Life is a rollercoaster, you just got to ride it…….

I thought my blog had come to an end, with treatment finished and my life returned to a very acceptable standard of normal, I thought I had nothing else to share. I was wrong. I viewed my blog as a diary a way to make sense of my emotions and get things clear in my mind, but it was really much more than that. Not only did I have my friends and family around me but I had an extended circle of amazing people all in the background rooting for me cheering me on, praying for me, sending me gifts and messages of encouragement. You all really cared about my journey and I can only apologise for not doing this post sooner. Anyone that follows the blogs Facebook page will know that on the 4th June I had my MRI scan. This scan was going to show how the tumour had reacted to treatment. Early the next day I got a phone call from the hospital to tell me that my scan looked great and the recommendations were another MRI in three months. I flew off to Tenerife the next week and had a fabulous family holiday to celebrate not only the results but also my birthday.

The day after arriving home I had an appointment with my consultant. I wasn’t expecting anything other than a chat. However I walked out with the news that I would have a “procedure” in the next few weeks to check the MRI results. It turns out that although my scan showed the tumour had gone there was some “thickening” of the cervix that they wanted to check out. I was assured this was more than likely scar tissue from the radiation. On Monday past I had the procedure and I am now waiting on results of biopsies they took. It would be easy for me to get stressed and feel like I was back at square one waiting to be told I had cancer all over again, but I refuse to be in that situation.

Through speaking to the dr before the procedure if the results where to say that there are cancer cells still present, the next step may be a hysterectomy. As much as I hate the thought of another operation, if that’s what’s needed then so be it. None of my girly organs work anymore anyway so the only loss will be a few lbs off on the scales.

Leaving the hospital on Monday I got the usual line……”we should have the results within two weeks”. So for now it’s life as normal.

And just for the record, anyone who is maybe only starting on their journey through cancer or any illness, Life does go on and it does go back to normal. I remember thinking that my life would never be the same again, crying that my life was over and I would always have a cancer shaped cloud over my life. This is not the case and it’s actually quite hard to believe that such a life changing thing, doesn’t actually change things all that much. Just keep fighting.

Just when the caterpillar thought her life was over, she began to fly

My treatment started on the 9th of January and I never thought I would see the end. Cancer treatment has been by far the darkest, most consuming experience of my life and definitely one I hope to never have to endure again. The last weeks of treatment I could barely function. Every time I had to use the bathroom the pain was unbearable, I couldn’t walk more than a few steps without feeling dizzy and faint, the ringing in my ears interrupted my thoughts and conversations, every part of me ached and I couldn’t process my thoughts or how I was feeling. I was in a daze, being ushered to and from hospital but apart from that I barely left my bed. A blood transfusion gave me a new lease of life however this new found energy only lasted until my next chemotherapy.

Four weeks and three days on from my last chemotherapy and Miracles have truly happened. Since being diagnosed I have harboured an anger towards God, before I got the results I prayed and prayed for any other illness. I lay in the bath and I just kept praying through tears “please God please anything but cancer” for me at that point cancer meant I was going to die and if not straight away, soon. When my results confirmed it, my world ended and I completely turned my back on believing God was with me. If he was with me why did he not answer my prayers, why did he not save me from this? Was I not a good enough person to receive his help? Had I not done a good thing giving my aunt the chance to be a mother? Soon all these thoughts disappeared and I was left believing that life is hard sometimes and this was just bad luck. The Monday before my last chemotherapy everything changed, God stretched out his arms and wrapped them around me, he showed me he had been there right by my side every step of the way. God was planning my healing before my treatment had even begun. He sent a message on December 1st to a very special lady called Michelle and told her that she was going to meet a “Rebecca” and this “Rebecca” was going to need healing, he told her to be bold and have the courage she needed to help this person. At the time she didn’t know who or when this person would cross her path but when our roads crossed she knew it was me. Listening to her story of how and when she got this message my eyes filled with tears, looking back now this was Gods hug. In the days after meeting Michelle and as her words settled in my heart I was reminded of a poem, a poem which some of you may have came across before called footprints in the sand For anyone though that hasn’t heard it here it is…….

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; one belonged to him, and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.

