As we entered 2018 I was with in touching distance of that all important 5 years clear from my primary diagnosis of breast cancer and a new mum to my beautiful little Poppy, but cancer was about to rear its ugly head and snatch away that 5 year milestone just before I could reach out and grab it with both hands. In truth I guess I knew that something wasn't right a few months in to my pregnancy with Poppy but I didn't want to listen to myself, life was good, I had a gorgeous little boy Dylan and I was about to complete my family with my second baby, I just couldn't bring myself to believe something was wrong, so I put all of the pains and symptoms I had down to being pregnant.
It was the 19th March 2018 that my secondary diagnosis was confirmed, we had been away for the weekend celebrating my now late father in laws 70th Birthday, but the knowledge of a results appointment loomed over me for the entire weekend, and as we left to travel back early for my appointment I found it impossible to hide my fear. I remember sitting in the waiting room deciding my fate before I had even stepped foot in the clinic room, based on the day, the time, which nurses were working, how long I had been waiting, my mind raced with the various different scenarios, until I heard my name called and wondered if I would even find the strength to get up out of the chair.
Despite being panic stricken in the waiting room I remember a sense of calm while my oncologist spoke, I was able to listen and ask questions and before I had left the room I had devised a way to make liver and bone mets sound as if it could be worse, for the speech I'd give my family and friends. But in my head, I was planning, thinking about what life would look like without me in it, would my family be financially stable? would my husband cope with two small children? How many experiences could I share with them before my time was up? I thought about places I wanted to take them, adjustments that could be made to my house so that it could accommodate them as they grew so they would never need to worry about space, but also changes that would enable me to stay with them for as long as possible even while my health declined.
Its taken me a long time and a little bit of counselling to help me see that while those thoughts were completely natural and even a necessary part of my processing, they were also a little irrational. Yes my cancer is incurable, yes I will be on treatment for the rest of my life, but I am alive! I'm still here, im not just living, im living well, thriving even. Cancer has changed me and not all of those changes have been for the worse. I am so much more grateful for all the small stuff, I am stronger, I am achieving things I never dreamed I would achieve and honestly probably never would have if it wasn't for my cancer, I have embarked on some pretty amazing ventures both with my passion for writing, and my partnership with Jen to form @thelittlecclub. I've grown so much as a person over the past 2 and half years, I've seen sadness and lost friends but I am thankful to have met so many amazing people who continue to inspire me everyday.
For now my cancer is stable and I have plenty of living left to do, not just for me but for my children, one of my biggest fears in the beginning was that they wouldn't be old enough to remember me, now I'm just thankful for everyday I get with them, every birthday, every Christmas, every milestone means so much more. Of course there are days when I just don't want to face the world, I suffer with anxiety particularly around scan dates and if I develop a pain or what I think may be a symptom of progression my mind goes in to overdrive but in general I just try to keep my mind out of the future, and live each day as it comes, none of us really know whats in store for us, all I can do is listen to my body, and cling to hope, hope that my treatment continues working, hope that I will get to share many more years with my children, and hope that a cure will eventually be found.