Two years ago today, a rancid collection of tumorous cells were dividing at a rate of knots and attacking my lymphatic system as Nathan and I tried, in vain, to get the doctors to take us seriously. At this point I'd seen two GP's and a specialist private consultant - although I was persistently patronised and fobbed-off at every appointment, I steadfastly refused to give up. I'd found the lump in September but it would take until 30th December to finally get a diagnosis.
The very thought of that makes me feel physically sick with a mix of rage and relief. My story is one of survival through tenacity and determination but sadly there are so many who don't get that chance. As I count down the days to my reconstructive surgery and what I hope will mark the end of my surgical marathon, I look back on the last 18 months and still genuinely believe that it happened to somebody else. I don't see myself as a cancer survivor, I don't want people to wear ribbons for me or share infuriating Facebook posts about how much they hate cancer, I want people to learn from my experience - Doctors are not infallible and you owe it to your family to make a nuisance of yourself until you get to the right outcome.
Although I would never, ever want to go through this experience again, I can't help thinking that cancer has changed me for the better. I have finished a Masters, won an industry award and bagged myself an awesome new job. Some may say it's coincidence, others may consider it karma, I think it's a louder inner-voice. I am no longer willing to compromise on what's important as life is too damn short.
So if you're debating whether or not to make that next career move or you're worried about upsetting the doctor who isn't taking you seriously, just remember how fragile life can be and who is counting on you to make it happen.