I started this blog as a way of processing my discovery that at the age of 38, I had developed breast cancer. I’m not the youngest of even my friends or family to have had it, nevertheless it was a shock.
I decided I wanted to deal with it by writing, because I’d always kept a diary and written poetry when I was younger. That allowed me to spend the time thinking about what I was dealing with in more depth and with less panic than I otherwise might have done. So, mixing my love of poetry and song lyrics with my need to talk about what was happening, I created “Alice, what’s the matter?”.
A lumpectomy, 8 rounds of chemo and a BRCA genetic test later, I got a double mastectomy and some new boobs. At some point, I’ll have to have my ovaries removed, too, as I’m BRCA2, which carries 30% risk of ovarian cancer.
After my op, I used redundancy money to do some travelling in the form of a number of trips, each with different friends – which was lovely. I also got involved in fundraising and admin tasks for a charity, Keeping Abreast, and then with 4 online twitter friends, set up @bccww (Breast Cancer Chat World Wide) in 2014. It is steadily gaining followers and has been a useful support network for me.
Two years on from my own chemo, my Mum’s also been through chemo and has secondaries / mets. The good thing to come out of having to go through all that is that I have been much more able to support her through the various moments in her treatment where she needed to understand something better or make decisions.
In 2015 I pledge to:
- post more often! If I’m not on here, come and chat to me on Twitter: @AliceWTMatter
- engage with still more people who have had similar experiences
- continue to search for natural beauty products that are safe for ER+ people like me to use
- organise a Tweetup support meeting in London for the #bccww followers who would like to meet
Mostly though, I’d like to inspire people to make the most of everything they do have in their lives.