Month: April 2014

Breast cancer lesson number 77: What happened when the wig went to town (with me in tow)

Today, I introduced Suzie to the world (for anyone not familiar with my furry wiggy friend, you can find out all about her in lesson number 57).

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Suzie did well. I am not sure we will make the best of friends (although I am trying) and I doubt very much that she will be accompanying me on many adventures over the coming months, but for her ability to make me blend in and mask the fact I have toxic drugs flowing through my bloodstream, she does deserve a gold star (or maybe just a nice brush!).

It’s amazing what a bit of acrylic can do to make you feel quite self-conscious. Strangely, while you could argue she makes me look more ‘like myself’ than I have done in weeks, I have never felt less so. I guess ‘like myself’ is now what lies beneath, not the pixie cut I left behind on the salon floor a fortnight ago.

When I’m in my wig, I feel like I am pretending to be someone I’m not and I am afraid of being found out. This is not helped by the fact Suzie doesn’t actually move naturally and makes me look a bit like a Wallace and Gromit extra than a real well-coiffed person. I feel like the hair is an act, when the hats and the baldness are now part of who I am. Suzie is also like a hot hairy shower cap (although I am told she’s pretty convincing) and, quite frankly, who wants to walk about town in one of those?!

To try and get used to Suzie, I tested her out on the nurses at the cancer day unit first thing (I had planned to put back-up hats in my bag, but left them on the sofa, so it was hair or no hair). It felt like a safe environment given 80% of the hair in there is probably acrylic. The nurse flushing my PICC line didn’t even blink, but I am not sure she recognised me, even though we laughed all the way through my blood test last week (when I was sporting a blue hat).

I am delighted to report I kept my hair on throughout the dressing change and the following journey into town (although at one point I had a burning desire to whip it off). I did nearly dislodge her once when taking off my scarf and I looked a bit like I’d been dragged through a hedge backwards by the time I got to my front door (thanks wind), but she did hold her own. And, for that, I will be forever grateful to the lovely Suzie.

Back home and back to bald and I couldn’t be happier (never thought I’d ever say that)! Even Duncan is starting to come round to the idea of me having less hair than him. They say blondes have more fun. I am starting to disagree.

While writing this post, I typed ‘bald quotes’ into Google (as you do!) and just have to share the quote that popped up when I did: ‘experience is the comb we receive after we’ve lost our hair’. I say bring on the comb, because my hair’s coming back…

Breast cancer lesson number 76: Why being healthy doesn’t automatically make you happy… and why it should

Back in September 2007, when a surgeon decided to saw my pelvis in three and reshape my hip socket, I vowed I would never take walking for granted again. I renewed that vow when, in December of that year, I was stood in my parent’s kitchen with no crutches trying to remember how to put one foot in front of the other (it was surprisingly hard). I thought that being able to walk without pain would somehow make me ecstatically happy. The truth is, beyond the odd twinge and few bad shoe decisions, I haven’t really thought about walking (let alone felt happy about it) for the last five years.

Will I be noticeably happier when my current health problems are tucked away in another of life’s closed chapters? Experience tells me I won’t. Of course, I’ll have hair, an immune system, a nipple and maybe some nicely manicured nails. But, when the badge of good health is stamped on my medical records (or I just get a nice letter telling me to come back in a year), I will probably do what every other human being on this planet does ­– I’ll just find something else to worry out.

Good health, when you’ve got it, doesn’t buy you happiness. That’s because, when you’re healthy, you don’t really think about it. When was the last time you randomly thanked your pancreas for working and your heart for beating or stroked your feet because they got you to the bus on time? The sad fact is, when our bodies work, we take them for granted, punish them and expect them to keep going. We don’t think about them until they go wrong. And when they do, we find it hard to think about anything else.

Of course, while being healthy doesn’t guarantee us a space on cloud nine, the subject is not quite so straightforward. When you feel good, you have the strength to chase dreams and seek out things that can bring happiness. And in the same way, when health problems strike, unhappiness can spread like a disease. Happiness and health are linked, but not in the way you might expect.

Just being healthy might not be enough to make most humans happy, but there are so many reasons why it should. I can’t say that I won’t take my health for granted again when the scars have faded and I can taste food once more, because I know I will. I am only human after all. So, I want to take this moment to thank my body for putting up a good fight when obstacles are thrown in its path. Having seen a lot of people less fortunate than myself over the last few months, I am grateful that I can sleep without pain, walk to the shops without collapsing and go home at the end of my treatments. I am lucky that I can enjoy a sunset, listen to birds in the garden and smell the dinner cooking in the oven. Right now, the thought of all that good health brings, is making me very happy indeed.

