5 years!! 5 bloody years!!
It’s madness isn’t it?!
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve had flashbacks of the week that led up to my diagnosis. I remember what I did on what day – even down to the films I watched at home, my brother visiting, and eating the chocolates that he bought round (never too ill for chocolate!).
I remember being signed off from work because I kept bleeding heavily. I went to the doctors so many times between January and April that year but they just gave me mefenamic acid tablets to stop what they thought were heavy periods.
I drove myself to the breast clinic on the Monday of that week. Being told by the doctor that I was basically a hypochondriac and that she’d told me, not quite 6 months before, that I was too young to get breast cancer.
I went to my GP on the Tuesday and he sent me to my local A&E for a platelet transfusion only to be told by doctors there, that they don’t give them out willy nilly!! They were rough and, due to the lack of platelets, when they cannulated me (unnecessarily I should say), my blood went everywhere. It was up my arm, down my leg and over my shoes. Then they sent me home.
My mum took me back to the GP on the Wednesday. She promised to get me seen by a gynaecologist as quick as possible. She also told me that should I start to bleed heavily from any orifice, I was to call for an ambulance. I didn’t think much of it.
Until Friday morning. The 2nd of May 2014.
I was at home, getting the girls ready for school when I started haemorrhaging from my lady bits. I couldn’t get off the toilet. It was pumping out of me. I rang my mum and then I rang an ambulance. I’m not sure how I stayed so calm but I think it was for the girls. Daisy’s dad came and took her to school. Gracie didn’t go but instead followed the ambulance up the M1 (to a different hospital thankfully) with my mum.
The only thing I don’t have, is any sense of time that morning. I have no idea how long it took the ambulance to come – it felt like forever! No idea that I was in the back of it for quite some time before they drove off. No idea how long I was in A&E before I got a bed on a ward.
Until 6pm. That was the time I was told by the same doctor I had seen only a few days before, that I did indeed have breast cancer.
From that moment, time was everything. I didn’t sleep much that night, instead I sat in the corridor talking to one of the nurses. They gave me sleeping pills after that.
The rest, as they say, is history.
When you’re first diagnosed with incurable cancer , you just assume you’re going to die. Your mind goes into overdrive and there’s an urgency to make memories, to get affairs into order, make a will and plan your funeral.
You find a ‘new normal’ – the same but different way of life. You learn to live with never ending hospital appointments, scanxiety, medication side effects, fatigue, pain and depression.
But, as time goes on, I know I’m lucky.
I’ve lost many friends to this disease. Some diagnosed before me, some after. There aren’t any rules where cancer is concerned. Some of my friends have had progression, had to start chemo again, have surgery. I can’t help but feel a little guilty.
I feel incredibly lucky to have been stable for as long as I have. I don’t know what I’m doing but long may it last.
5 years ago I was given 6 months to live. Isn’t life crazy.