I guess I've morphed into a go-to girl when it comes to breast cancer. It was never my intention to be a spokesperson for this disease, but sometimes things happen organically. I'm asked regularly whether or not I mind speaking about cancer. The simple answer is no. Of course not. It's no skin off my nose to share the little snippets of experience I've had over the years. If it helps even one person each time I write or talk about cancer, then my job is done.
Much as it may appear at times, I don't actually think about or talk about cancer all the time. In fact, cancer remains in the shadows of my life. It's there in the background all the time, but it's not the most important thing in my life. I have far more exciting and fun things that I allow to take the driving seat. My children, my husband, family and friends and my writing career are more important by a long shot. But I am in this strange predicament where cancer and I have been bound together, for better or worse, without my choosing.
Recently I had scans. They're almost clear. My organs and vital parts are free of cancer, happily. But there are some newly infected nodes in my neck and at the back of my head. I've had this type of stuff before. Last time it was the opposite side of my head and other side of my neck. I'm guessing cancer is trying to be balanced and ensure both sides of my anatomy are equally infected. Hurray...
It's a bummer. Quite frankly, I'd rather it went away and stayed away. But it's doable. It's treatable and my prognosis remains good. So isn't that the main thing? I think so. In fact, that's all I focus on. What's the point in letting it get to me?
I am on chemotherapy every three weeks and in a few months I'll take some oral medication as well. So what do I do in the meantime? I carry on as before... I pitch up at the hospital and try to do what I'm told by my oncology team. End of.
As October kicks off I'm running from Billy to Jack. This year so many print publications and TV programs are embracing all things PINK.
It's a wonderful thing. It shows how much we've come on with regards to awareness and education about breast cancer. More than that, it's very clear to me that we are no longer living in a society that wants to brush things under the carpet. Bravo!
For Irish readers, I urge you to check out the Pink Edition of the RTE Guide in shops right now. They have lots of information as well as stories from breast cancer survivors. It's uplifting and packed with facts and tips.
The Sun Newspaper are doing a "Pink Issue" on Friday 2nd October with guest editor Twink.
Xposé on TV3 are doing a series with yours truly for the month of October, like last year. I'll be visiting places that cater for fashionistas going through treatment and giving you some tips and hints on how to look good and feel better during and after cancer treatment. There's even a piece on making nutritious soups, shot in my own kitchen!
Ireland AM on TV3 are doing a full week dedicated to all aspects of breast cancer from information from nurses and surgeons to real life stories from October 26th. I am also taking their camera crew to hospital with me so we can film a chemotherapy session. Time and time again I am asked what actually happens during chemotherapy. So I'm going to show you! I want to try and dispel some of the fears people have as they head for treatment.
If you have just been diagnosed with cancer, or know someone who has, please take the opportunity to talk about your experience this October. Nobody should ever feel alone during cancer treatment. Nobody should ever be silenced by cancer. I know it's not an easy road to travel. I understand how scary and awful a diagnosis is. But I hope that we can all come together and try to fight this disease.
I am an ambassador for Breast Cancer Ireland. They do amazing work and are tireless in raising funds for drug trials. In turn this helps scientists produce more drugs to advance the successful treatment of breast cancer. If you can spare €4 please text CURE to 50300 to donate.
Also, I urge every woman to download the free App called Breast Aware. Go to breastcancerireland.com and you'll find the link. This App sends a monthly reminder to give you a little nudge to check your breasts. There's a simulated video to show you what to do. Here's Katie Taylor to tell you all about it!
This October, I hope you are all in the pink.
Love and light