A week later at the end of my appointment, god knows how many biopsies / mammograms and ultrasounds - BOOM I had breast cancer. I mean what? How? Fast forward 48 hours and suddenly it was not only breast cancer it had also made it’s way to every bone in my skeleton including my skull. Life became a rollercoaster which I has never stopped.
At the point of diagnosis the little bugger had eaten through my C6 (Neck) and T12 (spine) causing spinal cord compression. A month in hospital began as they tried to stabilise me, not only to save me from paralysis but to ensure I was strong enough for chemotherapy to start and start it did. I went through an initial 15 rounds of Paclitaxol (IV chemo) alongside Herceptin and Perjeta (HP sauce!), denosumab for the old bones and zoladex (to shut down the power house that was my ovaries). In February of 2018 we were thrown another curve ball when it went to my brain. I still struggle to find the words to explain how that felt. Brain surgery and radiation (cyberknife) took place and I moved onto Capecitabine an oral chemotherapy which I am still on (touch wood!). Since diagnosis I have undergone 13 surgeries ranging from brain, to spine and breast and I am waiting for number 14 which was postponed due to COVID. I thank my lucky stars every day for my medical team who work so hard to keep me going! Living with stage 4 is tough isn’t it! Regardless of what pictures we post of ourselves looking funky at chemo or leading a relatively ‘normal’ life between treatment, it does change your life in a way that you can’t explain but learning to life with your new normal is something that slowly you do learn to do.
The best advice I think I could give is - Do what is right for you! Life overwhelming and some days it is hard to even imagine how you are going to get through the day let alone life with a incurable diagnosis. Everyone’s journey is unique and there is no right or wrong so don’t feel pressured to do what appears to be right for someone else.
Perhaps you want to keep your diagnosis amongst friends and family? Perhaps you want to join every support group you can find? Perhaps you want to start a blog? Whatever you want to do it’s ok! Surround yourself with people and things that make you happy and take time to process life. Somedays you won’t be able to get out of bed but there will be others that you can take on the world.Don’t strive for perfection. As a women many of us strive to be the perfect version of ourself and create pressure to ‘over achieve’, thinking we have something to prove.