This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it. “Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me”

The Lord replied, “my precious precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

Since being diagnosed with cancer, I believed that God had forgotten me, I know now that this was when he carried me. He carried me through each and every treatment, he protected me during surgeries, he gave me strength to keep going and blessed me in ways I can only see now. He has healed me of every ailment, cancer treatment seems like a distant memory. I feel like me again. I’m back to laughing and joking with my children, caring for them, cooking family meals enjoying days out together. God is truly amazing and I feel exceptionally blessed to know his love and for all he has given me.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Has my treatment worked? I don’t know yet…… ten weeks after treatment I will have an mri only then will this question be answered. In the meantime though I’m happy and filled with joy and peace. I am not worried, or scared of what’s to come because I know that God is with me. I don’t know what my path will have in store, One thing that I am sure of though is that whatever comes my way, I will get through it.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

To the world I’m one person, but to my children I’m their world.

I have never before experienced such a darkness as I have this week.

Every day driving to the cancer centre now makes me physically sick, walking into the elevator and the doors opening at 3a is enough to make me pass out. The sights, the smells, the sounds. Anything I eat there makes my stomach churn, if I see another bowl of soup or a sandwich in the next ten years it’s too soon. The smell of alcohol wipes makes me gag and I can’t clean my car windscreen without feeling nauseous as it smells like the fluid they use to clean my picc line. I can no longer tolerate the nurses happy disposition and patronising comments, I just want to scream at them “have you had cancer” All week I’ve had a heavy black monster hanging off me dragging me down and nothing could have shifted it. I dont want to speak to anyone, I dont want to get out of bed, I just want to hide away and hibernate. All the events over the last 4 months have built up and suddenly just crashed on me all at once. I feel like I can’t breath, I feel suffocated with the pressure of not having a choice in any of this.

The treatment I’m about to undergo tomorrow is what I believe has triggered my anxiety. Tomorrow I will have my first brachytherapy. For those of you who do not know what this is….. it’s also known as internal radiation. Until I was diagnosed with cancer I did not know what this was or what it entailed, so for anyone else who doesn’t know exactly what it means I’ll briefly explain. Tomorrow I’ll be taken to theatre and either given a general anaesthetic or a spinal anaesthetic (general I’ll be asleep, spinal I’ll be awake) then I will have three metal “applicators” which to anyone other than a dr, looks like metal rods inserted into my cervix. These will be kept in place with stitches. After this I will be bed bound until the procedure is complete. I will have a catheter inserted and then taken for a mri scan to ensure they are in the right position. Next I will be taken back to theatre, have the radiation delivered through the “applicators” then the applicators will be removed. The process from start to finish will take approximately 4-5 hours during this time I won’t be allowed to see anyone other than medical staff and I won’t be able to get out of bed. This will be repeated three times in seven days.

Anyone I have spoken to about this have all quoted the same exact response “awk it’s not as bad as you think” to which I feel like replying by saying then let’s get you into theatre see how you feel about it then. Everyone thinks I’m scared of the procedure because of pain. This is not the case, pain is temporary it will soon pass. I’ve delivered babies, sat through hours of tattoo appointments I’m not bothered by pain. What everyone fails to realise and understand is that this treatment tomorrow will take away another little part of me. The part of me that can have babies. The part of me that defines me as a woman. It will rob me of the female hormones I’ve blamed for mood swings since being a teenager. This treatment will start the menopause and change my life for ever. I would take all the pain bearable if it meant this wasn’t taken from me. This is just one guaranteed side effect the others include internal scaring and lesions bladder and bowel conditions. Some of these side effects won’t pass, some will be life long.

I have been so tempted so many times to refuse this treatment. Each time though I’ve been told the harsh reality that if I don’t have this treatment I will not be cured. I have thought long and hard about what that would mean and the simple answer is I would die. If I’m not cured, I will die. Might take a few months might take a few years but no matter what the outcome would remain the same. I can not leave my two wonderful little children without a mum, I simply will not allow them to experience the sadness that loosing me would bring them. I need to be their mum for a long time yet. So tomorrow no matter what it means for my future I just need to do it. My children won’t care if I have internal scaring, they won’t care that I can’t have more babies, they won’t care if I’m left with a bowel condition. They will just care that I’m still here, that I’m still their mum. So tomorrow no matter what happens be it panic attacks, fainting, vomiting I just need to get into that theatre and get it done. The picture of their little faces will constantly be in my mind to get me through. I will daydream about one day taking them to Disney land and watching their eyes light up at the sights. I will think of the bed time stories and the school plays that I must be present for.

