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

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“Getting cancer is like finding out Santa’s not real!”

Us Brits are notoriously known for our impeccable manners. Sometimes our polite nature holds us back from certain topics of conversation! I am very open to discussion about my experience with cancer and its ongoing side affects yet I have had to endure some perplexing, crude and at times down right merciless comments. I thought I could share these for your own amusement or a lesson on what not to say to someone with cancer.

Did you get to keep your cervix?

I’ve not been in touch because I find the whole cancer thing awkward. 

Cervical? That’s one of the good cancers. – There is NO GOOD CANCER!

My mum had cancer but it sounds like hers was a lot worse.

I’ve done loads of reading. What stage is your cancer at?

What caused your cancer?

Should you be eating that?

You shouldn’t eat sugar, sugar causes cancer… SUGAR IS KILLING YOU!

Finding out you have cancer must be like finding out Santa isn’t real. It turns your life upside down eh?

(On the topic of infertility where I am surrounded by pregnant women) It’s like when people talk about their tans. I can’t get a tan and it drives me crazy when all people want to talk about is tanning.

(In response to me struggling to think of a word) Oh my god! It’s like that chemo cabbage brain thing – your brain cells are literally dead! Haha!

(On the topic of me not being able to have kids) It’s not that big a deal.

It’s great to see you back to normal. 

You look great, considering…

You’re going on holiday? You’ve just been off work for the best part of 6 months!

I know what you’re going through because I had to get a smear once. It was a nightmare!

My brother’s girlfriend’s uncle’s son is a doctor. He wants to know the name of your cancer.

I was reading about your cancer online. Did you know….

You must feel so lucky! 

That final quote is a bit of an oxymoron because I do feel lucky to be here. Lucky to be alive. However I also feel incredibly unlucky to have been dealt a hand which forced me to sacrifice fertility. In the same breath of it being a small price to pay for survival it is equally something I will never get over. But hopefully, in time, it is something I will come to terms with. But in response to a few people above:

My inability to have kids is not like being unable to take a tan and it is a big deal! F*ck sake!

#FUCancer

Bowels Behaving Badly

Monday marked my 9 month check up. In contrast to the last one which loomed over me for weeks this appointment snuck up on my calendar – it felt as though it had come around too quick.

In the past few weeks I have returned to frequent visits on the porcelain throne which is reeking havoc on my socialising. It appears my grumpy bowels and bloating belly, although predictable following treatment, require a more thorough inspection. I am now awaiting the invitation to attend a colonoscopy and another MRI scan. I am assured there is nothing to worry about and I have great confidence in my doctor. I don’t see this as a setback. It’s merely an opportunity for peace of mind. 

That being said it is is difficult not to get anxious when you are faced with the prospect of having a camera rooting around your rear! On the whole (excuse the pun) it’ll make a change from where I am used to being poked and prodded… Giggidy!

#FUCancer

Buggernuts

Finding out someone you care about has cancer is awful. When you discover it is your child, I can only imagine it is every parent’s worst nightmare.

In my home we call my dad Buggernuts. Believe it or not this is a term of endearment. For as long as I can remember my dad has had this name bestowed upon him and as often as I refer to him with this title he responds by calling me ‘Buggalugs’. There is no rhyme or reason for it. Unlike my mum and I who talk about the big things, the little things and everything in between, my dad and I have a very different relationship. I tend to tease him about his fluctuating weight, horrendous collection of ties and his ‘not so secret’ eating habits. (sorry Buggernuts, but your scrunched up Mars bar wrappers are easily found if you leave them everywhere you go) He likes to tease me also. Knowing I’m very competitive he takes great pleasure in beating me at most racquet sports. Furthermore he has been known to abuse my gullible tendencies: did you know that Johnny Wilkinson was the son of the lead singer of Shwaddy waddy?

Our relationship was a great one because I avoided the big ‘girly’ things which made him uncomfortable and he was simply there for everything else.

I must admit when cancer arrived I did initially think: will Buggernuts even know what a cervix is? And if not, will I have to tell him? Yikes!

