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Fight pants at wedgie level.

I’m starting a little blog up. I hope you’ll like it and I really hope other stage 3C breast cancer fighters and survivors will find comfort and strength in my determination to kick the living daylights out of cancer for the second time around… Equally I hope I come across women in a similar situation who can offer me the same.

I was recently diagnosed with a recurrence of my breast cancer with my supraclavicular lymph node and axillary (underarm) nodes affected. They diagnosed it as stage 3C which is pretty shit.

I had been for 2 checks at my breast clinic because I had underarm pain and pain behind my breast but twice I had been told they were 100% certain it was nerve damage from my previous double mastectomy and reconstruction. I still felt unsure and just 3 days after I was seen, I found the lump above my collar bone – 6th January. I just knew it was back.

I had to wait two absolutely hellish days for it to be Monday so I could speak to someone and thankfully I was seen on Monday 8th, ultrasound scan, biopsy and CT scan happened on the same day and confirmed the motherfucker was back.

Michael had to have a job interview while I was at the hospital (which he amazingly got – he’s my absolute hero) so my dad came with me and when they told us it had returned, my poor dad almost fainted – twice! If you can imagine your absolute worst nightmare, this was mine. It was just incredibly terrifying.

I was literally begging the consultant to tell me it wasn’t cancer, telling him I’ve got a 3 year old. I was grabbing his hands pleading with him. My little girl, she needs me. I wanted to look after my dad and he wanted to look after me but it was just awful.

Michael came straight from his interview and in the car on the way home, I just screamed – I didn’t even realise I could make these noises. I screamed and screamed because I knew recurrence was bad news. I couldn’t accept it. That I won’t be around for Ivy when she needs me. What if she gets picked on at high school because people pick on redheads. Who’ll do her hair for her on her first day of school or be there for her when she just needs her mum.

Who’ll look after my Michael when he’s lonely in bed at night. Who will he share his day with and send funny photos of Ivy to and who will he go to gigs with. Who’ll sing (really terribly) to him while he plays the guitar. I imagined him having to meet someone new and worried he and Ivy would forget me.

My heart broke for my poor mum and dad. My mum crumbled when we got back from the hospital. My poor mum and dad. They shouldn’t have to go through it all again.

When we got back from the hospital, my breast care nurse phoned to say they’d amazingly reported the CT scan and thankfully it hadn’t spread to any other organs. I thought this meant it could be cured and spent 2 days blissfully unaware.

We had earlier planned to go away to celebrate my 3 year remission (12.01.18) and decided we’d still go anyway. We had to go to the hospital first. Here’s when my oncologist and breast care nurse told me that 3C was classed as incurable (that’s the last time I’ll use that word because it’s a horrible one).

I went into meltdown again, started grabbing Michael, grabbing his jumper. All I really got from that appointment was “let’s aim for 3Β½ years” and “I know of one stage 3C patient who made it to 10 years”. There were more positive things but I don’t remember them.

Our night away was cancelled and on the morning of what would have been my remission celebration, I was led in a PET scanner and then sat in the old chemo chair having round one whilst sobbing loudly πŸ™ˆ. I just couldn’t accept it.

Friends and family lifted me gradually out of the depression. I don’t think I moved from my bed for 5 days. I couldn’t sleep and when I did, I woke up praying I was in a bad dream. My poor Ivy, she knew something was going on. I was being distant with her, I know it’s awful but I instantly didn’t want her to depend on me because I didn’t know what was going to happen. She crawled into bed with me a few times and even stroked my hair. #heartburst

I spoke to Sara – my breast care nurse and she really changed my thinking around. I asked “how do you know it’s definitely going to come back?” she said “we don’t know that Roisin…. It obviously has a high recurrence rate but you are going to be one of those women I tell my patients about when you’re older.” She said surgery may now be a possibility, that I will probably have my ovaries removed to stop my hormones and they’ll blast me with radio and chemo. I told her I’d read loads of Stage 3C survivor stories and she said to keep on reading them! She also told me patients with a positive attitude can do up to 20% better than others. She said when my oncologist mentioned 3Β½ years, she simply meant make that your first milestone, then she had also said “make Ivy’s first day at big school your next goal” but I hadn’t heard that.