I will hope and pray for the day that I become a granny and get to hold a little bundle of joy that’s a little part of me.

All these things will get me through anything that is to come. I may just need reminding in the darkest times.

Daydream believer

Every weekday I sit in a large waiting area, anticipating when the plastic alarm in my hand will sound. Even though I’m expecting it, the loud buzz and vibration always startles me. I walk to reception, hand back the buzzer then follow the radiographer down the hall to an area called LA10. I have no idea what LA10 stands for or means but I can tell you it’s nothing exotic or exciting. There I’m asked the same questions day after day “please confirm your address and date of birth?” I answer while I remove my shoes and jeans then I lie down on a hard plastic bench with a head rest, knee support and ankle supports. I then have to lower my underwear to my knees. For the next five minutes I’m measured from every angle, drawn on, pushed up and down, side to side until the green laser beams align perfectly with all three of my hospital grade tattoos. Once both radiographers are satisfied with my position “back soon Rebecca” they say as they leave the room. The radiation warning sign lights up red and the machine starts to circle my pelvis. It stops at one of its four locations and then with a loud clunk followed by an unnerving buzz the radiation is shot into my body. This is repeated until all four locations have been treated.

As I lie there all sorts of crazy day dreams run through my head. Some days Ive been captured by aliens and am currently being held as one of their test subjects. Other days I’m dr David banner experimenting with radiation when suddenly something goes wrong and I’m zapped with gamma radiation overload and have turned into a giant green muscle man with super natural strength. My most recent day dream however included zombies. Ex humans that had been poisoned by radiation in an experiment gone wrong and had now turned into the undead. Im armed with a massive machine gun, I quickly sneak round the corner and immediately open fire on some slow fumbling zombie feasting on the nurses. Just like a scene from resident evil. As amusing as these day dreams can sometimes be, they don’t take away from the fact that I am being exposed to radiation and as much as I know this radiation is my best chance of getting rid of the cancer, it also means I’m damaging good cells too. My ovaries are slowly but surely dying, my bladder and bowels are being damaged and all my energy and strength are being sucked out of me each weekday. I have now completed fifteen external radiation treatments only sixteen more to go, 3 of them being the dreaded internal procedure, but that’s for another battle!

The imagination is a fabulous thing, that’s why I love reading. The author gives you a brief description of a character but you have full creative power to create a picture of exactly how they look. Not only with characters but with places described in books too. We have the power to create a space in our imaginations where anything can happen , where we feel safe, where we have adventures, where we fall in love with Prince Charming. I’ve created my own little world that’s helped me get through these last few weeks. The cancer centre is the main location, only obviously it’s not the cancer centre, in my world it’s a beautiful parallel universe where the nurses are angel like figures who effortlessly glide around making sure everyone is ok and looked after. The radiation machine is a life prolonging state of the art piece of technology that only a lucky few get to benefit from. On Tuesdays in the chemo ward that’s the highlight of the week, the residents of my parallel universe get pumped full of an amazing liquid that promotes peace and happiness and allows us to rest, relax and recuperate until the end of the week. Everyone in my universe is kind, caring and compassionate, everyone knows one another and no one is sick. We are all here for the same reason, that’s true in the real world as well my make believe one. I’m sure that one day soon my little bubble will get popped and the cold reality will hit me that it is in fact the cancer centre, people sometimes can’t be saved by the life prolonging piece of technology and that it is in fact poison being pumped round my body once a week.

Until then, I’m holding on to my daydreams they are much better than reality.

