Having told my immediate family, I then opted for email to tell my close friends. It’s far from personal, but having the same conversation over and over again was really starting to drain my emotion! So on Tuesday October 4th, I sent them this…
Hello my lovelies
First up, apologies for the mass email, but I have news to tell, and if I tell everyone individually, I’ll still be talking at Christmas, by which time I’ll be home anyway!
So I’ll cut to the chase – there’s no easy way of putting it – I have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer.
BOOB SHOCKER FROM BOXY!
As you can see, I’m staying light hearted about it, and in my usual way, I’m upbeat, positive and focused on nailing it. But it’s going to be a pretty tough 10-12 months.
At the moment, it looks like it’s just (just?!) a tumor in my left boob, and my lymph nodes are clear (although they’re not 100% convinced of that, as the test results were inconsistent.) If my lymph nodes are affected, this could change things, but we’ll worry about that later!
The type of tumor I have responds well to chemotherapy, so they’re hopeful that chemo will shrink it significantly, so that the surgery to remove it will be less invasive (and I’ll save most of my boob! I always said one was bigger than the other – maybe they’ll even out now?!) So the treatment will be 5 months of chemo, then surgery, then 3 months of radiotherapy to clear up the mess and stop it coming back.
So in short, the next 10-12 months will be a pretty rough ride. But that’s all. It’s a speed bump, not a roadblock. This time next year I’ll be back and fighting fit. I’m not hiding from this and I’m not frightened of it. I’m tackling it head on and going to kick its ass.
I have an amazing support network of friends and family to help when I need it, and Nike are being awesome – they said if I want to have treatment in the UK they’ll make that work, if I want to stay in Amsterdam they’ll make that work too, they’ll do my grocery shopping, hold my hair when I vom, take me out when I feel like a beer, or just hang out at my place if I want company. Their focus is just to get me back to full fitness again, and they’ll do whatever I need them to do to get there. The medics over here are super efficient and know their stuff (I went from first discussion to mammogram, to ultrasound, to biopsy, to diagnosis and consultation… all in 90 minutes! Amazing!) And my Nike health insurance covers all my treatment, so I’m in good, safe, and supportive hands having my treatment over here.
I told mum and dad at the weekend, and am now working round my family and close friends (you lot!) So nothing’s going public just yet. But I’m not going to hide from this. I want to be totally open about it, and want people to feel comfortable talking about it, asking questions, joking (I’ll need plenty of energy to keep me going over the next 10-12 months!) etc. Cancer is a really taboo subject, yet nearly everyone I’ve spoken to has had someone close to them affected by it. So it’s far from rare. If 1 in 3 people will get it, I’d rather that one person is me, than someone who’s unfit, less healthy, less able, or less up for the fight. And if I’m going to get cancer, this is one of the better ones to get – the treatment is awesome, the success rate is high, and there are plenty of people who’ve come out the other end to keep me going.
So there you have it. Bombshell. Boob shocker from Boxy!
This time next year I’ll be back fighting fit – in the meantime, I’m heading out to Texas for my last Grand Prix of 2016 then starting my treatment in November. I’m planning to come home for Christmas, albeit with a VERY warm hat!
I’m keeping a video diary but not publishing anything until my family and close friends are all aware, so please don’t put anything on Social Media or share in the pub just yet! But when everyone knows, I’ll start publishing the videos and you can take the piss out of my hair loss all you like!