A hair pity party…

Featured

22/11/18

My hair. My heart constricts, my breath pauses, I feel ill thinking about getting my hair cut, never mind shaving it. I don’t know whether I break the back of this feeling by cutting it off first or if I just go straight to shaving it. I feel dreadful and broken. Worse than I actually felt about the cancer in my body. Worse than I felt in the build up to two operations. Worse than I felt about telling people.

And all the while, I know in my sane mind that this is ridiculous. It is hair. It doesn’t define me. It doesn’t make me who I am – my devastating wit (bahahaha!), my love for my family, my passions about so many things but mainly my wee cub, my quick fire tongue that leaves me in trouble a lot of the time and my love of the majority of swear words (minus the c one) to adequately describe a lot of situations!! I have also had very short hair before. Albeit I went through some dodgy phases but also theres a few decent pics that the man cub quite likes.

I’m not going to lie, since I broke the back of a good bubble at SWAT of all TV programmes, I have had a few tears behind the bathroom door. Nothing extreme, I seem to have quenched the desire to fully breakdown, but silent tears never the less. And it all seems utterly futile as it is a given, and inevitable. Which is usually when I move into acceptance mode as I like a plan. Its just I don’t like this plan very much at all.

23/11/18

Its Friday night, the night before the hairdressers and the neighbours come round for a ‘couple’ of drinks. When I say a couple, we ended up dancing round the living room at midnight and declaring that we’d shave our heads together. I mean, I wouldn’t put anyone else through it but the offer is beautiful. There was also a very funny conversation about contraception now I can’t take the pill – discussing the use of condoms with lesbians has to be a whole new scenario in my life that I laughed and laughed about!

24/11/18

Now its all well and good having a good Friday night. It is not so well and good waking up at 6am on the sofa, crick in neck, fully dressed, lights still on and an imminent hair appointment at 11am. Downed two pints of water and tried to get at least another hour before the cub arose. It was sorely needed!

Arriving at the hairdressers feeling more than a little tender, I swayed while the cub got her hair cut first. I’d declared to a couple of the girls that the restyle was a necessity for chemo rather than a choice so they were on it and amazing. And I did great at first. The back got absolutely chopped (but you can’t see that when you’re staring at your own face in the mirror!) And then my left side was chopped which is where reality started hitting hard. I mean, I only had barely shoulder length hair, but I still have a lot of it and as it was dropping down the gown I could see it, really see it. By the time my lovely Anna moved to my right side, silent tears were flowing and then I broke. Proper sobs. I mean the shame of sitting in a hairdressers where the majority of Saturday folk are getting Saturday night ready and theres me sobbing, while the cub is in the corner knocking out colouring of unicorns for anyone who would pay her attention.

I have never felt the need to bolt out of a chair so strongly in my life. But somehow, my arse stayed firmly put, knowing that if I bolted there was a good chance I couldn’t physically put my arse back in that chair – and that would have been an even worse haircut situation!! One of the girls sat with the cub making a unicorn cat drawing, Anna stood between the cub and myself, while the owner told me I looked amazing. And I pulled my big girl pants back on, took a deep breath and told Anna to get on with it. And she did an amazing job.

The resilience of the cub is amazing to me. She didn’t bat an eyelid when I was finished, told me my hair was very short, she liked it. And she still loved me. I mean, if I wasn’t already on the edge she was about to tip me over. But there was more to the day to be had – we nipped into the shop on the way home and as I walked in the first girl I clapped eyes on was wearing a head scarf. Whether through cancer or alopecia, I wasn’t to know. But I did think that the gods were testing me to my limits that day!!

I got home, cried some more. And hated my hair for all it was hairdresser done. I absolutely know that it never looks like that the next day and I will never again return to the look the hairdresser pulls off. And if I hate it now, and I am going to hate it full time when it is all in my control.

26/11/18

I’ve spent two days hibernating. I don’t want to be seen. I’m not ready to face the world. Bizarrely though I went out for Sunday lunch yesterday with my gorgeous family and we managed not to see anyone we knew, and it was all very normal and mundane. It’s strange as I don’t ‘feel’ different, but I ‘look’ different when I look in the mirror. And that’s how other people see me and judge me. And that’s not what I am looking forward too. Ugh.

