3 years ago today… Cancer you have been evicted!

3 years since my cancer was evicted and I’m still on this 🎢 rollercoaster!

I’ve since discovered that I have a gene mutation and can’t keep my boobs and will start looking at my options next month. 😩

But I have options! I am still here and still smiling!

Please ladies keep checking, you know your body better than anyone! If you’re not sure then get it checked… it’s better to get it wrong than have regrets 💕

Not sure what you are looking for, this may help.

Archery fun is not just for the kids!

When you are in local lockdown and trying to avoid the crowds your options are limited… but we found a bit of quiet in the local woods!

Just a bit on the chilly side!

Never thought I had a vicious side, but it definitely came out when I was imagining all those cancer cells on that target 🙂

Took me a few goes to burst that pink cancer balloon, but I got it in the end!
I’m sure Shaun was cheating!

We played with a family with 2 little kids under 8, which I really enjoyed as how can you not smile when you are having so much fun with their little innocent faces and approach to everything they do.

My first go at archery and I loved it… of course Shaun had to win, even the little kids beat me, but at least I didn’t come last!

Was really good to be with people who didn’t know me and didn’t know my story… I was not Michelle with Cancer, I was the funny lady in the woods who kept missing the target and made some random children laugh…what more can you ask for!

We’re on the telly !!!

I got a call from my wedding dress designer asking if they could do a bit of filming when I came in for my dress fitting as they are looking to promote the shop…. yes anything to help and didn’t think about it again.. until I walked in the shop! It was only the BBC!!!

They filmed lots of brides over the week and I was one of the lucky ones to be chosen for their show… The Wedding Dress Shop.

As part of the programme they wanted ‘our story’ and came to the house to chat with Shaun and I…. who knows what the neighbours thought with a film crew and cameras turning up! They even came to the wedding!

They captured our sense of humour perfectly!

A year later and we’re on the telly!!!

We had no idea we had been selected to be on the trailers for the programme until the messages came flooding in…. I thought my Facebook account was gonna pop! Was lovely to have all the messages of support from everyone and to see how excited people were (let’s face it in Covid lockdown, we need something to get excited about!)

Watching brought back so many memories of our amazing day and the people we shared it with…. it was our perfect day! 🙂

My aim was to show people that having Breast Cancer was not something that should stop you from doing anything and it was not something that you should hide away and feel embarrassed about. Some feel strength and comfort from their wigs and scarves, but for me I embraced my baldy and saw it as part of the process to do whatever I needed to fight this horrible disease…. besides those wigs are hot when you’re having chemo flushes!

Even went bald to see Ed Sheeran!

They made sure they got my message across that Cancer wasn’t going to be playing a part in my big day, but it was hard watching and listening to me talking about genetic testing and the chance I may loose my boobs, now knowing that I have tested positive for the BRCA2 gene mutation… but that’s for another blog!

You can watch our episode The Wedding Dress Shop, Series 2: Episode 3: www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p08tj6nq via @bbciplayer

It’s my 3rd Cancerversary!

I made it!

Three years ago today I sat in that chair and heard the Dr say those words that no one wants to hear…. I’m sorry but it’s cancer!!

I thought my world was going to fall apart and for a little while it did… but 3 years on and I’m still here and still smiling 😀

I’ve met some amazing people through my journey who have become life long friends, sadly I have also lost a few… some who have taken a little bit of my heart with them, but I know they’d be rolling their eyes if I let this day go without a celebration!

Last week also had the all clear for my 3rd mammogram! 🥳

My cancer journey continues with the confirmation that I carry the BRCA2 gene mutation.

Next step for me is a double mastectomy and to continue with hormone therapy with close monitoring.

Whatever else is around the corner I know I’ll face head on with the support of my amazing husband (Shaun) and my friends who have shown me so much kindness and love that I could burst… thank you everyone 🥰

Cakes, cakes and more cakes!

Lockdown has turned me into a baker!… and no not bread like the rest of the UK.

This year I was home for both my nieces birthdays and boy did they make sure they got me working!!!

