Sunday, 9 September 2018

200k wanted

I am not a fan of technology telling me what to do. I have to brace myself for the obstreperous self-service super-market tills. I like to run as many steps as I choose rather than have a nagging automaton on my wrist. And, I prefer to write a blog post when I have something to say. Facebook however, just chastises me until I relent.

So, on viewing the blog after my Dad's heartfelt post last week, Facebook gave me the usual dig in the ribs to write a post. As I logged on, I was surprised and delighted to see that mine and Debbie's blog was heading towards the 200,000 views milestone.

What started off as an informational blog on tips to help sufferers improve their cancer journey, evolved as my journey evolved, from my Triple Negative Breast Cancer diagnosis in November 2013 to 'months not years to live' in October 2015. My blog became a mode of self-expression, a way of communicating my progress with friends far and wide and, I would like to think, a way of showing cancer sufferers that there could be a positive outcome.

My Dad and I had lunch today in the restaurant in which my agency colleagues had organised my 'pre-funeral' funeral. (I had always thought it was a shame that you didn't get to hear what people thought of you when you were alive!). It feels odd and somewhat disingenuous to be eating there three years later with a full head of hair, a normal-sized head and rather thrillingly, an 'in remission' status. It was also a wake-up call (I do tolerate being woken up by a phone) to remind me that life is as precious as a jewel but as delicate as a flower. It's only when something throws your world off balance that you yearn for a humdrum, uneventful life.

So, as the blog hits the 200k visits mark, I will remember that this blog is my narrative (and Debbie's too) and charts a journey of hope, faith, despair, lots of love and a miracle thrown in for good measure.

I'll write soon. Facebook wouldn't allow me to do otherwise.


Thursday, 6 September 2018

Fresh beginnings: a post from Amanda's Dad

It seems quite a long time ago that I did a ‘guest blog’ for Amanda and Deb’s Breast Cancer Tips website, so here goes.  I vividly remember meeting Debbie for the first time whilst accompanying Amanda for her chemotherapy session at the Cancer Centre in 2014.  Amanda and Debbie were receiving treatment in chairs next to each other, and I was so encouraged by Debbie’s extraordinary upbeat attitude and infectious personality – I’m so pleased that they’re still friends nearly five years on.  They have such a special relationship tinged with so many emotions.

To be perfectly honest, every day has been a challenge since Amanda’s initial breast cancer diagnosis. Life will never be the same again.  Amanda did a brilliant blog in June about clichés that people use concerning Cancer survivors, and I think that some of these apply to the parents of Cancer survivors as well.  ‘I know how you feel’ is one that really gets to me, because I think that it’s impossible for someone to know how I feel, as they don’t know my history or even remotely understand the way I think.  ‘Think positive’ is another annoying one.  It is difficult to think positive when you’ve been given quite a lot of extreme problems to deal with from a very early age.  Anyway, from my experience, I don’t think that being ‘positive’ can change anything at all. 

On the other hand, it is truly amazing that Amanda is still with us.  On July 12th the neurology team advised that Amanda’s MRI (brain) scan was clear.  I truly never thought that I would ever hear the word ‘remission’.  My mind sometimes goes back to the very dark days of visiting the Hospice, and of collecting a wheelchair. How wonderful that Amanda was called the ‘Miracle Lady’ by her palliative care nurse!! 

I said in my second paragraph that every day is a challenge.  When your daughter has suffered from Cancer, you worry about every ache and pain she has.  The suffering that Amanda has endured has been extreme and heart-breaking for any father to witness.  However, I can now clearly see her getting back to normality, and enjoying the things that many of us take for granted. 

Amanda has received tremendous care from her husband and received fantastic support from her many friends from the many aspects of her life; and I really appreciate that. 

I’ll finish with the cliché ‘Time is a healer’.  As Amanda said in an earlier blog, she still has a massive scar on the back of her head following the removal of two brain tumours, a scar on her breast and one underneath her arm. Plus, she still suffers from the after effects of the aggressive treatment.  However, thanks to God, and Amanda’s truly amazing surgeon and team she is still with us…….

Final cliché: Let every morning be a fresh beginning!!!

Amanda’s Dad