So today, raise a glass (of water) to good health. Let it buy you a moment of happiness. If you have it, grab it, hold it tight and don’t let it go. You never know when you might lose it. And, if you don’t, I pray that one day you will find it again.

Breast cancer lesson number 75: Don’t wait for the storm to pass. Learn to dance in the rain

This morning I made a mistake. Instead of comforting myself after a night of restless sleep (bald heads, sleep caps and hot flushes do not great bedfellows make) and a day without tastebuds, I stood on the scales. My first day back at work after chemo two decided to wreak havoc on my bloodstream and I started it by making myself feel bad – rather than by making myself the cup of tea I probably deserved. Don’t ask me why I did it. Let’s just say, I won’t be doing it again.

Having now experienced two rounds of the toxic stuff, I have decided that chemotherapy is the medical equivalent of a dementor (feel free to swot up on your Harry Potter knowledge here). Ok, so it’s not exactly a figment of my imagination or a creature of the night and, I appreciate its main target is cancer cells and not my soul, but I do think that if you let it take hold and define your life, chemo will drain you of the hope and happiness you need to keep going. After all, anything that steals away your ability to taste food, sleep well and think straight is not going to be high up there on the Christmas card list.

The trouble with chemo is that if you can only feel happy when you feel yourself, you might be in for a very very long wait. While I am not a big fan of the fact my eggs taste like cardboard, the skin is peeling off my mouth and I am now only at the right temperature when my leg is hanging out of the bed, I know that I need my positivity as much as I need the drugs. Chemo, with its systematic destruction of the body, does not care whether you smile when you wake up in the morning, so you have to.

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While there is no magic Patronus charm (apologies to all non Harry Potter lovers out there) to snap you out of that bad start and banish the toxins from your bloodstream, here are five tiny top tips for taking control away from the chemo 

1) Get your kit on: I may be sporting a rather odd combination of suntops, a sweater and a fluffy poncho to keep warm, but I didn’t sleep in it, so that makes it clothing!Dress for the day and you’ll find it a lot less daunting.

2) Open those curtains: Clouds or no clouds, daylight is always more inviting when you can actually see it. Let it in and it might just lift your spirits.

3) Variety is the spice of life: There is more to life than the sofa, even if it is your current place of work. A day without structure and a change of pace will probably never be a day you wish to repeat.

4) If you have time for Facebook, you have time for exercise: It doesn’t have to involve lycra, and sweat is purely optional, but it’s amazing what even a bit of stretching can do for the mind, body and soul. I’m looking forward to pilates later.

5) Make the little things matter: from an unexpected piece of news and a kind message to a perfectly fried egg (even one you can’t taste), the little things often make the biggest impression.

Of course, sometimes it’s just not possible to change the course of a day. But even if chronic fatigue, mouth ulcers, temperatures and sickness stand in your way today, just remember there is always tomorrow.Chemo isn’t conquered in a day. Don’t aim for 110% if 75% is all that’s needed. And, don’t feel guilty if the day you thought you’d have is not the one you end up living. For all its nastiness, chemo is at least trying to make sure you have lots of tomorrows.

And, one bonus tip: THERE IS NOTHING TO BE GAINED BY STANDING ON THE SCALES ON A MONDAY MORNING AFTER EATING A LOT OF TASTELESS AND UNSATISFYING THINGS THE NIGHT BEFORE!

Chemo or no chemo, it’s a rare day that brings with it the right amount of sunshine. It’s up to you to find a break in the clouds or, better still, smile even when the rain falls.

Breast cancer lesson number 74: What to wear when you’ve got no hair

As much as I love my new nude maintenance-free do, it has forced me to develop a rather unhealthy obsession with the weather forecast (you should be impressed that I have written more than 70 blog posts and not mentioned this very British subject). After all, this is England, the land of unpredictable weather. And, while I appreciate there are much more challenging climates, as someone who is known to burn when it’s cloudy in February, I have to be careful not to expose my baldie look to England’s elements all too often.

