I was really hoping not to have to ever say this but my breast cancer has returned. If I've complained to you recently about a chest infection, flu or aches and pains, or just being super tired, well, that was all actually cancer.
We got our first inkling from some basic GP tests and a very suspicious X-ray. Then the oncology department I'm registered with ran more tests and it was confirmed that my breast cancer has returned and has spread to my bones, liver, lungs and some other bonus places.
That means this is Stage 4 breast cancer (or Advanced Breast Cancer or Metastatic breast cancer). It's not curable but it can be controlled and that's the name of the game now - reducing the cancer that's here now and stopping it developing further. There's no prognosis - everyone's pathology is different - so it's now about monitoring and responding to developments, following the treatment and focusing on the here and now. Fortunately, there's never been more options for treatment and that includes a new targeted chemo regime that I can take at home in pill form that I started this week.
The next few months are going to be crucial - the oncology team needs to make sure this treatment is having an effect on my cancer so there's going to be rolling tests and check-ins with them. I'm getting treated at St Bart's Hospital as an outpatient and the team has already been amazing, getting my treatment plan in place and dealing with a health emergency that suddenly cropped up during this.
Ben and I are still very much in shock about all of this but finally having a diagnosis instead of constant, wearying speculation and an action plan from a really great medical team is helping us feel more positive and able to start coming to terms with this. There's been, and will be, some really dark moments but there's also been more hope, support and laughter than we would have thought.
I'm still feeling exhausted and sore and will be probably feeling that way for a while as I adjust to my treatments so forgive me if I'm off-line, worse than usual at answering messages or not taking you up on kind offers of visits. Partly both Ben and I need just to have some space to process this and partly I'll probably just be asleep. I hope to use this site to keep you up to date with what's going on health-wise so please click on the "Follow" button on the top right of this page if you want randomly timed insights into key moments of my treatment pathway.
In the meantime, please keep in touch, telling me what's going on with you, sharing gossip and box set recommendations. It's boring in CancerLand and anything that distracts me from constant discussions about my health, hospital appointments and making smoothies will be priceless.
OK, that's enough for now but if you don't know already, I'm fundraising for my friend in India, Suman, who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer and whose family are struggling to pay for the treatment. You can find out more here:
Any donations or shares would mean a lot (and thank you so much to those who already have).
Lots of love and I'm looking forward to seeing you once the fog starts to clear...