Every Strike Brings Me Closer to the next Home Run

To keep you all up to date, we’ve found out that my cancer is not hormone related (ie it’s triple negative) and so I’m having some genetics tests to see if I’m a BRCA carrier. It could also be another gene mutation which has caused it, or (and this is one I’m expecting – it’s just unlucky…. if I had a dollar/pound for every time I hear that, I would be so so rich!) that I am just unlucky *sigh*.

On the upside, the chemo seems to be going well; the lump has softened! It also measures a whopping 5cm x 5cm, down from 9cm x 7cm!!! And even more incredible is the baby is bouncing around and being a super awesome warrior princess for her mama! The chemo isn’t affecting her at all as the placenta keeps out these drugs. The wonders of modern medicine 😊

She is completely oblivious to what the rest of my body is doing and that’s exactly how I want to keep it. We had a 28 week scan and boy did we get a performance! From the usual waving and rolling to her sticking her tongue out and what appeared to be licking my womb lining! She knows how to make me laugh.

So the plan is:

  • 2 more chemos before the birth
  • Birth will be scheduled for the end of August ’18
  • 4-6 weeks after the birth will be surgery. What type will depend if I’m a BRCA carrier or not (could be full mastectomy if so, or a lumpectomy if not).
  • Then there will be 2 more rounds of chemo
  • and then possibly radiotherapy afterwards.

My aim is to be finished with the treatment by the end of this year, but I’m well aware my body will need more time to heal. This is one helluva journey, but I’m so glad to have you all surrounding us with love and positivity. I couldn’t ask for a more wonderful community xxx

Pregnant with Breast Cancer

I think I jinxed myself. It seems the universe or the divine being who controls it thought I needed more challenges. It has been hard to comprehend all of the emotions, information, stress and anxiety of the last few months, so I feel the need to just let it all out in the best way I know how – this awesome blog! I hope that it will help others in a similar situation and bring them some solace.

Present: I’m sat in a beautiful pink recliner chair receiving chemo. 32 years and 8 months old, pregnant at 23 weeks. I’m the youngest one here. My gorgeous rock of a husband is sat across from me and I can tell that just as much as me, he wants this first session over and done with so at least we know what to expect…

So the big question: how the F**k did we end up here?!

As many of you will concur, we have had a fair amount of poop thrown at us in our 8 years of being together – from my near deaths from peritonitis 8 years ago to losing our little baby girl Rey on New Year’s Day last year, to moving continent and having to move back for health reasons…

My friends, here is a little bit of an insight into the madness that is our lives.

Rewind to January this year, we were blessed with a little nugget of awesomeness who will be joining us sometime around the end of August/beginning of September! We knew this nugget would throw a few spanner’s into our long term plans – we had only just decided at Christmas that we were going to apply for a US green card. Things unfolded in ways we did not expect – we couldn’t get it in the 6 months we originally thought,so it looked like we’d have to move back and then relocate again, once the green card had been approved. There is so much of America we still want to see and we barely scratched the surface in the year we were there!

At 8 weeks pregnant, we found a lump in my breast, but there was no immediate concern from the doctors. At 10 weeks I took the Counsyl genetics test to check for any abnormalities with the baby. The good news – she is perfectly fine and wonderful! The bad news is that markers flared up in my DNA pointing towards something less fun growing in me simultaneously. It could have been literally anything from polyps through to a 1/1000 chance of cancer, but the test didn’t provide a definitive answer as to what it was and where, which meant a lot more testing needed doing (X-rays, pet scans, MRI, Bloods etc…) We made the decision that we had to come back to the UK, which SUCKED but needed to happen.

And I am so glad we moved back. (We’ve been blessed with some lovely weather too!)

Doctors appointments, midwife appointments, followed by tests were all organised very quickly and we found out within 3 weeks of being back that I have triple negative grade 3 Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer. Before we sat down in that room we knew it wasn’t great news – we were introduced to the breast cancer care nurse (before being given the diagnosis?!) and there were a lot of people there.

The consultant did the best thing in this situation and told me straight up that you have breast cancer, but IT IS TREATABLE.

So here’s the plan – once every 3 weeks I will have a round of chemo for a total of 12 weeks. Our little girl will be born hopefully pretty normally and I get to play mum for a short while, and then we will work out what surgery options I have to have around October. This may then be followed by either a bit more chemo or radiotherapy, but as of yet we don’t know.

In the meantime, I will be keeping you all updated with my progress on this interesting twist in the road – It may not be the most fun of adventures, but if I am to believe everything happens for a reason, I will do my darnest to help others out of it at the same time and carry on dishing out that positivity instilled in me from Rey.

Mummy’s Star is a charity I’m using to help me through this. They provide support for expecting mums who have received a cancer diagnosis whilst pregnant, and they have been fab.

MacMillan have also been great support so far through this testing time, and I know they will be in the months to come!

