Today I've been told I have Stage 4 breast cancer. Stage 4 breast cancer, also known as secondary breast cancer or metastatic breast cancer, is incurable.
Luckily for me the person who dished out this news was just a random person on Twitter, and not any of my actual doctors. This Stage 4 diagnosis that was delivered to me was not based on any scans or tests. It was based purely on a negative attitude.
I sat here and wrote a big, full explanation of what made me write this post and I've just deleted it - because it doesn't really matter. These are the things I want to say that matter:
I had cancer. It was scary. I could have died, but I didn't, and I'm glad I didn't, because I love being alive, and I love my life. Having had cancer I feel this more deeply and strongly than I think I ever could if I had not had cancer. I LOVE BEING ALIVE, AND I LOVE MY LIFE. And I feel that and know that in my heart and in my bones and my gut Every Single Day.
I am happy. I am having fun. I'm excited for my future. Tomorrow, and next week, and next month, and next year. I am plotting and planning all the things I want to do, all the people I want to do them with. I'm going to have fun, and I'm going to try new things, and I'm going to challenge myself, and I'm going to surround myself with people who also want to have fun, and try new things, and challenge themselves too.
I'm not worried about my cancer coming back. I know full well that breast cancer is a nasty, sneaky thing, and the risk of recurrence will always be there. But FFS, I'm not gonna dwell on it! Even if I live til I'm 80, my time is precious. Every single day of it. I'm not going to waste any of it worrying about something that will probably never happen. (If it does, I'll just deal with it then. Probably by getting drunk and inappropriate, but you wouldn't have me any other way, right?!)
I'm not angry that I had cancer. I will be pissed off if it does come back, but unless that happens then I can't really say that it's been a bad thing for me. Don't get me wrong - there have been some difficult and frightening days. And I'm not overjoyed by the weight gain, short hair or scars. But as soon as I'm ok to run again the excess weight will be lost, the hair is already growing, and the scars will fade a little at least. And on a personal level, my cancer has given me much more than it has taken away. So I really don't feel that my own cancer diagnosis is anything to feel angry about.
I do reserve the right to be in a bad mood any time I please. I reserve the right to feel sad, insecure, afraid, annoyed, oversensitive, and irrational any time I please. If it's how I feel it's how I feel. But I also reserve the right to feel happy, and grateful, and excited - and not feel guilty about those feelings. I am rejecting any feelings of "survivor guilt" - the friends I have lost to breast cancer this year would all kick my arse if they could if I were to waste any time feeling guilty for being alive, or for being happy.
My heart is absolutely bursting with buckets and buckets of love for all the wonderful people I am so lucky to have in my life. Old friends, new friends, I love you all to bits.
Good. Glad to get all that off my chest.
I shall now continue dancing round my bedroom singing along to Mariah's greatest hits, looking forward to plenty of fun and silliness over Christmas and in 2016.
And I'll leave you with a few pictures from last weekend which I spent with over 40 other women who have had breast cancer this year. My wonderful friends who know how to enjoy life. (#WeAreTribe)