Saturday, 13 November 2010

The Cure started 11th November!

I know some of you have read some of this stuff before. I make no apologies for writing it again. This is the last time I'll write it about this particular subject. But right now I'm on a journey I didn't know I'd still be here for, and it is in my head quite a lot at the moment, as I go through the various significant dates in my head. To have got to the point that five years ago was nothing more than a hoped for ambition, feels huge. I was told back then that if you live through the five years of remission then you are considered cured. And I am now here!

This is the post that five years ago I didn't know I'd be able to write. Which I know sounds a bit melodramatic, cause I wasn't even aware of blogging then!
But the life changes that have gone on since then have changed my life, in a way that no other period of my life has. Sure before five years ago big and horrible things had happened, my beloved parents had both died, Mum many years before and Dad the previous year. The man I thought I'd be married to for ever had walked out on me, leaving me as a single Mum of two small boys (Who are now fine young men!)
I was used to dealing with grief.
But the body blow of being told I had breast cancer was unbelievable.

I was so confident that I hadn't got it after all the tests, that the day I was due to see the consultant to hear the results I'd prepared to go on my own! Thank goodness for caring sons! Unbeknown to me my eldest son made the decision that I would really like him to be there with me ,but wouldn't ask him to come back from University in Cambridge as I would be thinking that he shouldn't interrupt his studies!

He knows me so well! And so when the front door opened the night before and in he walked remains one of the highlights of my life.

I was so confident that come the next morning we went in my car to see the consultant, a car my son was not insured to drive.

Kit sat outside the consulting room and I went in with only a little trepidation. To be told I had cancer. I switched without blinking into efficiency mode, what was going to happen, when. I was smiling and friendly with the consultant, I could see he thought I was an okay patient, as he was old school and wouldn't be very good with women falling apart. This remained the tenor of our relationship together where I teased him very gently, and was not in awe of him up, until I shook his hand this summer when he told me he was retiring. And as I shook his hand I thanked him for my life and then the tears came in front of him.

Coming out of that room I fell apart. The date was 11th November, a date I already had etched in my brain as I've always kept faith with the need for Remembrance, and now had this to deal with as well.

To cut a long story short, as this is all somewhere in blogland ether, I had three operations in eight weeks,the last being a mastectomy. I didn't need either chemo or radiotherapy in accepting a mastectomy. I was put on Tamoxifen for five years. The tablets that have been the bane of my life giving me endless hot flushes and thrush. But these have been small potatoes in relation to helping me stay fit and cancer free.

In the last five years I have let go of several friendships with people I once loved dearly, but when the chips were down, they were not there for me. I have kept and maintained my relationships with four women who without question make my world rock.
I have made lots of new friends, many courtesy of here.

I had a lover ditch me four days after my first operation. I can only be grateful that I was so busy recovering from surgery that I didn't have time to notice him going!

I have had three lovers since I've had a mastectomy. And I will always be grateful beyond words to the man I used to call Mr Butterfly Kisses. I knew him before the op, we'd had an on/off relationship. He was the first man to make me, with my battered body, feel normal again. He kissed my from my mouth down my body across the scar to lower down. In one fell swoop he made me a woman again with those tender butterfly kisses.

The summer after all my operating traumas I did a sponsored walk of ten miles. I'd never really walked any distance before. This opened the door to one of my passions in life now. Something I don't think I could be without. And nowadays 10 miles is easy peasy!

I've talked before about where I am right now, so instead I'm going to project myself a little into the future in relation to my plans to walk tall into being cured.

I'm going to do two little rituals to say good bye to cancer.

At the moment I've got my usual two month prescription of Tamoxifen it will run out around the 19th December. But I've decided to leave out Sundays doses so that I can make the tablets last until December 31st. My new year resolution is to be free of these tablets, and so I'm starting the year as I mean to carry on with a clean cancer free slate.

The other thing I want to do relates to something I did back in January 2006. At the end of that month I went by myself up to Manchester, my favourite big local city. I'd booked myself a massage in Harvey Nixs. To explain this, I have a passion for perfume, and over the years have gone through many bottles of the stuff. Probably for four years prior to cancer I'd discovered the wonders of a company called Jo Malone. She makes wondrous natural perfumes without chemical smells to enhance them. My signature scent is now one called Honeysuckle and Jasmine in the summer. The one I bought recently for the winter is Nutmeg and Ginger.

Anyway Jo Malone in Harvey Nixs had visiting facialists coming up from London, and I booked one to make me feel better with all I'd gone through during Christmas. It was without doubt the best facial I've ever had in my life. And I've had lots! So when I was buying the last bottle of perfume, they told me that the facialist was again coming up in February and did I want to go on the list. Did I? Oh Yes! Despite the fact that not only is it the best facial, it is also the most expensive. And I didn't hesitate, as for me this is the final strand in moving on regardless of monetary cost, the psychological price is one that is more important to attend too.I had one when I was at my most vulnerable, and I'm ending the last five years with one.

