On September 26, 2016, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I was 39… hang on, let’s just stop right there. This doesn’t happen to people my age, does it?
Clearly it does. And in the following couple of weeks, as I started to tell people what’s going on, it quickly became obvious that it actually happens a lot. Half the population will now get cancer (stats entirely unquantified, but that’s what I keep hearing…) yet everyone seems to have a mother, daughter, sister, wife, girlfriend, aunt, or cousin who’s been through it at some point. So everyone has a story to tell, advice to offer and support to give – in abundance.
So how come I didn’t know this before September 26th? Because no-one openly talks about it. Maybe they’re embarrassed, maybe it’s not their story to share, maybe they don’t feel comfortable talking about “the big C” or maybe it just upsets them? For whatever reasons, to many people it’s a taboo subject. So when I tell them it’s happening to me, their first reaction is shock.
In my mind, why shouldn’t it be me? I’m younger than most who get it, I’m fit and healthy, and I’m up for the fight. So if me having it means someone less positive side-steps it, then so be it. To me, this is just one of life’s journeys, and the harder journeys tend to make us stronger.
So I figure that if I can share my story here, in all it’s gory glory, maybe it will help overcome the shock, kill the taboo, and help people feel more positive. If people know more about it, they’ll understand it better, be feel more equipped to talk about it, be ready to catch it earlier, and realise that it can be beaten.
Also, selfishly, when I lost my brother at 21, some people crossed the road to avoid talking to me, because they just didn’t know what to say. So again, by being completely open about what’s going on, I can hopefully avoid that, and make sure everyone feels confortable around me and can come on the journey with me – and help me make it an adventure rather than a nightmare!
So I’ll start this blog with a few videos and the email I sent to my closest friends with all the details. After that, there’ll be a mixture of stories, videos and photos as I go through the next 9 months of treatment.
Anyone who’s read my other blogs (insert blatant plug here – check menu for links!) will know that I say what I think, see and feel. So I’ll try and post often enough to avoid lengthy essays (hmm, for someone who loves words, this could be more of a challenge than the journey itself?) but not too often that you get spammed (hmm, I use Social Media a lot, insert additional disclaimer here?!) and I’ll apologise in advance for any swearing, blasphemy, intoxication (at the beginning) and subsequent tears or shenanigans!