Tuesday, 21 July 2015

It's ok not to be ok......

This time eight years ago, I had a belly full of cider and was surrounded by our wonderfully eccentric friends and family. As they dragged me around the dance-floor by the hem of my dress I would never have thought that in 8 years time I'd be sat on the sofa clutching an icepack to a breast which feels like it's picked a fight with a blowtorch. Further still, I can guarantee that this is not what Nathan thought he would be signing up for, after all, with his family history we'd always feared that he'd be the one to fight the cancer Jabberwocky. What's testament to him and to all of you lovely people is the way in which this experience has brought us closer together, it's made me realise just how many incredible friendships we've nurtured and developed over the years, well-wishing cards continue to arrive a full 7 months after I was diagnosed... I am a very lucky girl to have all of you in my life.

Tonight we celebrated our wedding anniversary with a family dinner at Buddies followed by the requisite Tour de France highlights on ITV4, I find myself regularly thanking every conceivable star/angel/statistic that has had the mercy to allow us to enjoy such normality. No matter how difficult things get, never forget how lucky you are to be alive and able to truly appreciate the day to day moments you have with those you love, life gave us lemons, we squished them and used them to make a great big meringue pie with which to stuff our faces!

As you've probably already gathered, the radiotherapy is starting to hurt a bit, the only way I can describe it is a very nasty case of sunburn with the knowledge that you still have 6 days of unprotected sunbathing to come. I've been relatively unscathed by the tiredness so far but I am sure that will creep up on me over the ensuing weeks.

I was invited to speak at a gathering of Store Managers last week to share my 'inspirational story', at first I assumed that they'd invited the wrong Helen as I certainly don't consider my story to be inspirational but I'm the last person to turn down an opportunity to talk about myself for an hour so graciously accepted. I rambled through the career to date and started to share what I thought would be a run of the mill account of how cancer had put a rather inconvenient dent in my plans to scale the M&S career ladder...... and then was unable to find the words.... I froze to the ground and realised that if I uttered a single word I would burst into tears. The room was dark and unfamiliar and 27 strangers were staring at me, it was terrifying, to make matters worse I caught Adam's eye and realised that he was also about to blub. Then a voice behind me said "you're doing great" and that's all I needed to hear. It really is true that the strongest people on the outside are masking their inner fear, I'm not ready to talk about my cancer in public, I'm also not ready to ride my bike for 6 hours at a time but every small step gets me closer to the Helen I was on that dance floor 8 years ago.

Bloody hell, I'm crying again!