This way, in my fantasys I am coming full circle into being cancer free. Well at least as much as anyone can be. Cause, if God forbid I ever get it again it will be a new cancer and no longer related to these last five years.

So in my head I have my mental tick list of last time I'll do this anniversary or that, and the end is closely in sight.

I am fitter emotionally and physically then I've ever been in my life. My world, baring disasters is a good place.

Thank you for being part of it and your care and love over the last three and a half years I couldn't have got here without you.

With ever so much love to myself and to you!


trousers said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again - I'm glad to know you, and privileged to be your friend.

Twiglet said...

What an uplifting post - you are a remarkable lady - I wish you a happy and healthy future!

BenefitScroungingScum said...

This is absolutely wonderful news, I couldn't be more happy for you! Yeay! I'm glad to know you too BG Xx

jeanette from everton terrace said...

Wow, what a journey and what a reason to celebrate! Much congratulations and love to you on this marker in your life. Sounds like you have been able to absorb all the good you possibly could from this difficult and painful experience, bravo. It's exciting to think about what your next anniversary celebration will be about.

Paula said...

Glorious news! So happy for you. Love from my heart to yours!

Sage said...

Mandy that was beautifully put and shows the inner strength in you.... congrats on the 5 year anniversary it will only get better from now on xx

TALON said...

I read this post and all I could think was how inspiring you are. You looked something horrific right in the eye and dealt with it. That's truly amazing.

I love that you'll end the year and slip into the new one in just the right way to celebrate your life. That's a beautiful thing.

Helen said...

Dear Mandy ...
You are an inspiration to all of us. I feel blessed to know you ~ continue the amazing path you are already traveling!

Lyn said...

Mandy, if nothing else, you have discovered just how incredibly strong you are and you are reclaiming your power. You are a beautiful woman who is sharing a journey that is sure to inspire. So happy to know you my far away friend.

Wipso said...

What a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing it all. I wish you everything you wish yourself.
A x

GaynorB said...

Inspirational words Mandy! Congratulations, I will raise a glass of champagne to you tonight and hope you will be joining me.
With very best wishes for the future to you and your family.

Robyn said...

Congratulations... you have survived to tell the tale and share it very beautifully.
I haven't been a regular visitor here and I didn't know that you were a breast cancer survivor.
A very big hug for you and thank you for sharing your story.

best wishes for a life filled with good health, love and fun.

Marilyn said...

What fantastic news, enjoy every moment of being this side of five years. You are a wonderful woman, I send you my best wishes always.

LindyLouMac said...

An inspirational post as the friend and also daughter of Breast Cancer survivors this is a subject close to my heart and I admire you for writing about it here.

Beatnheart said...

Darling, what a post...ohhhh and your so pretty in your picture. attractive!!!! congrats on all you’ve been though are a brave warrior....

miss*R said...

can I say: mwah, mwah? kissy, kissy.. love, love you? it is all true....
and let us pray to Our Lady of Hot Flushes xoxo
don't ever leave blog land or I will track you down and slap you hard :)

Mel said...

k....when I get done being weepy I'm sure I'll have something of substance to offer.


I'll just remain weepy and chuckle at the 'Our Lady of Hot Flushes' remark.

((((((( the byrdie )))))))))

We are soooo graced.

nitebyrd said...

Mandy, you are just beautiful, inside and out!

I'm crying happy tears for you to have made such a terrifying yet wonderful journey. You are free! It is my honor to know such an amazing woman such as yourself.

My daughter will have celebrate her freedom 08/06/11.

Zan said...

I am so happy you've been able to be here and write this post! I'm happy I have been privileged to(somewhat) get to know you and for your wise words that have had an impact on me!
Wishing you all the happiness for the future!!

love from me to you!

Pam said...

You really are an amazing woman Mandy.
While miss*R's comments made me giggle away, I also had a lump in my throat starting with "so when the front door opened the night before and in he walked remains one of the highlights of my life."
Congratulations to you Byrdie on this milestone, and a happy and healthy future ahead for you.I raise a toast to your shiny spirit, and continue to foster that fancy February facial focus!!Much love.xxxx

Pam said...

...beautiful photo of you!

Angela said...

I like your new hairdo. And I am wishing you 100 happy more years!

e said...

This is the first time I can recall seeing a photo of you and you are as beautiful as you sound in your writings. I wish you many healthy years ahead.

diney said...

That was a beautifully crafted piece and I'm celebrating that 5 year milestone to a new freedom with you.Wonderful news, strong and dignified lady. Hugs xx