In an attempt to keep my head warm (and not burnt), I have surrounded myself in a various assortment of hats and scarves (still haven’t made it out in Suzie yet) to match my mood and my colour preferences. I am not sure whether London thinks I’m trying out multiple personalities, making a style statement or just perfecting my ‘ill’ look. Whatever the onlookers think, as long as I’m comfortable, having fun and feeling confident, that’s all that matters.

So, here’s me trying out a few new looks. This is the closest I will ever get to a fashion show, so please indulge me.

1) Meet Carrie. She’s my favourite.
Great for: work, play and everything in between (but maybe not pilates or sleeping). This one will probably be worn when the hair comes back

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2) You can’t beat a T-shirt for the head
Great for: daywear and sports and for head shape appreciation

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3) A scarf a day makes your cares drift away
Great for: hot summer days and elaborate knot-tying experiments

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4) Should the English sun make an appearance, I am prepared! 
Great for: the great outdoors

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5) Just because everyone needs to feel like they’ve stepped out of a Poirot movie at one time in their life
Great for: special occasions

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6) It gets cold at night
Great for: bedtime and lazy Sunday afternoons 

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If you hair is clinging on for dear life, all I can say is, have a play. And, if it’s not, it might be about time you dusted off your summer hats to see whether you’re making the most of your head shape. For the first time in my life, I know I am.

Enjoy! 

 

Breast cancer lesson number 73: Cancer strips away the things we think define us and, in so doing, shows us who we really are

It seems rather appropriate that, while everyone is chomping on the last of their Easter chocolate, my head should start to resemble that of a spring chicken.

Since the number two head shave, the darkish brown (even the odd black) spiky strands have disappeared, only to be replaced by what I can only describe as a bit of blonde baby fluff and a lot of baldness. It’s not shiny, I now have less hair than all the babies I have met in the last few weeks (I just wish they could talk so we could share tips) and Duncan still insists I move seamlessly from the sleep cap to the day headwear, so he doesn’t have to experience the ‘ill look’ too often. For him, it makes my invisible illness visible. For me, it’s a sign the drugs are working.

With the quickest haircare routine ever, I am still finding the whole hairloss side of treatment quite liberating. So, I have decided it is perfect timing to share my no make-up selfie with the world. I appreciate I am about a month or so behind, but having already donated a good few pounds to breast cancer charities recently, I didn’t really feel the need to yank on my hair to speed up the process. This, for me, is the true face of cancer. It can’t be masked with make-up. It’s a face that suggests that I’m fighting, but that won’t ever give away quite how much. It’s a face that looks well, but, in truth, it’s not a face I ever thought I’d see (especially not in my early 30s).

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I am lucky in that I have never been defined by my looks. I am also lucky in many ways that cancer has chosen to give me a glimpse of a life without hair to show me just how little any of this image stuff really matters. I never thought I’d say this, but I am more comfortable in my own skin now that I can see a lot more of it.

Throughout my childhood, I was teased for having the wrong straw-like hair, the wrong complexion, the wrong waist and hip measurements and a raised birthmark on my neck that made people point and stare. I felt out of place in my gym kit, out of place in my leotard or swimming costume and without a real place in life. I used to envy all the girls with their beautifully braided hair, flat stomachs, fashionable clothes and string of admirers. I used to dream of waking up as someone people would want to be. Now, I couldn’t dream of being anyone else.

Strange as it may seem, cancer has made me take one long hard look in the mirror and come away smiling. Cancer strips away the things we think define us and, in so doing, shows us who we really are. Cancer hasn’t made me stronger or happier, but it has let me see just how strong and happy I really am.

I no longer search for beauty in a perfectly-styled hairdo or glossy lips. I look for beauty behind the eyes. Anyone can paint on a vision of happiness or hide away under a layer of foundation. But beautiful people can laugh and smile without seeking the reassurance of others or the support that comes with a brightly-coloured lipstick.

So maybe, just maybe, you might like to ditch the make-up on more than one occasion this year. You don’t have to post it on Facebook and you don’t have to donate money every time you leave the mascara at home. But, you might just surprise yourself and discover that your real beauty doesn’t come from a tube of tinted moisturiser. It’s been there all along waiting for you to stop covering it up.

Thank you cancer, for making me feel beautiful. And, I hope that by reading this, you might learn to love the skin you’re in – hairless or otherwise!

Breast cancer lesson number 72: Set your boobs free!

