Archives for posts with tag: breast cancer

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I am reminded of that song that says ‘the DJ saved my life’. After my recent dramatic brush with a&e (which was ok in the end) I was left feeling very bruised emotionally, like those around me. Love does funny things to you when it’s given something heavy to deal with especially when you add in the ‘c’ word. I needed an escape, a distraction something good.

I’m laying here in my usual writing spot, in bed at silly hours listening to Adele. She is my ‘Dj that saved my life’. December last year I spent hours via the iPad/phone and computer in an online waiting room trying to get tickets to see Adele at the o2, and I was lucky to. After what seems like forever the date finally arrived last week and typically Mr H had man flu and I was 3 days out of hospital. There was no question hit the drugs cupboard we were on the train and not missing this under any circumstances.

Sitting in the audience waiting the sense of excitement and anticipation is infectious, 2 lighting engineers are abseiled up to their spotlights high up in the gods above our heads and I have no idea how anyone could do that job. The audience falls silent someone has spotted something, a head starts to appear coming up from the middle of the stage, she starts with ‘Hello‘ and the crowd roars, me included. We have amazing seats only 10 rows from the front, I have waited so long to get here I sit on the edge of my seat with wide eyes and love every second.

There is so much emotion in her singing it feels personal, she finds a cancer survivor in the audience and invites her on stage for a big hug and a selfie. Another young girl has made a big poster and everyone laughs when she says can I keep this and the young girl says no, Time for another selfie. Stories continue between songs about her pink thong and lots of her trademark colourful language to go with it, her personality shines through she connects with her audiences and is clearly relaxed. We are told her glass of wine is ready backstage to celebrate her last night, meanwhile on stage she stands there with her mug of hot honey and lemon.

The production is equally impressive especially when ‘set fire to the rain’ Is sung inside a cage of falling rain.

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Her voice is faultless and powerful throughout, the night went too quickly every song a new favourite, the night ends on a climax with ‘Rolling in the deep’ and paper confetti released over our heads. Like a kid at a wedding I’m grabbing the air to catch as many as I can each one is printed with a handwritten message.

‘ throw your soul through every open door’

and ‘thank you for coming’ no thank you for inspiring me, the last few weeks is definitely, ‘water under the bridge’. It’s my new bedtime favourite to remind me to brush life off and move on. Part one of 40th birthday celebrations done.

Enjoy the sunshine

Love always

Angela xx

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When I write a blog it is always started by something someone has said, an article I’ve read, something I’ve seen on Facebook, events around me or a mixture of them all.

Quite often I listen to a song I haven’t heard for a while which makes me think. Recently I heard ‘Something inside so Strong’ by Labi Siffre (seen above), he was on the One Show recently talking about his personal struggle being black and gay, he channelled this struggle into lyrics and created this powerful and successful song. Words I’m sure that resonate with a lot of people for many different reasons….

Deny my place in time, you squander wealth that’s mine
My light will shine so brightly, it will blind you ’cause there’s

Something inside so strong
I know that I can make it
But you’re doing me wrong so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone
Oh, no, something inside so strong
theres something inside so strong

Labi Siffre – Something Inside So Strong Lyrics | MetroLyrics

There are times for all of us when our lives becomes a struggle, happiness is harder to reach, a daily struggle and it feels difficult to escape from our dramas. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with your own problems and forget other people are dealing with their problems too. Listening to the song above about inner strength made me think, even in difficult times our inner strength can support us even if some of us don’t realise it yet.

I take inspiration from those who have realised they have the passion and ability to turn around a negative into a positive. Kris Hallenga is one of those people, in 2009 at the age of 23 she was diagnosed with stage 4 (there is no stage 5) Breast Cancer and now runs an amazing charity aimed at creating awareness of Breast Cancer in young people: coppafeel.org

“Kris turned her shock and anger into pure kick–ass, immediately making it her full–time mission to encourage her friends, her generation, and YOUNG PEOPLE everywhere to keep hold of their wonderful, carefree lives by getting to know their boobs – and appreciating the fact that, shitty a reality as it may be, breast cancer can affect YOUNG PEOPLE, at any age. A message overlooked by breast cancer organisations.”

