Proud Auntie

Patience is a virtue. Today I’m not feeling particular virtuous. The erratic and unpredictable bowel movements are getting worse. I have had a whole week of ‘taking it easy’ which basically means no sport. Apart from a quick game of table tennis and a run around at Inverleith park I have been limiting my after work duties to recharging my batteries. On Tuesday I was back in the confines of our loo. It is on days like those where I welcome a colonoscopy! The familiar view below is one I have come to hate:

  
I can’t complain however. The frustration of not doing sport was compensated yesterday when I got to play proud Auntie. Conor and Ryan, along with their cousins, competed in their first organised sporting event: the Vale of Leven toddler fun run! Between them they have surpassed any records in the Williams’ household by being the youngest to wear a running number.

   
 

Following the fun run the spotlight was on my older brother Owain who took to compete in the Vale of Leven 10k. I must admit I had slight envy and regret for not signing up. However those feelings quickly disappeared when Owain revealed his shirt which proudly boasted a Welsh Dragon and Saltire on either sleeve with a bold #FUCancer on the back.

   
 

Proud auntie, proud sister!  

#FUCancer

Forgotten but not Gone!

As the festive season rolls in and the number of days until Christmas rapidly decline I find myself in disbelief that 2015 is merely days away. It is a feeling shared by many at this time of year: where has the time gone?

For me, it has been a year where I feel like I have missed out. I don’t think I appreciated how much of a social creature I was before cancer. Being a member of the hockey club brought regular training and fixtures with my mates and the club socials too. Despite trying to stay involved on the sidelines I found it too difficult. It was frustrating seeing my friends running around without me. Cancer excluded me from my favourite pastime leaving me with empty Saturdays. Even as I return to work I have struggled to reacquaint my body with the working pattern I once did with ease. Every year our team nominates awards based on our areas of work and achievements. For the past two years I was the one who was crowned Most Passionate. I was the one who was at my desk at 8am everyday and out and about most evenings. I was the one whose hours could never be questioned. Now I am the one who is here one minute and gone the next. I missed my final working week in 2014 thanks to a mixture of Noro virus and bacterial tonsillitis. Again, it is so frustrating to be forced to miss out on something you love to do. I find myself feeling envious of my colleagues. Missing the office Christmas party on Friday simply reminds me of the number of other social occasions I have missed; birthdays, leaving do’s, engagements. Cancer makes me feel forgotten about. It is such a horrible disease and even now, 3 months in the clear, I am overwhelmed by how much it still impacts my life. I feel as though it has stolen my lifestyle and with it my confidence. It is almost a day to day struggle where I feel like I am fighting towards my new normality. Friendships, priorities, outlook on life are all different now.

For anyone looking in, I think it is fair to say my year has been a challenging one. As much as I hate cancer and what it has done, I am thankful for what it has shown me. It has reminded me that I have a very special family. I always knew that in the family department I was blessed. Growing up my brothers, though irritating, always had my best interests at heart. Thanks to Owain, I now have something I always wanted: someone to call my sister. Angela is like an Iceberg in the making, very strong and kind but with a wicked sense of humour. Angela and Owain have blessed me with life’s greatest gifts, my nephews. Throughout everything they continue to put a smile on my face without fail! As for my parents they are simply the most selfless people I will ever know. There are not enough to words to express my gratitude for my family and cancer simply reminded me how proud and lucky I am to have them in my life. Cancer highlighted I have a fiancé who would literally do anything for me. Not many relationships get tested like ours did within the first few months. I am truly blessed to have him by my side.

Although I feel cancer has stolen my confidence and certain aspects of my life I believe this to be temporary. And the reason I believe this is because cancer has highlighted a strength within me that I never knew existed. I have overcome one of life’s greatest challenges and I refuse to let it hold me back. Through my strength I will achieve my new normality and I have every hope that it will be better than life before cancer. I move forward in the knowledge there is a possibility of cancer recurring. This does not scare me – this is something outwith my control. It would be like living my life in fear of getting hit by a bus. The greater fear for me is to not live my life the way I want with the people I love. Bring on 2015!

#FUCancer

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Buck the Trend

Yesterday was the first time in four and a half months that I have seen my mother cry. I finally heard the news we had all been dreaming of: I am in remission.

On the 8th April at approximately 3.30pm I was told I had a tumour. The following week I was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive type of cervical cancer. I am the 19th recorded case of it’s kind. I was told I had to ‘buck the trend’. The journey that has since followed has been an emotional roller coaster where I have celebrated the highest highs and endured the lowest lows.