For a relationship built on avoiding the big girly stuff this was not going to be easy. However Buggernuts, being the hero that he is stood by my side from day one! Within the first few weeks I was attending appointments where the chat was largely focused on my treatment. On one occasion my oncologist started explaining the side affects on the elasticity of my vagina. She continued ‘We’ll give you a dilator and show you how to use it!’ Buggernuts coped with this very well! Apart from a quick shift in his seat he managed to maintain conversation without so much as a shiver.

As treatment commenced and side affects followed it wasn’t long until I suffered from unrelenting cystisis. At this point the Funny Boy, Iceberg and Buggernuts took turns at keeping me company. I was never alone. Buggernuts never asked me exactly what was causing me pain but he did offer me pain killers, cranberry juice and a hot water bottle. Even now, I doubt he understands what cystisis is but the word itself sounds pretty evil!

Towards the end of treatment I was required to be in hospital overnight. At this point Buggernuts had developed a new coping mechanism: narcolepsy! Whilst waiting for radiotherapy alongside the other patients (the majority of whom were at least 4 decades older) my dad could often be found drifting into a slumber only to be woken by an aggressive snort as he began to snore! A similar situation occurred as he waited with Funny Boy and Iceberg for me to come out of surgery. The best time was when he bought me doughnuts. I found myself having regular cravings for random food. On this occasion I had a hankering for a maple glazed doughnut. As dependable as always Buggernuts arrived with Krispy Kreme aplenty. As soon as he plated them up and sat down to watch Cash in the Attic he fell asleep mid-munch. Crumbs on his belly and frosting in his beard!

As earlier indicated, Buggernuts and I have a relationship built on teasing and avoiding the big stuff. In the past year we got thrust into a world where dilators, menopause and cancer became regular points of conversation. We have even graduated to the point where he can now joke about me getting a prescription for Ann Summers! I know it’s not been easy for him, for any of us, but I just wanted to show him my appreciation: thank you for never asking me what a bloody cervix is!

#FUCancer


Mid treatment carrying the Queens Baton Relay with Buggernuts supporting me along the route!


An emotional day for Buggernuts!

Classic Buggernuts #classicdad

Project 30 Begins: 30 photos in 30 days (and then some!)

27th March it begins! My first item of Project 30 (https://hevewilliams.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/project-30-happy-new-year/) is to take a photo everyday for 30 days. The challenge here is to make them interesting… Eek! So here is number 1  :

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Number 1 – 27.3.15, 9am on the Embankment near Tower Bridge in London waiting for my photoshoot with Marie Claire #FUCancer

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Number 2 – 28.3.15, Silly o’clock at Guille Dhu for my Hen night!

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Number 3 – 29.3.15, the day after the night before! Feeling rough but what a night!!

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Number 4 – 30.3.15, 9am enjoying a good breakfast with my team at work!

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Number 5 – 31.3.15, Out of office is on and it’s time to say goodbye to the Funny Boy and Parsnip the Wonderdog. The Funny Boy seems to like his Wedding Countdown Calendar.

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Number 6 – 1.4.15, Pinch and a punch for the first of the month! Pinching myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. Iceberg and I are jetting off on serious wedding business…

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Number 7 – 2.4.15, Soaking up the Fuertaventura sun! Time to relax!

  Number 8 – 3.4.15, Post-workout shot! Check the vest #FUCancer

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Number 9 – 4.4.15, Only one week left as a single lady! I better get my Beyoncé on but struggling to get out of bed. Pelvic pain strikes again!

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Number 10 – 5.4.15, Braving it in the pool. The water is surprisingly chilly!

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Number 11 – 6.4.15, Bridal bodywork in progress. I love running in the sun!

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Number 12 – 7.4.15, As the Iceberg and I are flying home tomorrow we decide to celebrate my cancerversary a day early. And what better way to celebrate than with a cocktail?!

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Number 13 – 8.4.15, Iceberg and I waving goodbye to sunny Corralejo and hello to final wedding prep!

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Number 14 – 9.4.15, Even Parsnip is helping with the wedding prep as she adds the finishing touches to our totem pole!

   

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Number 15 – 10.4.15, Wedding eve spent with Team Bride who have travelled from as far as Toronto! Final sleep as a single lady….

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Number 16 – 11.4.15, Introducing Mr & Mrs Duff!