I’m still being a strong bugger inside though. I’ve got this.

Life ticking by…..

Featured

19/11/18

It’s a week since I’ve put pen to paper. Why? Because life has continued as it usually does. It has gone quiet again. I managed to skip past Children in Need this year – I never miss it. My most memorable Children in Need was returning to the home the man cub and I first shared a little bit worse for wear and after he had fallen into bed I watched the late part of the programme where the sob stories really kick in and in a drunken stupor I managed to donate £100 with the sky remote alone! That was a tight month thereafter and I’ve had the remote hidden from me every year since! Also, the blubbing would have been epic.

I braved a kids party on Saturday but it was for the ‘other’ Year 1 class so only a few people there, none that I knew, so I escaped under the radar while supping coffee and watching a click and climb wall which I totally wanted to do! I wonder what the conversation will go like when I have no hair. That is dwelling on my mind a lot at the moment. My hair has never been my crowning glory, I have an unruly , not quite curly but wavy, fluffy barnet that does not do as it is told and moisture is it’s nemesis.

20/11/18

I read today that someone in the FB group I follow hasn’t been offered a ‘lift’ on their well boob to align them after surgery. My consultant must be amazing as he was quick off the mark to mention it – I mean I am really lopsided already!! He’s never had an issue with mentioning it and I never even raised it first. I didn’t expect it to be honest and I’m still not sure I want to do it but at least I have the option. It appears some others aren’t even being given that. I’ve read a bit more today about the Triple Negative type of cancer I had is a big thing, and then I stopped. It’s out. I need to focus on that for the moment.

I’m still really haunted by thoughts of no hair and having real palpitations about getting it cut short on Saturday. I’ve not had a good nights sleep for weeks, and dwelling on it is driving me wild. I’ve read today that even cold capping, people lose their hair between days 10 -15 and it can come out in clumps. So then loads just shave it anyway. Aaaagh.

21/11/18

Work is absolutely crazy and I can’t seem to get on top of it fully. I feel like I’m losing days as chemo fast approaches and I’m not sure how to deal with it. Today was one of those crazy days at work. It still feels like I am drowning as I battle with competing emotions in my head. I’m trying to be all things and I’ve barely got my head (and hair!) above water. I seem to forget that emotionally I am dealing with quite a big elephant, while still trying to be superwoman working full time, co-parenting a wild five year old cub, managing a household while trying to look after me. It all feels a little bit too much at times.

I’ve quipped twice today about my chemo. The first in a meeting was ok, as I played the card at the right time! But the second went very quiet and awkward. Then I felt quiet and awkward, and why did I? I shouldn’t have too. But its strange how other people feel uncomfortable and then I feel like I need to keep it on the down low. We should all be shouting about this damn illness. But we’re typically British in our approach to it I’ve realised. It is such a weird place to be – visible illness is easier to deal with as people have to confront it and usually check in. Invisible illness is easier to ignore and this has certainly felt isolating throughout. Why would it not when I’ve spent the last two weeks doing everything I usually do, looking like I normally look. But hiding under a cloud – a cloud that I have to carry while doing everything else and its hard.

I’ve started to think a lot about what is happening to look for cures and while I know that I have given money to a lot of good causes, I’m not sure that I understand the clever world of the scientists that are looking for cures. While I live in this crazy world now, I’m not sure I could even process half and a quarter of what I would read, but I’ve made myself a promise to make sure I do read more about it, I do understand more about it and I know where the money needs to go to make a difference. Because surely there are clever enough people on this planet right now to tackle this. I have to believe that. Along with making sure that everyone, and I mean everyone, checks their boobs!

I’ve still got this, I’m sure, just possibly a bit less hairy in future!

Cosmetic Boob Surgery – yay or nay?

Featured

So to distract myself from the one woman pity party that I am having about my hair, I am going to go back to basics and talk about the boobs. Those boobs that are causing me the most angst at the moment, but those boobs that have also done amazing things.