Celyn who was turning 9, gave me strict instructions on how she wanted her cake to look! She wanted a chocolate cake that looked like Stitch (from Lilo & Stitch)… wow I’ve never done a shaped cake before!

Chocolate Stitch cake

Shionedd was turning 10 just 3 weeks later and she’d discovered Pinterest! … I was in trouble!!

She wanted a nightmare before Christmas theme… had to be red velvet… had to be tall… had to have chocolate orange buttercream! This was going to be interesting! We were in local lockdown so couldn’t go anywhere and the hubby loves rolling his sleeves up for making figures…. my saviour 🙂

Think we pulled it off!

Colourful topsy turvey red velvet cake

Also made a few cakes for some friends who were struggling to get celebration cakes due to businesses being closed.

Making these cakes enabled my head to be anywhere other than stuck in my home that had all to easily become my work space too.

It’s not something I’m planning on making a regular thing, but finding something that helped me to escape even only for a few hours really helped with my mental health. Plus the added bonus of seeing their lovely smiles when they got their cake!

What’s in a month!

October is breast cancer awareness month, but let’s face it for someone with a previous breast cancer diagnosis… it’s every month!

What does October mean for me?

  • October 2017 – Diagnosed with grade 3 bilateral breast cancer
  • October 2018 – Told I would need a hysterectomy due to being ER+
  • October 2019 – Checks on a suspicious lump (damaged tissue)
  • October 2020 – Change in pigment and dip on right boob (waiting to be checked) & here’s the shocker… confirmed BRCA2 gene mutation 😩

but it also means:

  • The month that I got together with my hubby
  • The month that I played a part in a national awareness campaign with Breast Cancer Now with 5 other ladies and their loved ones. That has since developed into a strong bond of extended family that are a constant source of knowledge, experience, support and am proud to call my friends.

Sadly we lost our beautiful Sal last month to this horrible disease, leaving a huge gap in my heart, that I’m going to make sure that I fill with smiles and experiences, because Sal was an explorer who loved life… you can find out more about Sal and her journey on her personal blog. https://mybeautifullife.org/

I don’t think October has quite finished with me yet, but what ever it is I’ll tackle it in the best way I know how… with a smile and the support of my family and friends 💕

I’m back… but where have I been?

When I started blogging it was because I needed an ‘out’ somewhere to write my thoughts and feelings whilst battling through my personal cancer journey. No pressure to blog regularly, just when I felt like and I haven’t felt like for months… been too busy living life! 🙂

A lot has happened since my last blog in January (I can’t believe its been 9 months!) including covid which saw me shielding for 26 weeks!!! Still don’t know how I managed to not go house crazy!

I am one of the lucky ones who was able to work from home and didn’t see a change to my salary, if anything I saved money on fuel costs, which we used to renew our bathroom.

Finally the bathroom feels like it’s ours and my husband doesn’t get his shoulders stuck chasing the soap around the bath… never buy an hourglass shaped bath! lol

Loving my new ‘hand’ to hold my phone!

Extra hand!

That’s my quick update for now… whilst I try to map out how I’m going to fill you in on the rest…. so in the words of Arnie

I don’t even own a pair of walking boots!

Rewind to January 1st. Yes I know I’ve gone backwards but I want to share something that I didn’t feel confident enough to share at the time just in case it didn’t work out and I’d have another ‘fail’ in my rollercoaster life.

Here goes!

I now realise that looking in the mirror I will never see the old me again… and you know what…. I’m fine with that …. in fact I’m more than fine…. I’ve finally realised that the woman now starting back at me is…. stronger…. focused and just a little bit calmer 🤣…. I think I like her!

But my body hasn’t come out of this unscathed and I decided that if my body was going to start falling apart on me… I was going to have to do whatever I can to make me the best me I can be… and that involved getting active, even after a busy day at work and even more so on my bad days!

As if it was fate, up popped an advert on Facebook for Race at your Pace (I’m sure Facebook is stalking me, although I’m not appreciating the adverts for buying your funeral… do they know something I don’t??) where you can choose how many miles per month you would like to achieve, how you would like to achieve it without having to set foot in the dreaded gym!

