Thursday, 25 June 2015

"You can never step into the same water twice"

Author: Anat F C

I went on a very well earned holiday.

It was promised to me the day I was diagnosed by my husband. "Pick whatever you want,we can go wherever,you just need to finish that shit!!!".

Needless to say,this 'shit' will never be over,it will always be in the back of my head....

In my last meeting with my counsellor, before I left ,it was agreed that it would be interesting to see if I'm capable not to think about it. 

I failed!!!...

I constantly think about the philosopher Kant, that said:" you can never step into the same water twice." No,I definitely can't!!! I will never be the same person. When I put my foot in the sea,I thought to myself,this hair never been to the sea, these boobs never been to sea and this person has never been to the sea...

This person has never lost a friend to the same illness that she had/has...

Last week we went few of us to a shiva. For the ones of you don't know what it is, it the Jewish seven days of mourning after someone dies. Our friend Rosie,had passed away.  She had breast cancer that had metastasised to her liver. She was one the most special people I have spoken to, we never met. We all celebrated her life with some sparkly,the way she would have wanted us to do.

One of us said:"we should live our life to the fullest,we don't know what can happen tomorrow,we could be hit by a truck." This is something that every cancer patient always hear from everyone. 

I said:" I can tell you I'd be fucking angry if after all that a truck would kill me!!!"  So since chemo I'm very careful while crossing the road.  But I will definitely live my life to the fullest!!!

This person has entered the see today...

Sunday, 21 June 2015


Author: Sarah

I'm still here, please don't fear.

I need a friend someone on whom I can depend.
I don't need much, just fun and such.
The treatment may be rough but I've got that I'm tough.
Please take heed to what I need.
Friendship gives me wings to fly on the day every inch of my body cries.
A coffee, a walk, a call it's enough to help me stand tall.
I won't ask, I won't call, I won't tell you I need you but you can be sure that I do.
Just for now please do the giving, I'm trying my best to just do the living.
If you can't talk about the scary C, well that's fine just come and have a cup of tea.
Who knows the future neither you not I. Imagine how you'd want to feel and please try.

Cancer hasn't killed me, please don't kill our friendship.

The innocents

Author: Sarah

Eight months ago I felt a fairly integral part of the general population and certainly of my own middle class mostly incredibly fortunate community. I have always been a bit of a mild mannered anarchist at heart and my style is often to purposely choose the barely beaten track. Looking back on that now I couldn't have chosen a wilder less trodden path than the one I'm now on if I'd tried.

Now I am not a depressive or dark character I am actually a very upbeat sort of a gal who tends to just keep going always at a steady unrelenting jog. But lately my thoughts are more complex, an insidious oil slick of colours, hues of grey and black but with rich and vivid metallics in shades of green, purple and blue similar to the dramatic and all seeing eye of a peacocks tail.

The day I finished chemo I started to write, words just started to seep from my mind. I will admit to always having had a severely under occupied intellect and thus a very cluttered and busy mind, for the past few years I have been tending contentedly to my children, their education and my husbands career, my mind a relentless melange of varying philosophies, business ideas and unwritten theses. With hindsight the knowledge (I say knowledge as I had already been a cancer host for at least 18 months prior to diagnosis) of my breast cancer meant my already crowded mind quickly reached capacity and all new thoughts had to find an outlet. I'm sure this is why I started to type that day six weeks ago.

I love my life, I really do I am one of the most fortunate people I know, yes we've had health, money, business, parent and relationship issues but who hasn't that is an integral part of the pattern of life but I love my life and I am incredibly content in amongst the humdrum of my everyday existence. But what is missing now since my diagnosis are a significant number of my friends.

I have become slightly estranged from many of my friends over the last few months, some due to their apathy, some due to their lack of strength and maybe some due to my apparent phenomenal strength and independence. I have found that after the stomach blow of disappointment and the anger that many of your favourite human beings have almost inevitably it now seems let you down I am left with what can only be described as perhaps a mild resentment towards "the innocents".

The strange thing about this is that I'm not resentful that "the innocents" don't have cancer, not at all I wouldn't wish that on anyone or anything. I'm not bitter or angry that I did or do (I'll never know which it is unless it rears it's head again. I am currently classed as no evidence of disease the sometimes elusive NED sought by many cancer hosts). I seem to resent the general population or many of them for their insipid apathy towards all that makes them feel uncomfortable and it would appear that now includes me. It is difficult for them apparently to know what to say or what to do. They don't want to say the wrong thing, they don't want to ask or is it really that they don't want to know. They don't want to face the terrifying prospect that one day the sucker punch wall of life can throw you one almighty blow you won't even see coming, that is until you realise your nose is clearly broken due to the unmistakeable taste of blood in your mouth. I cannot comprehend this foolish but conscious choice to be so complacent. To pretend that life isn't fragile and precious, to risk all this by thinking out loud enough to be heard, "it won't happen to me". How dare they, why do they believe they are so different to me? I have never committed any crimes against humanity of any sort, I have always tried to be a kind person. I try to forgive. I always ate my greens!

