Wednesday, October 14, 2015

#ShowYourStrap - The two B's in my life

When I opened the first email asking me to write a blog about the Breast Cancer Awareness #ShowYourStrap campaign, I closed the email with a snap. When the second request dropped into my inbox I skim read it as I tried to ignore my bubbling anger.

But as I clicked on a third email when it arrived this morning I asked myself why? Why this anger?

…Yes breast cancer stopped me in my tracks; I bear the scars of surgery, a chemo change in hair colour and style. The tiny tattoos remind me of radiotherapy exactly a year ago. Aha typing Radiotherapy brings the knot of anger to the surface … I found it upsetting, frightening to be left, half naked, alone on a table. Terrified the fear and anxiety would cause a seizure while no one could see me. I sobbed when I was asked a week later if all was OK. Only then did a radiotherapist tell me they could see me on a camera!

But it is over now and the breast cancer, discovered on my 50th birthday screening mammogram, is 90 odd percent cured, well so they tell me and I choose to believe it.

In comparison my brain tumour changed everything about my life, I am reminded of it as limp my way through every day. I am reminded of the damage it did every time I fall over or trip up. And again each time another seizure rolls in to spoil my day... 

But there is no cure for my brain tumour, paralysed leg and epilepsy….all that is on offer is life changing surgery then yearly scans. Just wait and hope... But I am lucky my tumour is low grade so it grows slowly...

With my anger out on the table I can now calmly ponder over the fact that it is because of cancer research which is partly funded by charities, and the subsequent development in breast cancer treatments, that I was able to be given those high odds of a cure. And without a mastectomy, just an incredibly painful boob reduction and reshape!

As many of you will know, women have an average of 1 in 8 chance of developing breast cancer sometime in their lives. But only women who are considered high risk because of a family history are entitled to additional check ups which may help them to reduce this risk.

So Marks and Spencer’s in collaboration with Breast Cancer Now, have created the Something Good customer initiative. The aim is to raise over £13 million which will help scientists develop a tool to calculate an individual woman’s risk of breast cancer. Many women would then be offered a tailored risk reduction programme in a bid to prevent 9000 cases of breast cancer by 2025.

To kick it off, a social media initiative #ShowYourStrap is being launched alongside a new range of vibrant pink lingerie including a post surgery bra. This initiative has angered some women affected by breast cancer and an alternative #ShowYourScar has been used. So here is mine...
Brain Tumour Scar with hair loss from Breast Cancer!!

If you want to  #ShowYourStrap or #ShowYourScar take a selfie like me and text SUPPORT to 70003 to donate £3 then nominate friends and family… I have done mine will you?

Back to my anger…over 9300 people are diagnosed with brain tumours each year. But there is still no cure and less than 2% of cancer research funds are spent on brain tumours. Just 19% of adults survive for five years after diagnosis; in comparison more than 78% of women with breast cancer survive for ten or more years.

So if you would like to give money to brain tumour research click here to donate to the Jon Fredrickson Fund in the The Brain Tumour Charity.