No such thing as coincidence

I learned the meaning of a quote this week, a quote by Flora Edwards which reads “In helping others, we shall help ourselves, for whatever good we give out completes the circle and comes back to us.” I met a lady on Tuesday morning and she told me of her situation, her diagnosis, her fears of what was to come in the course of the day. I could sympathise with her on so many levels because only a week ago this was me, sitting petrified of having the picc line put in, petrified of chemo and the effects. I was quick to try and offer some reassurance about what lay ahead of her. I wanted to try anything to help take away some of her panic. We went are separate ways and later in the day I asked the nurses how she was and asked them to tell her if she wanted some company to point her in my direction, a short time later, both hooked up to our chemo drips we sat and talked for hours. I was glad to know that my earlier words had been of some use. The ten and half hours in hospital that day went much quicker and my concern for another person distracted me from my own worries, it give me a purpose and made me thankful for my situation. This lady has been in my thoughts daily since and I believe it’s helped me through all this week. I didn’t change this persons life, or do anything extraordinary for her I was just a friend when she needed one. I hope I helped her as much as she helped me this week.

Since starting treatment all I have heard repeatedly is about being careful. Being careful of infection, careful not to catch any bugs, not to get sick. As a result I’ve become a paranoid wreck that checks her temperature every hour and sleeps with her Apple watch on in case her heart stops beating during the night. We have dozens of hand gel pumps around the house and the kids are fully quarantined when arriving home from an unknown place. I believe prevention is better than cure but I also believe that everything happens for a reason. The good the bad and the ugly. As humans we tend to live on facts and figures we like to know who what where when and why, we find it hard to trust in something that we don’t fully understand. I have said it before and I’ll say it again I’m one of these people, I like to understand why? They say knowledge is power and to a certain point I would agree. Being diagnosed with cancer I tried to find an explanation, but I simply couldn’t. I started to think about everything leading me up to this point in my life and I was amazed and gained a sense of peace by some of the so called coincidences I could notice. Even though I didn’t know the plan, God did and nothing else mattered. I’m not saying I was able to find the meaning to life or that I was able to discover the reason behind some of these coincidences, but it was enough to make me sure of the saying that everything happens for a reason. I believe that becoming a young mum was meant to be, considering my soon to be infertility. I believe that the ivf was successful and I gave maxwell life, so that he could save mine. When I was 5 years old and scribbled on the back of a Jamaican dollar bill as a present to my aunt, I had no idea that 18 years later I would be getting married on a beautiful beach in Jamaica. But again I believe that it happened for a reason. The people who have came into my life whether they have stayed or not have all been to guide me somewhere. Every single thing no matter how small that’s ever happened in our life time has been teaching us something or preparing us for something we just haven’t known about it. This journey through cancer is teaching me and preparing me for something for sure, I just need to hold tight and see where it takes me. I need to trust without the facts and figures, without the explanation and know that all this is meant to be.

What a difference a year makes.

Enduring the side effects of treatment all week has left me with little more to do than to think……. to think about everything from the meaningless questions of life like is time travel possible, to more reflective thoughts of how much has changed in the past 12 months. This very week last year, I was in Tenerife celebrating my mums 50th birthday with my grandparents and in only two weeks time Paul, I and the kids would be departing for Australia. I never could have imagined that in a years time I would be bed bound and suffering the effects of chemotherapy. I’ve went from climbing montano roja in Tenerife to climbing the different levels of the cancer centre.

Even going back six months my sights were set on giving birth, joining a gym and getting myself back into education, I wanted to gain some qualifications so that I could get a job I was passionate about and enjoyed. January should have been the month studying started, not Chemotherapy. I feel angry sometimes that things haven’t went my way. I think of all the things I should be doing and I resent this situation I’m in. I’m usually the type of person that doesn’t believe in accepting a situation, even when all possibilities are exhausted and there seems to be no other way, I will not give up until I find a way that suits me. It’s the stubborn side of me I guess (which I believe I have my grandfather to thank for it) and it has served me well so far but It’s now coming back to bite me, because for now all I can control is my attitude. I have to simply learn to endure it and be patient.

