Breast cancer, Careers

Nine years after cancer – and why the time is now to follow your dreams

Today marks an incredible nine years since the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer and, naturally, I’m feeling reflective. I hate to give cancer the credit for anything positive, but it’s crazy to think about where I was then and where I am now.

On 22nd June 2012, I was 29 years old and at a bit of a crossroads in my career. For decades, I had wanted to be a “proper writer”. For years, I had been contemplating quitting my job in financial journalism, but I put it off because I loved the job, it was well-paid and it took me all over the world. Plus I had my whole life to pursue my dream career. Shortly after I found the lump and right before my diagnosis, I finally quit that job, moving across the world from Argentina to Dublin. I’d love to say I did it to follow my dreams, but the move was mostly motivated by a relationship.

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Breast cancer, single bald female

My debut novel: Single Bald Female

I am so excited to finally share some good news in what has been a Pretty Terrible Year. My debut novel, SINGLE BALD FEMALE, will be published in Spring 2022!

As many of you will know, I started writing this book more than five years ago and it’s been an absolute labour of love, so I can’t tell you how pleased I am to finally put it out in the world.

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Breast cancer, Cancer, Careers, UK, Women's Health

Seven years on – why it’s okay to quit

One of the phrases most commonly associated with cancer is ‘life’s too short’. Then there’s ‘live every day as if it’s your last,’ ‘appreciate the little things’ and ‘what would you do if you weren’t afraid?’ While I absolutely agree with all of the above, I think that anyone who is living with, or has had, cancer will tell you that in practice they aren’t always possible. Continue reading

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BCSM, Breast cancer, Cancer, MRI, Periods, UK, Uncategorized

Five Years On

Today marks the day that, five years ago, I entered St. Vincent’s Hospital completely oblivious about the state of my health and left with the news that I had cancer. It was a day that would change my life in so many ways, not so much because of the horrors the illness would bring for me but because of the wonderful people I would meet because of it, and those I would lose along the way. Continue reading

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BCSM, Breast cancer, Cancer

Three years later, operation No. 2 is done

And so it was that almost three years to the day of my original surgery, I found myself going under the knife again. This time it was to remove a cyst that emerged after my original operation in June 2012 and recently got infected. So, no biggie. However, as with anything in the world of boobs, hospitals and health, it was not without its fair share of drama. Continue reading

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Baldness, BCSM, Breast cancer, Cancer, Chemotherapy, Hair loss, Hair regrowth, Health, MRI, UK, Women's Health

Two years on and still nothing sinister

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So this photo popped up on my Facebook feed the other day.

There’s nothing like Facebook to give you that big surprise surge of emotions with a visual image – whether it’s a photo of your ex on his wedding day or a school photo of you with pudding-bowl hair circa 1990 that someone has recovered from their parents’ house. Or, in my case, a pic of you larking about in a photo booth mid-chemo with a completely bald head and some ill-informed eyebrow pencillage. Continue reading

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Baldness, BCSM, Breast cancer, Cancer, Chemotherapy, Hair loss, Hair regrowth, HuffPost, UK, Wigs, Women's Health

HuffPost: Timelapse Video of 18 Months of Hair Growth After Chemo

Hair growth June 2014I haven’t written anything on this blog since February, which is due to a combination of having just completed a Masters degree in nine months and starting a new job immediately after, and – more importantly – having no cancer news to report. Continue reading

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BCSM, Breast cancer, Cancer, Hair regrowth, Health, UK, Uncategorized, Women's Health

World Cancer Day

I didn’t know it was World Cancer Day until I woke up this morning and saw my face splashed all over the Emirates Woman magazine website – quite a surprise. I wrote the article over Christmas but I didn’t realise it was coming out today.  I wouldn’t say the headline is exactly my own words, but the rest is all me. Anyway, it’s in this month’s print issue of Emirates Woman so if you’re in Dubai, go buy a copy! Continue reading

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BCSM, Breast cancer, Cancer, Hair regrowth, Health, Manchester, MRI, UK, Women's Health

It’s All Gravy

So I just had my bi-annual check-up with the surgeon who saved my life and I’m pleased to say it’s all good.

It was just a manual examination – no scans, no cannulas, no tears this time – but for some reason it seemed more thorough than the last time and I felt quite satisfied.

Anyway, Dr Lifesaver seemed very pleased (‘Your scars have healed so well! You can barely even see the armpit one.’) and told me to come back in October for my next MRI scan. (Well, it’s not actually that simple – he said I have to come back and ask him to write another letter to the NHS board asking them if I can have another MRI, so it’ll probably be Christmas by the time I have another one, but anyway).

I have a different hospital appointment next week for a separate chemo/Tamoxifen-induced problem that I shan’t go into, but after that, no more hospital trips until July, when I see the oncologist again. Hooray!

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As you can see, my hair has grown a bit since last time I wrote. It’s not actually as long as it looks in this hospital-gown selfie – it’s just got volume today because I went to sleep with it wet and woke up with a semi-Mohican (as happens most days). It is also getting mullet-like at the back again and needs a bit of a trim.

But the good news is I’m *almost* back to my pre-chemo pixie. I think it’ll actually be two entire years after my pixie cut (August 2012) by the time it grows back to that length, which is insane. But my latest theory is that if my cancer cells grow anywhere near as slowly as my hair cells then hopefully they have NO CHANCE.

Oh, and I figured I could get away with today’s headline since yesterday was apparently National Yorkshire Pudding Day. Didn’t know it was a thing? Nope, me neither. But fortunately I have a bezzie who knows these things and thankfully she was on hand to cook me a truly splendid Yorkshire roast. So it is, indeed, all gravy.

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