Thursday, 9 June 2011

Support is everything

The morning of the Supporter Wall unveiling I admit I was a bit anxious. But excited too. I so wanted to be part of it. The people who do so much to support us are our life blood and I didn’t want to miss this chance to meet them, hear their stories and most of all say thank you. But it was also that world's colliding moment for me too. How would I manage to be part of what is always a very emotional occasion?   

One strategy was to wait until I had spoken before I had in depth conversations with any of the supporters. I also knew that several people there were reading my blog and aware of my situation so felt it best to acknowledge it. What’s more the person I was introducing to speak after me was none other than Professor Dixon, my surgeon and the clinic lead of the Breakthrough Breast Cancer research unit in Edinburgh. Don’t worry all went well but the moment I introduced the day by saying that more than 4,000 women every year in Scotland are diagnosed with breast cancer and for everyone there is a huge impact for them, their families, friends and colleagues I admit to swallowing hard before I could continue. As ever it’s the mention of family that touches the vulnerabilities.

Speaking of families my re-return to work has caused them some concern and my learning from this experience is to allow myself more time in the future to recover from any surgery. Had I cleared my diary in advance the psychological adjustment would have been better. And I recognize that rather than think, I need to do less, I am at risk of just wanting to find some kind of energy transplant. The mojo search continues but it is good to be back. Honest!And the supporter event was excellent. Thanks for all you do-you inspire and humble us all too.

The plastic surgeon laid out my options and favoured the most conservative approach which I find myself increasingly drawn to. But really I have decided to park any decisions till the autumn to allow me to adjust physically and emotionally to my new reality. Remember that advice not to rush a decision? It’s so true. The decision I would have made 2 weeks ago has already changed as my emotions settle. How many women feel the need to decide then regret it I wonder? Are Health Service targets for reconstructive surgery really the best way to ensure patient choice is paramount?

Reasons to be cheerful are the great media coverage we had this week around our breast awareness survey. It gets our TLC message out to so many and I am sure will have helped to save some lives by recognizing a sign or symptom early. My second day back found me on the Call Kaye Radio Scotland phone in talking about TLC with one of our supporters talking so bravely about her own experience too. It was a great programme. Thanks guys!
Also don’t tell anyone but sneaked back a little bit of under-wiring with no ill effects. No mojo yet but hints of wonder woman returning! Roll on the weekend….

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