I felt both lifted and depressed by the appointment at the same time. The doctor was extremely helpful and comprehensive, knowledgeable and interesting, and most importantly, he treated me like an adult.
I could not have had a better mother. I know a lot of people say this, but in my case it really is true. It should be clear how brainy she is and how she wasn't afraid to step outside her comfort zone even at a young age.
This week, the Fund cut a number of drugs from its list because it could not afford to continue paying for all of them. The cuts included three drugs used to treat secondary breast cancer. As you can imagine, there's been a huge uproar about this in my breast cancer community.
I know that most of my female friends and family members hate their bodies to varying degrees in a way that the blokes I know just don't. Not to the same bottomless extent, anyway. And it makes me indescribably sad. How else could we be spending that time?!
Just as each year we proudly wear Poppy pins to commemorate the individuals who fought in battles for this great nation, so too must we remember those who have lost, are fighting and are yet to fight the greatest battle of their lives against breast cancer
Unfortunately, the heart-breaking reality is that when breast cancer spreads to another part of the body it (currently) cannot be cured. This painful fact is one seemingly unbeknown to most. Recent statistics released by Breast Cancer Campaign showed that less than a quarter of Britons are aware that when breast cancer spreads it becomes incurable.
According to Breast Cancer UK 331,000 people a year were diagnosed with cancer in 2011 in the UK only, that's around 910 people every day, or 38 people every hour. It's so common now that unfortunately 30% of us will experience cancer at some point in our life.
Breast Cancer Care recently surveyed women and men affected by secondary breast cancer, which cannot be cured. We wanted to establish if they were in pain because of the side effects of their cancer and treatment. Shockingly, we found that 90% of them were, many of them on a near daily basis.
The research indicates that high breast density is a particularly significant risk factor, with women with the highest density up to five times more likely to develop breast cancer than those with low density.
Cancer itself can affect the way things taste - some tumours can secrete substances which means foods don't have the same flavour. Treatments can also affect it. Chemotherapy is designed to destroy rapidly-dividing cancer cells, but it can also damage normal cells which divide rapidly - such as those in your mouth.
In April 2013, my sister Geraldine got the devastating news that she had secondary breast cancer, just months after being told she had recovered from a long and painful battle with the disease which had begun some six years earlier. It's hard to put into words how I felt. The pain and anger were soon joined by a sense of helplessness...
Leaving hospital I can't help but notice a difference in me; I've lost a lot of strength and really struggle to climb the stairs. I'm very, very tired. Then the dark thoughts start swirling around my mind - is this ever going to get better? Is this now the beginning of the end that I keep talking about? Has my determination finally run out? Can I feel the fingers of death on the edge of my consciousness?
Boobs. Knockers. Jubblies. Funbags. Mosquito bites. Fried eggs. Wind socks. If you're a woman you'll have had a set of these at some stage of your life. Whether you're hung like Katie Price or as flat as a waifish super-model, you'll have fretted over whether they were too big, too small, too saggy, too pert, nipples too dark, too light, too saucerish, too small.
Recently I've had whole brain radiotherapy, which wasn't too bad and so far has really worked! Lots of the numb parts of my face have feeling again and the headaches have gone. So even though my fluffy hair has fallen out again I'm happy I had it. Now the boring 'sick person' bit is over with, I'll tell you all about my adventures!
For me, breast cancer is both personal and professional. My sister, Adrienne, has breast cancer. Adrienne's cancer has spread to her bones, known as secondary breast cancer, for which there is currently no cure.
So it's happened then. The moment I have spent the last three and a half years running away from has happened. The moment when the doctor says the chemotherapy isn't working anymore and there are no more options left. The moment when you are signed off to let nature take its course.