For the first time in a week, I had some motherfucking hope and I wrapped literally ever fibre of myself around it…. And I’ll never unwrap myself from it.

I have started the keto diet which there is SO much evidence about it fighting and killing cancer cells. Keto is just no carbs or sugar. Cancer cells thrive off sugar so just cut it out. Friends and family have brought us so many gifts, supplements, even a bloody holiday. We are drenched in love and kindness and we just can’t thank each and everyone of you enough.

Just as cancer thrives from sugar, I thrive from the fighting talk, I need it (maybe that makes me a needy little sucker but hey ho). So writing down my feelings, although personal (and some I’ll still keep to myself) reeeeally helps me because I feel SO much support. It’s truly wonderful.

I am doing everything right, I AM going to be there for Ivy’s first AND last day at high school. I am going to grow old with my one true love and our families and friends are going to see us blossom 🌸. We are really reeeeally hoping to still go ahead with adopting our boy… I just need to convince my oncologist to get behind me for that one because I’m going bloody nowhere.

Fight Over Fear βš‘🌈

It’s been a bad week for me this week. I’ve been in that dark, hellish place where Fear is the boss of everything. The devil on my shoulder telling me horrible things;

  • It’s spread into your liver Roisin, that’s what that funny pain is.
  • Your mum and dad are going to be broken when you die.
  • Ivy’s going to get a new mummy and forget all about you.
  • Michael’s going to be sad all the time when you go.
  • Someone else is going to live in your home on the road you always hoped to live on.
  • What song are you going to choose for your funeral?
  • Who’s going to carry your coffin?

It hurts me even to write all these down for people to see. In my darkest moments, it engulfs me. I really have to force myself not to burst into tears when I look at Ivy or if someone suggests doing something ‘in a few months’…. Because who knows what’s going to happen?! Last week, I just couldn’t be positive at all.

I went to a hospital appointment and walked past the maternity ward – knowing I’ll never get to feel that proud swell of my tummy again, the nervous excitement of pregnancy. Infuriatingly, there were women in dressing gowns outside, smoking!

I never feel angry at others about my diagnosis but that day I did! I’d never, ever, ever wish cancer upon anyone but I did feel pissed off!! I did absolutely everything right when I was pregnant; no booze, no patΓ¨, no shellfish but cancer still chose me.

I saw women with their children in town. One having a giggle and a hot choccie, another holding hands with her 7/8 year old on the escalator and I just felt sad. To have that relaxing love with your child, so many people take it for granted. Just the expectation that you will live to see them grow old.

Since my original diagnosis in 2014, there have only been small moments where I’ve pictured her riding a bike, or baking, or taking her to school. I’ve always been too scared to dare to imagine other possibilities… Like there’s a constant film of fear just underneath my skin. It’s really really shit.

Mum and dad to the rescue when I was feeling sad…. Mum brought her knitting πŸ™ˆ πŸ’–

My poor mum and dad, rock hard for me but I can see the suffering in their eyes, for me and my sister. It hurts me in my heart to know how much their hearts are hurting. Just PISS OFF CANCER πŸ‘ŠπŸ»

We went to see the psychologist in Oncology. I know her from work and I saw her last time I was diagnosed. She’s the loveliest, warmest lady for the job. I should point out here that if you have any sort of depression, sadness, bad thoughts, please don’t be ashamed/afraid of getting help. Our brains are complex things capable of sending us on highs, lows and everything in between. I always think, if you had a sore arm, you’d go to the doctor, so why not go with a sore mind?!

It really helped us and she told me to keep up with the blog (which she’d read) as it can be quite therapeutic and the support I get back from it totally spurs me on. ⚑🌈

Anyway, by Friday morning after a week of being up and down and on the edge, I’d finally read enough positive 3C stories and been in touch with some lovely women who are still going strong yeeeears after diagnosis – I was finally ready to pull my fighting pants back up to wedgie level πŸ’ͺ πŸ‘– ⚑

My oncologist has referred me to The Christie Hospital this Wednesday for a 2nd opinion on another type of chemo (Carboplatin), I really want it so cross your fingers for me. I just want to be as aggressive as possible with this motherfucker and then do everything I possibly can to keep it away.