Lets go back to the 17 year old me, pre legally getting lashed, pre steady boyfriend material, pre knowing what actual life was about. I will never forget the moment (and it is bizarre what your mind holds onto isn’t it?) when I walked into the local ready for a karaoke night, dressed in the finest dress I had acquired (halter neck no less) thinking I was an absolute legend; to be took down by a girl some five years older than me stating loudly for all to hear ‘it’s like cherries on an ironing board’. Looking back on that moment, knowing that I remember it so vividly now, I cringe at the younger me dying inside. If only foresight was a legitimate thing. That young me did  do a little bit of bluster and brag, then caved in a corner for the rest of the night and certainly didn’t attempt any karaoke (not a bad situation for anyones ears to be fair!).

Progressing through the formative years of ‘growing up’, I realised that the unnatural hormones of the pill presented its own merits – the boob area grew! Enough never to warrant a cherry reference, but not enough that I needed a bra to reign them in. And I spent a good ten years in the blissful ignorance of underwires, padding, support, cross wires or even a bra at all. I may have had no confidence about other aspects of my being but my boobage wasn’t one of them.  Was very comfortable with them!

Knocking on to the 30 marker (oooh – still upsets me), I noticed there was a lopsided situation. Just slightly. But after much discussion with the girl friends, we decided that it was a real thing (like your feet!), and that if it wasn’t significant then we’d all be ok.

But then the kicker, pregnancy. I was a later arrival to the club than most of the friends I had, and by that time, fifteen years of taking the pill had enhanced the boobage area somewhat more. As soon as I was pregnant, they grew, and kept growing. Until I’d reached a size that your standard shops don’t accommodate (do not get me started on that conversation as you will be there for quite some time!). But with growth came a more significant lopsided issue! And then breast feeding. There are no more words to say on that, but anyone who knows, knows. Pert uprights become spaniels ears. Its no more glamorous than that!

There I was, finished breastfeeding my cub; nine months of hard bloody work (and we went through some significant ups and downs with this, it wasn’t easy and it wasn’t a beautiful journey in parts, that’s for sure), but staring at this skin, that at some point in time I had used for wily ways and then more productive ways, I was thinking, geez – they’re not attractive!

I spent a lot of time reconciling myself with my new body. My ‘new’ boobs and ‘new’ body post baby were a revelation to me and the man cub. An acceptance of this state was undertaken as familyhood just took over and naked antics are limited with a wee cub!! There ain’t much time for that crack amongst teething, separation anxiety, mid night creeping Jesus appearances at the side of the bed, etc, etc!

Then as the years progressed since breastfeeding and now, I have had significant conversations with the man cub about surgery. I have spent a small mortgage on bras that fit the big boob (the little floats!), I had bought a swimsuit with more scaffolding than my house would need for the roof, I get cross every time I go into M&S and their sizing stops at a F, I get mad when shops seem to think that the larger boob size you are the larger back size you are (NO), and I had shouted a lot about ‘getting these sorted’.  If I had won the lottery at any point I would have absolutely gone under the knife to get them aligned.

Fast forward to my current situation, after two surgeries to remove cancer and an offer to reconstruct and I’m not even sure I can do that. It now seems more vain than it was (believe me this is purely personal), and I don’t know if I can now voluntarily go under the knife to ‘sort them out’. I  know that six months ago, I would have fell under a surgeons knife and ‘sorted’ them out within a heartbeat. But having faced risks of surgery as they are (and NHS folk are so clever but there are always risks) I don’t know whether risking more surgery for ‘cosmetic’ purposes while my baby cub still needs me, after all I have gone through already, is worth it. To be honest, I don’t need to confirm my thoughts on this until at least March when chemo is done and genetics results could define a very different journey if mastectomy is a real recommendation. But by god my head is battered already!!!

But I have this battle! And I will own the outcome!

