Hello. My name is Rosie. I'm 38 years old. I am a wife and mother of 2, living in NW London. I am Jewish. I have a double First from Oxford. I am a partner in a City law firm. And I have cancer.
Not just any cancer. Secondary cancer. Metastatic cancer. Incurable cancer. Some might even call it "terminal" cancer.
It started in my breast, back in June 2014. It was the familiar story - I found a lump, I had it checked out, it was malignant. I was assured that I had found it early and that it was completely treatable. And so my battle began. I refused to talk about the "c" word. I named my "c" Genghis. It was aggressive, fast moing and wanted to take over. My job was to repel it. No more "c" word. Just Genghis.
I was bold and brave in my approach to fighting Genghis. I started my own blog, just for me, without publishing it. Here are some of the things I wrote initially:
"Genghis isn't going to define me. You'll notice that it's the last thing on my list of who I am. Not the first. Not even high up on the list. I'm going to carry on being all of those other things long after Genghis has been vanquished. It will just drop off the end of my self-description and leave the rest standing. In legal terms, we can apply the "blue pencil" test to Genghis. The rest of the person will still stand."
Initial scans and tests revealed that Genghis hadn't spread but was confined to my breast. That gave me even more power in my belly to fight the thing. This is what I wrote:
"This is my first big battle with Genghis - the battle for knowledge and for control. Once I have my strategy mapped out, I can go to war with all guns blazing. Today is for battle planning - looking at the map and seeing how and where and when to attack. I'll need the best generals with me. Then we can go over the top."
I took that belly fire with me and went head first into treatment - surgery, then four months of chemo. I was thrilled when chemo finished. I celebrated by publishing my blog, by sharing my story so far with the world. You can read it all here, at https://fightinggenghis.wordpress.com.
And then, just a week later, I found another lump, in the same breast. Tests and scans showed that the cancer was back and it was the news that no one wants to hear - it had spread. Suddenly, the prognosis was bleak. Treatment stopped being about cure and started being about staying alive for as long as possible. I didn't need the doctors to tell me that I might not have all that long left. It was a dreadful body blow, one that I was only able to deal with through blogging about it, through reflection and through counselling.
And so my battle continues. I am on a different course of chemo which, thankfully, seems to be holding the marauder at bay for the time being. Each day is precious; each day counts for so much. Each day is about fighting Genghis; about stopping the advance. This is my reality.