The first cancerversary

I was aware of the first anniversary of my cancer diagnosis looming, of course, but the week leading up to it was a busy one. We had a series of friends visiting, and things were a bit chaotic. The day itself was a Saturday. We had three friends staying, plus a three-month-old baby. I took…

The first Zometa

During a recent hospital appointment, my oncologist mentioned that he wanted me to have six-monthly infusions of a drug called Zometa, to strengthen my bones, for the next three years. It was primarily to protect my bones from the cancer spreading there, he said, but a useful side effect was that it would help to…

The recuperation

I came home from hospital with four drains, and after a week two were removed. I expected to be more comfortable but I wasn’t, really. Every movement felt like trapped skin being tugged. Each morning, I measured the fluid that had been drained and called the hospital, hoping they’d ask me to come in to…

The double mastectomy

A few days before my surgery, I had to go to the hospital for my pre-op assessment. Paul was doing his final work trip to London for about a month and my parents were looking after Joseph and Elodie, so I went on my own. I didn’t have any qualms about it. But then I…

The mastectomy build-up

I decided a while back that when I had my double mastectomy, I wanted to have reconstruction using tissue from my tummy. It’s a big operation with a long recovery time, but I didn’t like the idea of implants or of having no reconstruction at all, and that’s what I was left with. I had…

The not-quite Christmas

I only remember spending one Christmas apart from my sister before this one, and that was when Paul and I lived in New York and spent the day alone. This year, I knew my brother-in-law and my parents would have preferred to give the festivities a miss altogether, but it was understood that we had…

The ridiculous writing challenge

A friend asked me a while ago whether I’d heard of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). It’s an international event that involves writing a 50,000 word first draft of a novel in the month of November. I’ve thought about doing it many times, and have always concluded that I’m too busy. I told her I…

The oophorectomy

Because I tested positive for the BRCA2 gene mutation, I decided a while ago that I would have further surgery to remove my breasts and my ovaries after finishing chemo. I have roughly a 50% chance of getting breast cancer again, and up to a 30% chance of developing ovarian cancer, and I don’t much…

The weekends away

I’ve spent the past two weekends away, courtesy of two great charities. The first one was a spa weekend at Ragdale Hall with Paul, a wonderful gift from the Willow Foundation, who organise special days for seriously ill people under forty. I chose a relaxing couple of days with Paul over a short break with…

The hair loss

I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the start of April, and I’m surprised that it’s taken me until the end of October to write about hair loss. It’s one of the first things you think of when you hear the words cancer and chemotherapy, right? But I didn’t want to write about it until…

The bittersweet birthdays

Last week, Joseph turned three. And then three days later, my sister’s son Louie turned five. Consequently, we had three days packed with cake and jelly and boundless excitement. A theme park, a party and a whole lot of presents. Because Paul was away and it was a nursery day, we celebrated Joseph’s birthday a…

The perception shift

I’ve been feeling quite down about my sister Rachel’s situation lately. We had some amazing, rapid progress a few weeks ago, when she started to speak and to eat. I have a messaging group with her close friends and there was a time when it seemed that every day, someone had witnessed her doing something…