Your Difficulties Will Strengthen You

Life’s felt a bit up and down in the last few days.The brilliant stuff has been time with family and friends, some lovely phone calls and messages, a couple of great cinema trips (Lion and Toni Erdmann – both fantastic films), beautiful flowers which brought sunshine in to my home when there was a bitter chill and snow oustide, and more cards (I especially like the one below).



I’ve also found some more great avenues of support. I called the Breast Cancer Care helpline last week and spoke at length to a nurse, who really helped my medical understanding and thought process. Then today I met the MacMillan team at the Whittington. My, what a stack of goodies! I’ve been signed up for an art therapy course, a living well with cancer two day course, been given the number of a yoga teacher who specialises in cancer patients and a hairdresser who offers free haircuts to women undergoing chemotherapy. Oh, and the personal trainer has been in touch about my 12 week course. Having cancer is turning in to a full time job.

The less great stuff is related to my treatment.  Firstly, I am really frustrated that my chemotherapy is not starting sooner. I know that it is standard practise to have a recovery gap between the operation and chemotherapy starting. But now I know I have to have chemotherapy, I just want to get on with it. I actually felt deflated after seeing my oncologist on Wednesday. Lost my mojo.

So, I kicked myself up the proverbial and got myself back to the gym at 7am on Friday. I strapped up my boobs in to my most heavy duty sports bra and did a spin class. And boy, what an endorphin rush afterwards! I got home and was dancing around the kitchen (cat was very confused). That is why I love, why I need, exercise. It’s not just about fitness, it’s one of the best stress relievers going.

Secondly, what to do about my lymph nodes. To recap, a tiny smidgen of cancer was in one of the lymph nodes removed from my armpit during surgery (still can’t put on roll-on deodorant, armpit too tender. I made sure I gave everyone a wide berth after the spin class). So, there might (and this seems to be much more a possibility than a probability) be other smidgens in other lymph nodes, which means we have to take some action. Do I have more surgery to remove all the lymph nodes, an axillary clearance? Or do I have radiotherapy to the area? The prognosis is the same for both options.

So, I listed the pros and cons of both (as I understand them) and discussed these with my radiologist today. He chucked a few more considerations in for good measure. I now have about 5 differing medical opinions. But what I don’t have is a decision, and it’s mine to make.

My radiologist agreed to take my case back to the next multi disciplinary team (MDT) meeting and I’ll see my professor again on Monday when I’ll make my decision. So, this week I’ll be doing lots of research, seeking advice, thinking and talking about what to do.

Or I could just toss a coin.


It’s been interesting talking to friends over the last week, there are so many stories out there about cancer, so many of us touched by this indiscriminate and vile illness. I knew of three people last week who were hearing if they had cancer.


Had a lovely visit from one of my friends, which involved a tasty takeaway and a fortune cookie each. This was the prophecy in mine.


Not going to argue with that.


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