The #EmmasArmy against Cancer campaign is well under way and we have almost reached £2.5k for Cancer Research UK, despite not having anywhere near the support we had hoped for. One of the fabulous people who signed up to take part, was Julie, a lady who followed me on Twitter, but whom I did not know in person. Julie, alongside Katie and myself, is walking all 104 miles of the walk. As a fellow mum of twins and cancer survivor, I thought my readers would love to read Julie’s inspiring story…
Picture the scene… it’s one evening last June. My chores for the day are done and I am lounging on the sofa in my nightwear, ready for bed, watching some TV. An innocent boob itch leads me to find a lump.
“Husband – come feel this: its a bit weird”.
Unfortunately Husband speaks the thoughts I have been telling my brain not to think:
“bl%%dy hell – that’s huge!”
Er – thanks. Not a very reassuring reaction!
So starts a trip to the doctor, a 10 day wait for a painful biopsy and a further two week wait for results; by which time, the GP, the few friends I have told and my Google research, has convinced me it’s benign and “nothing to worry about”.
Apart from – it’s not benign, it’s an aggressive grade 3, triple negative 2.8 cm tumour that is not meant to be there… (and I read 3cm is considered stage 2… eek!)
And so my “journey” with Breast Cancer begins, with all the questions you’d expect running around my head:
How long has it been there?
What caused it?
Aren’t I too young for this?
How will my 2 year old twins remember me if the worst case scenario happens?
Why wasn’t I checking them regularly – I would have found it before it got so big…
And then I got a grip, counted my blessings and realized I probably wasn’t going to drop dead that week (unless the proverbial bus was charging up my street that day), but I was going to lose my hair and what a great idea for a sponsored event for the very charities I would be making use of (plus a way to tell all my friends the news – I figured I was probably going to need all the support I could find!). And so my sponsored head shave was planned. The response was overwhelming – so many lovely comments on facebook, emails and my justgiving site.
At my diagnosis, my breast nurse told me that as recently as 15 years ago, the outlook for triple negative tumors of this type was not all that great (since it’s not responsive to hormone treatment such as tamoxifen), but now chemo has advanced so much in that little time that my chances of survival were much improved. Imagine that – in less than the course of one oncologist’s career, rates have got so much better.
So here I am: six rounds of amazing, life saving chemo, lumpectomy surgery with sentinel node biopsy and 15 sessions of radiotherapy later – looking to do something to improve the chances of other cancer patients surviving. It had to be for Cancer Research and it had to be challenging (I’ve already done many “Race for life’s”, when I was a young runner).
I had come across this blog before and was interested as Emma, like me, is the mother of young twins. But it was not until she mentioned the C word that I actually started following. When I read about #EmmasArmy walking 100 miles it seemed to fit the bill. Thinking I could do 60 miles by walking every other day, the original plan was to combine it with a holiday and bring the family over too.
Alas Husband could not get time off work, so I have come on my own and decided to walk the whole thing (missing my family will not be in vain!).
And what an experience it has been walking this many days over all these miles with Emma and her army. It feels so good to be well enough to do something like this – pushing on every day when your feet are already sore from the day before. Some days we can look back into the distance and see just how far our feet have taken us – it really is amazing when usually we do these kind of distances in the car. And all the while we walk I am reminded of other friends or family who have battled or are currently battling on their journey with the big C, be it in the names of the cottages of even some of the hill names. My thoughts and prayers are with them and I hope the money my amazing friends can give will go some way to improving treatment for all cancers.
Please show us some support on twitter using the #EmmasArmy hashtag, as we battle through our last two days of this difficult challenge.