Netball saved my life...
Every time I, or one of my daughters, has a trip to minor injuries we always get the eye roll when we say it happened at netball... ‘the most dangerous sport’ I have been told! Anyway, after one such injury I was laid up with a suspected ankle fracture when I couldn’t get comfortable. I blamed my ankle and the angle of the tv but the side of my arm was making the side of breast hurt. This was the big life changing moment- I felt a pea shaped thing in my left breast. It was still there the next day and the next so I decided to get it checked out. I wasn’t worried as I had found a cyst some years earlier and had gone through the process of poking and prodding to get the all clear. I don’t think I even said anything to anyone I was THAT not worried!
Fast forward a couple of weeks and a trip to the Nightingale centre. Still not worried, to be honest enjoying the morning of uninterrupted me time, my three girls safely at school. An uncomfortable biopsy and ultrasound later I was told I could hang around to wait for the preliminary results or head home and get the results next week in clinic. So I waited (more reading time- it was a good book and an even better excuse to avoid cleaning the house!). 2 hours later I was called in the drs office- i think the nurse with the box of tissues was the first hint that something was up and then he said it, “it’s breast cancer”. Now I have thought about this a lot and I can’t think of how this news could be delivered any other way but OMG my life took a ridiculous change of direction....
if I had been in a movie (played by angelina jolie in her tomb raider days!) it would have been a psychedelic montage of my past and future all jumbled up. How could this have happened to me????
The next week was a blur, I chose to not tell anyone except close family until I knew the gory details and what was going to happen next, I didn’t want the sympathy, I just wanted to get on and sort it out. That week was the one of only two times I truly cried, and I’m talking proper bawling, snorting, ugly crying that turns the shoulder you are leaning on soggy and sends you to sleep. Then I boxed all the emotion up and put it away for some other time
Roll on a week and the full diagnosis and treatment plan. A Xmas lumpectomy (23rd) turned into a new year mastectomy due to those naughty cells messing up my clean area. Chemo for 6 cycles, Herceptin and ongoing hormone treatment was order of the day. So my hair fell out, nails wobbled, nose bled, eye run blah blah blah but I had a fight inside me that made sure as much as I could possibly manage my girls lives would continue as it always had- ballet, swimming, brownies... the normal mum taxi service.
It was a crazy year in all, for all the good and the bad it has made me who I am today. We decided to get married in a whirlwind 6 days with the help of some amazing people, as soon as I was physically able I went back to my back 2 netball sessions, I ran a relay leg of the Manchester marathon during treatment and was bridesmaid to my sister and went on my first long haul flight to Singapore with wonderful friends. I tried to live life to the fullest by charging forward.
For such a negative thing, there were so many positives- the medical staff that saved my life were incredible and my family and friends were fabulous. These are the things that kept me going, their investment in me made me keep going, I couldn’t let anyone down. I always look for silver linings and there were some, I promise- no hair removal, no bad hair days, getting a seat on the tram!
4 years on, I can remember the tears and the sickness and the pain but it was life changing and I am a stronger, fitter, a more fulfilled powerful woman because of it so maybe my biggest silver lining of this journey is me, now.