Some people have shown concern that I’m bottling up my feelings, that I’m laughing and joking to hide how I truly feel. Well rest assured I’m not. What you see is how I really feel. So why am I laughing and joking about having cancer? Its not that I think it will be easy, or that its not serious, its that I know that however dire things get (death excluded) I will come out the other end better than before. And how do I know this?
My baby. The baby I buried. If anything was going to break me, that was it.
I went into hospital pregnant with my son and I left with empty arms. I went from feeling little tiny feet kicking to rubbing an empty belly. And after leaving the hospital things didn’t get any better. There were post-mortem results, the funeral, burying the ashes, visiting the grave, seeing pregnant women and babies everywhere. It was relentless.
There were no breaks. There were no hair cuts that could have made things better. There were no spa days to take my mind off things. There were no self deprecating jokes to be made. There was just hell. Every. single. day. Pure Hell.
With the cancer there are things people can do to help get me through. My friends and family around me can offer practical support, they can take me out for drinks, we can joke about my new boobs and bald head and with all that help this seems a lot less daunting.
That wasn’t the case after Toby. There was nothing anyone could do. Cancer can be treated. They can hopefully get rid of the cancer albeit with horrendous side effects. No one can bring back a baby (and no, having another baby isn’t the same). I could see no light at the end of the tunnel. Just a lifetime of long dark days. I could see no way life could get better.
But I did get through. It wasn’t easy. It was nearly impossible in fact. As I’m sure Cancer will feel at times. But I made it. And I came out the other side stronger and things didn’t just get better, they got great.
While I’m fannying about today, trying out new styles on my ‘chemo hair’, looking at clothes with a slightly higher neck line, 15 sets of parents will be told their baby’s heart has stopped beating. Their whole world will come crashing down around them as they prepare to give birth to a baby who will never take a breath. A baby they have carried and nurtured for 9 months.
I’ll take breast cancer over what they’re going through any day. There is no denying having cancer is shit but from what the doctors think there is a light at the end of the tunnel for me. This may change in the future but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it, no point wasting my relatively healthy days worrying about it. At the moment it feels like I’ve been dropped at the bottom of a mountain covered with oil patches and told to climb to the top, rather than being dropped from a plane at 50,000ft with no parachute and no idea where you’ll land.
If someone offered me the chance to do my life all over again, but to not get pregnant with Toby and avoid all the heartache and pain, I’d say absolutely no way. I wouldn’t change a thing. Losing Toby was horrendous, but so much good has come out of it.
If I hadn’t lost Toby I would never have started volunteering for and then becoming CEO of count the kicks (now kicks count). I wouldn’t have felt so compelled to stop others feeling such heartache. Finding count the kicks gave me a purpose. It gave me something to really fight for. It gave me my passion in life. The passion that no one else should go through that kind of heartache when so many can be prevented. People sometimes say “if it saves one life it will be worth it.” I don’t agree. If it saves one life, why couldn’t it have been my son? I need it to save hundreds even thousands of lives. I need it to make a huge difference.
And it has. Kicks count now has over 370,000 followers on Facebook and over 13,000 on twitter. Women are contacting us every day to say their baby is alive because of us, including TV presenter Emma Crosby (you can read her story online). We are working with the likes of NHS, tommy’s and bounty. We are playing with the big boys now! I have no doubt what we are doing is making a difference. And while it wouldn’t have been started without Chloe, it also wouldn’t have continued without Toby.
Cancer will be hard, (understatement alert), but something good will come out of it. I have no idea what, but something will. Maybe it will be someone reading this blog when they’re friend is diagnosed with cancer and finding the perfect way to support her. Maybe it will be someone just diagnosed with cancer wondering how to cope with a double mastectomy then they’ll see a picture of my new perfect breasts (one can hope!) and feel better. Maybe my story will encourage another young (yes I class as young!) woman to check her breasts and help detect her own Cancer before it becomes too advanced.
Maybe it’ll be something different all together. Maybe Olly Murs will read it, realise I’m his perfect woman, and we’ll live happily ever after. Who knows? But in a years time when someone says “if you could do it all again and not get cancer would you?” I hope my response will be “No way! Look what has come out of me having it….”
I’m aware this is just my take on things. Everyone has very different experiences and like I’ve said in a previous post, this isn’t top trumps. So by NO MEANS go to someone else with Cancer and say “at least you haven’t lost a baby” or “It’ll all get better” or may the lord have mercy on your soul!!! This is my experience and my experience alone.
But don’t think this is it, that I’ll just take it all in my stride. I’m going to complain, and I’m going to complain gooooooood! (Anyone who has experienced me with a bruise will have a rough idea) but I do know it will get better. However anyone who chooses to remind me of this while I’m vomiting my guts out, or crying over my hacked at boobs will find themselves frantically looking for ways to reattach their head!! It’s a bit like taking the piss out of my sister. I’m allowed to say it. You’re not!
I’ve got through the unthinkable before and I’ll get through it again. So come on cancer, bring it on! Me and Toby are ready for the fight
If you would like to donate to my fundraising effort for kicks count you can text KICKS TOBY followed by the amount (eg: KICKS TOBY £5) to 70660
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