When Cancer Ruined My Day A Bit

There’s no point lying about it, cancer ruined my day a bit on Tuesday.

There was I, remaining positive and upbeat and feeling like I could definitely take the nonsense in my stride, when I got hit by a speeding freight train of emotion and found myself sobbing in the toilets at work. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as many emotions at any one time. And if you know me well, you’ll know that I usually feel a lot of emotions (never really got past my Something Corporate, Funeral For a Friend emo phase, my taste in music just got better and I learned how to do subtle eyeliner).

I hadn’t actually cried about cancer all that much. I’d had a bit of a weep here and there, but I think the shock of my diagnosis meant that I hadn’t really processed it. No matter how many times you tell yourself “I’ve got breast cancer” it still doesn’t really seem all that real, til you’re on the 521 from London Bridge to Waterloo having just agreed with a surgeon to have your entire boob removed in less than two weeks, and someone sends you a really bloody nice email. Then you start to sob a little bit and then the sodding flood gates open and you’re not sure you’re ever actually going to stop crying.

I felt like I was facing a future, not as a woman with one fake cheb, but as a woman who was constantly damp from her relentless tears and who drowned the people around her with her insatiable sobbing. Anyway. That didn’t happen. And it turned out that actually, I just needed to give in. To let that emotion leave me. Cos now I feel better. Now I feel positive again. I honestly did cry enough to combat the great London hosepipe ban of 2012 (not sure if that’s even a thing but there was a hosepipe ban then, Wikipedia told me so).

It was never about not beating this thing – not for a second, don’t get me wrong. It was more the sheer overpowering of all of the nervous energy, fear, exhaustion and general emotion of the last two weeks that came flooding out in every direction. It was the size of the decision I was being forced to make at 26 years old. It’ll come again. I’ll try to resist it again. But at this point, it’s alright to let myself do whatever I need.

So as you can probably guess from the above, I have made the decision to have a mastectomy on my right boob. The choice was entirely mine. When the surgeon said that if he had a clone of me with the same cancer, did a lumpectomy (just removing the bad tissue) on one and a mastectomy (taking off the whole boob) on the other, the outcome would be exactly the same, but the Alice who had the mastectomy was less likely to get cancer in the future, it was a no brainer. So on 3rd August 2015, I will say ta’ra to my right boob. I’ll be taken down to theatre, where they’ll take out all of the bad tissue, leaving behind the nip, and pop in an implant in in the same surgery. Then I’ll wake up with a new boob. How incredible is that?!

Recovery is going to be about 6 weeks. There’s going to be drains and brusing and sleeping in a bra. There are going to be scars. But the cancer will be gone! And after that, I’ll start having chemo, probably towards the end of September. Which means I can keep my hair on my terms for a bit longer, and I won’t be bald on my birthday. And I won’t be having chemo on my birthday. And I’ll probably be largely recovered from the surgery on my birthday. So even though I won’t be in Sri Lanka this year as originally planned, it probably couldn’t have worked out much better.

I’m going to try and post something non- cancer related before surgery. But I might not have chance. Or I might just want to keep talking about “the nonsense” (because this is really, very cathartic, soz guys).

In other news, I’d also really like to try and make #checkyourchebs a thing. If you have Twitter, I’d love it if you could share my story using the hashtag so more young women can get into the habit of checking themselves regularly. Breast cancer does only affect 1 in 2000 women under 29, but so many people have told me they’re guilty of not checking themselves regularly that it’s clear we need to do something about it. Breast cancer does tend to affect older ladies but it can happen to us too and catching this thing early has made a world of difference to my treatment plan and prognosis. I think it’s also important to add here – if you’ve been putting off your smear, it’s time to get that booked in too. If you’re a woman who is over 25, you should have had a letter from your GP inviting you to a clinic. Just go. It’s 10 minutes of mild discomfort but your health is worth so much more than that. Allow me a second to just get down from my high horse before we move on…

I’m also going to start a “boobsaurus” – a list of all of the words for boobs I can possibly think of. Drop your ideas in the comments below, and look out for a new page on the blog with ’em all listed real soon. Maybe I’ll try and find a prize for the first person to give me a word I’ve never heard of before…

And lastly, thanks for all the amazing comments you’ve been leaving on my blog recently. I haven’t got back to them all – but I will.



16 thoughts on “When Cancer Ruined My Day A Bit

  1. Ann Downie says:

    Hi Alice, I’m Chris Shaw’s Mum. I have recently lost my husband (Chris’ Stepdad), quite often I can wallow in how we have been left behind to recover from the loss. I just wanted to say, after reading this blog, I will make a conscious effort not to wallow as much. Such an inspiration. I think your positive attitude will get you through this time and you will come out of the other end with a glowing life to look forward to. I will keep my eye on your journey and send you much love n hugs xxxxxxx

    • alicemaypurkiss says:

      Hi Ann,
      Thanks so much for stopping by to read my blog.