Upon hearing my results this week I have received literally hundreds of messages from friends and family to say how happy they are for me. As you can imagine I am relieved. Upon arriving at the hospital on Wednesday I had tried to prepare myself for every possible scenario: more treatment, losing my hair, I had even began to contemplate my funeral. So here I am with the best possible outcome and how do I feel? Physically exhausted, emotionally drained and more vulnerable than ever before. It possibly sounds ungrateful but in all honesty I wouldn’t say the feeling I have right now is happiness. I simply feel angry. I feel so excluded from what I used to call my life I don’t know where to start.

Breaking the news of my diagnosis to my family and friends was one of the worst things I had to do. Trying to cushion the blow and await their reaction led me tears. It quickly highlights the ones who were there for me. Some people would say the wrong thing but the worst were those who said nothing. I heard someone excuse this with ‘I just find the whole cancer thing a bit awkward!’ —–> really?!

Two months on from completing treatment and I am still recovering. The fatigue is an ongoing fixture in everyday life which is a massive source of frustration. A large part of my social life revolved around being physically active and as the new hockey season starts I am beyond jealous to be missing out. For the first time in years I am without a team.

I am adapting to life with menopause and learning to accept what that means for the Funny Boy and I. The picture I had painted for myself has changed. When the time comes for the Funny Boy and I to start a family we will be looking into adoption. I had always imagined myself being pregnant and fantasised about everything that comes with it. Sharing the news with my friends and family, feeling a life grow inside me, watching my belly take shape and that amazing day when we get to meet mini Huffer for the first time. Pregnancy has always been a miracle to me. However the Funny Boy and I will have our own miracle one day which will be equally special – it’ll just have a different route. Losing the opportunity to be a mother is a price I have had to pay in order to save my life.

I imagine as a reader you must think I am very ungrateful and there are 10000s of people wishing they received the news I did this week. Perhaps if you had been in my shoes then you would understand. I have always said I want this blog to be an honest journal of my journey with cancer so here it is. Unfortunately the news of remission does not automatically bring back my old life. Life is different now and my perception of the world has changed. What I am grateful for are the key people who have helped me on my journey so far. You know who you are. The chapter of treatment is complete but the one ahead is focusing on how I recover and rebuild my life. For now I will just celebrate the relief:

Hev 1 – Cancer 0

#FUCancer

Life in Limbo

Treatment finished five weeks ago now. I am relieved that after an arduous fortnight of pyrotechnical side affects it appears the symptoms have managed to settle and although I have a pitiful supply of energy it is good to have a bit more freedom and independence again. I have immense gratitude being able to visit the toilet without some form of pain relief.

Within the final weeks of treatment I had got to a point where I was constantly in the company of Iceberg, Buggernuts or the Funny Boy. All of whom adopted the role as my carer. I had around the clock supervision. They bought my food, prepared my meals, washed my clothes. I was chauffeured anywhere I wanted to go. Even at nights if I couldn’t sleep someone would sit with me. Sometimes I would get upset thinking about the unthinkable where other nights it would simply be the steroids keeping me awake. It is only now as I get back to ‘normality’ I can see how dependant I had become. I was actually proud of myself having slept at home alone whilst the Funny Boy was on a night shift. I was anxious ‘What if I don’t feel well? What if start to feel scared again? What if…’ But these are the things I am learning to accept as my new ‘normality’.

What is normality? Normality was life before cancer (BC) where I would happily be at my desk for 8am every working day. Where a pre-work run and post work gym or hockey session happened most days of the week. Weekends BC were jam packed. Saturdays were dominated by hockey fixtures, family visits and the odd glass of wine. Sunday mornings BC were made for long runs along Crammond promenade followed by a guilt-free afternoon where I could eat whatever took my fancy. Goal setting BC was a favourite of mine, wether it be holidays, marathons or career aspirations – I loved having something to work toward. As I await the results I am stuck in limbo waiting to move to the next BC (life beyond cancer). Getting back to ‘normality’ in the meantime is difficult. ‘Normailty’ now is uncomfortably hot flushes, limited energy supply and an increasingly short temper – largely fuelled by frustration. I get frustrated by the fact one game of table tennis leaves me needing a lie down for the rest of the day. The sound of bells made me think of Christmas, possibly my favourite time of the year, and I was angry at the thought of how many more will I get to enjoy? I get upset knowing the Funny Boy and I will never (biologically) have children. This is my new normality. I am adapting to the changes – both physically and emotionally. As I am reunited with friends and colleagues I have been flooded with messages of ‘you look great’ and ‘nobody can tell you’ve been ill’. This has been a source of comfort especially as I look at myself and struggle to see beyond my sweaty brow and increasingly large love handles! My peers still see me – the old me – and that is good but in some ways it’s difficult. They can’t understand why one day I will be fit to sit at my desk all day and the next I will struggle to get out of bed. They won’t appreciate how a simple ‘See ya later skiver!’ is the last thing I need to hear when it’s taken all my strength to get me to work in the first place. How can I expect my peers to understand something that I am still getting accustomed to?