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Number 17 – 12.4.15, Evidence to prove the wedding continued into the early hours of the next day!

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Number 18 – 13.4.15, At the departure gate with the Funny Boy who is now my Funny Husband!

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 Number 19 – 14.4.15, After a 19 hour flight the Funny Boy and I arrive in Bangkok where Songkran celebrations are in full flow. First meal of the trip is Cabbages and Condoms. I highly recommend it!

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Number 20 – 15.4.15, How much can you squeeze into 24 hours in Bangkok? Sky train to the Golden Temple, Tuk tuk to visit the temple of the reclining Buddha, walk along to the Chinese Market and finally a trip on the river boat to the Asiatique Market!

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Number 21 – 16.4.15, Next stop – Chiang Mai! Walk into the Old Town, quick visit to the Night Bazaar and another green curry at the Riverside Restaurant.

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Number 22 – 17.4.15,  A personalised tour to Doi Suthep where the views are incredible, buildings are fascinating and the hill tribe children are adorable!

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Number 23 – 18.4.15, Today’s focus was for Gordon to tick an item off of his bucket list: EAT BUGS! Meanwhile I found the best margarita!

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Number 24 – 19.4.15, Next stop – Phuket!

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Number 25 – 20.4.15, After a brief bout of diarrhoea we are at the Elephant Hills safari. This place is beautiful! Today I met, fed, washed and played with several elephants!

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Number 26 – 21.4.15, I made the Funny Boy search our tent for snakes after hearing our neighbour found an unwelcome visitor in hers last night! Today we took a tour along the mangroves meeting various wildlife before kayaking our way to lunch on a junk ship. We spent our afternoon on a deserted island. Bliss!

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Number 27 – 22.4.15, Our final day in the Elephant Hills was spent trekking through the Rain Forest.

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Number 28 – 23.4.15, Arrived at our final destination, La Flora in Koah Lak!

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Number 29 – 24.4.15, Exploring our home for the next fortnight and discover this. A military boat which was forced 3km inland during the 2004 Tsunami. A permanent reminder of the devastation caused by the natural disaster.

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Number 30 – 25.4.15, A day trip to the Similan Islands where we met Nemo and a bunch of his pals underwater and a Sea Turtle whilst snorkelling!! Unfortunately there is no photographic evidence but we do have a video!

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Number 31 – 26.4.15, On this occasion the Funny Boy and I made the most of the £1.50 cocktails. The night was very enjoyable but the hangover that followed was certainly not!

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Number 32 – 27.4.15, This picture speaks for itself!

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Number 33 – 28.4.15, Another day spent in paradise with the Funny Boy!

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Number 34 – 29.4.15, Jumping on Phi Phi Island and Maya Bay!

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Number 35 – 30.4.15, Jumping in the Bangniang Sunset!

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Number 36 – 1.5.15, Chilling by the pool and the Funny Boy makes a friend!

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Number 37 – 2.5.15, The heat is so fierce during the day! The only time we seem to take photos is in the evening on our way to dinner. Beautiful sunset as always!

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Number 38 – 3.5.15, Making a wish as we light our Good Luck lantern!

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Number 39 – 4.4.15, This is Pepsi a very friendly gibbon!

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Number 40 – 5.5.15, Final day of our honeymoon! Goodbye Thailand, Hello ‘Happy Ever After’!

So, there you have it! My 30 photos over 30 days. It has been incredible but I am pleased to be reunited with Parsnip the Wonderdog! Who, if you haven’t guessed was the ring bearer on our special day!

#FUCancer

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Arrow Launch

Whilst going through treatment and particularly during the aftermath in remission I found myself depending on the support provided by Maggie’s. All the staff had this unique ability to verbalise feelings and frustrations in a simple way which could be relayed to friends and family. One analogy which has stuck with me is this:

An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great.

Upon diagnosis I felt like life had simply stopped. In remission, it felt like I regressed into a vulnerable child. I was reliant on my parents and the funny boy. I lost my confidence. I felt useless. Hopeless with no idea where to start.

