Three Strikes and You’re Out

Three years ago I started a blog, the first post of which is here. I’d had breast cancer and wanted to do something to help others suffering the same ordeal I had been through. The first post was to introduce myself and qualify some of my understanding of what people go through. For various reasons, taking longer than I expected to get my head in the right place, for a time wanting to distance myself from the world of cancer and the frustrations of not knowing where I wanted to be or what I wanted to do meant that after just a few posts and the death of my beloved horse, I gave up.  Now I find myself in a new place and once again wanting to share my views which, I hope will be of interest to at least a few of you.

By way of introduction (again) I have reposted one of my earlier blogs and will begin again writing about the stuff of life – well my life!

You can find this and my other blogs at Life In The Pink but please come back here for the posts from the current me.

Three Strikes and your Out!

Well, this is my “entry” into the world of Blogging.  I’m a bit of a twitterer and often wonder if anybody is actually taking a blind bit of notice of anything I have to say, so rather than be ignored for 140 characters, I thought I may as well be ignored for several thousand.

First and fore-most I need you to understand that I am not and could never be, a writer.  So don’t expect to be bowled over by my poetic ramblings or profound insights and you definitely won’t be needing the dictionary. I was born in Yorkshire, very close to the birth-place of the Bronte sisters and I spent many years filling my lungs with the same moorland air. Regrettably, it is a sad yet true fact that I have not been infused with their talent.

However, the point of this blog is not to impress you with my literary prowess but simply to talk about and discuss the ‘stuff’ of life. Mainly the ‘stuff’ that revolves around and pertains to Cancer, as that has been an incidental, yet in many ways,  significant part of my life.

It will mainly, though not exclusively, be about Breast Cancer. Not the usual help and information that you can get on the many dedicated web sites and forums etc. but instead a place where you will find some down to earth tips and facts and where you will find up lifting, feel good stories and some humour. There is enough doom and gloom to be found on-line, I want to present a happier, more positive haven and I hope that you will join me by offering your own upbeat and inspirational stories. Hopefully, between us we can in some way help, not only ourselves but others who are looking for guidance, information, inspiration or just a good laugh.

We are all touched, brushed or slapped in the face by cancer at some time or other. For me, I was first punched in the stomach when at twenty years old, it took my Mum.  Prior to this, when I was ten years old, my seventeen year old sister Lindsay, was taken seriously ill by some mystery disease. At the 11th hour she was grabbed back from death when it was discovered she had suffered kidney failure. This was many years ago when dialysis and kidney transplants were not the norm and definitely not the success they are today. My mother spent 6 years taking care of my sister until eventually a donor was found bringing about a successful transplant and a whole new life for my sister.

Our family life began to settle back into what is considered normal and I got my mum back. One day, feeling bloated and suffering from continuing indigestion, which she put down to the stress and worry of the last few years, she went to the doctors. The diagnosis was not what any of us had expected and eight months later my beautiful, vibrant and funny Mum was dead.  Cancer had claimed its first victim of our family.

Strike one!

My sister, though having had a very successful kidney transplant had been told that it would be unwise for her to consider having children as carrying a child would be too risky with her medical history. True to the form of our family and its stubborn resolve, she ignored all advice and within a couple of years of being married she became pregnant.  Under close monitoring, everything seemed to be going well,  until her  27th week of pregnancy when  she went into labour.  Again, this was many years ago in the 80’s and a baby born so prematurely had little or no chance of survival but both mother and daughter fought the odds and went on to enjoy a full and happy life (except for the bit where the daughter, Kelli, had kidney failure and her Dad had to give her one of his kidneys but that’s another story for another day)

Once again life settled into a form of normality and the tiny premature baby turned into a bright twelve year old. One day, after dropping Kelli off at school, my sister  went on her way to do some shopping. Ten minutes down the road she crashed head on into a forty tonne tipper truck. The combined impact speed was 110 miles an hour and her tiny, five foot one frame was squashed like a bug. Several months in a coma and being kept alive in ICU with little chance of survival couldn’t see her off though. Us Yorkshire lasses are made of tougher stuff!  She fought all the odds (again!) and after waking from her coma, spent the next seven years slowly mending and learning to walk again. I was deliriously happy and proud when, on my wedding day, she walked me down the aisle. It took us ages and they had to keep restarting the music but she did it!

After skidding past death from kidney failure, putting her life at risk with child birth and clawing her way back from the grip of the grim reaper in a massive car accident, Cancer had all the while been planning its stealth attack and seven years after waking from her coma , without any warning for us, she was snatched away.

Strike two!

Both my mum and my sister were in their early 50’s when Cancer walked in and devastated our family. Now here I was, in my early 50’s and thankful that my whole life I had carried out all the advice given to avoid the risk of Breast Cancer –

Keep fit, check Don’t smoke, check. Don’t drink excessively, (slightly smaller) check Healthy BMI check   Exercise check   I have, overall, kept myself in pretty good shape.  During a medical I had for a job, my doctor had commented that I had the fitness levels of a twenty five year old athlete. I have to admit that I felt pretty smug about that.  So, when I discovered a lump in my breast, I wasn’t worried. My mum and sister had died from bowel/ovarian/liver cancer and though I often worried about getting cancer in my ‘nether’ regions, I had no fears of developing breast cancer. Plus, let’s not forget, I have the body of a twenty five year old athlete, we don’t get cancer!   However, the Cancers stealth tactics had worked again and I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer.

Strike three!

Well Cancer had obviously never heard the saying “Strike three and you’re out” I was strike three and I was not going to allow Cancer to grip me with fear and dissolve my zest for life like pouring salt on a slug. Strike three and YOU Cancer, are out!  And so began my regime of kicking the butt of cancer with chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. But I also mounted my own stealth attack with a diet rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants, exercise, fresh air and most importantly, laughter.

You can find me blogging here and occassional snippets on my Facebook page Life In The Pink  and on twitter @Life-In-The-Pink

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