Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Suffrage, suffering and incredible women

So, today we celebrate the fact that it has been 100 years since women were given the right to vote. Our debt to them can never be paid. As this is a cancer blog, I thought I would take this opportunity to look back on the many women who have played a critical part in my cancer journey.


My breast cancer nurse
As part of the team who managed my first cancer, Triple Negative Breast Cancer, I was supported by a wonderful nurse who answered all my questions and responded quickly to any concerns or questions I had (and I had loads).

My neurosurgeon
A brilliant and highly skilled surgeon to whom I owe so much. I trusted this woman with my most valuable asset, my brain. She conducted not one, but two, life saving surgeries on my large malignant tumours. Her team are amazing too.

My radiotherapy advanced nurse practitioner
During my second burst of radiotherapy (Whole Brain Radiotherapy), I was so battered by this horrific treatment that I was literally brought to my knees. The head of the radiology team was a smart cookie and identified that my response to treatment was cause for concern. She got me straight into a bed in the Cancer Centre where I suffered two seizures. If this had been at home, there may have been a different outcome.

My GP
Another intelligent and intuitive woman, my GP was proactive and responsive in referring me for treatment when needed.

My palliative care practitioner
After my prognosis of 'months not years' in October 2015, I was assigned a brilliant woman to help me to navigate the various challenges of being terminally ill; sign-posting me to legal, financial and emotional support (and providing another wonderful woman who gave me weekly foot massages!)

My Mum
My enormously clever and caring Mum, who despite the horror of losing one daughter to Meningitis and two brothers to cancer, held it together and loved me throughout. It is heart-breaking to think that she never got to know that I would be in remission and still going strong (by the Grace of God).

My incredible friends
The precious and invaluable support from my friends was second to none. From my lovely church friend, an elderly former theatre nurse, to my indefatigable friends who rallied me round, bought thoughtful gifts, travelled across the country and from around the world to be there for me, supported causes that were meaningful to me and all those who provided kind messages of support on social media. I will never, ever forget that support.

My fellow cancer sufferers
It's sometimes (understandably) difficult for those without cancer to understand its rapacious impact on sufferers' lives. My fellow sufferers, many of whom have died and none of whom have escaped without physical and emotional scars, were, and continue to be, an amazing and relentless source of support and comfort.

So, today, as I celebrate the enormous sacrifices that women have made to gain us the vote, I also honour those women who have stood shoulder to shoulder with me, or brought their expertise to help in my personal struggle. Thank you all.

Amanda



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