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Cancer seems to have this effect,  it ignites a fight and determination in you didn’t even know you had, out of many disasters great things have been started. The confidence and inner strength of others helps Breast Cancer to get the excellent exposure we see today. Another good example of this empowerment is the #show your scar campaign on Twitter for breast cancer. To mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, the women seen below appeared topless and proudly showed their scars to the world, shown here in an article by Elizabeth Earle this week in ‘The Sun‘.

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Many reasons cause us to lose our confidence; not just Cancer, however there will be a point for us all our inner strength will kick in and support us and lead us to a better place. For those who are not there yet we can take inspiration from Kris and the women shown above, it may not be possible to fix your problems but we can do something positive with it, be it something big creating awareness or starting with small steps that allow us to smile again. It may take you a while but your time will come and you will shine again!

My love always

Angela

xxx

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“Not one damn thing, really,” says Kate Matthews, a breast cancer survivor and cartoonist, “but whenever I need to feel lifted away from the fear, horror and pain of breast cancer, humor is the first place I turn.”

The journey is tough, the road is long, life very much takes on a sink or swim attitude. Much like grieving for a loved one it isn’t something you ever really get over or forget, it just gets easier with time. If you get through it the experience makes you stronger, this is different for everyone. In the same way that no two cancers are the same, everyone’s recovery is different. It may seem inappropriate to laugh at the subject but it helped me to step out of the seriousness of the situation and get a break.

I remembering texting my friends when I first received the bad news and now 8 years on the only response I remember is a chat I had with a friend about now we could organise a ‘wig’ party and how we could do it.

Sadly so many people have had contact with this disease in some way or another, remember it doesn’t rain forever, day always follows night. Most importantly if life is difficult it doesn’t mean you can’t laugh, its just easier some days than others. Don’t be afraid to get back up and try again, to love again, to live again, and to dream again. So do what makes you happy and be with whoever makes you smile.

For all those loved ones lost and those of us surviving on ‘World Cancer Day‘  xxx

At the beginning of every Year I get a feel of the direction the year will be going… This year it is a sense of change, of soul searching and a search for inner peace.

I have been fighting for 8 years now, first the breast cancer surgery then the chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormone therapy, more surgery, seizure, coma, more medication, panic attacks, anxiety and so on…. I am now feeling battle weary and am ready for a break. As dramatic as it all sounds it is what it is. Unfair but it all happens as it is supposed to, you accept it and patiently wait while you hopefully head towards recovery putting your well being in the hands of others. You don’t know the outcome and as such do not assume everything will be ok.

I have throughout assumed that my marriage would be ok I expected ups and downs and hard times  but in the past year the cancer battle has been overtaken by the realisation that we are not ok. My husband walked out 3 weeks before christmas his parting words to our daughter were “mummy and daddy are not get on”. I am writing this blog the night before I have agreed to go to a counselling session at which after a month of maybe/maybe not thoughts and experiences I have no idea which way tomorrow will go.

Is cancer to blame? Are we both battle weary? Why are we not closer after everything we have been through? Have we both been so busy keeping life going over the last eight years that for whatever reason, illness, money, time or tiredness we have taken our eyes off the prize and as such our foundations have collapsed.

Are we at the point of no return I cannot answer this for my husband. I know I have no fight left in me anymore and am not prepared to just exist together. We both agree on one thing we want to be happy, appreciated and loved, is this together? I may find out tomorrow or time will tell. For now my priority is my daughter and our health and well being.

One positive from this is finding out how many people have your best interest at heart. It is true you find out who your friends are in a crisis, true, honest, strong friendships are a blessing and should be treasured with all the love you can muster.

‘Life has a lot of grey and sadness – look for that rainbow and frame it. There is beauty in everything, sometimes you just have to look a little harder to see it’ Charlotte Kitley 

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How are you?

How do you answer this question when you have or are living under the threat of Cancer that may return. An innocent enough question, politely requesting about your wellbeing.. But its one that I dreaded for a long time as the honest answer was not pretty and probably involved a few choice swear words:

• Cancer has changed my life completely and now I have no idea if I will ever be ‘me ‘ again?