The crazy thing is, I am now entering my 7th month in remission and I don’t know where the time has gone. I feel like I am back on an upward trajectory. In the past 5 months I have secured a new job, been selected to participate in the Women in Sport Leadership Academy and I am even getting my fitness back. I have planned and delivered a boccia festival, a conference and, in two weeks, I can hopefully add a wedding to that list. What’s more I am already working towards raising the profile of cancer awareness and particularly the reality of remission which I think often gets overlooked. I am volunteering with Cancer Research who featured my story in the Sunday Mail and today I attended a photo shoot for Marie Claire who will be doing a small article in June’s issue. Life is crazy. Crazy good!

So, as always the staff at Maggie’s were right! I do believe cancer thwarted my original plan but the journey I am on now definitely feels like the right one. And dare I say it? It’s even more exciting!! 

To mark this occasion I am going to start one of the items on my bucketlist which is to take a photo everyday for 30 days! Here is a dreaded selfie of me pre-photo shoot. 

#FUCancer

#30thingsbefore30

   

#FUCANCER

My Emotional Thermometer

With my wedding day happening in a matter of weeks I find myself being overly aware of time. It has been nearly 10 months since I was diagnosed. On Wednesday I return to the hospital for my 6 month check up. My grasp of time is divided: on one hand I can’t believe this whole marathon (which is ongoing) has not even been a year in the making. I feel so much has happened in the short space of time. On the other hand it feels like time is going very slowly. I sense this has something to do with an over zealous ambition of wanting everything to be normal.

In the grand scheme of things I am doing great. I am fully into the swing of things at work with a new job  I enjoy. I have returned to my daily workouts which leaving me feeling energised. The wedding to do list is under control. I recently got selected for the Women in Sport Leadership Academy and I no longer feel completely out of control of my life.  Considering the year I have had – I would say I am doing pretty well. However I do have days where everything can change in the blink of an eye. When my emotional thermometer goes from a comfortable room temperature to breaking point in a matter of moments. When this happens I, once again, find myself feeling vulnerable, out of control and, much like the thermometer, at breaking point.

I am currently in the final stages of preparation for a conference I am hosting for work which brings its own stresses. Couple that with my impending nuptials and a 6 month check up at my oncologist then it is no surprise that the past fortnight has left my feeling a little stressed. Someone once told me the definition of stress is fear of something not getting done. Until recently I probably would have continued to believe that but not anymore. The conference and wedding bring pressure but they do not cause stress. I know that all the deadlines for the organisation and planning will be met and ultimately will result in a well orchestrated event. Stress for me is fear of the unknown. Fear of the uncontrollable. There is literally nothing within my power I can do to secure a good result on Wednesday. That is what causes me stress. However I am beginning to learn ways to control it. Exercise is a massive ali of mine and being able to talk openly helps. I doubt there is anyone who knows me who is unaware of what I have been through and the lasting effects it has brought. I know it makes some people feel uncomfortable but I have come to accept that it is their issue. Cancer, much like mental health, is a taboo subject and this is something I am keen to challenge. Furthermore, I think it is important that people around me know that although I am doing the normal things, for me life is still far from it.

For example, this week I found myself working at an event targeting children and young people in care. My infertility is a grieving process which I am still going through. As much as I loved working at the event and meeting the children and their carers, I found myself feeling emotional on the drive home. In my ‘normal life’ I knew that if the Funny Boy and I wanted to have children it would simply involve us taking our clothes off and having a good time. Now, I have no idea where to start. That makes me frustrated. What hurts even more is the prospect that the fact I have had cancer could prevent me ever being a mother. I have read horror stories online where adoption agencies have used it against people who are looking to adopt. Is it possible that Cancer could deny me ever being a mum?

I do my best to stay positive. I try to focus on the facts and ignore any negative thoughts. With the stress of my 6 month check up slowly mounting I set my attention to areas within my control. As it is the weekend, I had planned to do some training for the half marathon I am doing in March and tick a few errands off the wedding to do list. At 9am this morning I could be found in the midst of a nine mile run at the top of Arthur Seat. The sun was shining above me, Edinburgh was looking beautiful below me and I was feeling fit. As far as Saturday mornings go – this was picture perfect. I met the Funny Boy and Parsnip at Portobello beach where we stopped for a well-earned breakfast which was intended to fuel us for wedding tasks. Unfortunately the happy mood was not set to last. A phone call to our travel agents to enquire about our honeymoon led me to breaking point. Bad customer service, a broken promise and an additional uncontrollable stress led me to tears. My emotional thermometer had reached breaking point and once again, I found myself feeling unable to cope.