As I rebuild my social life and return to work I find myself setting new goals with a firm understanding that these can easily be changed following my next appointment. However I refuse to let cancer deny me the life I am living right now. The Funny Boy and I had an incredible engagement party surrounded by loved ones which inspired us to start planning our wedding. The date has been set, groomsmen and bridal party recruited and our honeymoon is rapidly turning into the trip of a lifetime. When I ran the marathon last year I had to prepare my body and mind. I am learning to adapt to my new normality and much like the marathon this means listening to my body and more importantly thinking positive thoughts. So #FUCancer! I am Heather, I am strong and I won’t let you beat me.

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The End of the Beginning

*DISCLAIMER* The following is not for the faint of heart. PS. You may want to cross your legs!

Twenty-three sessions of radiotherapy – done. Five sessions of chemotherapy – done. Three sessions of brachytherapy – done. Six weeks – done.

The final week of treatment was very difficult. I was admitted into hospital for my final two sessions of brachytherapy. Brachytherapy is internal radiotherapy which targets the tumour directly. As a result this allows for a high dose of radiation. The treatment itself lasts a mere five minutes per session however the preparation involves a great deal of discomfort. Each session requires a general anaesthetic so an applicator and sleeve can be inserted to my cervix to direct the radiation to the tumour. In order to protect my bladder and bowels from the treatment the doctors had to ‘pack my vagina’ to keep them out of the way. Sounds glamorous, huh? In addition to the sleeve, applicator and packing (!?) I required a catheter. Following the general anaesthetic I woke up to spend the remaining two days with my new array of accessories. Initially I thought the catheter would be a welcome break from the agony of cystitis – how wrong I was! It appears having a catheter aggravated my symptoms. I struggled to settle in the hospital. In hindsight this was a combination of discomfort, anxiety and fear.

Discomfort due to my new accessories and being forced to stay in bed. Anxiety about having a bowel movement. The catheter took care of number 1s but I was told if I felt the need for a number 2 I had to call a nurse to help. Similarly I would have to do this in my bed… Where I sleep! I am aware assisting someone in toilet matters is something nurses do everyday but not me. This was not something I was comfortable with. Thankfully I was constipated for the duration of my hospital stay. And finally I had the fear. I was in pain for the majority of my stay, largely caused by cystitis and cramping in my bladder. However I knew a greater pain was yet to come.

When it came to the evening I was prescribed a new cocktail of morphine based pain killers and a sleeping tablet. This provided a welcome sleep for all of 90 minutes and brought with it an increase in body temperature. I woke at 1am relieved that it was the final day of treatment but equally angry at the prospect of another 18 hours in hospital. Little did I know then that I would be awake for the remaining time and goodness knows I wish I wasn’t for parts of it.

Thursday! Final day of treatment! I was on a countdown and time was moving slowly. The morphine made me sick. Due to me being unable to move this required a costume change but finally I was called for my final session of brachytherapy. The finish line was in sight!

The treatment itself took a rapid five minutes. The experience that followed took an equal length of time however it felt much, much longer. The removal of the sleeve, applicator, packing and catheter was all done with no anaesthetic. I was armed with gas in one hand and a supportive nurse gripping the other. As welcome as these were they failed to mask the pain that followed. It felt like someone was excavating my cervix in search of dinosaur bones! Have you ever been in so much pain that it made you feel sick in the pit of your stomach? Thinking about it now sends shivers down my spine!

It was horrid but the second my cervix had been fully evacuated of all the paraphernalia I felt a sudden relief. The nausea remained but I could finally move again. Two days flat on my back left me walking like Bambi on ice and upon my first toilet visit my constipation suddenly lifted but I didn’t care because treatment was over and I was going home!