The Oncologist

Featured

11/11/18

So I had a wonderful conversation with someone today as I started my Christmas shopping ridiculously early (I’ve finally accepted that this year things have to be different, so I have to be more organised than buying on the 23rd December!). Anyway, back to the conversation. I was advised to cut my hair short before treatment, so it wouldn’t be as much of a shock when it started falling out. I mean its still going to be a bloody shock – I’ll still be bald. And have no hair. Whether it goes from mid length or short. It will still be bald.

And then the kicker of the conversation. ‘Well it will be easier for others to cope with’. FML. I do not give a flying duck about how others will cope with my hair loss. I don’t even much care how the man cub is going to cope. They will all cope. The only person I care about who copes with this is my cub.   I care about how she is going to feel when I have no hair. I care about how I am going to discuss that with her. I care about how I keep it from upsetting her and keeping it positive as we have done throughout this crazy journey. So everyone who might be struggling to cope with my hair loss, please don’t; look out for my cub for me.

13/11/18

After spending a day dwelling on hair loss, and waiting for the Oncologist appointment, I was finally on my way back to another hospital this time, on the start of the next part of the journey. My Oncologist was a straight talking fierce woman. She scared me a little bit! But then super intelligent women usually do. She was remarkably efficient and talked through the next steps methodically and clearly. One of the first conversations was that I had to stop taking the contraceptive pill immediately (last time I did that for a month, I got a cub nine months later). Seems that it won’t be such a problem this time as I’m going to start going through the menopause. The actual menopause. Oh bloody joy, another gift from cancer. As if I wasn’t coping with enough already.

Then the treatment – as I had aggressive cancer, I was going to get a real humdinger of a cocktail of drugs – FEC-T – which I can only describe as a treat of side effects as far as six pages of printed literature could tell me. Then the hair loss. Definitely guaranteed with this combination of drugs. I could try cold capping but that doesn’t offer any guarantees either. I still don’t know whether I want to do that. In amongst the catalogue of information being provided I had bloods taken by a nurse who couldn’t have been more bored. Then returned to sign a consent form saying that I consent to sickness, diarrhoea, ulcers, shakes, red hands, acne, ruined nails, hair loss, bruising, nose bleeds, conjunctivitis, joint pain, headaches. This is a form I really want to sign!!

But I got a date, chemo will start on the 28/11/18 – two weeks!! Why would it not be two weeks! I like to keep things standard! I will have to come in for blood tests on the 26/11/18 and meet the nurses from the Chemo ward. I might have an idea then of what the next four months of my life will entail.

We walked out in a blur again, but found ourselves in the Macmillan hub in the waiting area. The lovely Maggie chatted to us and that’s when I find it hard. Talking to strangers is actually a lot harder than talking to friends. I find myself closer to tears at that point. Maybe because I feel like I need to be brave when its talking to those closest. We picked up a few leaflets and flipping through the hair loss one  and it did advise to cut hair short. The unnamed person above will feel vindicated!

I got back to work two hours later and spent the afternoon putting on my work face. But the back of my mind was spinning in circles about whether I wanted to go bald. I mean, by choice I wouldn’t. But if I just do it, do I own it and do it on my terms. So I made the decision on my way to get the cub to pop into the hairdressers and change my appointment to a restyle. And I’m terrified. Now I don’t know what to do but start searching for new hairstyles!

Its funny still to me that now when Cancer is out of my body I feel worse. I think it might be because I can’t actually hide this bit. I am going to be bloody bald! But I won’t be ‘technically’ ill. Just medically induced illness. The gift that keeps on giving, this cancer.

But I’ve got this. I’m going to do this.

Limbo – its a weird place!

Featured

30/10/18

I’ve said this before, but I will repeat, the waiting game has quite possibly got to be the worst part of the big C journey. There is nothing so brutal as waiting for an appointment letter to come or for the next appointment. Tomorrow will be a week since I heard I was ‘cancer clear’ and I am still yet to spot the golden envelope come through the door, beckoning me for the next red carpet of chemo! However, today was an interesting day on the FB group I follow and I had a little bit of hope about being able to work through chemo. Maybe my life won’t stop and I can pretend that this chemo bit is just a side journey.

