Being diagnosed with cancer is like being catapulted into another world - the Land of Illness - unlike Mordor, the landscapes are bleached and bright, but just as dangerous. It's a world ruled by men and women wearing white coats, speaking a foreign language, with unfamiliar rules - bad things happen to good people. Unsurprisingly, we are desperate to leave.
It is now over a year since I completed what is termed "active treatment". Now I hate to seem ungrateful but however delighted I am to be alive, I would still welcome a head of hair without a bald patch, eyebrows that do not need drawing on each day and eyelashes that reach a lash count in excess of ten.
Today, my friend revealed to me that her breast cancer had metastasised to her spine and pelvis. I felt like I had been thrown off a cliff, yet I was standing. I wanted to turn back time, but is that resilience? I wanted to scream and cry but I had promised my six year old daughter to practice her dance moves. 'Mummy, let's start dancing', she said. But how could I?
By February 2011, I had not had a period for over a year which, according to online information meant I was officially 'post-menopausal.' My body, however, had other ideas and my periods returned, ending up in a reversed menstrual cycle - a three-week period, with one week off. It was hellish.
Three separate doctors told me that the risks were too high, my breast cancer surgeon told me the same but I wouldn't give up hope and stopped and started my treatment over the past 7 years to try and get pregnant, without success.
The bond between humans and animals is amazing. In many households, pets are an important part of the family dynamic, but in others they are have an even more important role.
This week could of gone totally the other way, I could now be sat here writing a totally different account of things. I shared two waiting rooms with lots of other women who today are facing a different reality and trying to come to terms with how they will face and get through what lies ahead for them.
Cancer is a marathon. You have to be positive to get through it. You'll probably start feeling a lot of pain around mile 20, but you know if you reach the finish line, you'll feel so elated, so full of joy and pride and sense of achievement, that it'll all be worth it.
Fear is an emotion with a bad press. It may have served our ancestors well in our evolutionary past, when we were faced with mortal danger at every turn, but what place does it have in modern-life?
A breast cancer diagnosis is obviously devastating at any age. Forget chemo-induced puking and hairloss, the issues facing younger women going through cancer treatment go much deeper, but are often ignored and belittled by healthcare professionals.
Three years down the line, I still continue to be haunted by my cancer. Like the background music to a movie it's always there, singing the trauma that I have endured. Approximately, two-thirds of women with a breast cancer diagnosis suffer PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and this can make them prone to anxiety and depression later.
I take a deep breath and say, in what I hope is a casual kind of way, "I've had cancer". What comes next is another surprise. "Where?" he asks. Now I am a forward kind of girl and it is only maturity, lack of opportunity and good manners that have calmed my instinct for being promiscuous, inappropriate and downright crude
At this stage I have no answers. I am looking for them. I am as yet unsure of how I will meet new men. As "brave and beautiful" as my cancer is deemed to have made me I am conscious of the lack of eligible men of my age looking for women of their own age to date. I am loathe to reduce the probabilities by throwing in a minor disfigurement.
On the occasion of International Women's Day this year, I invite all the beautiful women reading this post to have faith in themselves, find their voice and stand up for what they believe is the right thing. I also want to delve into why I am saying this and share my story with you.
I describe myself as a cancer vixen. I use the word vixen because is sounds better than victim. Also, I have never seen myself as a victim. I am a proud survivor and I am grateful for that fact each and every day.
Hello there is that Miss Purkiss? Hi there Alice, look we've considered your application - well, we know you didn't apply - but we've considered your suitability and we'd absolutely love to offer you the role of cancer patient for 2015/2016. Ahhh, no unfortunately you can't decline the offer.