secondary breast cancer
Secondary breast cancer - an advanced form of the disease that claims the lives of around 1,000 women each month in the UK
Ismena Clout, a beloved HuffPost UK blogger and breast cancer campaigner who had incurable secondary breast cancer, has passed
Leaving hospital I can't help but notice a difference in me; I've lost a lot of strength and really struggle to climb the stairs. I'm very, very tired. Then the dark thoughts start swirling around my mind - is this ever going to get better? Is this now the beginning of the end that I keep talking about? Has my determination finally run out? Can I feel the fingers of death on the edge of my consciousness?
Recently I've had whole brain radiotherapy, which wasn't too bad and so far has really worked! Lots of the numb parts of my face have feeling again and the headaches have gone. So even though my fluffy hair has fallen out again I'm happy I had it. Now the boring 'sick person' bit is over with, I'll tell you all about my adventures!
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.
So it's happened then. The moment I have spent the last three and a half years running away from has happened. The moment when the doctor says the chemotherapy isn't working anymore and there are no more options left. The moment when you are signed off to let nature take its course.
It's funny how our bodies just seem to know what is best for us and where we should be. My body made a decision for me two weeks ago. And as these things often seem to happen with my life, this decision came about in a very roller coaster way.
My life has changed forever now. My life is being in bed or on the sofa. It's having friends visit for a few hours a day to keep me company. It's having relatives stay to give me a break from having to look after myself. Sure, life doesn't look like what it used to, but it's still a life.
My cancer journey has been going on for 10 years now. When it started I was just getting into the frame of mind of having serious relationships; getting married and having children. As things have turned out, I've had to sit on the sidelines watching my friends do it instead. After I was diagnosed I knew I would never have children.
It was a watershed appointment, the time to accept that my life as it was is over forever. I will never be the active, energetic go getter I was, I won't ever have enough energy to do all that.