31/10/18

Whoop! The golden letter arrived! Guess what – two weeks time I get to meet the oncology consultant – booked for the 13/11 at 12. I knew it. And booked for the middle of the day. Perfect bloody time to disrupt my working life. But two weeks bizarrely felt comforting. We’re following the same journey.

Although today, I have again been brought down to earth with this cancer journey, I’ve just read something that says I can’t give blood anymore. Now I did not know that was going to happen, and although I totally get it now I know it, I just never thought about it. It’s been a few years since I have gone to have a 30min lie down and a cup of tea and biscuits afterwards! I’ve had a flash back to my last lump removal a good few years ago now, and remember they said I couldn’t do it for a while, I also couldn’t when we returned from Sri Lanka, and then again when I was pregnant. During that time my dad got old and was told he couldn’t donate anymore (not just because of old age!). I remember how devastated he was about it but didn’t really pay it more attention than acknowledgement. And for no good reason I haven’t got round to going back to a session (non-good reasons constitute ‘too busy’, ‘wrong times’, ‘too tired’, ‘can’t be bothered’, and many other ridiculous excuses). I now wish I had don’t it every time I could. So if you can, please do. Don’t regret something so easy. When I look back now, I could have probably well done with a 30min nap followed by a hot cup of tea and biscuit in peace!!

I can’t wallow long on this issue though as I have a glitter infestation. Last night (bad mama bear had to do a last minute shop) a sparkly, glittery, ridiculous Halloween outfit was purchased for school and trick or treating. Which has meant that my house is covered from top to toe in glitter. But I have the happiest cub, with her twirly dress and horns. We’ve also bought enough sweets to feed the street (adults and kids) and it’s been a quiet trick or treat night so the cub and I are in for a real treat!!

Jumping forward – 08/11/18

I am back to normal. No random appointments, work is mental, and every day since the last golden letter and now has been a version of my old normality. There is no discernible difference now. Why should there be? I don’t ‘have’ cancer. I am cancer free. I only have to deal with chemo to dispel any pesky micro cells. So technically, why should life be different?

Normality has returned to the exterior of my life with such ease. I am working full time, mama bearing full time, housewiving full time and holding it together full time. I am holding it together like I always do, like I always have, and like I always will. My family need me, and my work (might) need me. But a part of my brain still takes me down rabbit holes now and again.

I’ve been reading more of the FB group I am in and devouring any post that relates to chemo, drugs and outcome. I am not a fan of going down a rabbit hole with google as you already know, but this feels like I’m researching without doing the actual research. I’m getting real ladies life experiences and that somehow feels better. (I also appreciate it’s a lot like being on trip adviser and wondering what the hell people have written about when you’ve had a good experience of a location that they hated!!). From what I can work out, chemo has some weird and wonderful side effects. Hair loss seems more prominent with some drugs regardless of cold capping, and everyone is different.

Maybe that’s why I feel so blasé about it at the moment. My ‘clear’ cancer day seems a million years ago. I can’t keep wallowing in my own self pity. I have a parents evening to contend with and a game face to plaster on. I am my cubs mama and I will show that teacher that we have it all together to support her.

10/11/18

Real life whoop – it is a rugby weekend, Autumn Internationals for those not in the know (and Union – apologies to Karens husband Dan for that!!). We’ve had a Saturday of chills, but a clingy cub. I swear she knows sometimes that I need a hug, but also doesn’t know how to just do one – so turns into a hugging monster! Super clingy and needy. And while I try and temper that with knowledge that five year olds aren’t equipped to have all the understanding of an adult, when I’m followed to the toilet for the tenth time that day my actual temper is tested!!

BUT! Tonight, I have had the most awe inspiring night. I noticed that a friend had shared a cancer walk that she might be interested in (apologies Jill – you started this!!). I couldn’t (didn’t want to) let her do that alone so I decided to pop a little note on my FB page about the fact that I had signed up to do a similar walk in the Lake District (with an awesome colleague from work). Within three hours fifteen people who I have worked with over the last few years, friends and family, had all declared their interest. I can’t actually describe how this makes me feel. But I know I am honoured. To have the best of people around me (some may be further away from me now than others, but they are still around me). This has been inspiring to me, and while I know that walking twenty-six miles may be brutal just four months after chemo, I know that these amazing people will keep me going, keep me strong and keep me sane. And to be honest that’s what they do without realising every day. Whether near or far, I am inspired by them all and they will continue to do that for me.

