All day as I pack up and contemplate returning to my parents' house, one wonderful quote from my favourite wise bear, Winnie-The-Pooh, sticks in my mind: 'How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard'.
I have a number of friends who are battling cancer with the near certainty that death is coming to them. It's at times like this I realise how little teaching there is on death and how we should face it. It's understandable in a world that doesn't want to talk about death and prefers to hope that there might be an opt-out clause.
I was devastated by my diagnosis, and the thought of the long battle ahead terrifies me. No university next year, no normal life, just intense chemotherapy and all of its side effects. But I know that I will fight and I will recover
At the diagnosis appointment my surgeon went straight on to suggest a mastectomy followed by a stomach tuck to reconstruct a new breast, and explained how they'd have to reduce the other breast as I was fairly well endowed and it was unlikely they could reconstruct to match.
On the whole things are bearable, though it never ceases to amaze me how they manage to come up with new and inventive ways to torture a person in the name of making them better. Susan Sontag (her again) said that "the treatment is worse than the disease", and the whole thing does feel incredibly counterintuitive at times.
Though it may be a life without my Mum, there is a life waiting for me. Whatever happens outside of me, I am still me and I can still achieve amazing things. Hope and gratitude are so fragile, but so important. I am grateful for the brilliant people around me who lift me up, inspire me to hope for the future, and be the best version of myself that I can be.
We really don't handle the whole issue of dying well in this country do we? It's just not something spoken about, a taboo subject. We are all going to die so why do we not make sure our wishes are clear so that whenever or wherever it happens those who are left behind know what to do.
Ever since Mum's diagnosis, we have tried to keep life as normal as possible and on the whole, I think we're doing a pretty good job. One thing that we constantly struggle with though, is planning. Despite what books and movies say, cancer is not linear or predictable, and Mum's has often proven even less predictable than most.
The first instalment of my 'Cancer and...' series dealt with a well known, but often misinterpreted, aspect of suffering with cancer: being bald. I felt that hair loss and potential baldness where highly important points of discussion, especially, given that baldness is so often regarded as the 'face' of cancer...
Late last year, I noticed some post-menopausal spotting. What a joke: a period at my age. Mildly curious, I went to the NHS website, which featured a middle-aged frump, hands covering her face in anguish.
Together, we must fund relentlessly, collaborate profusely and campaign effectively until breast cancer ceases to take the lives of the women that we love. Our promise is to tackle the disease from all angles: to prevent it developing, to detect it earlier and to improve the quality of treatment and services for women living with it.
I'm slowly learning that crying and being upset are not a signs of weakness - they are simply emotions like any other. They are natural human reactions to difficult situations. Everyone has times when they are upset, when they cry, when they completely break down and sob into their pillow.
Hello everybody, I have just uploaded a video to my YouTube channel introducing the launch of a new series. The series, entitled 'Cancer and...', aims to help people understand the effects of cancer on everyday life. In its introductory instalment, I encouraged my viewers to suggest subjects that they would like to see my cover.
Probably like most of you, less than a year ago, having cancer was the last thing on my mind. Life was pretty good and busy with work as it is for most people of my age. Yes that's right, people of my age. At only 30 years old, I am fighting bowel cancer. That doesn't happen to people of my age though...right?
On Sunday I celebrate five years clean and sober. The malady has taken the shine off it a bit, but then I don't suppose I could have got pissed to celebrate anyway. Instead I'll be doing the Paris 10k, which is far enough from my last chemo session to be manageable.
I always say that finding out that I had tumours in my brain and spine (on the day of my school prom) was definitely the low point of my teenage years. But in a lot of ways, despite the fact that my eyesight and hearing have been seriously affected by the horrible treatment I've been through, cancer has changed my life for the better.