Monday, 18 June 2012

A very happy last day of normality

5 weeks ago, I learnt that I had breast cancer. I have done it really well, allowing two completely unrelated, entirely different cancers, one on each side. Horrible, harrowing devastating news, and yet the past five weeks have also brought so many positives. My friends, more than I knew I had, have been fabulously supportive, and their love and concern have carried me miles and kept my spirits higher than high. My family, always a solid rock in the background, have just risen to the challenge and are as solidly loving as ever, and my wonderful man, who I always knew was very special, has just been by my side since the moment we were told.

It's been the catalyst for sorting out the admin mountain, I'm a single mother, with three disabled children - as if that wasn't hard enough the world and his brother bombard parents like me with mindless paperwork - it comes in far faster than I can possibly process it. I've sorted out the clutter that never gets done, and I've even had a bedroom makeover - something I've always wanted but the potential embarrassment factor of doctors visiting in the next few days has finally kicked me up the butt and today, new curtains, new bedding, new floor and new, bright red fitted wardrobes are up and running. 

My feet haven't hit the ground since diagnosis day - making contingency plans for the kids has been very difficult. Time has always been in very short supply, and I certainly don't have time for cancer, nor for the punishingly extra workload it has inevitably dumped on my doorstep. 

So today is the last day of life as I know it. Tomorrow it all kicks off. I'm due to report for surgery at 7.30am, but before anaesthetic, they are intending to put me through my paces, inserting wires that will hook into each tumour, and a radioactive injection so they can locate the lymph nodes properly. Oh bliss and joy. Not. Blind terror doesn't even come close to how I'm viewing tomorrow, and I think the words "significant post-operative disfigurement" that I've read haven't helped one bit. I'm needle-phobic at the best of times, and although I have many special talents, bravery definitely isn't one of them. 

Over the past few weeks, I've had plenty of very emotional moments, including one or two ridiculously blubby days, but cancer also makes you very alert and awake to the really great moments along the way, and today I was determined to enjoy my last day of freedom as much as I possibly could. Thank you Ann for coming shopping, for helping me choose and carry crazy armloads of curtain and bedding back to your car, and for making me laugh all day long. Lunch was yummy, and then you stayed and helped hang curtains, sewing stray bits and pieces and even cleaning my windows! Yes there are definite advantages to having cancer, under any other circumstances I'd be mortified to have a really good mate go anywhere near my dirt! And thank you Anita too - the bedroom would never have got done without those lovely afternoons with you cleaning and tidying my bedroom clutter. 

This evening the Facebook messages, emails, texts and phonecalls have been non-stop from lovely people wishing me well. Every one makes my day, and I'm humbled by the love and support that's flowing my way. 

I read a lovely quote "I've got cancer, but cancer hasn't got me".  Cancer has made me really appreciate all the great bits of my life and focus on the important things - friendships, family, relationships and fun - and I'm not going to stop enjoying whatever good things life delivers.

So tomorrow is another day, another adventure, and the fight begins. I'm tempted to book a one-way flight somewhere nice and sunny where cancer doesn't happen, but I'd miss you all far too much. In an hour I have to start the pre-op fast, so I'm about to stuff my face with as many chocolates as I can manage washed down with as much red wine as I can. Oops, now there's only 58 minutes left - the chocs are calling so I've got to go..... as soon as I can I'll post again to tell you what happens next . 



  1. Best wishes to you Yvonne, sending positive thoughts from across the Irish Sea. By the way, I don't believe the bit about courage, it oozes through your words. Blessings, love and laughter be with you.

    1. Thank you George, really appreciate your very kind words x

  2. Well...
    How I love you! I've not known you long - I think it's about five weeks! And yet you have found a place in my heart and lodged your wonderful self there to stay.
    If anyone was equipped and ready for this adventure and journey, if anyone deserved it less, I don't know who else I could name.
    Unfortunately, life really doesn't operate a merit system, and has struck once again in its frankly shitty way. You, however, still shine! Remember that however dark things may feel, you brighten the lives of those around you and I am certain that I am not the only one to offer you myself, my time, my ear and whatever else you need that I can give. <3

  3. Hey Benedicte, how come I never replied to this lovely comment of yours? Here we are, nearly 3 years later, and I feel I've known you since forever, and I so value your love, support, friendship and your being there every day for me. Love you too from the bottom of my heart, and I hope you know that. Yvonne xxx