anyway,  "Mumma love you but don't wipe your snot on my sofa" get me?

I'm kinder, I look at people and I will try to help. Be it small like giving the Big Issue guy a Greggs pasty and his dog a chewy (they usually swap cus there's more meat in the chewy) I no longer walk by. I don't do it for thanks -  no point most people have no manners, I do it because it nurtures my soul.

I am more sensitive, since diagnosis I have noticed how people abandon you, who knows why? Maybe they think they can catch it? Maybe they think they need to protect themselves from the pain of possibly losing you? Maybe it was my nutty phase that made me difficult to be around from being poisoned, burned and butchered, who knows?  That's about as much thought as I am going to give that one, see below ......

I forgive quicker, hurt me (boy have I been hurt since diagnosis) and yes I will react like the black widow but I will also walk away with no resentment, I am clearly wasting my time and emotions on you so I am off. Turrah!

My senses seem to be heightened, I smell the leaves  I feel the sun on my face, I stroke jumpers in shops!  Food tastes different to how it used to and I have an inner leprechaun that freaks completly if it sees a beautiful rainbow, nature is truly beautiful you just have to stop and look.

I pray more, I have my Catholic faith, it's personal to me, I am not overly strict in my practice of it but I don't judge you if you do not have one, challenging my belief will not change mine, mine gives me peace it gives me a inner calm at the most challenging of moments. I do not see badness as a punishment from God, it just is, life is very unfair. I have never quite understood why faith causes such arguments it is so sad, or why you would want to deny me my faith and the comfort it gives me, then marry and baptise your children, (which is a holy sacrament) in a church, those in glass houses and all that.

I constantly think and challenge, why ? Why did that person do that? Why am I doing this? why do my bones ache so much? What was that twinge? Stopping  the waterfall of thoughts is frustrating and a daily battle.

What am I trying to say, I don't really know myself , chemo brain never allows me to complete my cycle of thought beyond that of a goldfish, what was I saying again? I think I'm saying enjoy the moment, like so many ladies in my situation and far far worse, enjoy it, find the happiness, give the happiness and never ever, ever, stop loving.

PS I love you girlies ....... well it has been ten minutes!  x

Sunday, 15 November 2015

To the man on the train

Author: Anonymous

The idea for this post came about when I found myself sitting between several people reading an article about the ‘No Less a Woman’ campaign (in which I feature). I imagined myself having a conversation around some of the - upsetting - comments I later saw posted about the article.

Man on the Train

I was sitting next to you on the District Line last Wednesday, reading the Evening Standard over your shoulder. I know it was irritating – sorry. I just couldn’t help myself. I saw my topless photograph on page 11 in the article about ‘No Less a Woman’ - the collaboration by Stella McCartney and Laura Dodsworth to highlight breast cancer awareness. It’s not every day you see a picture of yourself half-naked in the newspaper! I blushed didn’t I? It sounds crazy, but there was this awful split-second before I realised that neither you, nor anyone else in the carriage would know that I was one of the three women in the article because our identities were not revealed.

I noticed that you looked at the images for a long time. It’s okay to be curious. We wanted you to know what mastectomy scars look like; to better understand the impact of breast surgery on women’s bodies. Sadly, not everyone gets to have neat scars and beautifully reconstructed breasts despite the wonderful advances in surgery. Not everyone can have a tattoo over their scar. Radiation treatment, for instance, can cause invisible, but long-term damage to the skin.

It didn’t cross your mind that you were sitting next to one of the women in the feature? You didn’t think I looked like I had breast cancer? It’s hard, but we all need to remember to try not to make assumptions about how people look, sometimes people can be ill, even when they look great. 

You can’t understand why I wanted to show my scars? To be honest, I would never have agreed to have a topless photo before I had breast cancer. I took my breasts for granted. I didn’t see them as emblematic of my womanhood and femininity. I was sad to say good-bye to them when I decided to have risk-reducing surgery but when a reconstruction failed, and I got cancer again, I was devastated. Around 1 in 8 women in this country will develop breast cancer and 11, 000 women still die every year. I heard cancer described as ‘sexy.’ I hope these images will help people to understand that cancer is not sexy and they will have a better appreciation of this disease. 

I worry that my daughter’s generation will struggle to develop a healthy relationship with their bodies if they are only surrounded by airbrushed images of idealised women. I worry that we are in danger of denying the truth of who we are if we carry on holding such unrealistic expectations, not just about our breasts, but about our bodies and the control we imagine we have over them. 

Please don’t call me ‘brave.’ I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. But if you must feel pity, turn that emotion into a verb – do something to help, even if it’s just making a donation to charity.