So for the first time in two months I have a full week of no hospital visits! As expected my side affects have flared up since finishing treatment plus I have spent a large part of the past five days sleeping. As previously described this whole process has been like getting hit by a truck very slowly. Hopefully I am at the peak of it now which means tomorrow brings the start of recovery. Although this is the finish line of treatment in a way it is only the beginning: in eight weeks time I will return to the hospital where the results of the treatment will be revealed. This revelation will lead to further hospital visits regardless. At best it will mean 3 month check ups for the next five years and who knows what the alternative is. Understandably the next eight weeks is going to be an emotional time for me and my family. What I do know is that I am incredibly lucky to have had my army of supporters to get me through the first step on what is sure to be an ultra marathon.

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The Funny Boy and I on the Final Day

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My front runners have been by my side every step of the way! This was right before my final general anaesthetic. The finish line is in sight!

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A wonderful welcome home where I was met with flowers, balloons, presents, motivational post its and the best part: my family!

Hats off to the NHS Lothian

As I approach the final two days of treatment I have already began thanking the friendly faces who have been responsible in getting me through this journey:

Thank you to Louise, Louise and all the staff at Ward 1. Chemotherapy is a scary word but the team at Ward 1 have created a calm and welcoming environment making it a friendly place.

To the radiotherapy ladies at LA4 aka Top Team! Susan, Wendy, Laura, Kelsey, Alison and Smaira. Thank you for being so friendly and showing a genuine interest in all aspects of my life. From bowel movements, to engagement plans and the baton relay. Like a true friend you have listened to all my mornings and groanings over the past six weeks and even provided chocolate! I will miss my daily visits!

Huge thank you to Dr Stillie, Dr Zara, Lindsay and Louise for planning and explaining my treatment. Thank you for allowing my front runners to attend the meetings and ask endless questions!

Special thank you to Julie and Emily for calming my nerves and constantly reassuring me. You have made a horrible situation bearable for me and my family. You have such a lovely manner and you really do a fantastic job!

Finally, a heartfelt thanks to Hilary Brown and Graeme Walker. You have been a constant source of advice when needed. I am in awe of the work you do and how you do it. You are superheroes in my eyes!

I feel very lucky to have had the support and expertise of all of the staff mentioned above in addition to staff at Ward 2, 4 and 6. I have been continually overwhelmed at the caring manner in which I have been treated at the Royal Infirmary and Western General. The NHS often receives negative press but I would like to challenge this and say the treatment I have received since diagnosis has been second to none. It has been a very challenging time for me and my family but thanks to the people mentioned we have been filled with optimism. From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of my family – thank you!

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The Difference a Day Makes

The cocktail of pain killers is having an affect on my creative writing skills.

What a week! Unfortunately the cystitis continued into the penultimate week of treatment. Yet again I found myself playing a game of Russian Roulette when going to the toilet. It would be a gamble wether I would escape the porcelain throne pain free or resort to setting up camp whilst the agony in my cramping bladder passed. At the start of this week I spent hours in the bath tub as it was the only source of instant pain relief. The Funny Boy started bringing me my meals whilst I was sat surrounded by bubbles watching endless episodes of Modern Family. It sounds a lot more relaxing than the reality!

It wasn’t until my final session of chemotherapy that I was completely honest about the severity of my cystitis. I wasn’t hiding the pain intentionally. The doctors and nurses had given me ample opportunity to discuss this. I just found it difficult to admit that cystitis was so painful. Also, the symptoms tend to be worse at night and by the time morning came around I always assumed it was getting better. Once again the impeccable staff at the cancer unit at Western General Hospital reassured me that there is always something they can do for the pain and that I just need to be honest. Upon completing chemo on Tuesday I breathed a huge sigh of relief – I feel like I am in the final stretch now.

Friday was challenging. I had my first session of bracytherapy. I had been mentally preparing for this for weeks. I knew what to expect however nothing can help avoid the fear of the unknown. At 7.30am I arrived at the hospital armed with my front runners; Iceberg, Buggernuts and Funny Boy. They did a great job at keeping me calm and distracted whilst I waited for the anaesthetist. The Funny Boy made me a card, Mum showed me wedding dresses and Dad… Well, dad managed to stay awake! I couldn’t get through any of this without them. When it came to say goodbye to them I could see how nervous they were but they all smiled and it was easy to leave knowing when I returned they would be there waiting for me.

Upon returning from surgery and waking up from general anaesthetic I was very uncomfortable and had a great deal of abdominal pain. I had to wait for the results of my CT scan and allow the doctors time to plan treatment before I could be seen. This meant several hours of lying still. I had a catheter and a machine to keep my legs from moving to prevent blood clots. In addition to the pain I found myself feeling very nauseous but also hungry. I felt helpless.  As I looked at the clock on the wall I realised it was less than 24 hours until I was due to be meeting for the Queen’s Baton Relay. This was the first time I began to question wether I would be able to run the relay…

Brachytherapy

…but I was wrong!