* Feeling awful from all the surgery and medication that life currently throws at me

• Frustrated that my body makes no attempt to keep up with my mind

• Fed up that I don’t know if I will still be here in 6 months time

• Upset that I can’t run here there and everywhere with my daughter as much as I would love to and show her the world.

• Or just a general rubbish, awful, crap etc

Did I say this of course not, nobody wants to hear the truth about how you really feel and I don’t want to tell them either, I don’t want to be miserable to be around, I have always been a relatively positive person and chatty and happy to see people and talk about our lives. I still wanted people to know me as this person. However I would not lie either just be selective with the truth and developed a range of brief carefully worded phrases in response to this question as follows:

• Not too bad thanks (for ok days)

• Been better (for really bad days)

• I’ve just been to (recent holiday, day out or visit) have you been there? (full change of direction technique)

• How are you, you look really well new hair? (just don’t answer the question)

Its been 8 years today since I went in to hospital to have a stage 3, grade 3, large Breast Cancer tumour removed and 4 years since they removed a Brain tumour, with other various surgery and treatments in between. I’m feeling reflective today, where am I now? Are these disguises really necessary anymore, I know that my answers to this question are no longer necessary to hide my thoughts. I have dared on a few occasions to say ‘ok, thanks’ and even ‘good!’. I may even dare to think what I may do in the future.. maybe become a graphic designer again? best not to get too excited just yet!

Please in the future if someone you know has cancer and you are going to ask ‘How are you?’ Try ‘I saw this amazing cake this morning so I bought you one I thought you would enjoy a treat!’…

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Finally, a recent documentary by Kris Hallenga has given us an insight into the life of a younger person with Breast Cancer. When Kris Hallenga was diagnosed with aggressive, terminal breast cancer at the age of 23, she decided to channel her fear and anger into changing the way young women, the medical profession and the rest of the planet see and treat breast cancer in young women. This film is about the sheer strength, passion and indomitable spirit of Kris Hallenga as she battles her illness and tirelessly promotes her charity CoppaFeel! – an energetic and fearless awareness-raising campaign dedicated to making sure other young women and their doctors are made more aware of the risks. ‘Dying to live’ on BBC3, next showing 2am Friday 18th April and then on iplayer shortly after.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03zf3tg

Sadly information for a younger person with Breast Cancer is very limited and you are often surrounded by women over 45 who have a very different life to someone in their 20’s. I emailed my thank you to Kris, her response is below…

Hi Angela!

How are you doing? I have read a few posts on your blog – it’s a great blog!! thanks for sharing it with me. You share many thoughts and feelings I do. 
And yes, it was really important for me to finally get the story of a young woman with breast cancer on TV, something we never see. I strongly believe it’s a completely different disease for people 40 and under, women who have not had kids, not married etc. We have completely different issues. But I am navigating my way through them all as best I can. And you seem to be doing a good job of that too.
I hope you are enjoying this sunshine. 
Big love
Kris

 

Please check out the fab charity Kris has set up reminding all young women to check your boobs!

http://coppafeel.org

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Does this really happen? Are there couples out there who have blissfully romantic and thoughtful relationships full of red roses after dealing with Cancer? I must of missed that paragraph in all those leaflets I read after appointments. Where is the leaflet about real life afterwards?

Do I look across the dinner table longingly at the husband who was very close to losing his life partner. Oh do I heck, he can be just as irritating now as he was 10 years ago when we were thinner, younger, childless with independent careers. The rubbish bin is overflowing that he refuses to empty until he has finished his beer, his shoes are abandoned in the middle of the hallway and the TV now has the News on it, whilst I dutifully cook the family dinner. Love is now a ‘pencil sharpener’ for christmas and I quote: “It had a 5 star rating on Amazon”… We have indeed become closer we are now so close we can wind each other up just knowing what irritating thing the other one is about to do with saying a word!

Do I look at life as a blessing and grab every moment with a renewed enthusiasm? No I do not I’m as down to earth and realistic as I was before Breast Cancer. Life can be irritating, frustrating and tiring, people can still be rude, ungrateful and inconsiderate. At home the Brownie promise needs to be learn’t, the spellings need practising, the bathroom needs cleaning, the fish tank needs changing and we have run out of bread. I struggle with a renewed enthusiasm for these jobs.

