Friday, 5 August 2016

One year Cancerversary



So It's been a year...today is my one year Cancerversary*.

On 5th August 2015 I went to St Luke's hospital in Bradford. It was there a doctor, that I had never set eyes on before, told me the news that would change my life forever. 

'I'm sorry but we've found a breast cancer'.

That was that. Life changed. 

From 5th August 2015 cancer took over my life. The way only cancer can and my life changed into, what felt like, one never-ending hospital appointment.

Here's what went down:

I had my first ever mammogram
Had another ultrasound (when they thought I may have cancer in my other breast). 
Had my first MRI scan. 
Had my first ever general anesthetic 
Had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy
Had my egg supply boosted with FSH injections
Had several vaginal scans to check their progress
Had more surgery to retrieve my eggs
Fertalised said eggs with Micheles sperm to create embryos
Had six embryos frozen
Had a couples counselling session to discuss what would happen to our embryos if one of us died (Yep. They really make you do that)
Had six sessions of gruelling chemotherapy treatment
Had countless blood tests 
Had three sessions of 10 day bone marrow injections
Had 5 MUGA scans
Took countless steroids, anti-sickness tablets and painkillers
Had 15 Herceptin injections (just three to go)
Had three permanent tattoos in preparation for radiotherapy 
Had 15 sessions of radiotherapy 
Had 5 booster sessions of radiotherapy 
Had seven zoladex injections (still five years to go)
Had countless exemestane tablets (as above - five years to go)

Phew. Are you tired? Yeah me too.

So how do I feel? 

Hmmm well I'm not sure. This blog post in itself took me ages to write. I started it on 7th August and then didn't write anything else until well over a month later. I was tired of thinking about cancer. My last blog post 'My Lovely Bones' was a bit of a grumpy, fed up post so I really wanted to take a bit of time away from writing the blog and all things 'cancery' to try and get myself in to a bit of a better place mentally. I ended up jetting off to Fuerteventura for a week with the family, which did me the world of good. I told you Sun and Pina coladas are great for my deteriorating bones. I'm pretty sure that's an NHS guideline. If it's not it definitely should be.

I can't believe it's been a full year. I'm still no were near were I thought I would be. I'm still ridiculously tired with little to no energy most days. My bones ache most of the time. I now have to pace myself. Yeah you may see me with a cheeky glass of vino on social media but what you don't see is me in bed recovering for the next two days. It's important for me to get out there and live my life to the fullest but I'm learning to understand if I do have a big, hectic weekend I will be paying for it for at least the next 48 hours. That's just the way it is now post cancer. 

However, although I'm not back to 'normal' one year on, I am grateful. Grateful I don't have to go through anymore chemo. Grateful I don't have to have any more surgery. Grateful, of course, that I am still here to even have the pleasure of moaning to you beautiful people reading my blog. When many of my friends from YBCN have sadly passed away or have since been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Many with exactly the same type of breast cancer as me who haven't had the chance to celebrate their one year Cancerversary. 

I feel scared that although I've made it to a year since diagnosis I'm not 'out of the woods' yet. I need to get to that magic 5 year mark and even then I know that the cancer could still come back at any time. 

I didn't really know if i should celebrate my 'Cancerversary'. At first I felt that I was maybe tempting fate. In case cancer was watching me from behind a corner. Whilst I danced around with my glass (bottle) of fizz celebrating. Maybe cancer would think I was being too cocky. 

Maybe it would think 'fuck you Kirsty I'm going to come back with a vengeance and shit all over your happy parade.' 

That's just the kind of thing that cancer would do.

He's always been such a sneaky bastard. 

I can see you watching me cancer. But guess what? I celebrated anyway. 

Michele bought me a cake and some tiaras and wands - because that's the kind of weird dark humoured shit we are into. 

After all If you can't have a cake and wear four tiaras after making it 12 months without dying when the bloody hell can you? 


My mum and dad sent me flowers and wine as well as a lovely card, which really cheered up. 


I then went to the pub with Michele, which was not to dissimilar to how I spent this day in 2015. 

The following week Gemma took me out for afternoon tea to celebrate, which was fab. 


In addition to some cautious celebrating I thought it was important to mark this day by doing something positive. So I set up a just giving page for Breast Cancer Now. In the future I hope to do some challenges for it but for now it was just about creating the page itself. if you would like to donate here's the link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Kirsty-Brade

P.s. I'm a one year survivor. Go me! x


*'Cancerversary' meaning - a milestone defined by you. It might be the day a loved one is diagnosed. It might be your last day of treatment. It might even be several important dates that occur throughout someone's cancer journey. (www.canceradvocacy.org)



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