I woke up at 7am on Saturday morning and the first thing I did was run through to the living room to put on BBC News showing the Baton Coverage live! I watched Daley Thompson pass the baton to Eilidh Child and turned to my Mum to say:

“I will be carrying that baton today!”

Upon the arrival of the rest of my family I felt like a child at Christmas! I found a new surge in energy levels which have been noticeably lacking over the past few weeks. It was an incredible feeling of anticipation. As the time drew nearer and I got into position to carry the baton I was overwhelmed at the number of friends and family who came out to support me. I was under strict orders to ‘take my time and enjoy every minute!’ which is exactly what I did. As I walked along Duke Street in Leith I took in the smiles and waves of everyone around me. I took a deep breath and remembered why I was nominated to be there. It was an incredible experience which I got to share with so many special people. Even my Nan got to watch it live in Wales!

Best Day!
Best Day!

It is hard to believe that following such a traumatic Friday I could have a Saturday which I will treasure for the rest of my life. I can’t quite believe the difference in a day: Friday was spent lying still biting my lip through the pain followed by Saturday carrying the baton giving a proper FU to Cancer! To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. I was on cloud 9! Carrying the baton was always going to be an honour but for me it was more than that. Carrying the baton was a reminder of all the fantastic things I have achieved and I am yet to achieve in my life. Top of my current ‘to do list’ is beat cancer and get married. No biggy! So as I come into the final stretch of my marathon I already feel like a winner surrounded by my Army of supporters on the sidelines. Thank you to everyone for being there! You have no idea what it means to me.

#FUCancer – four days left of treatment to go!

Ring of Fire

This week has been the hardest so far.

I was warned in advance of the side effects associated to the treatment. As per my previous blogs the biggest inconvenience had been the ongoing battle in my bowels. Constipation versus diarrhoea. What would your preference be? Constipation is a welcome relief in comparison to the latter. In addition to this I am learning to accept the change in my body’s appearance. The steroids are causing me to gain weight and the constipation guarantees a bulbous belly. This has caused a few girly tantrums as I moan about turning from Heather into a heifer! However in the grand scheme of things I have bigger fish to fry! What’s more the Funny Boy assures me I am still beautiful. Silly sod!

Heather the heifer??
Heather the heifer??

At the weekend I started suffering from cystitis. Like most unlucky women I have experienced cystitis before. It is a common side effect associated to radiotherapy however on a much more severe scale. Following chemotherapy on Tuesday night I was in a great deal of discomfort and pain which kept me up for the majority of the night. Unfortunately this followed into Wednesday where the pain was beyond inconvenient – it was unbearable. I didn’t want to leave the bathroom, let alone the house. For the first time I found myself not wanting to go to the hospital for my daily treatment. Upon returning home the only relief I found was sitting in a luke warm bath. I spent over two hours in the tub watching movies whilst the Funny Boy brought me cranberry juice and ice lollies (did I say the Funny Boy is my knight in shining armour?) When I eventually brought myself to leave the comfort of the tub I was left with no alternative but to call the Cancer help line. I was in agony. The Johnny Cash song ‘Ring of Fire’ has a whole no meaning to me now. Within 20 minutes of being on the phone I was back in the hospital. With daily visits I am sure you can appreciate the last place I want to go voluntarily is the hospital however I felt a sense of relief upon arrival. Once again I was impressed with the excellent staff who greeted me and assured my complaints were justified. I get the fear I am over reacting sometimes and worry that I am wasting people’s time. However the staff comforted me and within three hours I was discharged with pain killers and antibiotics. This led to a reasonable night sleep – the best I have had in ages. As I write this now I am still in mild discomfort but it is merely an inconvenience opposed to the debilitating pain I was in yesterday. Tomorrow brings the first operation to prepare me for two subsequent doses of brachytherapy. Following a successful series of pre op tests today it looks like I am ready and raring to go!