Nine weeks ago today I was on the slab being separated from my cancer. Nine weeks on and I have been celebrating in a small, but meaningful way. Firstly (and not really related but worth a mention) by not vomiting for 24 hours straight thanks to the anti-nausea medication. And, secondly, by sleeping without my post-surgery bra for the first time.

Going ‘au naturel’ or braless in bed is another of those cancer milestones that doesn’t often get a look in, surrounded as it is chemo sickness stories and hairless updates. But, as a step towards the new ‘post-active-treatment’ normal to which I am heading, it feels like another great big tick on the cancer checklist.

My post-surgery bra and I have had some good times together. It may have aged me in the bra department by a good 30 years, but with its healing fibres and its soft fabric, it has been a loyal friend. So much so, that I could have stopped wearing it in bed a few weeks back, but chose to extend our relationship just that little bit longer. I have purposely chosen not to post it here so as not to scare off the male followers among you.

Before you question my hygiene levels, I did have two identical post-surgery bras (best to go up a back size when choosing just to give you added comfort around the swelling). I am delighted to report that they are now both in a drawer, replaced with a new non-wired bra for the daytime (another mini milestone). A good three months without wire is the recommendation and then I get to take a call on whether to return back to the underwired bras of my pre-cancer life, or opt for a lifetime of comfort. As someone who only wears heels on special occasions (and is known to walk like I’m drunk before I’ve had a drop when I do due to my rather special hips) it might be comfort all the way from now on. Last thing I want is a bit of wire digging into my new fat-filled boobie.

It will be a while before I get a nipple and any final nips and tucks. I will have a fleshy mound for a good six months post radiotherapy, so the tissue and skin have time to settle down. I should be seeing my surgeon again in a few months, however, to discuss these little reconstruction extras and, most importantly, get me added to the waiting list for day surgery next year. When your life is no longer dependent on surgery, the NHS waiting list system comes back into play. I wonder just how many nipple-less woman are currently waiting their turn for a manipulated bit of skin and a pinky tattoo?

So, to all reconstruction ladies out there I say, love your post-surgery bra (and pick wisely – I highly recommend my Royce one), but also love the day it comes off. It means you’re one step further away from the ‘patient’ label and one step closer to those post-cancer comforts.

As a side point, if anyone knows of any beautiful and comfortable non-wired bras, please do get in touch. They seem a little hard to find. 

Breast cancer lesson number 71: You may be sore today, but you can be strong again tomorrow

I have only been sick three times in my life. That is, until about 12 hours ago. FEC chemo two brought with it more pink pee, another ice-cream headache and, yes, you guessed it, a bit more vomit than I’d bargained for (three lots so far!). Thank goodness a) I can read my body well enough to avoid the bedding and the new mattress and b) I had an old washing up bowl by the bed (just in case).

Having experienced nausea in cycle one, I went into yesterday’s session prepared. With an extra dose of anti-sickness medication, I wasn’t even expecting to feel sick, let alone be sick. Just goes to show that, when it comes to chemo, even the best laid plans can prove fruitless.

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As with chemo cycle one, the session itself was really rather nice. I passed by blood test and had a good laugh with the nurses. I got my medication ahead of schedule and everyone seemed to like not just my pretty PICC line cover, but my chemo-friendly Shakespearean T-shirt too (it says: ‘Though she be but little she is fierce’ and it was bought for me by a kind and lovely friend).

Everything was going so well. I enjoyed my dinner and even managed a few Miniature Heroes for dessert. Then the side effects kicked in. They were two hours earlier than round one and they were more intense from the start. Once in bed, I had to lie flat. If I rolled to either side and I felt like a spirit level knocked off balance. I tried to deep breathe my way out of the nausea, but it wasn’t long before I was saying hello again to my chicken and rice supper.

My poor tummy (thank goodness I’m back at pilates so it didn’t hurt to retch) and I made it through the night (along with a very concerned Duncan and mum), only to be greeted by another pile of bile-coloured vomit. The worst bit is when you’re tummy is empty, you’ve got nothing left to give, but your body is still trying to expel something.

Eight pills, two glasses of flat lemonade, a cup of tea and two pieces of toast later and I am still (touching all wood available) keeping food down. Let’s hope that I may make it out of my pyjamas/sleep cap/dressing gown/slanket combo at some point and face the world today. And if I don’t, there’s always tomorrow.

This is the first day in a long time that I actually feel like a sick person. You can read it in my face and the bags under my eyes. You can see it lurking under my sleep cap. And, I can certainly taste it in my mouth. Chemo hasn’t defeated me, but it’s giving me a bit of a beating.

