Friday, 3 February 2012

A difficult post

Yesterday I learnt that my oldest, dearest, closest, trusted, and whilst a term which seems more applicable to my 5 year old daughter my best friend has Breast Cancer.

Its there in black and white. Its a fact. Its a bolt out of the blue.  The possibility to the reality has taken a week.  My friend discovered a lump 3 weeks ago went to the doctors who wrote "urgent suspected breast cancer" at the top of a fax.  The doctor didn't intend for her to see this. My friend, in typical under statement of the century fashion, thought to herself "oh marvellous".  That's all I need.

A week later (yesterday) she's having a mammogram and biopsy and told that the results will be 5 days.  She's called back in that day to be told she has breast cancer.  She had a bad feeling. I had a bad feeling. That bad feeling was confirmed when she saw the MacMillan nurse standing next to the doctor. Between tears and laughter on the telephone (yes strange but we can always make light of a bad situation) I said "how did you know it was a MacMillan nurse did she have a huge badge with the words on it?" cue laughter to which she replied "no but she had tea and sympathy written all over her face"! 

My friend and me - I'm the drunk one on the right!

So now we have to wait and see what grade it is - by all accounts there are 3 with 1 being the best and 3 being the worse.  I've learnt a lot about breast cancer in a matter of hours. 

My friend is naturally upset, scared, angry - why me? So many emotions and worries for the future.  We chatted today and one bit of good news, if you can call it that, is that trusted critical illness policy looks set to pay out and in her own words "I'll be bloody pissed off if I go and that mortgage has been paid off and I don't get to enjoy that".  As you've probably gathered by now this lady is a fighter - she was a Girl Guide Leader after all and can read a map! A skill I have yet to master.

I was, in any event, going to write about my friend when the blogger community were looking for blogs to promote breast cancer  http://www.breakthrough.org.uk/.  To write about a woman in your life was the brief. It just so happens that between the time of me thinking must write that blog post and getting round to doing it (a week)  the very friend I was going to talk about now has breast cancer. 



My friend's hen do

So what of my friend. We met when we were both 17 at college. The dizzy heights of Secretarial college. We are very different in many ways which is probably why we have remained very close friends for such a long time.  We have had many a wild time - drinking, partying, holidays, passed driving tests, boyfriends have come and they have gone. We have lived together, we have been arrested together (Crete long story we were innocent of any wrong doing!), we have travelled Europe back packing together (the map reading was invaluable), brought flats, brought houses, done up houses, got married, had children at the same time.
I mean every life event you can think of - we've done it side by side. Ups and downs. Highs and lows. The one thing that has remained constant is us. And now we have an illness to contend with and contend we will.

My wedding day
And what makes her so special? She's kind, caring, thoughtful, funny, giving, sensitive, strong, reliable, dependable, trustworthy.  Of course we've had disagreements along the way - no shouting matches or anything like that. Its not our style.  Normally I've said (percentage wise I'm probably the starter) or she's said something to offend. Its more often than not something so insignificant. For example when I was pregnant she said "thank you for the dinner I see you cooked something simple" I took umbrage to this maybe the hormones I don't know but it pissed me off.  I've equally pissed her off with throw away comments more recently "oh I see you're doing the hard sell" on her Neals Yard Organic range.  We normally have little communication for a few days and the matter is forgotten about.  So hardly hard core stuff - little bits and bobs a few times a year.  But I always say to her but isn't that great that we are such good friends we can fall out.  That's a sign of true friendship. She just laughs and says if you say so!

Well I also say that we'll get through this.

Please have a look at the links I've posted and thanks for listening.

Celebrity supporter videos on the Pink Ribbon Bingo website including Jessie J, Melanie C, Tom Ellis, Macy Gray, Sharon Corr and Kelly Hoopen – http://www.pinkribbonbingo.com/ .

11 comments:

  1. She sounds like a trooper! Will you keep us updated? JUstine x

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  2. Yes she is - certainly will Justine xx

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  3. always the most scariest news ever. Glad your friend is a fighter and I'm sure you'll stick by her for support. xx

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  4. Thank you Anne - yes I certainly will - its going to be a tough year but I'm very positive about it. What has surprised me is the amount of people who have said they've known someone or know of someone that's had it xx

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  5. So awful, my friend went through the same last year.

    Here are a few things her friends did:- (that may/may not be appropriate)

    1. Food rota- when having chemo (had to follow careful hygience rules)
    2. Car rota for hospital appointments
    3. Having children over for sleep overs/play dates
    3. Random coffee/lunch appointments
    4. Surprise gifts (home-made muffins,a towel that reduces hair loss, a sparkly moisturiser for lips and cheeks - as the treatment dries them, beautiful scarf, a sticker book/activity book for children)
    5. She also went to this:- www.lookgoodfeelbetter.co.uk
    6. Toni and Guy give free pre-chemo hair cut, and also offer a wig cutting service.
    7. General fundraising - runs etc for Breast Cancer,

    I hope some of the above is useful. My friend is thankfully through the other side now. x

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  6. Hello Mrs W again - thanks for leaving this comment its really useful - especially the Toni and Guy hair cut and the food rota. I am popping down to see her tomorrow with cup cakes made by one of my friends so I can tick one of them off your list!! Thanks again. Natasha x

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  7. How is your friend doing? My Aunt has just been diagnosed with cancer, but is overseas. Do you have any advice? I am keen to support her. Sam x

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  8. Hi Sam I am sorry to hear that about your Aunt sadly cancer seems to effect us all at some points. My friendis doing really well all things considered - she has completed her 5th round of chemo and one more to go. You can read about her journey on her blog www.ohmarvellous.blogspot.com. I would say tell your Aunt to have lots of things planned to look foward to. We had the Race for Life to look forward to which helped. All the best Natasha xx

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  9. Thank you Natasha. I spoke to a friend who went through breast cancer, and she mentioned she pinned up all the cards she received for inspiration/to uplift her during her darker hours. I sent my Aunt an e-mail and her eyes became blurred when replying to it, which made it difficult for her to type.It made me think I would send her, just a little card each week by post. To let her know (and provide her a constant reminder) that we are thinking of her (and don't want her to feel the need to look at a screen). I do think modern science and medicine is amazing, another firend was given 6 months, and is still here 7 years later. Samxx

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    1. That's such a lovely idea. My friend had a bout of blurred vision after her 4th round of chemo - she has her 6th and last at the end of this month and then a month of radiotherapy. Yes they are working so hard to find cures. I really wish your Aunt all the very best and isn't she lucky having such a wonderful niece! xx

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  10. Thank you Natasha, your idea about having something to look forward to was great. So glad your friend has nearly finished her treatment, I read her blog too, it was very positive. Your blog always makes me laugh and reminds me of my youth in the late 70s/80s! Sam xx

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