I still have this fight. I’ve got this.

The aftermath of the result…

Featured

25/10/18

So cancer is out, I am back at work and the world keeps spinning. In all fairness, of course it does, that is the natural way of life. Something bad happens, we process it, we move on. At no point do I think that should be different. But living that different world is something I am not used too.

I woke up flat and can’t shake it. It doesn’t seem real somehow. I thought I’d be euphoric but I don’t really feel anything. I want to get the chemo started, but that’s another wait I’m sure (probably two weeks!!), I keep thinking that once the chemo is over I’ll feel relief, but now I know that I’ll have a decision to make following genetics results, a decision either way. And then radiotherapy. So it won’t be finished then even.

And then other thoughts creep in. Cancer has crept into my body once. It could easily happen again. Even in the most innocuous moments, that funny little headspace keeps opening up and flip me into the dark demon space. The cub asks for a hug ‘on the good booby’ and I am reminded all over again that she is also affected by this. She asks whether the scar still hurts (she sees this because I am also the mama bear who has zero private space ever!) and gets upset that the scar won’t disappear. My life is now irreversibly defined by this goddamn cancer.

Today, however, was the longest day I managed to spend at work since my operation which was defining but ruining. An 8 – 5 and it was tiring as, but I also felt real again. I knocked doors out of windows and it was a good distraction, this was me at my best and full on function.

26/10/18

So after a full day yesterday, I returned to my usual sporadic presence at work and buggered off on a half day so the man cub and I could get our flu jabs. Another side product of cancer that the whole family should be flu jabbed to the hilt. I’ve never been one to research / avoid vaccinations (don’t judge me) as I’ve always been a believer in common good, but for once I did take a second to think about whether this was another reason to down modern medicine and join the masses who believe in earthly healing (and I probably offend at this point but I am a uneducated cretin in that regard). Do you know what – who knows what really works, because all of the millions that goes into cancer research, aids recovery, drug rehabilitation, stroke recovery, dementia, Parkinsons (the list goes on); do we know if it is working up towards a cure? Cynical minds (and drunken minds) have always discussed a monopoly market. But do we really know? To be honest my mind is to full to deal with processing more than it can at the moment – I’ll save that thought for another day.

As we sit in the doctors surgery as a family of three, the cub is bouncing about like a lunatic – it’s a public space and she has a sitting audience which panders to a five year olds needs like no other. Luckily, the man cub gets called first and much as I try to keep the cub with me waiting, she wants to know ‘whats going on’ so wanders off with him. Literally twenty seconds later (and a full waiting room of old folk) I get a shout out ‘Kirsty, you can take your top off now and get a pin’ from a very excited five year olds voice. I wanted to sink into the chair and pretend I didn’t know what was going on, but the five year old cub had other idea. ‘Mama, MAMA’, was then shouted very loudly. As if it wasn’t enough that she was yelling, I was sat in the furthest corner of the waiting room and had to do quite a walk of shame to get to the yelling cub and usher her up the corridor to the nurses room. I mean I love her, but she can take me down in a heartbeat!

27/10/18

Woohoo – PJ day! And I didn’t even suggest it. Cub rocks in to wake us up (as is standard Saturday morning crack!) and immediately suggest that today is a PJ day and she is off to get into her super warm, cosy, fluffy PJ’s! At this point, who am I to argue! I’m all over a PJ day!! I love the normality that a cub brings to proceedings. By 4pm (as my OCD broke me and I tried to get control of the household cleanliness routine!) the hoover appeared and I got a helping hand with that too (I say helping, I mean hindering, I mean I re-hoovered – she will never know!!).

My days are made up of memories – random little chats (mama, are you older than me – erm yes!), belly aching laughs, hiccups, bruises (not caused by us! Bouncing off god knows what!). My sensible head says I’ll be here for all of those  future memories. That demon head tells me I won’t.