I didn’t see the point of keeping my long hair if it’s just going to fall out and end up in the bin, so I’ve donated to Little Princesses Trust who have wigs made for kids going through cancer treatment and they currently need hair longer than 7 inches, so why not? If I can make a little girl mike through this, then it was well worth it.

React, adapt, breathe, take action. Life certainly is 90% how you react to situations and I will beat this, and come out even stronger than I could ever imagine.

Reigniting the Creative Spark

I’ve lost a lot of my passion for music – well at least for teaching it. Some of my students were fab, but I know I no longer want to be pulling 50 hour teaching weeks like I was in the UK. It drained me! So with our new adventure starting in America, I thought it was high time to express myself creatively via art class – and I’m so glad I did! 

I met some lovely ladies on the course, all with different backgrounds and ideas for their projects. Over a seven week course we would start to bond  over brushes and canvases, and it was marvellous. Our teacher, Emma helped us with all the little challenges we faced and gave me the confidence to put those colours on.

Here is my finished project- Durdle Door from the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, England. I used acrylic paints. 


The value of art as a therapy is second to none. It really helped me deal with a lot of the raw grief I experienced from our loss of Rey and relit my passion for creating. Whilst we don’t have a huge income, I’ve taken up sketching in the mean time. I haven’t done “art stuff” since I was 16, and I am so glad to have rediscovered this vent for creativity! Maybe this is something I should have kept up a long time ago and should keep doing for a long time to come! 

Art is something you breathe- with a different kind of happiness

(Here is the collection of pictures week by week as my painting grew!)

No political opinions are in this blog! 

I’ve voted. I’ve voted in the UK election from over the ocean. I’ve voted because I have the right to vote thanks to efforts of the suffragettes 104 odd years ago. I remember as a 10 year old learning about the sacrifices these women made in order to give us future generations a say in politics. It resonated so deeply with me, that I have voted since I was old enough. In fact it was 104 years ago to this very day that Emily Davidson died fighting for the women’s vote.

After the brexit vote, I was astonished to hear that so few of the population had taken the opportunity – and there were many people I knew! And many had the excuse of “I couldn’t find the time, I was too busy, I was working”. Gaaaaaaahhhhh!  

So with this thought in mind, I want to highlight to people that they can vote by proxy – it’s easy! You nominate someone else you trust to cast your vote in the way you see fit.  You can sort it on your phone! You don’t have to even leave the house! You don’t even need to leave the couch! 

But is it too late?

NO – YOU CAN STILL SORT OUT YOUR PROXY ON THE DAY OF THE ELECTION! By 5pm

We had to sort out ours a few weeks back, but we did it. SO SORT IT NOW!

In the words of the Beastie Boys, “You’ve gotta fight for your Right!” Now Go and Vote!

An evening with the Dames

One Friday, we abandoned date night for some prime time with our genders! Haydn went on a lads dinner out, I went for my first night out with the ladies affectionately known as the ThunderDames! So the title kind of makes us sound like a bunch of warrior super heroes to me, but the name in fact has origins of a completely different nature. The Thunder Dome is a hub in Atlanta for up and coming film directors and editors alike, where this little clan of guys live, work and breathe film 24/7 with every intention of bettering themselves so they can get further in their careers. 

The place has been alive now for quite a few years and the men eventually got girlfriends and wives, but still held a strong relationship with the Thunder Dome and the new generations coming through its doors. The ladies would come along to these events and could see the commeraderie of the brotherhood, so the idea was thrown about of the possibility of having a sisterhood evening every so often. And there the Thunder Dames idea was born!

My lovely friend, Lanae hosted the evening with around 8 of us attending. We had plenty of pizza, snacks and wine to go around in this makeshift cinema. The conversation was flowing and it was refreshing to discuss the arts and life in general with new faces.

This first official night focused on a film called the Secret Life of Bees. I assumed this would be a documentary with a title like that…but it wasn’t in the slightest! The film focused on a girl (Lily) who accidentally killed her mother when she was 4. She struggles with the guilt and decides to run away to a honey producers. I’m not going to give you the whole synopsis, but so you have get the concept, it takes you through her life and emotional struggles as she strives to be a stronger woman. 

   
“People who think dying is the worst thing don’t know a thing about life.”

This notion resonated deeply with me, as being strong is something I feel I must be a lot of the time. The film shows that regardless of how strong a woman you feel you must be, you don’t have to hold back your emotions, you can be open, you can talk, you can cry you can release and should be able to feel safe in showing this side. I do this most days, and I always feel better for doing it!

I really recommend you watching the film or buying the book, as it is so powerful and has a really sweet message. We all cried! I loved that at the end we discussed at length how in some way at least one of the characters resonated with us personally, and that it felt comforting to observe how they handled the situations. The characters have fine individual stories which bind them together in the most unlikely of ways and you can certainly find one that you can relate to as well! 

With Rey in our hearts always and forever xxxx