Being positive is said to help patients do up to 20% better- so positive I shall be. I’m nailing the keto diet and reading all about how stem cells are the ring leaders in helping cancer to spread. Anti-inflammatories can help keep those tossers away so I’m a busy little researcher this week. Having some sort of control of my body and life again feels LIBERATING. Knowing I don’t have to literally put my life in other people’s hands feels good.

I’m going to juice and bake and cook and run and eat this cancer away. I can feel the largest lump in my supraclavicular node shrinking all the time πŸŽ‰.

Friday marked my 6th chemo at Rosemere. The staff and patients are just the loveliest πŸ’– A lady I worked with years ago and who goes by the name of Aunty Jan /Mamma J works on the ward. She is a little ray of sunshine β˜€ she’s nicknamed me ‘Roisin the fighting machine’ I bloody love her. On my first chemo, only the day after I’d found out. I sobbed loudly with just a curtain separating me from other patients (sorry about the loud crying) and Aunty Jan hugged me and just understood as much as someone could. Shout out to Mamma JayyyyyyyyyyπŸ‘ŠπŸ»

Chemo went well and we went out for some lunch at the health shack in the Miller arcade…. There aren’t many places I can easily get a keto meal from and this was delish πŸ‘Œ

#ketoforthecure

Then back home to see my little Ivy Brown (who currently only goes by the name Rapunzel). She’d been spoilt by grandma and grandad πŸ’–

Those teefs πŸ’–

All I need to do is look at her, push that fear away and stamp on it really hard. As long as I’m breathing, I’ll be fighting for a long life filled with things most people unknowingly take for granted…. Looking at her face, listening to her breathing, watching her playing with her friends and deliver valentines cards πŸ˜‚

She got a card back from her little crush and asked ‘does this mean Netflix?’ Jesus Ivy, no Netflix and chill for a verrrry long time πŸ™ˆ

We were having a little dance on Valentines Day and she was swirling her beautiful orange hair around. She whispered to me “mummy I don’t really like your baldy head” and then straight away, I could tell my little babe felt guilty and she said “hehe I do really mummy, I was only joking you” πŸ’”. I said to her…. To be honest Ivy, I don’t like it that much either but one day it’s going to grow back and we can be swirly girls together πŸ’–. I asked if we should go and find my old wigs and try them on…… Introducing Gail Platt on your right

πŸ˜‚

Here’s my little wonder woman helping mummy in the bath πŸ›€

Don’t let your PICC ‘wine’ get wet mummy, I will wash you πŸ’–

My lovely Michael has been having a bit of a hard time too. I can’t imagine what he’s going through but I’m guessing it’s shit. He’s doing most of the house work and cooking and Ivy-ing. On top of that he’s got his own scary thoughts (although he is amazing at being positive). I’m just so thankful for my real life super duper human πŸ’–

We are going to be okay. I’ve found lots more nutritional advice, I think I’ve convinced them to operate on my supraclavicular. I’m hoping to talk to the top dogs at The Christie to give me this Carboplatin and I’m climbing and climbing the rungs up to the verrry top of the positivity ladder.

Thanks so much to each and everyone of you who helps to get me fired up when my flame falters. Sometimes I want to find you and cling to you like a koala when you say something so bloody spot on πŸ’‹ πŸ’‹ πŸ’‹ you’re amazing.

I wish I could get back to you all personally to thank you for your incredibly generous sponsors….. We’re over 2K now thanks to you ☺. I hope you know how much my heart leaps when I get a ‘new sponsor’ notification. It’s just the best.

Remember to not take things for granted, breathe in that fresh air and be motherfucking thankful ⚑🌈#fightoverfear x

If you’d like to sponsor, click here and I’ll (mentally) hug you. ✌️

bugger off cancer, ya bastard.

We’re sisters, we share everything – even bloody cancer! βš‘🌈

Me with my big sister Lindsey.

Ugh most of you will know from my Facebook that my big sister, Lindsey – who lives thousands of bloody miles away in Australia was infuriatingly, unbelievably and heart hurtingly diagnosed with breast cancer 3 weeks after my recurrence. When she facetimed me, I honestly thought she was going to surprise me by saying she was coming home sooner or staying for longer. So when she told me this, an invisible man from nowhere kicked me really hard in my tum 😒.

