My name is Tricia. I live in the north of Scotland with my husband I have 2 grown up daughters.
I was diagnosed with Secondary Breast Cancer in my lungs, liver and bones in December 2107. I started oral chemotherapy, Palbociclib, and Letrozole, a hormone blocker,in January 2018. Palbociclib had just been approved for use in Scotland and as a targeted treatment the side effects are not as severe, in most cases, as infused chemo. In that sense I feel very lucky to have been diagnosed when I was.
However a SBC diagnosis is shocking, and took a long time to come to terms with both for me and my family. I’m not sure you ever really do though. I’m not going to lie it is a perpetual roller coaster, good days, bad days, appointments, treatment, regular scans and the anxiety that brings I find the emotionalimpact hardest to deal with. It does put things in perspective though and you realise what is important, family, friends, kindness and love. Nothing else matters.
The important thing is to focus on what you can and will do,not what you can’t or won’t do. I have been living with SBC for nearly 3 years now and I can honestly say I have been able to do most things that I used to prior to my diagnosis .I doneed to listen to my body and pace myself, something I’m really not good at, but I do try to do as much as I can. I try to get out and about as often as possible and for me exercise really helps clear my head and cheers me up. I also try to have little trips planned, no matter how small , a walk and a picnic, I do love a picnic no matter the weather!!! and a meet up with a friend or a coffee out is always a plus.
I was determined to get out hillwalking again and managed to walk up Meal Faur-mhonaidh, a 2000 ft hill south of Inverness at the end of August this year .I was so pleased to have done it, my daughter and I did a dance at the top .Anything is possible now as long as I take it at my own pace. We have electric bikes and the extra assistance that the bike provides is just enough to give me the confidence to gofurther afield. Our record so far is a trip of 19 miles (taking a picnic of course). This year I also walked the virtual Edinburgh Kiltwalk, with my husband Andrew, in aid of Make2ndscount. The weather was atrocious but it was still fun and in a great cause.
My daughter got married last year and I enjoyed her hen party doing zipwiring in the Cairngorms, once I’d got over the total panic. Fun fun! I also managed to dance the night away at her wedding and could still move the next day !!!
It’s also important to be good to yourself, a little pampering goes along way. I have discovered the joys of a regular massage that relaxes and invigorates me.
For me the most important thing is to be able to spend time with my family. We get together as often as possible and as my daughter said the other day “Mum doesn’t need an excuse to get the champagne out”. Every get together is a celebration.
I am able to do all these things which make me happy because the drug I am taking is keeping my disease stable. More funding for research focussed on SBC specifically is vital to allow as many people diagnosed with SBC to live well for as long as possible. Who knows, it might one day become a chronic illness.