Islands in the stream

Two weeks ago I was sitting in a tepee sheltering from the rain at a festival when my phone beeped and I received a notification from the blog site that my blog traffic had significantly increased. Somewhat surprised, I logged on to find out why this might be. Before I go in to that, let me explain why all of that first sentence is somewhat bewildering to me. First of all, I booked the festival last year, when I thought I had kicked cancer’s arse.  Post the secondary diagnosis I never know from one week to the next how I am going to be feeling, so there were many times when I thought I wouldn’t make it to the festival at all.  Secondly, I thought I would be sheltering from the sun and the heatwave, the fact it was raining for the first time in two months was somewhat ironic. Thirdly, I am still amazed by 4G and what my phone can do, but I am easily pleased when it comes to technology.

The blog traffic increase came about because the week previously I had contacted Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now to tell them about my blog, just in case they thought it might be of interest or useful to anybody else.  Unbeknown to me, that Saturday, whilst I was sitting in a field listening to music, Breast Cancer Care published a link to my blog on their Facebook page. I continue to be amazed by the response to that.  Their post has now received over 800 likes. My blog readership basically doubled over night from just over 1,000 views to nearly 2,500.  The numbers are really irrelevant. I received many comments and messages of support from so many people and particularly women like myself who find themselves in this god forsaken position. I think I was more surprised by the questions I received. I am not an expert and I can only talk about my experiences.  It makes me realise what a lonely place this can be.  It doesn’t matter how many websites you look at or booklets you read, sessions you attend or questions you ask your medical team, ultimately, sometimes you just need reassurance from somebody who knows how it feels.  One email that stood out to me came as I emerged from the festival haze, it read “Reading your initial entries is the first time I’ve felt like someone else knows what my last few months has been like….  your story has given me hope“. I can’t tell you how proud I am of that.

I am learning the value of community and shared experience, and for this fiercely independent single girl who has spent a lifetime trying to demonstrate I can do it myself, this may prove to be the most important lesson of all.

Lessons from a festival: 1) You can’t have too much glitter 2) You can’t wear too many animal prints 3) You can get your fake tan very wrong 4) Ferris wheels on your own are fun…

Normally at this point I would give an update on treatment, but, and how great is this, I don’t have anything to say. Nothing has happened since last time. I am having my scheduled week off the targeted therapy then I go to the treatment centre next week and that will be the first time for a month.  Bloody marvellous.

I have used my treatment window to take another trip to Wales. Amongst other “benefits” available to people with my type of secondary cancer (and I use that term very loosely) I now have a disabled persons railcard. I also have a blue badge, but that’s just depressing. The point being, I went to Wales on the train.  Anyone who has ever left my flat with me will know my total inability to travel light.  What’s the point when you can fill your car boot with things you might need? I figured I may need to make friends with public transport so I packed a little bag and set off on my travels.  Wales was lovely as always and we had some great GozFam times.

Lessons from my trip to Wales: 1) Don’t try to nap with a collie in the room 2) When baking with blackberries, be sure to find all the worms first. I didn’t.

Wishing you a happy bank holiday.

Big Love, AG xx



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