Another year older, another year to be me

It’s been a few days since my last chemotherapy infusion and this phase of my breast cancer treatment comes to an end and the next begins.

Admittedly, a few bottles of bubbly marked this treatment milestone and today turning a year older, I reflect over the last few months since first discovering my breast cancer. There have been ups and downs emotionally, physically, an awful lot of prodding, tears, laughter and a lot of amazing people I’ve met along the way.

The slightly clichéd reference to ones journey doesn’t always sit comfortably with me, however, the road and the story is long. I think I prefer to look upon this time in my life as a challenge, a challenge to face Cancer, deal with treatment, steer myself and my family emotionally. A challenge to accept my own vulnerability, face my own fears and mortality.

Survivor and warrior are terms banded about with reference to cancer, but the reality is, yes, you have survived the treatment, you have had the cancer hopefully removed, but does it end?

As I begin my 52nd year, I look ahead at the next 10 years of medication, radiotherapy, reconstruction, infusions and check-ups. I find it difficult to imagine myself a decade older, but realise the cancer journey once started is one that will accompany me for years to come. I guess it’s about alteration, adaptation and growth.

I feel very fortunate to have what I consider minimal side effects, I don’t think of myself as having been particularly brave, only to have faced the challenges and to use my love for photography as a therapeutic and cathartic tool to help comprehend and embrace my emotions, realising my own resilience and development.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the chemotherapy nurses at the Finchley Memorial Hospital for their dedication, care and sensitivity shown to their patients each and every day. To all of you who have checked in on me and shown love in so many ways and to all my walking partners for keeping me moving.

As I look forward and enjoy a few weeks respite between treatments, I feel fortunate, blessed and ready to face what lies ahead.