So its that time again when everything turns pink and folk on social media come up with fucking terrible ways to 'show their support' for those who are living with or have had Breast Cancer.
I think the worst one I have heard of this time was the no bra picture to be posted on social media... I have to say...... what the fuck!?!?!? You want to show your support to women who may have had mastectomies by posting a picture of your perfect tits in a tight top not wearing a bra? Well if anyone thinks that is a good idea I say Fuck You! Get a fucking clue....whoever came up with that idea needs a talking to.
For those of you who know me well it's no secret I am not a big fan of the 'pink' cancer awareness, I understand the sentiment and our desire to label everything with a colour and slogan and that's fine. But as a woman who had breast cancer can I please ask you to think before you buy any of the multitude of pink items for sale - how much of that money is really going to a charity? If you want ...to support a breast cancer charity why not just donate the money? Instead of buying things why not volunteer some time? If you know someone with cancer why not make them a meal, do some laundry or just spend some time with them? Going through my cancer treatment was one of the loneliest times of my life. And if you only do one thing please make sure you check yourselves! that goes for the boys too!
So in the spirit of Breast Cancer Awareness month, here is what Breast Cancer did to me;
I thought I was going to die. I had to face the very stark reality that Cancer kills and at 33 years old all I could think was...I'm not ready.
I had to undergo numerous scans and painful biopsies.
I had to tell my Mom and Dad and family and friends I had Cancer.
I had surgery to remove a tumour from my breast and a full lymph node clearance as it had spread leaving me with an ugly scar across the middle of my breast and under my arm and causing a notable difference in the size/shape of both breasts and nerve damage to my arm - I have never regained full feeling in the top part of my left arm. And as a special treat I was unsure until the day of my surgery whether I was going to have to have a mastectomy or not. I did not, I was lucky.
I developed lymphoedema in my left arm and now have to be careful not to cause any damage or get any infection in that arm / hand.
I had seven months of chemotherapy - nausea, unable to sleep, fatigue, constant fear of infection as my immune system was destroyed every 3 weeks, changes in my taste, bone aches, not wanting to eat or drink, depression and a whole host of other side effects.
Due to the chemo I lost my hair. I cut off my long hair before chemo started and donated it to charity.
My veins are shit so right from the off I had a Hickman line. That is a tube that goes directly into your veins that sticks out of your chest for the duration of Chemo. Fun.
Whilst having a session of one of the harsher chemotherapy's - it was compared to having double strength bleach introduced into your system I went into anaphalactic shock - my body had built up antibodies since my first session....my throat closed, I couldn't breathe...it was actually terrifying.
Since diagnosis and to this day I have been poked and prodded by numerous medical professionals.
I have yearly check ups and mammograms which I will have each year until I die.
I had radiotherapy every weekday for 3 weeks. After a few days I felt like I was going to die the fatigue was so bad.
I developed septicemia in my breast, if the lymphoedema nurse had not caught it I could have ended up is hospital within days - I had no idea I was so unwell as I was so used to feeling like shit.
I had never felt so alone in my whole life.
I found out who my friends really are and that sometimes strangers are kinder than those you hold dear.
After treatment ended everyone thought I was OK.
Every time I go to the doctors now I hear the phrase 'well we should do some tests just to be sure, because of your history'.
Constant steroid use gives you hamster cheeks.
I have had numerous scares and am still terrified to this day that the Cancer will return.
I have recently had more surgery to put right the difference in size / shape of my breasts - they look OK, just more scars.
I constantly feel tired.
I wish people understood that Cancer does not end once treatment does.
I have been taking Tamoxifen for nearly 5 years and dealing with the lovely menopausal symptoms that it gives you - weight gain, hot flushes, joint aches and so on and so forth. I have been told to take it for 10 years.
My memory sucks sometimes...thanks chemo brain.
My skin where I had radiotherapy is tight and discoloured and this will never change.
No-one can really understand any of this unless they have been through it.
It bothers me I have scars...I don't feel feminine or pretty most of the time.
I found that I could help others through writing my Blog and taking the piss out of myself.
I joined a project and filmed myself discussing my diagnosis and treatment etc - again I hope this has helped others.
I have low tolerance for people moaning about trivial shit.
I have more tolerance for those that struggle.
After 5 years I have started moaning about trivial shit and I hate myself for it.
Cancer has taken the joy out of a lot of things.
I cannot have children...actually I don't know if I can physically but I have been told it would be done against medical advice.
Thanks to body issues and the lovely Tamoxifen I don't feel remotely attractive.
I thought I would start living my life how I wanted and not for anyone else...I was wrong.
I went through all of this 2 years after my husband died from Lung Cancer.
I have lost friends to Breast Cancer, young women with children and I would swap places with them in a second because it is just so fucking unfair.
I fall in love every day.
I miss my husband.
I sometimes want to scream and scream until the world shatters.
For so long I wanted normal...now all I want is extraordinary.
Human kindness and cruelty enchant and repulse me greatly.
I am a mess.
I try to help anyone who needs me.
I need help.
I am grateful I am still here.
Sometimes I wish I was not here.
I will never stop fighting.
So please share this, make people 'aware' of what Breast Cancer is.....