Posted in General Ramblings

One Year On..

My hair is growing back, albeit with chemo curls!

I’m still here

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to find enough words of gratitude or show how utterly thankful I am that one year on from being told I had breast cancer that I’m still here, with the people I love, living the life I thought had been snatched away from me.

I don’t tend to live or dwell on the past but today I have read my early posts on this site and it brings back the fear I felt, how terrified I was of what the future held. It’s been the hardest 12 months of not just my life but for those around me as well, and I am truly blessed to be on the other side, looking back.

So what next?

I’m still having hormone treatment and dealing menopause symptoms, namely joint pain and I have developed neuropathy in my feet which they think is delayed onset from the chemotherapy. It’s painful but I’m not letting it stop me from my recovery path.

I started attending a yoga class but I don’t think my body is quite ready for it yet. I think overall conditioning is better for me so I’m starting swimming again, along with daily walks x 2 of up to 30 minutes each time.

I am in some pain constantly thanks to the neuropathy and good old Fibromyalgia and I feel I really need to get a handle on that. I do believe that we can reprogram the brain and reset the nervous system (both of which is where some pain stems from, trying to keep us safe when our brain believes we’re in danger when we actually aren’t) It’s like an automatic fight or flight mode. I’ve been reading a lo about holistic therapy as I would prefer a more natural path through recovery – I think my body has been through enough! I recently had a Shiatsu massage for the first time. The experience was incredible. It felt as though I’d spent 4 weeks in the sunshine, laid on a sun lounger, doing nothing but sleep! My pain was relieved (albeit temporarily) and I felt ‘normal’ for the first time in a very long time. It’s now in my calendar for the next 4 months as a non-negotiable self-care day! I’m also having reflexology to help with the neuropathic pain in my feet, which at times can see me walking like a pantomime villain (much to my husbands amusement!) and that also is really helping.

I’m also changing my/our eating habits. Of course, there are bigger things in life than worrying about weight, so it’s not a ‘loose weight’ diet (though that will help), it’s more of an anti inflammatory, Mediterranean diet with lots of fresh fish, vegetables and healthy fats.

Most of all, most importantly of all – I’m back to my writing life which feels incredible. Monday – Thursday I am in my Shed of Words working on getting Book 3 finished, starting the outline for Book 4 and I’ve also created a potential new series of books in the ‘cosy crime’ genre! It’s soooo good to have a clear head and the time to just let ideas just run away with themselves.

I am super excited for the future

I’ve booked onto to a few book events too. Theakston Crime Festival in Harrogate next weekend, Bloody Scotland in September, Capital Crime in October and in December I’m stepping up my own PR game as I prepare for the launch of Book 3 – When We Deceive.

I’ve been lucky enough to have one fabulous holiday with the husband in Kefalonia this year which we were both in desperate need of, and in a couple of weeks we’re heading to the South of France with his two teenage daughters for a couple of weeks (heaven help us! I’m taking my laptop & earphones!!).

Still I Rise

The words of the Maya Angelou poem have stayed with me, and never seem more appropriate than they do today. I know the origins of the poem relate to a very different time and theme but just those words, And Still I Rise are so powerful and embody everything that life has thrown at me. I’ve used it as a mantra through treatment, after every session as I left the hospital and every morning I wake up with renewed vigour for life.

All is well, and still I rise.

Thank you for reading, I will still keep writing this blog as I have found it useful to have somewhere personal to go so stick around and see what happens next!

Cat xx

Posted in General Ramblings

I’m done #cancerfree

It’s been an incredible, life-changing 9 months but after 2 major surgeries, 6 months of intensive chemo and 20 sessions of radiotherapy I am finally done with my treatment for breast cancer and I can hardly believe it. I get my life back only now I will live every day in gratitude and joy for the days I wouldn’t have had without our wonderful, brilliant NHS.

If you follow this blog then you will know that my diagnosis couldn’t have happened at a worse time not just in my life but in my families life.

I was diagnosed on 13th July 2021 – the week of my sons wedding.

The week my mum had had a stroke and been diagnosed with dementia.

Two weeks after I’d moved in with my parents to care for my dad as he faced end-of-life treatment for heart failure.

Looking back I have no idea how I coped emotionally, mentally and physically. It’s at times like that, that you find out who is around and I was overwhelmed with love and support from immediate family but also from a wider circle that I never even knew existed. Readers of my books, my ex-husband and his family, an online network of writers, friends I had known since childhood but who I hadn’t really stayed in touch with. Every single day there were flowers delivered, books, care packages – it was humbling, I felt so grateful. I still feel grateful. Thank you if you are one of those people, you saved my life and my sanity.

We lost my dad in December 2021, but my God did he fight to stay with us. When I delivered his eulogy I promised him I would ring the ‘end of treatment’ bell twice as loud but unfortunately it’s no longer there (thanks Covid) so I will find some other way to celebrate. I know he’s with me every day and I know he will be incredibly proud of me. He’ll also be laughing at the buzz cut I’m currently rocking as my hair grows back.

Thank you dad for instilling courage in me, and demonstrating it with such perceived ease as you went through your own treatment and illness – I felt you with me every step of the way. I promise you now that I will live life to the fullest, travel often and only eat good food!

Dad ringing the bell at end of his treatment March 2020