Two years ago my Mum was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. She’d had a routine breast screening and had been called back in because the test had showed some ‘irregularities.’ I wasn’t worried at this stage. Neither was she. As naïve and ignorant as it sounds, the possibility that Mum could have cancer didn’t even register on my scale. I didn’t think we were special or exempt. So many people are diagnosed with it every year, so many of my friends have been affected by it, but in my weird rose tinted view of the world, I just never thought it would happen to us. I have raised a lot of money for cancer charities over the years, taking part in Race for Life, Santa Dash (dressing up as Santa and running through the streets of Stevenage) and abseiling down a hundred foot building. But I had never been touched by it and never thought I would be. Until that day when Mum and Dad came round to my house to tell me that the ‘irregularities’ were in fact breast cancer. I physically felt sick. I literally felt my world breaking apart, tilting on its axis and everything I knew to be right and true suddenly seemed so very wrong. How could this happen? Who was to blame?
I love my Mum to bits and we are so incredibly close. We speak all the time on the phone, we see each other three or four times a week, we even go on holiday together. She has been incredibly supportive of my writing, reading every word I’ve written a hundred times over and still telling me how much she loves it. And then very suddenly, with one word, Cancer, she was going to be snatched away from me.
To say I was a mess would be an understatement. But she was very calm. They already had her scheduled for an operation within the next few weeks. It was to be a small, simple operation and she would be in and out of hospital the same day. Over the next few weeks, as I accompanied her to tests and consultations, I had so much admiration for how she coped with it all. She was stuck with needles for countless blood tests, she was examined, poked, prodded and throughout it all, she stayed calm, courageous and had good humour, always finding something to laugh at.
I think her reaction helped me to face it with a calmness and acceptance too. The doctors were going to solve it.
The day of the operation came and although I was a nervous wreck, she was still in good humour. I have to go in for an operation myself in the coming months and I’m already a gibbering mess over it. My Mum was incredibly brave in the face of it all and I admire her so much for that.
After the operation came the radiotherapy. A daily hour and half round trip to the hospital in Watford that did the treatment. We met and saw so many people that were in our shoes during that time. Some so much worse off than we were. Some that were having trouble breathing and were almost permanently attached to oxygen tanks, people who had lost limbs or the ability to walk or talk. Cancer is a vile and disgusting disease and it attacks without prejudice. But what struck me about the other cancer patients who were there at this time were how incredibly brave they all were. They would sit in the waiting rooms and laugh and chat with each other. Some of them had to have chemotherapy and had lost their hair because of it, but not once did I ever see any of them in tears or hear any of them moaning about it, when really they had every right to. One of the elderly ladies we saw regularly in that month of radiotherapy summed it up. ‘We can’t let it get us down, because then the ba**ard has won.’
My Mum is one of the lucky ones. She has been given the all clear and despite that she now has so many tablets on a daily basis that she practically rattles, she lives a healthy, normal, fun filled life. Other people are not so lucky and it cuts their life short. So for the people that have been touched by cancer, for those that have gone through the horrors of cancer treatment or sat with a family member as they have, for those that have lost their battles and the ones that have been left behind, I want to stand up and applaud every single one of you. You are brave and incredibly wonderful people and a true inspiration to us all.
Merry Chicklit, a heart-warming Christmas anthology is out soon with every single penny of the profits going to the breast cancer charity ‘Rocking the Road to a Cure.’ I’m delighted and proud to have a story in it and doing my bit, however small, to support those with this horrible disease.
It’s only 77p, so please give generously this Christmas
Read on for more information about the book.