*yayyy* Happy 1st October!
Unless you sleep through the autumnal months, you will already be aware that October is a month full of global initiatives highlighting Breast Cancer Awareness. Up until last year, I always dipped into my pocket and contributed to the many breast cancer research and support charities, taking time to honour my beloved grandmother who died of breast cancer in October 1980.
Last year, 2011, Breast Cancer Awareness Month meant something infinitely more personal – I was battling through chemotherapy for breast cancer myself, so felt barely able to acknowledge my own name during that month, much less take part in local and national initiatives. Oh yes : I avoided pink like the plague, too!
So this year, for me, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a month of celebration – a celebration of life, a celebration of all those amazing breast cancer warrior gods and goddesses worldwide who fight their corner and make it. A celebration of those brave warrior gods and goddesses who, like my beloved grandmother, are no longer here to share their love and their stories with us.
Recently, I attended another ultrasound scan – a second “scare” in as many months. All appeared ‘normal’ – well, as normal as I guess any breast tissue can be after 10cm diameter is removed through operations and then bombarded with hefty doses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. As I lay on the couch, I remembered my Macmillan Nurse telling me way back in June 2011 that my mammogram had shown a “beautiful” tumour. Her words, honest to goodness. I remember snorting “You are joking?!” at her, but no. She was serious.
Now I felt stronger and more able to face it, I asked the radiographer if I could perhaps see my mammogram from back in May 2011; she was more than happy to share.
I was stunned into silence when the mammogram images flashed up on-screen. My Macmillan Nurse was oh! so! right! That naughty Triple Negative breast tumour did, indeed, looking beautiful on the mammogram images. Out-of-this-world beautiful. Not something you would love to have on your fireplace as a memento, nor something I would ever wish to play host to in my body again … but eerily beautiful. Almost a perfect circle, bar a faint area at the 4am clock-position which had a sharp line.
So here is my interpretation of the TNBC tumour that tipped our world upside-down last year – in honour of the gift that this tight-knit squatter blessed me with.
For in undergoing treatment, I have undergone a radical transformation in pretty much every aspect of my Life!
So, TNBC – thank you for visiting, thank you for sharing your gift: may the hard-learnt lessons be used for the greater good of everyone whom I will be blessed to meet in my long, very happy and healthy lifetime. I honour you. I honour my dear body for pulling me back from the brink of death. I honour my Beloved, my family and friends who helped me through the dark days and too-bright nights. I honour all the medical team at St George’s, Tooting, and the Royal Marsden for all their dedication and care. I honour those at The Haven for making me smile.
I honour my grandmother, Joyce Ripley, for her love and strength; knowing that she was there, cheering me on from the spirit world, has helped me to transform a negative into a bright and beautiful positive. It really IS time that we rethink Breast Cancer …
(if anyone is aware of where this “rethink breast cancer” image originated, please could you kindly let me know as I would love to give full credit)