Were you shocked? If you were, then it gives you some insight into how I felt for a long time. Nudity is something of a taboo in our culture, but to bare an imperfect body, a scarred body, feels like the final taboo, one that I wanted to shatter by showing off my body in all its flawed glory. My scars might be hidden from you, but I see them and they tell the story of my body, of my courage and strength.

My English Cancer

Author: Sandra M

Hola amigos,

I have never dared to write a post for the blog simply not just because I didn't want to say things, just because I thought my foreign English wouldn't do justice to all the things I would like to say. However now, I have been learning that my cancer is proper English, with its proper RP accent, with the London look, like a Londoner accent. My cancer was born in this country, my cancer was found in England and the NHS is looking after me the best they possibly can. I am never felt more English that I feel now even though I am genuinely Spanish from top to bottom with my expressive hands, my funny faces when I talk, my brown eyes and the straightforwardness of words when I speak my language. Funny enough, I struggle so so much speaking about my disease in Spanish. It is so hard that I really need to think carefully the words.

I hesitated so many times to join YBCN (Younger Breast Cancer Network UK) feeling that I shouldn't be part of this group. I was totally and utterly wrong. What could I have done without this? How could I've been comforted when I was alone, when my family cried over the phone, those time when I was losing the plot or I had millions of questions. One thing I remember was my fear to post anything in the group and I dared. I dared because from second number one I knew I was in caring and supportive hands. All the welcomes and the warm greetings made me feel better already.
I have BREAST CANCER, finally I said it after two paragraphs. I was diagnosed the 19th of November 2014 when my sister was having her 36th birthday and I ruined it telling the crap news that the biopsy confirmed it was cancer. Homerton greatest surgeon told me I had triple negative breast cancer, stage 3, grade 3, very gently, well managed and with lots of encouraging words. She told me we caught it just in time. And everything worked! Yippie!!! My chemo was a success, the surgery worked and my arm is feeling better after my sentinel node biopsy. Rads were a walk in the park and during those 21 days of radiotherapy I enjoyed the look of a lovely member of staff, nice, caring, geeky, intelligent look, smart, with glasses and tall!!! I gave the team my email address but he didn't get the hint or perhaps he was too professional and my mailbox didn't get the email. Oooops!! Hehehe
I am LUCKY, I truly think I am, however many other moments I wonder whys and what's the reason behind my cancer or even if I deserved this, I guess we all do wonder and question. Unfortunately, we will never know and that's fine. We haven't done anything wrong, we didn't eat too much bacon or drank too much wine, we are not responsible for this. It is just sometimes the way things are and it sucks and we can only try and hope for the best.

I always hope for the best even now that I know my breast cancer has come back. Last Friday I was told my cancer spread to my brain. It doesn't look promising, there are two areas where the bastard has spread and we/they don't know much else yet
I want to live my life whatever the time I have, I want to keep up, carry on being resilient and stubborn like the bamboo when the wind blows and tries to break it and it bends and comes back up. Believe me when I say those words because I fucking am.
I know the outcome of all this, I don't need to remind you what will happen to me but whatever the time I have I really want to DO. I need to enjoy, laugh, cry, share, travel, see friends, eat in restaurants, go to the cinema, polish my nails, discover new books and write many words.
Friday yes, I was a mess but I accomplished things too. I was able to leave the counselling room with raccoon eyes and a clown nose and I finally asked for help, first time ever! I told my dearest friends to have a coffee with me and make jokes that evening. My sister whose birthday I spoiled last year, flew over to London that night and it felt good. We did things, lots of things. And on Saturday the 7th of Nov 2015 ( yesterday) all my other siblings went all together to my little town and helped me to break the news to my parents. Gosh, it was so hard. I managed not to cry and kept neutral with my feelings as I know my mum will be devastated and it wouldn't help with my tears. They both ended up in hospital after the news, my father because he just came out from heart surgery and had a shock and my mum because she had such a huge breakdown that needed painkillers to make her feel better.
I am so sorry this post might look full of fear and pain but it is nonetheless the opposite. I want to give you a big cheer up.
I am already thinking about my funeral, which is very odd and probably not the best thing to have in mind at the moment. But somehow it is for me like organising a big fat party. I have so many plans for that day that makes me smile.
I would like to send love to you and tell you to grab minutes with your hands, enjoy the seconds of today, laugh to adversity, grab your life and hug it until your arms hurt and do things you love the most. It is our precious time, our treasure. Please look after that.

I leave it here with a quote I heard yesterday when I was in the cinema watching 007.

“You are a dancing kite in the middle of a hurricane” Yes indeed!

So much love,

Sandra M

Me before November 2014

First chemo done! And champagne! 

Second surgery and a "new knickers hat"
Sad news with secondary diagnosis, and steroids = cleaning house windows