It’s nearly 2021 and I recently wrote about the trauma of what happened this year and posted it on facebook…
It’s been an utter shit year.
Diagnosed with a brain met (ie secondary breast cancer in my brain) – targeted radiotherapy for it.
Surgery to remove SBC lymph nodes under my left arm all under lockdown.
Lymphoedema now & have to wear a compression sleeve daily (like with SBC there is no cure).
A burn that nearly ended up with me having my implant out (thank god for antibotics) and it took 4 months to heal.
4.5 months of post surgery problems with a huge seroma then hematoma.
7 friends dead Helen Bacon, Beth Roberts, Elaine Figgins, Tracey Williams, Carolyn Gammon, Melanie Kennedy and Jo Myatt.
Utter heartbreak for many families.
7 families with an empty seat at the table at Christmas…
If you’ve had a relatively quiet time then think yourself very very lucky.
Enjoy life & be thankful that you are alive because there’s many who are having it bloody rough.
I wrote this blog which explained what had happened to me in lockdown What happened to you in lockdown? (abcdiagnosis.co.uk)
BUT although it has been a very traumatic year with my own health and secondary breast cancer and the additional heartbreak with close friends dying, there has been a few little moments that we have enjoyed and have happened inbetween that have helped.
As per my blog lockdown wasn’t all bad, it was an amazing Spring/Summer… the weather helped, and we really made the most of the time. We walked every day as a family getting out in the fresh air. Seeing nature and enjoying the quiet with no traffic and planes in the sky. It was oddly silent everywhere we went.
Jeff was furloughed so he ended up doing some jobs around the house and getting things done that we had always delayed and put on the back of the “list of jobs to do”. We did some arty stuff and presents for friends from shells from our holidays. It was nice to use them for friends as memories of our happy times given as presents to others for thank you’s and Birthdays.
I’ve also created some personalized gifts for Christmas. I’ve loved doing this. And of course made the usual huge batch of mince pies for other people like my Oncologist and team, the outreach team and for friends.
Our children did really amazingly well, Regan had good GCSE results and they only complained a couple of times but they totally understood why we needed to keep safe. They did go back in September but secondary school turned into 4 weeks of isolation for Faron due to 2 other children getting COVID. My son didn’t have any problems as they had ½ the class in and ½ homeschooling which worked well for his 6th form college. We never had any information about COVID cases affecting him. But since October and the number of cases rising in Oldham, we have kept them both at home and they have worked here with good online support. The 6th form college was excellent in their online learning. It was way too risky so was confirmed on the last day of school for Christmas one of Faron’s friends tested positive for COVID so for me, I felt I made the right choice to keep them at home. Faron is year 9 so it’s not hugely detrimental and she worked well at home and Regan adapted well.
Before I was diagnosed with the brain met on the 2nd April I was putting together a submission for a grant for Nordic Walking. This was to get primary and secondary breast cancer patients in Greater Manchester trained as leaders. Although the pandemic has made delays with this and there have been some unexpected changes, myself and one of my abcd Directors Gaynor completed a 2 day NW Leader training course in the middle of December. The November training was cancelled due to COVID. But through the wind, cold, driving rain and snow, myself and Gaynor are finally qualified British Nordic Walking Leaders.
My abcd patient story book came out in Spring and this also kept me busy organizing how to get the book out to patients. My amazing web guy Jay @ Break Creative helped organizing this and I also asked Paxman (Scalp Cooling) to help support with sending the books out and once they were allowed to go back into hospitals to be able to drop books off at clinics or hospitals. It’s been great to see Stuie from Paxman dropping books off and taking photos to share on social media. Thank you guys for your support!
We decided to holiday in Spain in July before any further lockdown. We would have never have thought to do this before but Jeff drove to Spain and we had nearly 4 weeks there. We kept in lockdown, kept to the rules, wore our masks and socially distanced, didn’t go out or to a bar or restaurant but enjoyed a private villa with a pool, had BBQ’s and enjoyed the sunshine and the sunsets with the odd glass of Rioja. Our friends live nearby and they kindly did a HUGE shop for us before we arrived and left everything in the kitchen ready for us to put away. We only went to the supermarket twice for some essentials. We lived in our bubble for a month. But home we came for a 2 week isolation and then the children went back to school and 6th form. Our daughter was off virtually straight away due to other children in her year or in her class getting COVID, and it went on.
In October we decided to keep them out of school and 6th form due to the rise in rates in Oldham being the highest in the country. I’m glad we took the decision as other cases then came along and she would have worked from home for another few weeks anyway.
So here we are in December nearly the end of the year. So much has changed for so many families. A seat at the table that will never be filled due to friends dying of secondary breast cancer. Families that have lost loved ones due to COVID. So it has been a horrendous year but I feel lucky. Lucky, as it could have been so much worse for our family and I will always count my blessings that I’m here to see another Christmas and New Year that so many of my friends don’t get the opportunity to see. Who would have thought all this last year…
Let’s hope we can all get the vaccine quick and that we can get back to some kind of “normal” in 2021.
Lots of love and best wishes for a Happy and healthy New Year.