My diagnosis had prompted her to go for a mammogram and it was confirmed that she also had breast cancer. What are the motherfucking chances?! (By the way Lins, you kind of owe me, pretty much helped to save your life. So uhhh a new car should cut it). She’d planned on coming to see me at the end of March – and hopefully still will be. But she now has to wait for surgery to remove the sucker and then she’ll come here so we can squeeeeeeeeeeeeze each other and totally understand the shit out of eachother. Then she’ll bravely go home and get her mamms whipped off and rebuilt and she’ll come out of this storm to her rainbow, I know it ⚑🌈.

It has been so tough to be so far away from each other when we desperately need to be close but how sweet that airport hug will be πŸ’–

This week has been a positive one as much as it can be. I said to Michael that I think I’m being too positive and that I feel a bit like I’m fooling myself into thinking I’m going to grow old. It’s pretty tough to stay positive when your body is taking a beating from chemo.

I knew a dip was coming and it inevitably happened this week when I went to a cancer support group for the first time. The group was absolutely lovely and was run by honestly beautiful humans. We sat around and had a chat and my lovely Aunty Sharon (who is also kicking the Shiiiit out of cancer) turned up too πŸ’–.

As a newbie, I had to go and meet the GP who is now retired and volunteers here. She asked about my diagnosis and long story short, because of one question I was unsure about with my diagnosis… A switch was flicked – just like that. I was in panic mode, can’t think straight mode…get me the hell out of here mode. The GP was pretty gutted that it had hit a nerve but totally understood.

I said goodbye to Sharon – she grabbed my hand and said “come on, should we go outside and swear” πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚. So then I pretty much pegged it… Reversing into the railings as I did πŸ™ˆ

No biggy, we found out this week that our car is totally knackered πŸ™ˆ. I always say that bad luck comes in threes and if that’s our 3rd, I’ll flippin take it with open arms.

*if anyone knows any ridiculously cheap cars going, we’ll take it! πŸ˜‚

After my morning’s drama, I was tempted to cancel lunch with some of my best girlfriends but I had a word with myself and off I went.

Thankfully they pretty much sorted me out with:

  • Food
  • Hugs
  • Swear words
  • A really cute baby
  • Laughter
  • Dreaming up our girly hol at the end of this πŸ’©

Two of them had also made and bought me gifts… It is bonkers how spoilt I am from so many people. πŸ’–

The gifts coincidentally both had the same message – right when I needed it

Love wins. I know it will ⚑🌈

Because I’ve had the wind taken out of me after feeling that fear so strongly yesterday, I barely slept last night and I’m feeling pretty vulnerable. Wondering what this ache might be or that funny twinge I’ve not felt before is, or what that lump is that I’m imagining when I press here and there. I know I’ll be back to my positive pants soon but today, after this awful week – I’m just a bit sad.

Aaaanyway. When our car conked out, it was ‘dad to the rescue’ for my appointment to try and convince the surgeons to operate on this naughty neck node. I was under the impression it would be an immediate ‘no’ but the lovely doctor explained it would likely be possible so HIP HIP HOORAY. I’ve still got to do a bit more pushing and convincing but I’ll do it. The purpose of removing it is to try to do everything humanly possible (in my mind) to stop it coming back. That’ll include surgery, radiotherapy chemo, ovaries removed, but mainly a rock hard human such as myself.

Dad to the rescue πŸ…

A great thing to come out of this week is those bloody keyrings! A few of my close friends are having tattoos at the end of my treatment. A ⚑to represent the storm we’re travelling and a 🌈 for what’s waiting at the other side. My lovely friend Lisa asked her equally lovely friend at Dotty Flamingo to make some keyrings which we could buy and sell to make money for our Cancer Research fundraiser. OMG, we ordered 100 and within the hour, we sold out. I’m still to count final numbers but I think it’s over 300!!!! You are allllll amazing ⚑🌈

Our incredibly talented friend, Nicola has also made some amazing Valentines cards with all profits going to Cancer Research UK. OMG OMG, check out her Instagram:

click here to check these little beauties out πŸ’–

Friday was chemo day and I had my loyal Jayney who I work with come and visit/perv over Michael. She’s literally our biggest fan πŸ™ˆ

A good thing to come out of having no hair is that twice, this week when I’ve left the house and had that stomach churning thought “shit, I’ve left my straighteners on” and then realised…. Haaa you’ve no hair, sucker!

