I cried myself into my 32nd birthday.
My 31st year was, to put it bluntly, the most horrendous year of my life. A fucking horror show. A shit storm and any other derogatory term or phrase you can think of. In fact, it’s just dawned on me that for the rest of my time on this planet I will have to fight for my life every single day.
You see, a year ago today, I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. Two weeks earlier, I had celebrated turning 31. In the last 12 months, I have endured eight rounds of chemotherapy, more than 100 hospital appointments and I’ve had two operations to remove both my breasts after being advised to have a bilateral mastectomy.
As a result of my diagnosis, I gave up my business for a year, quit uni, moved out of my family home, lost my sense of taste and smell, lost my hair, eyelashes and eyebrows, lost weight, gained weight, suffered constant, anxiety-filled panic attacks and came to the harsh realisation that I didn’t have as many people batting in my corner as I thought I did.
I was given the all clear on June 29th, 2017.
In comparison to the daily battle I currently face to rebuild my life after cancer, the treatment was the ‘easy’ part.
No one tells you how to rebuild your life after cancer. No one tells you that you will never be the same person again. No one tells you everything will change –your relationships, your views, your values, your body and your confidence. And as much as I planned for, hoped for and dreamed about the day I’d hear the words ‘in remission’, there is definitely no immediate bounce back.
According to various research, I have a 40% chance of living for up to ten years after my initial diagnosis of breast cancer. If that’s the case I’ll be 41 and, let’s be real now, that’s fucking shit.
Uncertain, confused, tired, deflated and shit scared of what the future held for me, I sipped my tea alone (wishing it was something stronger) looking at the clock. Five minutes to the big 32 and I prayed my way into a better year.
In what I can only describe right now as part of my therapy to aid my rebuild, I’ve decided to share with you week by week my personal diary from my 31st year….