I was diagnosed with HER2 positive and oestrogen positive breast cancer on 19 October 2016, aged 42. It wasn’t part of my life plan (which at that point involved being a very busy wife, mother to two children, working part time in the corporate London rat race, general multi-tasker, juggler and spinner of many plates). But I decided to get through this detour with a positive attitude and as much dignity, grace and composure as possible.
Well, with the combination of medical appointments, scans, surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy my dignity, grace and composure all flew out the window at some point. But I did retain the ability to get myself organised and make a few lists. And I love a list. I found myself spending a lot of time researching the practical stuff like what to take to hospital for surgery and chemo, how to alleviate the side effects of chemo, what to eat, how to relax, what to expect from radiotherapy and so on. Researching and making lists.
I found a wealth of excellent online information about going through breast cancer treatment. However, I found the websites completely overwhelming and I also came across lots of things about breast cancer that I did not wish to know. I wanted to talk to someone who had been through it and who would hold my hand and tell me what to do. I wanted a website which gave me practical advice in one easily accessible place where I didn’t have to go through link after link trying to work out if the information was relevant or not, whilst trying to avoid the “scary stuff”. But I didn’t have someone to talk to and I didn’t find that website. Instead I researched around and I separated the wheat from the chaff, noted down a few to-do lists, shopping lists and action plans and put one foot in front of the other along the well-trodden cancer path.
Armed with my trusty lists I have made it through to the other side where I am now basking in the glow of hair regrowth, new eyebrows, new eyelashes, and a renewed energy.
After my treatment came to an end, it seemed a shame for my dog-eared lists to get thrown out but I certainly don’t plan on using them again. Never. I thought they might help other people like me. So here they are: I have created the website which I needed when I was first diagnosed and whilst going through my treatment.
• It is straightforward.
• It is easy to navigate.
• It provides practical advice.
• It provides simple lists: checklists and need-to-know lists.
• It covers each step of the way: diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and life during treatment.
• It is based on my experience and the research that I did to help me through my treatment.
• It brings together advice that I took from various sources.
• It provides clear, direct links to the relevant parts of the decent breast cancer websites and other online breast cancer resources.
• It doesn’t talk about scary stuff.
I’ll be keeping it up to date by posting the odd blog post, and you can follow me on Twitter, FaceBook and Instagram.
I can’t hold your hand and tell you what to do, but I hope that my website can help make this turbulent journey a little less bumpy for you. I wish you all the best.