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.
I definitely don't walk around everyday thinking about how beautiful post-cancer life is, I think about that bastard who pushed in front of me at Upper Crust. You are allowed to grumble, it's cathartic, just don't stomp around acting like the world owes you one.
Be it those ubiquitous 'cancer selfies' or the bemusing proliferation of posts saying 'If you hate cancer, like this', this is a disease that provokes us to do something, even if that something is utterly trivial.
I don't know how many days I have so each one has to count but we should all take note of this and make the effort to do something each day for ourselves, it doesn't have to be big things it can just be little things like reading the book you always meant to but never find the time. It's so easy to fall into the go to work, get home tired, deal with kids, sit in front of the telly and go to bed.
For the last year and a half, I have taken a photo of myself almost every day using an app to track my hair growth. I started three months after chemo finished, which is why I look like a baby chick in the initial pics. I also went make-up free in all the photos so that I could track my eyelash and eyebrow growth - a whole year of no make-up selfies, if you will.
Jodie is 31 and lives in London, last October she was given the devastating news that she had breast cancer. A few weeks later she was told it had spread to her bones. She had to give up work almost immediately and suddenly found herself with barely enough money to live on. Jodie was advised by her nurse to apply for the Personal Independence Payment, the UK's main disability benefit, which would offer her some financial support. She applied in November, but seven months on and she is still waiting to find out if she is eligible. She is now at crisis point, struggling to pay for day-to-day expenses such as food and bills. This is unacceptable.
Recovering from breast cancer treatment isn't just about the medication and the affects it had on your body; it's also about healing your mental state and grasping that new outlook on life. Post cancer, I now think of my life in 2 parts; my 'old' life and my 'new' life and in the latter, I take more time in making my decisions whilst also seeking new experiences.
Jake was six when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. About to start chemo and therefore about to see my appearance dramatically alter I knew I had no choice but to try and explain to him in simple, non scary terms what was happening. "Mummy's got a nasty lump," I said as we sat together in the kitchen one sunny afternoon.
I totally get that the idea of a smear test can be horrifying and completely soul-destroying but it's one of life's uncomfortable must dos, that we have to start prioritising. Though, who actually has the time or energy to make an appointment?
I have recently become aware of a brave 13 year old, young man called Joe Ellis. He has a form of cancer called primary mediastinum large B cell lymphoma, which he was diagnosed with in 2013. Joe's family along with doctors have been looking at the best options for treatment and have found a new drug from the US called 'Brintuximab'.
It's really not a walk in the park, this recovery business. It's cartwheels one minute and free falling back down to earth the next. So, what do I do with comments like that? How do I file them away so that I can sleep at night? I keep busy.
I regularly enjoy steamed foods with liberal amounts of healthy fat applied post-cooking. My primary fat sources include coconut, butter, olive oil, avocados, and full-fat fermented dairy (yogurt and kefir). In my opinion, smoke point proclamations give the impression that refined PUFAs are safe and omega-6-rich diets are healthy. The science suggests otherwise.
'But you look so well!' It was a shocked response I have become used too. If the illness of a person is judged on their appearance, then I generally haven't fitted the criteria. It doesn't matter that I have incurable cancer, to many people, there is almost a sense of disappointment that I don't look like I'm on my death bed.
Oncology season is approaching again. Next month, I will arrive with sweaty palms and dry mouth at the hospital which summons supressed fear the moment the A-road heralds the big 'H' signpost.
How do we deal with terminal or life-shortening illness? What do we do, if it is us, a loved one or someone we know? There is no off-the-shelf answer; there is no simple solution. It is a journey we may find ourselves on unexpectedly and unprepared, or we may already be on the way, knowingly or unknowingly.
Didn't it basically die out along with smallpox, the plague, witch trials and a belief that the world was flat and inhabited by angels, devils and other supernatural creatures? Wasn't torture more or less gotten rid of after the Second World War or the end of the Cold War? Strangely, no, it wasn't.