I’ve always maintained this is my open diary so here are my honest reflections on a difficult year and what I have learnt. Some of it I’ve never spoken about before but it seems fitting as I leave this year behind me. I hope there is some wisdom in there for you all!
2018 has undoubtedly been one of the worst years of my life so far. I started the year with love in my heart and making plans for the future then in March comes heart break, I know ultimately I dodged a bullet but there’s been a lot of shrapnel damage. Heart break is hard at any time but being deserted 2 weeks after being told you have cancer was so hard to deal with at a traumatic time, that person should have stepped up but their actions are a reflection of their character and I’ve learnt some valuable lessons.
LESSON: You can’t control someone’s loyalty, the right people will come into your life and stay so pay attention to those people.
April consisted of the major surgery to remove my colon and the nasty tumour and all the difficulties that entails with the recovery and adapting to life with a major organ missing. Then in May I got the confirmation that I had Bowel cancer, hearing the words out loud time just stood still. Facing uncertainly is awful and the utter disbelief that it’s happened to me.
LESSON: Your health is a very precious commodity that we take for granted.
In June I was then faced with the decision about having chemotherapy, signing myself up for 6 difficult months receiving toxic drugs and a whole host of nasty side effects. I had to do it to give myself the best shot of a longer life and time with my kids. As you all know it’s been a complete rollercoaster and one of the hardest things I have ever been through. In the meantime I have to adapt to the new normal, work on my fitness and crack on with life but just with a nagging ‘what if’ at the back of my mind.
LESSON: Sometimes we have to do things in life that are difficult but it directs us to where we need to be going.
That’s the rubbish stuff now for the positive! Although it’s been a horrendous time I’ve learnt so much about myself. I’ve had to find strength I never knew I had to get through each day it’s been the hardest physical & mental battle and I’ve been in some dark places where at times I wasn’t sure I could get out but each day is a new start and guess what I got through it. Digging deep and pulling up my big girl pants as the next treatment loomed knowing exactly how it was going to make me feel with all the side effects but having little choice about it. I do feel a sense of pride in myself, I feel if I can get through this I can face anything.
LESSON: Strength is in all of us and when we are at our lowest that’s we realise how much strength we have.
This year has brought a few firsts that I’m proud of, never did I imagine that I would have the opportunity to do tv, newspaper and radio interviews about my experience of cancer and helping to raise awareness about symptoms and improving access to diagnostic tests and highlighting the importance of donating blood.
LESSON: Good things come from a bad situation
I have been blown away with the kindness of strangers who have shown their support through messages on my blog, especially people newly diagnosed who have messaged to say the blog has been really helpful, that makes it all worth it. To my friends and family I simply couldn’t have got through it without you. I’ve been totally overwhelmed, it’s true what they say….during the worst times of your life you see the true colours of everyone and it’s touched me beyond words. This experience has also meant I’ve made a new group of friends through Bowel Cancer UK. These people who have a common connection with me are simply amazing and the charity has been so supportive and I’m so excited to be involved with charity moving forward. I have some exciting ideas I plan to put into action next year off the back of my experience and I will be clogging up Facebook with fundraising pleas 😂
LESSON: During the worst times in your life you work out the people who really care.
I now look at life in a totally different way, we rush through the day, the week the months and the years roll by. Sometimes we barely look up from our feet or our phones. Take the time to enjoy the simple things in life. Make memories, take the trip, spend time with loved ones, tell people how you feel. We don’t need possessions they won’t mean anything when you are gone. Life is so very precious don’t forget to live in the moment don’t just go through the motions. Keep healthy in body and in mind, making time for you isn’t selfish it’s necessary. If you were told you had a few months to live what would you make your priority? Don’t wait to hear that news and start doing it now!
LESSON: The past is done, we don’t know what the future holds all we have is now!
My goals for 2019 are to work on my own happiness, don’t chase it it’s got to come from within and only when you are happy with yourself can you open up to other possibilities that will come to you. I want to prioritise the things that matter to me, making memories with my family, spending time with the right people, working on being the best version of myself by doing things that feed my soul. 2019 undoubtedly involves more scans & tests but next year I prioritise working on me!
LESSON: Happiness starts with you!
Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2019 💕