Today, I have one objective: avoid vomiting. Chemo drugs, I plan to put up a good fight.

Breast cancer lesson number 70: You can only play the opposition in front of you

I have always been one of life’s great worriers. Growing up, my favourite phrase (much to the frustration of my parents) was ‘what happens if…?’. If there’s an opportunity to obsess about something – from slugs and foxes to magazine deadlines – I’m there with my concerned face and (usually) my notebook!

That is, until now. Cancer, for all its flaws, has a way of putting life into sharp focus. It forces the mind to think about the only things that matter – namely life and death and how to enjoy one while avoiding the other. It certainly doesn’t eliminate worry, but it does have a way of helping you be a little more selective.

Cancer, and chemotherapy in particular, has given me a masterclass in a thing called ‘worthwhile worry’. This rather exciting strand of worry is related to concerns about events and side effects that are happening now and over which I have some control. There’s no ‘might’, ‘maybe’ or ‘what if’ in sight. Worthwhile worry, unlike 80% of the concerns that have filled up my diary over the years, is a good use of mental energy and it has a great way of pushing the unexpected phone engineer bills and missing parcels to the bottom of the pile.

Of course, I am not wishing life-threatening worries on anyone just so that they can let go of the empty washing-up liquid bottle and the overflowing laundry basket. But, I do think it is healthy to reflect on your existing list of concerns and challenge a few along the way. This year has already taught me that time is not for wasting. Time is not for throwing away thinking about things that might or could happen. Time is to be spent tackling the important obstacles that life has a habit of flinging in our direction. If it isn’t, you’ll look back and realise that you’ve got a few more unnecessary wrinkles and no time left to straighten them out!

As FEC chemotherapy cycle number two approaches, I am not worried about the side effects or just how pink my pee will be by 7pm this evening. I may not pass the pre-chemo blood test. I may react badly. But, the only thing I know will happen is that, whatever comes my way, I will get through it. I know about mouth ulcers and I have a stocked medicine cabinet to prove it. I have so little hair on my head, there’s not much more to take. I have a tub full of queasy drops and I’m not afraid to use them. By starting my anti-sickness meds at lunchtime, I am hoping I can stop the nausea in its tracks. I am prepared based on the experience of chemo cycle one. I will take it one day at a time. And, if other side effects wish to join the party, I will worry about them only when – and not if – they occur. Go into it relaxed and you’ll have far more energy to tackle those nasty little surprises.

Duncan was spot on when he said: ‘you can only play the opposition in front of you’. It’s something I plan to do today and for the rest of my life – and I hope you do too. Worry about tomorrow once you’ve got the real problems of today out the way. And, if tomorrow doesn’t look too demanding, don’t worry about it at all. That way, you’ll have more time to spend smiling and being productive and more strength for those worthwhile worries when they do come along. Because, rest assured, they will.

Breast cancer lesson number 69: When your ovaries are at stake, do what needs to be done

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While most people were on their way to work in the Capital today, I was on a quick detour (also on my way to the office I hasten to add). Yes, it involved the hospital. And, yes it involved this rather exciting gold box.

Now don’t be deceived by its shiny exterior. Inside this box is one of the largest and strangest syringes I have ever seen – and would ever want to see. That’s because, like a lot of syringes, it’s not designed to administer liquid. Instead, it houses an implant (a small pellet) that needs to be injected under the skin to release a drug called Goserelin. In the hands of a nurse with no local anaesthetic cream (and only a side and not a stomach in which to inject said implant), there is only one outcome – and it’s pretty painful.

Why would I want to inflict this optional pain on myself I hear you ask? Well, if you’ve followed my fertility journey, you’ll know that Goserelin (otherwise known as Zoladex) is all part of the try-to-stop-cancer-taking-away-my-fertility plan. Even though we have embryos in the freezer, we would still rather not use them. Zoladex is a synthetic version of a natural hormone that controls how the ovaries work. By switching off the production of oestrogen, it suppresses the ovaries and sends women into an artificial early menopause (hot flushes here we come). Just when you thought you’d had enough of side effects, it throws in a few more!

