Saturday 16 Feb - Valentine's weekend for many, operation number four for me. This time as part of the breast cancer reconstruction they were going to tackle as much of the symmetry issues as possible and hopefully give me a new nipple - it was a pretty big day, who doesn't want a nipple for Valentine's?!
Five-centimetre soup? I wonder, as I lie on my back on the radiotherapy machine, arms in clamps above my head and breasts fully exposed to the team of three female professionals and one young male medical student.
The consumption of the amino acid glutamine in cancer is somewhat of a conundrum. We know adequate glutamine levels are needed for ensuring nitrogen balance, maintaining gut integrity, and beneficially influencing our immune system. All positive things for promoting health and wellbeing.
With it being the fourth operation I know exactly what to expect now. I'm like a boob op pro. My pre operation habits and rituals will be the same and I know exactly how to prepare myself. For example, I know that I like to work from home the day before so I can have some 'me' time.
I am a PhD student in Pharmacology. As I learnt over the past year, this can be a pretty good conversation killer. Except if people misunderstand you and are suddenly dying to know more about your project in "Farm Ecology". Blame it on my French accent.
This week I had the absolute privilege of accompanying Hannah Lawton, one half of the Inspirational Friends Atlantic Rowing Team, to ITV's This Morning, where she had her first ever cervical smear live on TV. Yup, you read it right. LIVE ON TV.
Only, hang on... Why do I feel more depressed than I've felt at any point during my eight-month cancer journey? Oh, that's right, it's because there is no "final straight" for cancer survivors. Cancer is a life-long journey. It doesn't stop when the treatment ends.
You might think that work would be the last thing on my mind, but when your life has been shattered by a cancer diagnosis, stability in other aspects of life becomes paramount and work can play a pivotal role in shaping your routine, your relationships and your identity.
If I sound confused, it's because I am. Largely because the doctors disagree with the nutritionists. All my oncologists say I should follow a healthy, balanced diet - that's fairly obvious - but none of them have recommend giving up sugar or dairy.
What do you do when that 'one in three' statistic becomes your own mother? In November 2011 my world came to a halt as I found out mum had terminal cancer of the pancreas, with a diagnosis of just six months to five years to live.
For those of you who don't know me, I am best defined as a Feminist on the Rampage. Out to root out sexism in every corner of the planet I find it, woman-on-a-mission style. But I fully, wholeheartedly support the Women's Naked calendar. Let me tell you why.
The moral imperative to root out ageism in the NHS now has legal backing, following the recent expansion of the age-related provisions of the 2010 Equality Act to include services. All public sector organisations must eliminate unequal treatment on the grounds of age. But where do we start in cancer care?
I wholeheartedly agree with Mary's view that whilst we all want specialists who acquire increasing knowledge about a disease we also want to be cared for as a person.
Dear Santa, I never imagined I would spend most of the year fighting breast cancer. Please bring me a full head of hair in 2013 and a cancer-free future for me and all those I love!
I took decisive action and then decision to move was made long before I went to court in the April of 2011, I had to put a roof over my kids' heads. That's what my priorities were. Stuff how much money I owed, how poorly I was, they had to come first.
At Maggie's, we want to empower people to live through and beyond cancer. But whilst there is now better support for those dealing with diagnosis, there is less understanding and support in place for life during and beyond treatment.