My message to my cub is to live every day as if it was your first. Drink in every new experience, act like a newborn experiencing the first drink, the first smell, the first kiss, the first hug. The last seems too final, a way out. And we aren’t looking for a way out. We need to find a way in – to peoples hearts, minds and souls. We need to define a way to break cancer – and anyone can join!

Is cancer out?

Featured

Walking in a daze from the Genetics appointment to head to the hospital, I thought my head was going to explode. If I hadn’t been in turmoil about getting the result, I was now! Thoughts spun through about implications of all of this, whether my cub would have to endure difficult conversations and actions to take when she was eighteen, whether wider family would be affected and how it would affect them. I nearly turned back round at one point, walked back into the hospital, saw the lady and told her to ‘sod it’ I don’t want to know. As we both got in the car, we were silent. It was the most bizarre journey to get the next lot of news. We had nothing to say but dwell in our own thoughts and potential outcomes.

Once we had parked up we made our way in to an empty waiting room, and waiting Pauline. It was the quietest I have ever seen the waiting room, and after Pauline had checked that my lovely consultant was free she tool me through to check the wound initially. Dressing removed and that was all fine, but a blip of a moment when she said had I noticed the pea lump where the original biopsy had been taken. I had, but was naively ignoring it as just part of the healing process. When she called the consultant into the room, while there was slight panic in me, I was also assessing whether he had good or bad news. I mean, its difficult to tell when someone is poking about at you boob level whether they have good or bad news I discovered!

After declarations that it seemed to be scar tissue, and would be fine (no surgery needed – I mean if there had been my head would have exploded!) I was lead through to the clinical office. I have never been praying so hard in my life and I’ve not thought that praying would work since I was thirteen years old and worked out that church was a bit hypocritical.

‘There were clear margins this time’ were the next words I heard. I should have leapt off the chair and hugged him. I should have felt ecstatic. I should have been grinning from ear to ear. I should have done a lot of things. But I sat, as per usual, nodding. So the Cancer is out. That lump is gone. There was a recap of the previous surgery around the nodes – two out of seven cancerous. Less than three is acceptable. Still bugs me a little bit that the line has been drawn at three. And all I continued to think was I should be feeling happier than I was. This was the news I had waited just over three months for. This was absolutely the best result I could have hoped for. Cancer was out of my body. It was gone. I was clear. Why wasn’t I feeling wonderful.

Well, maybe the next ten minutes shadowed it a bit. A discussion about chemo, there would be six lots, every three weeks. Starting likely four to six weeks after the operation so the wound could heal. I would get a letter through the post to meet the Oncologist at a closer hospital to home. I would return to see Pauline and my lovely consultant in February to talk about next steps as I would have Genetic results by then. I could talk about those results and depending on the news I can consider mastectomy or just get them sorted out to match! I had a little internal giggle again. There was a lot of time mentioned, and head mathematics clearly worked out that Christmas this year is going to be a little bit f**ked. Also likely to be finishing chemo at my big Birthday in March. Oh, then I’d forgotten, there was radiotherapy. And to be honest I haven’t got a bloody clue what that actually entails. At least I kind of know that chemo is injected full of some fancy drugs that ruin your immune system while attacking the bad cells. Radiotherapy – not a clue. I’m going to live in blissful ignorance for a while yet.

My poor head (and the man cubs) is battered by the time we leave the hospital to head home. And we have to explain it all to the parentals who are looking after the cub. I honestly think we need a dictaphone to these conversations as we never remember half of it, and I always get asked questions that I don’t have the answers too. ‘When will you start chemo?’ – I don’t know.  ‘So cancer won’t come back?’ – I don’t know. ‘What happens if you do have BRAC gene?’ – I don’t know (might piss off a lot of people?). And on it went. Until I had closed down completely.

But at the end of the day, Cancer was gone. Today was the end of one long journey, and the start of the new journey. Cancer may be out of my body, but this journey has utterly changed me already and I’m sure it will continue to do so for some time.