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.
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.
The pressures on a person with cancer are endless and treatment options are often the most daunting, you are suddenly thrown into a new world, where you're expected to understand medical language and make life-changing decisions at a time when you are at your most vulnerable.
It's 1996. I'm five years old and about to go through what will turn out to be one of the single most traumatic experiences of my life - having my chest drain removed just a few days after major surgery to remove part of the cancerous tumour that has taken up residence in the left side of my chest.
I thought it would be useful to share some of the emotions that I know many people go through when they first learn about their loved ones cancer diagnosis. I think it always helps to know that other people are going through the same feelings and experiences. So
I wanted to write this because I want to encourage people to get symptoms checked out as early as possible. Many cancers are curable if they are detected early. Be your own advocate; keep pushing for answers until you have them.
And then everything fell apart. For the second time. The second time. Secondary. I can barely say the word let alone write it. The shock was immense. I was blindsided. How could it be back so silently and without warning?
I'm willing to bet that if you are reading this, you have been affected by cancer. I wish that I knew this because of some startling powers of deduction. However, the sad truth is that cancer is incredibly common.
Thanks to advances in medical care, the rate of survival in the UK has doubled over the last 40 years and around half of cancer patients survive for ten or more years. It is therefore important to appreciate that cancer can have lasting psychological effects extending beyond treatment and into remission.
Whilst it was hard to come to terms with at first, I began to realise that this was a result of life enhancing surgery. Would I, if given the chance, turn back time and say 'no wait actually could you just leave that cancer in my bowel I'd rather not have a stoma'? Hell no!
Our journey started on the day that Milo was born. Although my pregnancy scans had not picked up any problems, Milo was struggling to breathe and when...
My daughter, Alayna, always loved sports and running and when she was just 10 years old she started to get a lot of pain in her leg, both during sports and at other times too. We noticed that one of her legs was slightly longer than the other and my gut instinct told me that something wasn't right.
Every year, 50,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer. That's 50,000 mothers, daughters, grandmothers, sisters and friends. To highlight the importance of breast cancer awareness, The Huffington Post UK is running a month-long project throughout October, showcasing a series of features and videos that offer a new take on a disease which has plagued the human race for years and years. A disease which has taken countless lives, and will continue to do so, until we find a cure.
If energy and resource is invested in the transformation needed, cancers like prostate cancer can become manageable "tamed" diseases which are less of a drain on the NHS. And more importantly we can stop wasting tens of thousands of lives in the UK every year. There really is a win-win for cancer but it's going to take a lot of energy and focus to create the conditions where it can be achieved.
It can be tough being a parent sometimes, but when you're looking after your children while also caring for a parent who has been diagnosed with cancer it can be much harder. As Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, I often meet people in this situation
Because you are too young to understand any of this, and you don't deserve it. It isn't fair that I love you so fiercely every day and yet there's a chance that you'll lose me and never remember me at all