Now, it’s not the first time I have received this injection (the first one was alluded to in lesson number 42). I have already had a hot flush and I still have three more to go. But, it is the first time I’ve not just slotted it alongside other news of the day. And that’s because, it’s a big syringe, with an even bigger role to play. Nobody wants to sit in the chemo chair thinking they haven’t done everything they can to protect their ovaries and their chance of bringing children into the world. Everyone undergoing chemo should be given the choice, where appropriate, to go up against this oversized needle and endure a period of self-inflicted hot flushes. If the prospect of being able to have children fades before your eyes, you’ll know just why this gold box deserves a little post all to itself. Goserelin is not just a side note in the fight against cancer. It’s a star.

This box also reminds me of just how amazing medicine really is. We often take it for granted as we’re popping our paracetamol and rubbing in our ibuprofen gel. But, medicine has given us hope where are bodies have tried to take it away. Medicine knows how to trick cancer cells – and kill them. Medicine is the reason I can still picture myself changing nappies. And, most importantly, medicine is the reason I am alive today. I am in awe.

Read the Goserelin (Zoladex) factsheets and they sometimes say that the use of the drug during chemotherapy is still something currently being tested as part of clinical trials. Apparently oncologists don’t all agree about its use in this context. I’m not an expert, but I am writing this because I want to help others in my situation find out about the options. You may not be able to receive the drug (or have it recommended to you), but now you know to ask – and that’s all that matters. You also know not to look inside the box or at the needle. You just need to do what needs to be done.

In every other way, it was a normal day at the office. But, as I sat there answering emails and discussing visuals, I couldn’t help but smile at the throbbing in my side. Inside that little pellet is where the magic of medicine really comes into play. It may not work for me, but I will always know I gave it my best shot.

If you are interested in finding out more about the fertility journey as part of cancer treatment, I have written a blog for Breast Cancer Care. Here’s the link in case you find it of use: http://bit.ly/1gnEnyq

Breast cancer lesson number 68: Don’t count the days until the end of active treatment. Make every day count.

This weekend I went for a run (although I guess jog/walk might be a more accurate statement). Ok, so I realise that in most households, this wouldn’t be headline news. But, if I tell you that, due to my hip, this is the first time in more than a decade that I’ve actually given my trainers more than just a light workout, you’ll see why it’s pretty significant. I’m slow, but at least I’m lapping everyone on the sofa.

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One of my biggest fears throughout this entire process is weight gain. I’ve been there. I’ve got the T-shirt. I gained more than a stone after hip surgery. And, I remember how much it hurt me when the clothes didn’t fit and the scales wouldn’t lie.

I went into chemotherapy with a body bruised from major surgery. Chemotherapy (contrary to popular opinion) does not tend to make you shed the pounds. The combination of steroids, appetite and fatigue-related side effects has led to people gaining stones not pounds. I say, not this time. The side effects have been kind so far, so I am taking advantage. Cancer already messed up my wardrobe once, and once is enough.

I am, however, not just running to keep the weight off. Every post-surgery recovery step I take is a step with a purpose. On Sunday 13 July I will be dragging my PICC line and my wonderful fiancée around the streets of London to raise money for Breast Cancer Care. Yes, it’s just 10k. Yes, it might sound more like a sightseeing tour than a serious race. But, for someone with a hip full of metal and chemotherapy drugs coursing through her veins (I will be 5 cycles in by race day) this is my iron man.

I am not a runner, but I am determined to give it my best shot to raise funds for a charity that has not just provided the literature to help me make informed decisions about my treatment but also given me the confidence to smile through hair loss. They have already done so much for me and I don’t want to wait until the end of active treatment to do something for them.

This charity – along with two school friends who reconnected with me earlier this year and are running the muddy version of the Race for Life to help fight cancer – is my inspiration.

Why run if I am not a runner? Running is my nemesis. Growing up I was teased for the way I walk (a walk I still have). In my twenties, I was worried I’d never run again when my leg started to fail me. I entered this race in 2006, but my hip pain meant I never made the starting line. If pain has done anything for me, it has made me a fighter. I will fight every step of this course for every person who has battled cancer and for every person with hip problems that can’t run the distance. This time, only the finish line will do. It won’t be fast. It won’t be graceful. It will hurt. But, if I can smile through eight months of cancer treatment, I can smile through this.

So, whether you can donate a few pounds, fancy coming to London on race day to cheer us on or feel like running the course too, I would be so grateful for any support. Click here for Justgiving page link if you’d like to donate or send me an email on jackie_scully@hotmail.com if you’d like to get involved on race day. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Together we can help more people smile through cancer.