Yesterday was the first time I felt properly ill. The nature of chemotherapy and the side affects of radiotherapy are gradually having their impact. It is like getting hit by a truck very slowly. My whole body is feeling the effects. My emotions are all over the place too. Trying to plan a wedding is difficult when you find yourself welling up over photos of complete strangers on their special day. However these are all things to be expected and I am nailing this. I am over half way through and as I sit here I still have a smile on my face. The past few weeks have been tough but I have been blessed by great moments shared with my wonderful family and friends. At the weekend I had a long cwtch* with Conor who agreed to my page-boy for the wedding, I brought my sister-in-law to tears by asking her to by my maid of honour and I spent Saturday in the glorious sunshine with my family at the Drymen show. Another highlight this week has been the news of two of my oldest friends welcoming a beautiful baby boy into the world on Tuesday – Jack Harvie – I can’t wait to meet you! What’s more I was I was greeted by a video of Ryan this morning as he stretched his legs and sang a song – hopefully it wasn’t his attempt at Johnny Cash though! Life is beautiful!

Great weekend with my top nephews!
Cwtching with Conor and Ryan! (*Cwtch – Welsh word for an affectionate hug)

So as I approach the last two weeks I would say I am at mile 18 of this marathon. The 18th mile for the Loch Ness Marathon was a monster; steep incline and all uphill but I smashed that and I am going to smash this monster too! #FUCancer

 

 

A little and a lot!

It is officially four weeks on since I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. A lot and a little has happened in a relatively short timeframe: I have had a PET scan, a CT scan, two further planning meetings and three new tattoos. Treatment begins a week today which will be combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The most common question in response to that is ‘what about your hair?’ and I am relieved to say that my golden-locks are safe (otherwise I would be raging having spent a fortune getting my roots done!) Anyone who has ever been through this will no doubt agree that when you get a diagnosis you want treatment to begin yesterday. Waiting is frustrating. Every bodily function, every pain, every niggle you automatically think ‘It’s the cancer!’ Even the funny boy had to laugh when I claimed my hiccups were related to cancer. The prospect of treatment doesn’t scare me – don’t get me wrong; the idea of feeling nauseous, enduring sunburn and various other side affects doesn’t sound like the best fun. Saying goodbye to the prospect of motherhood has definitely been a grieving process for me. So yes, with regards to starting treatment a little has happened however I am ready to tackle this head on. I am young, fit, strong and I have an army of people supporting me!

My army of family and friends have been amazing. I have been flooded with supportive messages, inspiring words, thoughtful gifts – I love my FUC bear (http://designer-j.co.uk/). Old friends, new friends, friends of friends all going out of their way to say something. I appreciate how difficult it can be for some people. You don’t want to say the wrong thing but you don’t want to say nothing either. As I said previously this is a marathon and it is great to know you have people at the finishing line but it is even better knowing they are running it with you! My family and the funny boy have been particularly outstanding…

My mum is now known as Alma ‘Iceberg’ Williams. For those of who you have met my pocket sized mother you will understand what I mean when I say she is petite. To look at you probably wouldn’t back her in a fight, but you would be wrong! She may look small but she has the strength and power to take down the Titanic! Out of everyone she was the person I was most nervous about telling. I assumed she would cry and ask ‘why’ – I was wrong. She has helped me with every emotion and supported me through every step of the marathon so far.

Then, there is my Dad. He is a classic Dad. When it comes to ‘lady-things’ he doesn’t want to know. He doesn’t understand womens’ bits and nor does he want to. Who could blame him?! I can only imagine being told your daughter, your only daughter, has cancer is a parent’s worst nightmare. Top that by it being cervical cancer and a whole host of awkward conversations then it is definately a dad’s worst nightmare. Yet, my dad has amazed me! He has attended every appointment, listened to every consequence of treatment and held my hand through it all. My dad already had the nickname ‘Buggernuts’ – it doesn’t seem appropriate to rename him Amazeballs but that is what he is! Amazeballs!

The siblings (Owain, Gags & Angela) and the nephews (Conor and Ryan aka Ryno (apologies Ryan you will hate that name one day)) are top pacemakers too! Each showing their support in their own way. My nephews have prepared a superb pack of FU Cancer treats which are in my bag all set for next week. Angela has been an ear for me to rant and rave when needs to be. Owain and Gareth are the same which is exactly what I need them to be. They approve of the funny boy which is a major bonus too!

And then there is the funny boy! There aren’t enough words to describe him. Maybe I should keep it simple and rename him my fiancee!

Yeah, so a little and a lot has happened in the past four weeks! Treatment is still waiting to start but I am no longer free agent! After a very romantic and personalised proposal (in true funny boy fashion) I said yes! Exactly four weeks to the day and time I was getting my diagnosis I was sat in a jewellers picking my engagement ring! I am beyond elated. Marathons have their ups and downs and today is definately a high! Looks like I have a training partner for life now. Lucky, lucky me!

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