To the strangers who removed my breasts last week, thank you. Thank you for doing the job you do, which may well lead to me being alive for longer; to me spending more days and weeks and years with my family.
I've been a runner for many years. I've run marathons, parkruns and all distances in between. I had a year of running events planned to celebrate my 50th birthday in 2015 but that all unravelled when I found a lump in my breast, and was diagnosed with cancer.
Kadcyla is a wonder drug, keeping my lung tumours stable and healing the cancerous tumours in my spine to a point where there is No Evidence of Active Disease. I know others who've had similar amazing results, enabling them to return to work, care for their families, and contribute to society at large.
Today, I tried a new route. Along the river on the crisp icy grass, the sun glazing on my cheeks, I ran, my mind taking me forward, my feet following, slower on the bumps, making sure I was firmly grounded in the mud. Finding my balance, I wanted to protect myself from falling.
I had an ultrasound, biopsy and mammogram and went back into the waiting room for a while. Then I was called back into see the consultant and this time there was a lady sitting at the back of the room with a concerned look on her face.
I know that you're worried that this could be your last Christmas on this earth, but you thought that last year, and the year before. Life is a bitter-sweet gift - as Emily Dickinson said, "That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet" - and knowing this brings both sadness and joy.
Before my cancer diagnosis, I was always fit and sporty - I loved going to the gym and running and was on the go the whole time. I also had a full-on job with lots of responsibility. The last thing I was expecting was cancer.
Everyone should get good care as standard, everyone should be treated as a person, not like they are on a treadmill or production line. Whilst there are examples of excellent care and support, for others the system is still letting them down.
If you or a loved one have just received news that breast cancer is now part of your lives, you might find yourself looking for answers while dealing with big emotions. You might also find that breast cancer jargon feels like a foreign language course you didn't sign up for.
Research by World Cancer Research Fund shows that drinking alcohol is linked to an increased risk of several cancers: bowel, breast, mouth and throat, oesophageal, stomach and liver. In the UK, 21,000 cases of cancer could be prevented each year if nobody drank alcohol, but how does alcohol actually interact with us to cause such a drastic effect?
Terry's story is not unusual. What is slightly unusual was her persistence in going to doctor after doctor until she was diagnosed, and then her insistence on going to the best cancer centre she could find. This probably saved her life. So let's arm you with some facts, to give you the best chance, if it should happen to you.
Kirstie's higher risk is only suspected by doctors, but they had enough of a suspicion to offer preventative treatments. This offer led to her sister choosing to have a mastectomy and Kirstie choosing not to.
After finding out the devastating news, I then underwent chemotherapy. I decided to shave my head just before my second chemo session, as my hair started to fall out. I didn't want to go through the whole process of waking up every morning and finding hair on the pillow.
There have been times when I wanted to give up, I couldn't do battle with my body anymore and they never let me give up. They kept me strong. They fought for me. Now the tables had turned it was my Mum who needed me to fight for her.
Given the widespread ignorance about secondary breast cancer, it's perhaps unsurprising that Mrs May doesn't know that 'secondary breast cancer' doesn't mean getting breast cancer twice. Nor is it referring to a less serious breast cancer.
By the time I found a lump in my breast the cancer had already spread to my lymph nodes. What might have happened, if I had checked myself more regularly? Who knows. I have decided there is no point in dwelling on it.