At the start of this week, I had a determined, let’s do this attitude to treatment, #femalepower and all that. Three days in and I felt like I wasn’t going to get through the next day. The effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatment took me by surprise, I wasn’t doubting that it was going to be though but nothing could have prepared me for the reality that hit. The only way I can describe it is a feeling of numbness. You feel slow, your movements, your speech, eyesight, hearing. You have to concentrate on each word your trying to say before it leaves your lips. You don’t know what day of the week it is, you have little to no memory. When the nurses ask you to confirm your date of birth and address, for a few seconds you actually don’t know the answer. It’s what I would imagine being drugged is like, knowing what’s going on but being powerless to stop it. This was the most frightening of side effects I’ve experienced so far and I’ve since learnt after a panicked phone call to the chemotherapy helpline that the likely reason for this side effect is down to the steroids and not actually the chemotherapy. Unfortunately though you can’t have chemo without the steroids. Thankfully by Saturday afternoon the haze began to lift and I started to feel a bit more normal. Other side effects I’ve experienced so far haven’t been just as frightening, the nausea is controlled pretty well by the anti sickness drugs they give you but you do still experience a slight wave of sickness every now and again. The stomach cramps are bad and feel like your organs are being spun in a washing machine. There is a radiating pain that shoots through all my pelvic bones from time to time and lastly there is the running to the bathroom. One minute your really need to go then the next you can’t. All things considered though I’m still here and whether I want to or not, tomorrow it will start all over again. I’m not being so naive this time though, I’m expecting this week to be worse than the last. Surely a build up of poison in your system can only mean things will get worse?

On a more positive note though I must say that shopping in a wheelchair is way more efficient than walking. I learnt this just today when I decided that feeling dizzy and faint was not a valid excuse to miss a shopping trip. So with the help of my mum she whizzed me around the shopping centre as normal. I feel very thankful for all the people I have around me right now and I want them to know that I really appreciate everything they are doing for me, I can be a princess at the best of times but lately I’m sure I’ve been more than demanding. So to my amazing husband, thank you for being so brilliant with the kids, thank you for keeping our home so nice, thank you for keeping me company when I can’t sleep at night and feel sick, thanks for driving me to hospital each day and listening to me moan. To my mum, thanks for being super nanny and minding the kids, thanks for being my own personal chef and nutritionist, hairdresser, painter and decorator. Thanks to my dad, for helping out with James and keeping him distracted from what’s going on at home and for being there no matter what I may need in the future. To my in laws, thanks for being on stand by for whenever we may call.

I can now start to sympathise with terminal cancer sufferers who, towards the end, make the decision to stop treatment and enjoy the time they have.

Life is for living, so make sure you find a way.

The only girl in the world.

When I was first diagnosed with cancer I felt like I was the only person in the whole world to ever have it. This is a ridiculous thought considering my mother in law had been through breast cancer, so I knew for a fact that I wasn’t the only one. Then, my focus changed a little and my thoughts turned more to why was I given such a terrible diagnosis? What had I done to deserve this? I know everyone would consider themselves as generally good living people in their own opinion, and I’m sure everyone that’s diagnosed, good or bad, has asked themselves the same questions. No matter how much I reflected on my life I just could not find anything that I may have done to justify cancer….. I was never going to find the answer of “why me”. I was angry with God for a long time, I was angry that in the weeks leading up to my diagnosis being confirmed, I prayed through tears begging that no matter what condition if any I had to endure just please don’t let it be cancer. I was praying to God every day that the doctors had got it wrong but they hadn’t, and I was angry that God either hadn’t heard my prayers or that he simply just ignored them.

Over the past few weeks however, I have come to believe that maybe there is a reason why I have been given cancer. I no longer believe that its because I may have deserved it, but rather that I have been given this to help others, to spread awareness, to remind people that there are sometimes no symptoms, to help people realise that they are not alone. I may be totally wrong but this belief is the only positive outcome I can find to having cancer and I’m going to take it. I have to find something good in this diagnosis or I would struggle to make it through. That’s when I decided to make what was intended to be a personal blog into this public one. I haven’t done it for attention, I haven’t done it for sympathy. I made it public in the hope that it may help someone. Already I have heard about four girls that its prompted into booking their smear tests and I don’t want it to stop there. I want to hear about every female my blog has reached booking a smear. Not only will you all be helping yourself but you will also be giving me the motivation to keep going through the days of chemotherapy, the weeks of radiation, the nausea, the vomiting and the tiredness all of which has already set in. So if anyone reading this wants to do something to help me, book you smear then message me on instagram (mrsbecksdavidson) on twitter (@trying_2_find) or on facebook (trying2findthemeaningoflife) and tell me. Each message will give me motivation that I’m doing something positive with a bad situation. It doesn’t matter if we are strangers or friends. I have already met some really great people on my journey so far and I want to meet more.