The one thing it has done is to make me really appreciate life exactly as it is. When your friend tells you she fell off a skateboard in Toys r us! When mid argument your husband cracks a highly inappropriate joke and its impossible to keep an angry face…There are lovely family moments together, we all laugh at the cat when she gets dizzy chasing her tail, we enjoy walks in the forest on a sunny day or summer days at the beach. We are in no way perfect we never were and never will be and I’m glad it has stayed this way.

I do now appreciate the ordinary, the average, the everyday, the fact that my marriage and family are ‘normal’ and remain the healthy mix of ups and downs it was before Cancer. Life doesn’t become a rose-tinted, stress free, and purely positive experience because you survived, life is life and I’m grateful for the funny, loving, empowering, irritating, rude, frustrating world it throws at me keeping all parts of me alive.

 

 

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Carol Jackson from EastEnders has been diagnosed with breast cancer, and viewers across the country are on tenterhooks to see how she copes with the devastating news that she has inherited a faulty BRCA gene.
http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/guest_posts/2017502-Guest-post-Ovarian-cancer-spotting-the-signs?msgid=45577112#45577112

Its not good news but I question the implication that it is ‘devastating’ news for her children. Devastating would be finding out you have ovarian cancer and there is nothing you can do, if you are unfortunate to find yourself in this position action can be taken to prevent the high risks of developing breast or ovarian cancer. Having been through the whole set of treatments in the book Carol’s story is almost identical to mine, I’m not impressed there is a gene in my family but I don’t find it devastating.

At the age of 30, 7 years ago i found out I had breast cancer, then found out I had the BRCA2 gene, as there is so much breast/ovarian cancer on my mothers side. I have lost my mum to breast cancer 15 years ago, and recently both my Nan and Aunt both died of Ovarian in their 70’s. My sister also has the gene but has not had Cancer. Both myself and my sister have had prophylactic mastectomies, it is the best thing we could do to reduce the risks from an 80% chance to lower than that of the general population.

After being treated for a Grade 3 Breast Cancer in 2006 I had a CA125 blood test and ultrasound every 3 months for 5 years to keep a watch on my ovaries until 18 months ago when I had my ovaries removed as a second preventative measure. I have to admit about being very concerned about this, but its the best thing I have ever done. I haven’t gone grey yet and I don’t feel 65! Yes I get the hot flushes but a small price to pay for piece of mind.  Do not worry about finding out you have this gene, finding it means you can take preventative measures. Breast/Ovarian is one of the few cancers that you can do this.

Carol’s story in Eastenders has been very accurate but I’m concerned that Eastenders is adding too much ‘end of your world’ to the possibility of her children having a faulty gene. Its not the greatest news in the world of course but action can be taken before cancer may be diagnosed. I miss neither my breasts or ovaries and am happy with my ‘slightly bigger than the original’ fake breasts.

Like many Cancers in our world.. and there are far too many, research, screening, diagnosis, and early detection are all key to a successful outcome. March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. Visit http://ovarian.org.uk/about-ovarian-cancer/what-are-the-symptoms-of-ovarian-cancer/ for details about symptoms.

Ovarian Cancer Action is working to raise awareness of the need to know your family history. If 2 or more women in your family have had breast and/or ovarian cancer, ask yourself: are they on the same side of the family, your mother’s or your father’s? Are they blood related? Were they under 50 when they were diagnosed? If the answer to these 3 questions is ‘yes’, you’re eligible for screening for a faulty BRCA gene.”

If testing is something you need then please do not shy away from it, not knowing is far worse… It could potentially save your life… and prevention is always better than cure.

On a lighter note what do you call the removal of Ovaries? Oopherectomy! Not quite right for my blog name so I settled on: ovary and out!

 

 

Help! I'm a stay-at-home mum

Be inspired, fulfilled and hold your heads high, stay-at-home mums!

ovaryandout

Great highs, the depths of the lows and why at age 7 do I still have to remind my daughter to say please!

Great highs, the depths of the lows and why at age 7 do I still have to remind my daughter to say please!

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