I often look at "the innocents" the ones I know and feel that they show a blatant disregard for life! They occupy themselves with such triviality rather than face the real issues of life that can shape and change your character and make you feel truly alive. Have they not stopped to see, to learn the lesson from me, any one of them may already be in the same position just blissfully ignorant thus far and even if they are not, any one of us could be lost today to misfortune such is the fragility of this wondrous life. Having said that I do not mourn the ignorant life of before I do not envy "the innocents" I am happy in my new awareness, I just wish to continue in this new found state of awe and wonder for the rest of my natural days.

I am truly sorry if I embarrass them, I'm sorry it's hard to find the words but neglect is disrespectful and I have been upset and angry to have been sidelined and in fact forgotten. I forgive them all for they are indeed "the innocents"

I'm not currently dying and as a friend I have so very much to give. I am in fact so very much more alive than "the innocents".

A lesson from Rosie

Author: Sarah

Today has taught me the true potential of the human heart. Since I joined the young breast cancer network my heart has swelled with true love for all the other women in the world going through what we do. There is no sense to any of it other than the stark black and white of life and death. True success I now believe is acceptance of the miracle of life, finding the ability to treasure our time on earth and find peace with our fate whatever that may be. Not handbags and cars. I cannot believe that there can not be a higher calling for us for there must a reason these fantastic young women with so much to give are needed elsewhere. Our road is incredibly difficult, I use an analogy of old fashioned warfare, we are a troop, we stand and march together, we pick up our fallen and carry them for as long as is humanly possible. We grieve and mourn together for fallen comrades. This is not modern life as many know, it is a sometimes grim reality that's requires true grit but it is now our modern day reality. It is lucky my heart has swollen and grown so much because I lose a piece with every beautiful soul we lose.

We will carry each other for as long as we can allowing each other to have as much time as we can with loved ones and when one day that is not enough we will free each other from guilt and torment and allow our souls to fly free from pain and anguish reassuring each other that no matter what we ate or have done we did not invite this!

Strength in numbers

Author: Sarah

I know a gang of girls
They'll give anything a whirl!
The bravest bunch you'll ever meet.
Keeping up with them is no mean feat.
Their backgrounds are to put it bluntly diverse
Some of their conversation topics distinctly perverse
They challenge themselves mentally and physically every day
They keep going on and on come what may
They take risks with what they do
and what they put their bodies through
Not much is out of bounds
and they are always prepared to break new ground.
They forgo their femininity
to prove the strength of women you see.
Their hairstyles ever changing
their depth of character amazing
Theirs are lives lived at a hundred miles an hour
Life at this speed rarely makes them sour
They are made of such strong stuff
a quiet life will never again be enough
Imagine life permanently on a rollercoaster and you'd be getting there
These girls are so very alive that of death they're well aware
Adrenaline junkies never fearing the end....
No think again my friend
No youthful frivolity risking life on a whim
These girls really feel every ray of sun on their skin
They'd never risk it all on a dance with chance knowing what they know
and they always give everything that matters a second glance to remember it just so
They may be soft and frilly
but are also strong and gritty
A force to be reckoned with,
yours a perception to be messed with
These girls would challenge you
they run deeper than you ever do
I know what you're thinking
what sort of girl you're envisaging
Well you'd be so wrong
so very very wrong
With youth you'd be right
But try as you might
you won't ever guess what moulds these girls and makes them shine so bright!
A gang of girls I bet you'd like to get to know!
Well please read on and consider what's below
The thing that has tried or is trying to take their lives
Is what makes them walk a path that seems to be paved with upturned knives
These are your mothers,
your daughters, your sisters, your lovers
Living with or overcoming cancer isn't a fight try as you might
An adversary not to be beaten, cancer of lives makes light
These are not always pink princesses
desperate to return to blow drying their tresses
but neither are they joyless victims
devoid of all that life brings
They live, they love, they laugh and they cry
but despite the best medicine can do some of them still die.
They are the largely unknown,
they don't publicly moan.
They are often forgotten, let down, ignored and left feeling socially drowned.
So how do you feel about these girls now?