I no longer feel angry at having cancer, I’ve accepted that its just something I have to endure. It is very easy to get bogged down with side effects and the negative things. For example, the fact that when the chemo nurses come to put your chemo on the drip, they arrive with plastic full arm gloves right to the shoulder, they wear an apron and have safety goggles on. To think of how many precautions the nurses have to take to even handle the bag the chemo is stored in is unbelievable considering the stuff is about to be pumped round my whole body. However everyday I will strive to make something good come from it no matter how small it may be. Instead of seeing the negatives I will find the positives. So after my first day of chemotherapy and radiation here are some of my positives from the day, I got back in touch with a very dear friend that I had lost contact with. I managed to refrain from having a melt down and fainting over having the picc line inserted. I got my own private room and toilet on my first day of chemo and I met some lovely nurses and staff.Walking through the Bridgewater suit at the city hospital yesterday certainly put an end to my feelings of being the only girl in the world with cancer. There were rows and rows of people sitting waiting to get their chemotherapy and that was only a snapshot of one morning. This room would be filled with different people in the afternoon and different people the next morning, and different people the day after that. For every one that ends treatment there will be three more to take their place.

From the very start of my journey everyone has told me how brave I was being, I certainly didn’t feel brave and I still don’t most days. It’s classed as a good day if I manage not to cry. The friend that I have mentioned told me this again yesterday morning on the way to the hospital, when I disagreed and said I still cried most days he replied with the shortest verse in the bible…..”Jesus wept” John 11 v 35. Thanks to this friend I will never feel weak for crying again.

Last day of freedom

Sunday night and I’m preparing for hospital tomorrow morning. Tomorrow is the pre assessment for my chemotherapy, then the following day will be my first chemotherapy and radiation day. Tomorrow, I’m expecting to hear all the glorious side effects that chemo will bring. I have already been told the side effects of radiation and they don’t make for pleasant reading. When I signed the consent form, Dr.Drake read out all the side effects of the radiation and all I could do was cry. Every side affect was so horrible to listen to. I found it hard to grasp how putting my body through this, was actually going to make me better. Some of the common side effects include abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, bladder inflammation/bleeding, infertility and early menopause, hairline cracks in the pelvic bones. Some of the more serious side effects include incontinence, a feeling of repeatedly needing to open bowels, damage to the large and or small bowel (if severe may result in correction surgery and colostomy or ilesostomy), blood in the urine, urgency incontinence or pain, an abnormal channel forming between the vagina and bowel or bladder called a fistula and lower limb lymphodema. Makes for pleasant reading as you can see. I’m sure the list of side effects for chemo will be just as delightful.

What makes it harder to accept is that even though I have a cancer I feel ok, I have no other health problems but as a result of cancer treatment I could be left with life long health complications and conditions. It’s not just a case of get treatment and get back to my “normal” self. I’m never going to be my “normal” self again. I’ll be taking tablets for the rest of my life and constantly living in fear of it coming back. Life won’t ever go back to normal it will just become a new version of normal. From tomorrow onwards I’ll be at the cancer centre at the city hospital every day for the next six weeks, my life will revolve around appointments and when I’m not at hospital by all accounts I’m going to probably feel pretty lousy.

In spite of all this though I still feel very thankful that the lymph nodes they removed showed no signs of cancer. This means my stage stays at 2b and there is no need for the extra chemo that would have been given had they tested positive.

Today felt like my last full day of freedom before the hospital so we enjoyed a lovely walk with the kids. Whereas before I would have took a forest walk for granted, but today I didn’t, I loved every second.

I know that whatever lies ahead I’ll have an army of people around me to help in any way I need them to. I’ve already been overwhelmed by the support and concern I’ve received from people. It’s took this for me to realise how many amazing friends I have in my life some of which I’ve only just met.

Can there always be a silver lining?