      I followed the story of Yan’s disappearance closely and I was so sorry to hear when he didn’t come home safely to you. I lost my grandma last year and know how easy it is to get lost in grief and that’s totally fine to do! You should never punish yourself for feeling such strong emotions – it just shows how important that person was to you.

      Thanks again for stopping by, I will be thinking of you. I found a great poem called Away by James Whitcombe Riley just after I lost my Grandma and it helped me an awful lot.

      Lots of love to you and thank you for your kind words – they give me such strength.

      Alice xx

      • Ann downie says:

        Thank you my love. It’s amazing when you go through certain struggles in life, just how many people really do care about you, people you have never met, people you don’t think care that much. My own support has been immense and I am truly grateful for it and it helps through the bad times as I am sure you are finding yourself. I Send much love, hugs, kisses and strength to you Alice and I look forward to hearing about you getting better and eventually having children (that blog amused me) 😘😘😘😘😘

  2. Luc De Brouwer says:

    Personally, I think you’re making the bravest and wisest decision possible. And, to be honest, just let those tears flow. Not a lot of people can even imagine what you’re going through, and for you to bottle up all those emotions, that can’t be healthy/good. I’m pretty damn sure nobody is expecting you to go through this skipping merrily. You’re kicking ‘the nonsense’ in the balls, you’re beating this. In my book that makes you pretty fucking awesome.

    x L

    Also, my contribution to the boobsaurus (which coincidentally sounds like the most awesome dinosaur ever):
    – Breasticles
    – Chesticles

    • alicemaypurkiss says:

      Ahhh Luc. You are wonderful. I still stand by my decision (good job after surgery lol) but you’re right that having a good old sob once in a while is the healthiest thing to do! Thanks so much friend xx

  3. Josie says:

    Hey Alice, just to say that I think you’re wonderful and such an inspiration, your blog just now made me a little teary-eyed but I’m happy to hear that things are on the up and that it hopefully won’t be long until the nonsense is defeated! Keep truckin’! If I had Twitter I would totally be hash tagging, think it’s a fab idea! Instead, I’ll share on Facebook! Sending you lots of love xxx

    • alicemaypurkiss says:

      Thanks so much Josie! I would encourage you to join Twitter but it’s another way to waste time – so maybe you’re better off without it haha! Much love to you pretty lady, thanks for sharing the blog and #checkyourchebs message 🙂 xxx

  4. grannaof4 says:

    Hi Alice
    There are lots of great people out there who will give you support. May I recommend you find Younger Breast Cancer Network on Facebook. Great bunch of young ladies who know about what you are going through. Best wishes for the op, and I will be following your blog. Lynne xx

    • alicemaypurkiss says:

      Hi Lynne,
      Thanks so much for stopping by, I have found the YBCN and absolutely agree they are an incredible source of support. Thank you for the recommendation. Thank you also for the well wishes – doing well post op so they seem to be working! Alice xx

  5. grannaof4 says:

    Hi Alice!
    There are lots of groups out there who will give great support. May I recommend Younger Breast Cancer Network on Facebook. I am not a member but I have met some of them, and they are a great bunch of young ladies who have been in your position. Wishing you all the best for the op, and life beyond it,
    Lynne x

  6. Sam says:

    Would love to write like you and to be able to offer fantastic uplifting words but I can’t so I won’t ..
    But I can add to your boobsaurus (see I do have talents!!)
    With an old family name . We called them disdats
    As in when breast feeding ” which one you want? Dis or dat ?

    • alicemaypurkiss says:

      Disdats is definitely one of my favourite additions to the boobsaurus to date! I had never heard it before (cos it’s a family name I guess) but love it so much! Thank you for the suggestion, it’s on there 🙂 xx

  7. Michelle thomas says:

    Hi Alice I would just like to say what an inspiration you are, what lovely words, brought a tear to my eye, the best of luck with your treatment chick
    Michelle xxxxxxxx

  8. Joy Wignall says:

    Hello Alice.
    What an inspiration you are, I only hope the #checkyourchebs takes off, it can only be a good thing.
    Hope you had an amazing Total Warrior challenge and raised loads in memory of your amazing Grandma, you obviously have a few of the Tye genes in you!!
    Good luck with the operation.
    I will keep up with your blog, and no doubt news of you from the Clark clan.
    Best wishes, Joy x

    • alicemaypurkiss says:

      Hey Joy,
      Thanks for stopping by to read my blog and for the well wishes! Total Warrior was amazing – I was so proud of the troops! There were strong Tye genes flying about all over the place. Hope you’re well 🙂 xx

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