To rule out any confusion, I’m not thankful for having cancer. Nothing about cancer pleases me. It’s the bane of my life and a curse on the human race. But I know that I am one of the lucky ones.
Today I am thinking of all the family and friends I’ve lost to this hideous disease. I carry their smiles and memories with me all the time. But I wish with all my heart they were still here.
Yesterday I had the privilege of visiting the research labs that are funded by Breast Cancer Ireland. I’m an ambassador for this wonderful charity and believe fully in their message and most of all what they achieve. Their new initiative will involve visiting transition year students in schools to teach young women how to be breast aware. To know what is “normal” for you… To download their free “breast aware” app and receive a monthly reminder to check their breasts… I cannot praise this initiative enough. It’s quite simply brilliant. We all need to be encouraged to know our own bodies and to take care of ourselves.
But I was completely blown away by my visit to the research labs yesterday. While I am fully aware that research and therefore the creation of new drugs saves lives – after all I am one of those saved lives – I had no idea of the magnitude of what’s happening.
The team of scientist funded by Breast Cancer Ireland left me awestruck. As they showed our group a tiny part of what they’re working on we were all flabbergasted by the brilliance of what they are achieving. I am most certainly not a scientist so sadly I can’t even attempt to explain what Damir and Sinead showed us. I understood it at the time, but I am not clever enough to do their demonstration justice. But I can tell you this. There is so much hope for cancer patients. The methods for treating cancer are changing for the better. New ways of targeting the disease will mean that future generations will survive. The depths that the scientists are delving into are phenomenal. In the future, it will be possible to design a treatment that will hit the specific cancer of each patient.
Next week I will begin a new round of chemotherapy. My cancer needs to be kicked into check once more. I wish I didn’t have to do this but I take comfort in the knowledge that my oncologist has several options to choose from. I will get through this and I will get better. That’s what I’ll hold on to during the dark days.
Meanwhile, life will go on. I have a new book out this month called ‘The Perfect Gift.’ The title makes me smile as the story is about motherhood. For me, being a mother is the perfect gift, so the story is written from my heart. I hope my loyal readers will enjoy it.
For those of you who are being treated for cancer at the moment, I am with you in spirit. Experience has taught me that the negative effects of the treatments are only transient. You can and will feel ‘normal’ again.
For those of you who’ve lost someone you love to cancer my heart breaks for you. I hope with time that your hurt will lessen.
I’ve just returned from a walk along the beach with my dog Herbie. The ocean always hands me a sense of self. The salty air soothes my anxious mind and Herbie’s delighted grin and his frolics like a great big woolly goon make me laugh, without fail. It’s the little things that help!
So, on world cancer day I salute each and every person who has been touched by this dreadful disease. I will think about and remember with love, the people I have lost. I will appreciate the time I’ve been given to live my life. I carry hope in my heart that with time and more research that some day deaths from cancer will be a thing of the past.
Cancer, I raise two fingers to you.