Wednesday 6th December I have an appointment with dr drake. I’m sure I’m not the first person who half expected to see the singer drake and I couldn’t get the song hotline bling out of my head. Unfortunately I was not met by a celebrity, but instead, a highly qualified consultant, and no, the lyrics to a chart hit did not fill the room rather it was stages of cancer, treatment plans and dates of future appointments. I was told I had stage 2b cervical cancer, according to the mri I had some suspicious lymph nodes in my pelvis. They couldn’t say for sure if these were cancerous from the mri so more tests and surgery were required next.

I had the surgery on the 21st of December, twelve days on and I’m tired, I’m sore, I’m angry and I’m frustrated to list but a few of my current emotions. I’m frustrated that I can’t do the things I used to without feeling sore and tired. I’m angry that this is what my life has become. I just want to feel like me again… I want to be able to go shopping without feeling dizzy, without needing a seat every few steps. I want to play with my kids without worrying about them hitting my stomach and hurting my stitches, I want to take my dogs for a walk without thinking would I actually make it round the park. These things will get better in time, it might take a while but they will get better. One thing that won’t change though is the fact that once treatment starts I will no longer be able to have children. The radiation will weaken my womb and kill my ovaries also meaning that I will go through early menopause, which will bring a whole new host of life long side effects. At first this didn’t concern me. I have two beautiful children and I am more concerned about being here for them rather than having any more. The past few days though the thought of having more children has crept into my mind and I have to admit that the thought of never being able to hold a new born child of mine hurts a little. Being a mum is all I’ve ever been any good at, its all I’ve ever known. I feel like I’ve been robbed of twenty years of my life, twenty years where I could have decided if I wanted more children. That decision has now been made for me, and Being honest I’m struggling to find the silver lining.

I’m still waiting on the results of the surgery. If the lymph nodes they removed test positive for cancer then the stage of my cancer moves from stage 2b to stage 3. Stage 2b survival rates is approximately 78%, with stage 3 this falls to approximately 50%. Hopefully tomorrow will bring some more answers.

It’s been almost four months since my cancer was discovered and I’m scared each day it’s growing and spreading. I hate the thought of the long lists of side effects that treatment will bring but yet I can’t wait to get it started. At least then I’ll know that it can’t be getting bigger.


Four days left of 2017 and looking back over the past twelve months I have to say it’s certainly not been a uneventful year. This year has seen me accomplish something I’m extremely proud of, I made a family. I completed the lives of two very special people. 2017 also saw the birth of my little niece, an amazing trip to Australia, two trips to Tenerife and a great weekend in Glasgow. Unfortunately though that’s not all 2017 will be remembered for. It will also be remembered as the year I found out I had cancer.

I don’t know about anyone else but each year at Christmas time I have these day dreams about putting up the tree, I imagine the four of us listening to Christmas music, gathered round the tree delicately applying decorations. Paul puts the angel on the top and we share loving looks and family hugs. I wanted this more than ever this Christmas, with the cancer diagnosis making memories has become so much more important for me. It’s always in the back of your mind what if this is the last, you want to leave your kids with good memories of you. So on the last weekend of November I set out to put the tree up I had spent over an hour carefully selecting the perfect play list of Christmas music, I had a glass of shloer in hand and so the Christmas tree decorating began. Within ten minutes I was shouting at Alexa to turn the music down, paul and I were close to divorce over the lights and Daliah was attempting the world record for the most baubles hung on a single tree branch. You can spot the differences. My reality was being laid up in bed recovering from surgery watching my husband wrap presents, it was the parking ticket I got a week before Christmas.

Christmas Day also has the expectation of relaxing family time, great dinner and board games after. The reality is everyone is exhausted from spending four hours building the toy kitchen the night before, grouchy from being woke at 6am and so full after dinner they just want to sleep. What I’ve learnt from this Christmas is that no matter what happens in life, no matter how important it is to achieve your version of perfect it will rarely happen. Instead of looking for the perfect day and being disappointed when we don’t achieve it we need to look for the perfect moments in what may be a crazy stressful day. Like when I glance at my kids and for once they are playing nicely together instead of fighting, or when I sit down after stressful hours of putting the tree up and for a short few minutes we marvel as a family at a job well done. We will never have a full of day of perfection least not with children anyway, but we can get perfect moments and these will happen without planning or preparation.

Who knows what 2018 will bring for me but I’ve now learnt to have no expectation of the year ahead.