Facing Cancer Blog
Katie asked our followers the questions below and assured that all answers would receive a response and certain ones would be posted in this blog with all names remaining anonymous.
"Have you or anyone close to you experienced any form of cancer? Do you have any questions that you have wanted to ask, but not sure who to ask?"
Facing cancer has happened twice to Katie, first cervical treated with a hysterectomy then breast cancer treated with breast removal and 6 rounds of chemotherapy all over 18 months. Two years on she wishes to reach out to anyone who is struggling with the illness. This is the next stage of her journey and hopefully a chance to turn that difficult part of her life into something positive.
If this is your first visit to Katie's Heart and you would like to learn more about Kate's story facing cancer please CLICK HERE
Katie has answered all of the questions, comments and kind words received and hopefully the answers have provided some comfort and an insight into coping with cancer.
"In your darkest hour, what kept you focussed?"
'I knew I was going to be unwell facing cancer for the next 8 months or so, I wanted to make sure that I could do everything to make my recovery quicker and easier on my body. That is what kept me focussed. I just knew I had to be strong so when I felt well enough I would do a little exercise as I love to keep active. This light exercise also helped my mind in between chemotherapy sessions.
I also love a party, so when I was well enough in between sessions but still stuck at home, I would put my tunes on extra loud, sing and do bit of cleaning. This is where I earned the nickname 'the one tit wonder!'
You have to laugh, it's the only way!
Work were very supportive so this was a good focus as I love my job and being around people. I wanted to get back to work and normality. I focussed on trying to carry on with day to day tasks to retain normality rather than dwelling on the bad days and being unwell.
Don't get me wrong there were some very dark days but I can honestly say there were more positive days than hard ones.'
"During the chemotherapy when did your hair fall out and did it all fall out at once?"
'It was about a week after my first round of chemo. It started to fall out in clumps from around my ears and the back of my neck. I noticed that more and more hair would fall out when I washed it, that's when I decided to get Dave's (my husband) clippers and shave it off. I didn't tell him I was going to do it, I just woke him up one morning with a bald head and we had a good laugh about it.
I didn't find that bit hard but it was worse losing my eyebrows and eyelashes. Until you lose them you don't realise how much they frame your face, that was the worst bit of facing cancer. Thanks to the support of Look Good Feel Better I learnt so many little tricks that you can do with make up when you have no eyebrows or lashes.
"How did you find out you had cervical cancer?"
'I had a few symptoms, tiredness, bleeding and pain. When I went to the GP they referred me to the Women's Unit at the hospital. If I'm really honest I left it a long time before I went to the GP as I was very scared and knew something wasn't right.
I went to have the biopsy but that day the doctor turned to me and said there is 90% chance of you having cervical cancer it would just have to be confirmed with the biopsy results. I wasn't shocked as I knew I had it. From that day I knew I had to be strong and just deal with it for myself, friends and family.
The hardest bit of that day was telling my family I was facing cancer! I knew I was going to have to have an operation and when I was having it but there were so many other things to think about. I wouldn't be able to have children and I wasn't sure how my body would change but I am here today to tell the story and that's what keeps me positive and focussed.'
"Was it hard going back to work with no hair?"
'The company I work for, Oasis, were amazing, so much love and support. It really didn't bother me I just wanted to focus on being myself again. I had an amazing looking wig but it was uncomfortable and made me so hot! I just wore a headscarf then I rocked some very short hair dos! At least now I know I can pull off any short hairstyle!
My advice to anyone facing cancer and the possibility of losing their hair would be do whatever is best for you. If you cannot face going out without the wig, then wear it. If like me it was more annoying than anything then don't bother. Focus on the fact that it is part of the process and it could be worse.
My favourite wig story - I had been at a charity fundraiser evening kindly organised by my amazing friends Deb & Clare Treasure. We got in the taxi home and along the dual carriage way I'd had enough of wearing my wig. I'd had a few, I pulled it off my head and said to Emma, "Ere'yar Em, shove that in ya bag will ya?" I'm not kidding the taxi driver swerved! I think my sudden bald head and Northern accent was too much for him! That story still makes me laugh every time I think of it!'
(for none Northerners that translates to 'Please can you look after my wig in your handbag?! Ha ha)
"What was worse the breast cancer or the cervical cancer?"
'For me it was the breast cancer only because I had to have chemotherapy. That was the hardest part of all of this as I am petrified of needles. Every two weeks I had to have my bloods taken then every three weeks I would have the chemo.
Both cancers are very different and have different recovery experiences. I am very active and love running and the gym and not being able to do that for 18 months was awful.'
"What would you say to someone who is going for a biopsy to then find out if they have cancer or not?"
'Just stay positive, keep a clear mind and write down the questions you want to ask before you go so you don't forget them. Take someone with you if you can.
I would say to people that haven't got any family or struggle to ask friends, use the Macmillan nurses and support groups, they are amazing. You can't go through it alone, you have to talk.'
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. Please feel free to contact Katie with any other questions you have. To find our email address and social media pages please CLICK HERE
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Blog - Facing Cancer