It may seem like an over exaggeration but this is what my new normal is like. My life is now measured in three-monthly increments. As each date draws nearer I find myself hoping, wishing and praying that all is ok. On one hand I welcome any appointment so I can breathe a sigh of relief. On the other the prospect of another three months vacant from doctors, nurses and tests is a treat because at least ignorance is bliss. Regardless this is the new norm that I am growing accustomed to. I refuse to let Cancer deny me the good things in life. It may have left me with a set of redundant ovaries and a faulty emotional thermometer but I am stronger. In light of my fascination of time I have plenty to look forward to:

2 weeks til my Hen Weekend

5 weeks til my Hen Night

6 weeks til my holiday with the Iceberg

8 weeks til I say I do….

#FUCancer

Emotional Thermometer

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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Brick by Brick

It’s been a month now since I got the news I had been dreaming of since April and I am still working my way through a range of emotions.

Having had time to reflect I realise now that my initial reaction of anger and feeling vulnerable is perfectly normal. Upon being diagnosed my life became a series of appointments where I continually had a focus. First it was to see my gynecologist who referred me to get several scans which led me to my oncologist who led me to a series of planning meetings. Then weekly treatment began where I was constantly meeting with a whole host of specialists. It was as if I had evacuated my old life and someone had placed me on a treadmill. I was constantly looking ahead and pacing myself towards my next appointment. On the day of my results I reached my final goal and it felt as if someone had hit the emergency button. Everything stopped. No more meetings. No more appointments. Yet, the treadmill I had been running on had taken me miles away from life as I once knew it.

Being an optimist and receiving the news of remission brought expectations of celebrations and rejoicing. It is then difficult to accept the range of feelings I do have. Yes, I am delighted, relieved and I feel so lucky. I am truly thankful but these emotions come hand in hand with ones of frustration. The staff at Maggie’s (https://www.maggiescentres.org) have been an incredible source of support. They explained that a cancer diagnosis causes people to go on auto pilot which is why at the end of treatment it is common to feel the way I do. More importantly they advised me to simply allow myself to feel those things. Initially I felt guilty being angry: there are so many people who are still fighting for their lives, people who won’t be as lucky as me, how dare I be angry or upset. But the reality is not that I am ungrateful. The reality is something traumatic happened to me and for the past 5 months I hadn’t allowed myself to feel scared or angry. It is only now these emotions have caught up with me. Unlike my usual mantra of ‘focusing on the positives’ I need to just accept that sometimes I am sad. It’s not a weakness.

As someone who has always relied on exercise as a stress reliever it is incredibly difficult to feel this way without an outlet. I am envious of my team mates as they start the hockey season. I am desperate to set myself a new goal but I am cautious as I know my body has limitations.

On Sunday I ran for the first time in 5 months. I ran a distance of 4k. This achievement brought a feeling of elation and determination. I am at a point now where I am doing two things: Getting to know my body and rebuilding my life.

My body was my own temple which allowed me to run before work, achieve my day to day tasks and easily incorporate some socialising in the evening. It maintained a comfortable body temperature and dare I say it – I was toned. Now I have to ease myself into any task I set myself for the day. The menopausal side affects make me a hot, sweaty mess and my sleeping pattern is disturbed regularly. My once toned temple has been replaced with a lumpy, bumpy shed. I don’t have the body confidence I once did. However this body got me through cancer which is amazing and if it can do that then I will restore it so its exterior can have one worthy of such achievement!

Prior to the 8th April I lived a hectic schedule of work and play. On a weekday I would leave the house at 7am rarely to return within 12 hours. Prior to the 8th April I had ambitions of running two more marathons before I turn 30 and dreams of starting a family. I will return to my schedule of work and play. The dreams I had before are still achievable but for the time being I need to focus on setting small, smart goals. Goals which will help rebuild my life slowly. Brick by brick.

#FUCancer

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My first run in 5 months followed by a cwtch with Parsnip!

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