Younger Breast Cancer Network
This post refers to the Younger Breast Cancer Network UK - a support and chat group for young women with a breast cancer diagnosis in the UK.
For more information see the YBCN Facebook page.
You can also follow YBCN on Twitter @YBCN_UK

The betrayal

Author: Sarah

I have been cheated and let down, this thought causes such a heavy frown.
The stress I feel to those around me seems so unreal.
They still see their bodies as unfailing machines. Whereas I have faith in not one part of my body it seems.
Sleep is a blissful respite but on waking I begin to feel the fright.
This society of blame and claim has not helped life in the cancer game.
I seek reassurance even though it comes without insurance.
My caring consultant cannot deliver what I crave to calm my imagination for fear of litigation.
But two years believing there will be years galore would free me more than ten believing there would only be four.
It has already happened I am the scenario unlikely so how do I face a new freckle and believe I am not the minority.
Each day brings fleeting aches, new symptoms all creating mental earthquakes.
The internet has become synonymous with the devil in my head. A prophecy of doom lies on every thread.
Day to day life is all in all back to normal but how do I know which new fear I make formal.
My doctor I'm sure views me with both pity and disdain I feel unable to visit again and again!
Where does that leave me? The scar still remaining mocks me daily with its lumpy irregular formation.
Daring me to roll that dice and risk missing what could so cruelly happen twice.
If my husband betrayed me I could chose to remove him from my life. It's not so easy when what betrayed me also sustains my life.


The life I've lost

Author: Sarah

I'm still here and I don't mind at what cost
But still I grieve for the life I've lost

The hopes and dreams of yesterday remain
But now are tempered with fear and restraint

I long to dream of getting old
But tempting fate is just too bold

Relationships become strained
Thoughts of death on conversations rain

Fear has stolen many friends
Illness and treatment to isolations tends

No evidence of disease does my ears please
But friends have blown through with the breeze

The distance caused by what I'm not clear
Lack of kindness I'm sure not, perhaps it's fear

Each day passes much the same as the last
But how I long for the days that are past

Carefree coffees, aimless shopping
But friends they rarely do drop in

What should they say, what should they do
My answer to that just be you

Will it change I do hope so
For life without friends is terribly slow

I don't talk cancer all day
Please come we've plenty to say

The weather, friends, clothes, food, shoes and men
All topics I can cover again and again

Just be my friend if you're finding it hard
Drop me a card

I'll understand and appreciate your view
But please come visit me do!

Monday, 15 June 2015

Fairytale lost, YBCN Found

Author: Sarah

Once upon a while ago I felt almost invincible.
The days were short the years rushed by and I presumed I'd look old age in the eye.
One day last year all that changed when I found out some of my cells had become deranged.
I felt I would soon be dead, it filled me with enormous dread
I imagined motherless kids and my husband an empty bed.
The mist it gathered all around all I could do was keep close to the ground.
I felt my way through those first few days all senses were numb is all I can say.
Loved ones tried to help me by but the fear and the hurt was in their eyes.
Friends some left which made me more bereft.
The game of life had rolled my dice and the number I'd got didn't feel that nice.
The mists still remained, my life was so pained my thoughts and my fears were driving me insane.
Alone I felt and alone I was despite my lovely family I felt just one.
A girl in a waiting room one day mentioned a group that might help along the way.
A break in the clouds, a chink of light, help me along well this just might.
That break it grew what a difference it could make I hardly knew then a beautiful rainbow came bursting through.
It grew and grew right down to my feet and the feeling I got had me glued to my seat.
One by one ladies slid down the rainbow into my life saying hello and lifting the mist and strife.
Ladies all with a common goal get through this time and climb out the hole.
A funny little setup the laughs don't often let up but we deal with death and fear the harsh reality of life is clear.
We are all facing the sniper we don't know which of us he's after the uncertainty is difficult for anyone outside to capture.
We listen and guide, we laugh and we've cried, we do our best to maintain some pride.
We find a way to muddle through because that's what we have to do but why it works and how it helps is simple an equation from an easy maths shelf.

Younger Breast Cancer Network
This post refers to the support from the Younger Breast Cancer Network UK - a support and chat group for young women with a breast cancer diagnosis in the UK.
For more information see the YBCN Facebook page.
You can also follow YBCN on Twitter @YBCN_UK

Dear Chemo

Author: Sarah

Dear Chemo

I'm writing to tell you we're through, I've just had enough of you.
I am so glad we're done and I can't say it's been fun.
You've taken some of my hair up top and all from downstairs.
You've taken my lashes and given me rashes.
You've stolen some joy and made me quite coy.
You've made me frown and sometimes feel very down.
You've been vicious and with you nothing tastes delicious.
You've caused frequent tears and plenty of fears.
You've made me swell and feel of my normal friends quite jel.
You've burnt my veins and blocked up my personal drains!
You've stolen my nose hair and left my eyebrows bare.
You've made my eyes water and given me bum traumas.
You've embarrassed me beyond belief making my nose run down past my teeth.
You've made me vomit and being pain free, well far from it.
You've messed with my mind and to a social life left me quite blind.
You've caused friends to pity me and even stopped me drinking tea.
You've caused me to miss so much and I hate my life thus.
This can't go on what you do to my body is all wrong.
Our relationship is done but the reality makes me quite numb.
Leaving you makes sense but the last 5 months have been so intense.

