It seems fitting on the 16th anniversary of my mum’s death that I talk about my thoughts on carrying on living despite the cancer treatment. My mum didn’t have cancer and died very suddenly at only 52 when I was 20 years old. Going through that experience made me appreciate how precious life is but it hit home even harder when my own mortality was threatened when I was diagnosed with cancer.
I don’t want cancer to be my entire identity, so I try to live as normal as I can and show others that you can get up and out, get your make up on and do things you enjoy as long as you feel able to. I know for some people it’s not possible but this is how I deal with my treatment, I’m not very good at sitting still! You might be fooled if you look at my social media that my diagnosis is my identity but they are very different things. I use social media to shout from the roof tops about raising funds for vital research, raising awareness about symptoms and better access to treatment. I want to show people you can LIVE with cancer, a lot of people say to me that I look so well, I can’t believe you have cancer. Maybe that’s because I don’t fit the stereotyped image of cancer patient looking frail with a headscarf and I think that’s a positive thing to show to people.
I get told a lot I’m brave and to keep fighting, I’m not brave I have no choice but to put my life in the hands of the experts and take whatever treatment they recommend to prolong my life and do what I can to look after myself. I can’t fight my cancer, that’s not within my control but together we can fight for awareness, treatment and more research. That’s my motivation to keep going and maybe one day no one need die of this fuc**ing awful disease.
It’s been a busy few weeks since my last cycle, I’ve had my dose reduced to try and alleviate some of the side effects I haven’t noticed much difference, the same issues seem to occurring without much let up. I’ve noticed with the change in the weather the neuropathy is increasing, on the chilly school run my hands are getting numb and my nose tingles. I was also struck by a sickness bug that really wiped me out for a few days, lots of things going around at the children’s school I’m glad I’ve had the majority of my treatment over the summer and on the whole managed to stay relatively healthy. Getting toward the home straight now but the end also makes me feel nervous for the future.
Lots of great things have happened this cycle, I feel proud to have supported Bowel Cancer UK with their walk together month. I travelled with my friend to London to take part in a 5 mike walk along the Thames with other people affected by Bowel cancer raising awareness and funds at the same time. It was a beautiful sunny day and our teal green t-shirts stood out in the london crowds (see photos) and it was very humbling chatting to people who have had Bowel cancer particularly other younger people and those that sadly lost family members to the disease. I have to say a big thank you to the lovely waitress that gave us a free glass of wine with our lunch because we were doing a charity event and to the kind stranger on the tube that gave me a £10 donation and of course the amazing fundraising team for putting on such a great event. I think so far the walks in london, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Northern Ireland have raised well over £40,000. 🙌
The support of the local media has been fantastic, the Leicester Mercury wrote an article about my diagnosis and taking part in walk together and importantly wrote about the symptoms (see picture). I also appeared twice on BBC Radio Leicester breakfast show with Jimmy Carpenter, allowing me to share my story and raise awareness. The charity is also using my story in various campaigns particularly the need to get people access to the right tests in good time to increase the chances of detecting things at an early stage.
Cycle 6 on Monday if my consultant gives the go ahead, let’s hope they can find a vein. Have a fab weekend.