So today I decided to stay in bed and think positive thoughts. Sharon said to me this morning that we’re like weebles… We Wobble but we never fall πŸ’ͺ. It helps to blurt everything out on here. I’m really sorry if it gets a bit boring at points – I’m an absolute waffler. You should’ve seen Michael’s eyes twinkle when I told him that one of the risks of having this neck op is losing the use of your tongue πŸ˜‚ “does that mean you won’t be able to talk?”

I’ll end this one with the biggest thanks to all of our visitors, messagers, unbelievably thoughtful people…. Some who we barely even know. You make me love humans more than dogs again πŸ’–

Please if you can, sponsor us for our big trek and help to blast cancer off the face of the earth: click here to tell cancer to bugger off

Peace Love and fighting pants

Thanks Helen πŸ’–

PICC, CHOP, BOOM βš‘🌈

This week’s been busy! I’ve had hospital appointments 4 out of 5 days… #allhailthenhs.

On Tuesday I spoke to my Oncologist and I reassured her that I’m going to live a long life… She seemed very happy about that. I’ve been referred to ENT to look at having surgery for this naughty neck node (they’re very reluctant to operate – I think because it’s such a big op) but I’m pushing for it anyway. I’m going to be referred further down the line to look at taking out my ovaries and underarm lymph nodes. So I left feeling pretty upbeat and we went to pizza express (salad for me, no flatbread or croutons please). FML. I did treat myself to a glass of wine though πŸ‘Œ

Wednesday, ugh Wednesday was the day of the PICC. They put the PICC line in one of my big veins and it sits just above my heart β™₯. It’ll stay in until chemo is finished. They struggled to get it in the first time but thank god, it went in 2nd time around. I am the queasiest person on earth and was just bloody grateful it was in! One of the lovely nurses who put it in was concerned over poor little Michael who was getting a bit queasy watching πŸ˜‚.

Thursday was a quick visit to have my PICC dressed and bloods taken by the lovely Chelsea πŸ’–. The staff on the unit are just the loveliest. Always smiley and warm and that’s just what you need when you’re in there!

Friday was chemo. 4 down, 8 to go. Because I work at Rosemere, all my lovely work friends pop up to see me and it just makes the time go a little quicker. (Secretly they all love Michael really and they just pop up to hug/hump him).

Always there πŸ’–

On Thursday, Michael noticed my hair had started falling out πŸ˜”. It’s done well to last this long and I knew it was coming, but still…. Big Motherfucking sigh. It gradually got worse and was sticking to me when I Moisturised, it was in my food, the pan I was cooking with, my chin, Michael’s beard πŸ˜‚. So by Sunday, it was time for the big chop βœ‚.

My two loyal wingmen were more than happy to help and off it came. It was easy for me not to be sad with my little babe taking it so seriously!

I had a little cry afterwards because it’s just a really shit reminder that you don’t really have any control over your current situation. We’ll call it shituation actually. There’s people I love so much who need me at the moment and it pisses me off because they’re so far away and chemo won’t let me get to them. At the same time, chemo is hopefully saving my life so I won’t be bitter. Plus Michael cheered me up with a bit of Sinead πŸ˜‚

Between all this, over 50 ladies have incredibly signed up to walk 26 miles on June 9th (me included), to raise as much money as possible.

Also, the men in my life have been persuaded to walk ‘A mile in her shoes’ on April 28th. They’re doing a lap of my favourite – Avenham Park in high heels and ending with a tug of war πŸ˜‚. I’m so excited!

This morning, I found out that 24 of the lovely staff from Ashbridge nursery are walking the whole of the Guild Wheel in 2 weeks to help raise money. OMG OMG. My heart is full right up to the brim. You are all amazing πŸ’–.

(the link is below if you’d like to sponsor).

So today I’ve woken up looking a bit like Renton from Trainspotting but I’m going to get up, put on my bright Lippy, a colourful headscarf and big earrings and I’m going to keep kicking and punching and loving and laughing. Cancer, you can take my hair, take my boobies, take my ovaries but you can’t take ME. ⚑🌈

Click here to sponsor πŸ’– ⚑🌈