So it turns out that when you're diagnosed with breast cancer everybody talks about the the first five years.
They do this because if you're going to die, you're most likely to do so in the first five years. What they don't tell you is that once you pass this hurdle you are, by no means, out of the woods. This week we were forced to face the cold, hard truth that if something isn't done to find a cure, there is a pretty good chance that this is what is going to kill me.
I make no apologies for the brutality of that statement. It's taken me a few days to figure out how to write it but, as usual, my pragmatism has set in and I carry on living my life. I'm a big believer that if you sit around feeling sorry for yourself and waiting for the worst to happen then you'll shorten your chances considerably.
The reason for my newfound realism? My newfound Oncologist! As many of you know, I have been stalking one of the most well-respected reconstructive breast surgeons in the country and couldn't believe my luck when he agreed to do my TRAM FLAP surgery at the end of the year (it took a little perseverance but in the words of my long-suffering husband "nobody says no to Helen!") Professor Malata requested that we register with his preferred Oncologist and riding on the high of becoming part of his surgical plan we were probably a little unprepared for the conversation.
Don't get me wrong, Dr Russell was probably one of the best Doctors I've met so far. He has an ingenious way of delivering a serious message in an unthreatening way. He quickly realised that I love a p-value as much as the next nerd and we spent a good 30 minutes having a good-old geek-off reviewing cancer statistics, survival rates etc. What I quickly came to realise was that his message wasn't coated in sugar. He very bluntly but honestly told me that his job is to keep me alive until they find a cure.
Luckily for me, the lifestyle changes that I've made have upped my chances considerably and he's working hard to get me accepted onto a clinical trial which has shown some very encouraging prognosis improvements for post-menopausal survivors - yes, you read it right, I am now post-menopausal......bastard cancer.
So, in summary. You're going to see a massive increase in my fundraising efforts because I have more motivation than most, I want to watch my beautiful daughter grow up and would really appreciate your help x