I'll miss you, your routine, your support, your highs, your lows but you are too much for me I can't take you anymore.

But before I walk out the door for hopefully the last time I want to say Thank you. Without you my future life would look so very different to how it looks today, in fact it would be even more uncertain.

You've moulded me, changed me, stripped me bare and beaten me down but I will rise again and I will rebuild myself stronger more resilient, healthier and happier than before and I will live! Thanks to you, Chemo.

PS can we stay friends I just want to hedge my bets just in case I can't live without you.

Goodbye with love from the bottom of my heart under my wonky boobed chest!


Sunday, 7 June 2015


Author: Kim F


Yes this is what I think I am...angry.

Angry I got cancer.
Angry I got it at 30.
Angry I got diagnosed 6 months after my 2nd beautiful boy was born.
Angry that our perfect family was torn apart.
Angry that life will never be the same again.
Angry that Im having to mourn the care free life we had.

Angry that it has made me hate how my body looks
Angry that it has made me super self conscious.
Angry that every ache or pain I have now, my head automatically thinks 'it's spread' and panic hits.
Angry that I am now jealous of everyone that are living their lives without these worries.
Angry that my boys may end up growing up without their mummy.
Angry that my husband may lose his wife.
Angry that I can't let go of the anger and be happier.

I am hoping one day soon this will all fade away. I know it won't go completely but it should at least let me really enjoy the life I actually have with my amazing family and friends. Xxx

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

My new body

Author: Anonymous

Of the many experiences I faced during cancer treatment, one that sticks with me very distinctly is the experience of going to the hospital the day before surgery to be marked up.

During treatment for Breast Cancer, there are many times when you can feel a lack of dignity: there is a lot of prodding and poking of “the lump”; having an MRI involves lying on your front with your boobs hanging through some carefully places openings in the table; having the DIEP surgery, as I did, led to several appointments in which my plastic surgeon studied my breasts in great detail and grabbed at my tummy fat in an approving manner, pleased with the quantities he had to work with! However, throughout these experiences, I usually felt as if I was being treated as a human, my feelings were considered and everyone involved was doing their utmost to think of me as a person and the effects it was having on me.

Then came the “marking up”. I don’t know if this happens in the same way in all hospitals, but for mine I had to go in the day before surgery to have this done, and although I can understand the reasoning (to save time on the day of the op for what was a very long procedure) I can’t help but thinking there must be a better way.

“Marking up” involved exactly what it sounds like. A doctor with a large marker pen, writing on me showing where they would operate, marking out the area of tummy to be taken, the position of the blood vessels, which would be transferred with the tummy fat to keep my remoulded breast alive. The marking itself took about an hour after which I went home to spend a sleepless night worrying about what was going to happen the next day. On returning home, I spent some time looking at myself in the mirror, staring at the lines and markings, the large arrow pointing to my left breast, ensuring they would take the correct one.

For the first time in this experience, I felt that the medics had hit far wide of the mark. I didn’t feel like a human person, but a thing to be manipulated and worked on. This marking has scarred my mind almost as much as the ensuing surgery has scarred my body.

Marking Up


she pulls out the marker pen

as if to jot down ideas from a group brainstorm,

or write a “NO PARKING” sign.

But the pen is for me.

I uncover my body and become her flipchart, her paper.

She draws around my nipple,

which once nourished my beautiful babies,

An action so intimate, yet so different from my husband’s loving touch

An arrow marks the side to be taken.

Across my stomach, dotted lines:

‘Cut Here’ marks show where they must take their clay to shape my new breast.

I stare in the mirror

Blank eyes look back

My body, once familiar

now looks like a paper pattern for a sewing project.

A new body will be formed.

I must say goodbye to the feel of my husband’s gentle touch, the sight of my child’s mouth suckling.

I am me, but not me

A year has passed since I had my surgery. Medically speaking it has been a success: the cancer was all removed; the reconstruction all healed well and looks pretty good. My head will take a little longer to recover. I still have days where I regret even having the reconstruction in the first place. I can look at myself in the mirror, but it still feels like it’s not me that is looking back.

I am taking small steps to take back my body again. I’m trying to exercise and have taken up yoga. The yoga classes, led by a wonderful teacher, have been the most useful way of getting back in touch with my body. I really lost faith in my body. I felt I didn't understand it, that it had let me down and I could no longer trust it. It was almost as if my body didn’t belong to me, it belonged to the plastic surgeon who created it. Over the past few months, I have started to build trust in my body again, to find out what it can do (and what it can't), to understand what it is telling me and to listen to it. I still miss my old body, but I’m heading in the right direction.