Let me think 🤔

  1. cycling 🚴‍♀️ … I’m not even sure I can keep myself upright never mind a bike! ✖️
  2. Swimming 🏊‍♀️… not sure I’m ready to squeeze into Lycra just yet! ✖️
  3. Running 🏃‍♀️… since my boobs still ache after a quick jog up the stairs, I don’t think this is for me ✖️
  4. Walking 🚶‍♀️… now you’re talking, I’m sure I can manage that! ✔️

Now to choose the distance… 15 miles, 25 miles, 35 miles … I’m not even gonna go into the rest cos let’s face it we all know it’s gonna be a miracle if I hit 15 miles!

Hovering finger over that submit button and in a split second I’d done it!! 🤦‍♀️. I don’t even own a pair of walking boots 🥾!!! What had I done?

Back in real time to end of January and I’m proud to say that I’ve not only hit my target but I’ve smashed it with a week to spare!

15 miles is 24.14km … stupid tracker only does km 🤯

… and yes I’ve already signed up for February… bring it on … I’ve got this! 💪

It’s only walking… how hard could it be!

I’ve never done New Years Resolutions and wasn’t about to start now!

What I have decided is that 2020 is the year where I am going to start getting a bit fitter after discovering that being overweight puts me in a higher risk of recurrence. Sciency bit below 👇

(www. BreastCancer.org)
Overweight and obese women — defined as having a BMI (body mass index) higher than 25 — have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer compared to women who maintain a healthy weight, especially after menopause. Being overweight also can increase the risk of breast cancer coming back (recurrence) in women who’ve been diagnosed with the disease.

This higher risk is partially because fat cells make estrogen; extra fat cells mean more estrogen in the body and estrogen can make hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers develop and grow. Scientists also have recently found that extra fat cells can trigger long-term, low-grade inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation has been linked to a higher risk of breast cancer recurrence; the proteins secreted by the immune system seem to stimulate breast cancer cells to grow, especially estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer in postmenopausal women.

Felt like I was a bit of ‘Got all the gear and no idea’ but it’s walking how hard could it be!

Those boots didn’t get to stay clean for long! 😂

Having these nutters with me made all the difference. They kept me smiling, took the breaks when I needed it and gave me the boost I needed to go that little bit further even when my lungs felt like they were on fire.

I can’t thank Shaun enough for planning my routes, making sure I had all the right gear and taking every step with me 💕

So how far have I walked I hear you say!…

In 20 days I’ve managed 24k and am super proud of myself. Obvs going to try and up the pace through the year, but it’s better than being stuck on the sofa waiting for ‘it’ to come back!

Smiling into 2020

I’m ending 2019 with a big smile and here’s why…

✔️ year 2 mammogram clear

✔️ got married

✔️ hysterectomy results clear

✔️ got enough hair that I don’t look ill

✔️ lung function improved

✔️ lost 1 stone of my steroid weight gain

Still a few things to work on but definitely going in the right direction.

Target for this year is to;

🔹loose more weight

🔹lower my blood pressure (currently have stage 2 hypertension 😩)

🔹 improve my liver function (won’t be raising a glass to the New Year 🥃 )

Sadly both the BP and Liver issues have been caused by the chemotherapy, but without chemo I wouldn’t be here.

Chemotherapy drugs can cause liver damage because they are toxins and they place added stress on the livers filtering function. The liver removes toxins and chemicals from the blood stream and changes them into products that can be readily removed through the bile or urine.

The liver is a unique organ. It is the only organ in the body that is able to regenerate. With most organs, such as the heart, the damaged tissue is replaced with scar, like on the skin. The liver, however, is able to replace damaged tissue with new cells. So I’m keeping mine as healthy as possible to help it to do it’s job.

As for my BP, I’m hoping the weight loss and increased walking will help to reduce it as the last thing my liver needs is more medication to filter.

Happy new year from my family to yours and hope 2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣0️⃣ brings you health and happiness

My amazing support network without who I’d be lost! 💕