The end of a very important chapter…

*Disclaimer – lots of talk about boobies and breastfeeding. I’m not a member of the Breastapo – a fed baby is a happy baby and a happy baby leads to a happy mum. Feed how you want to feed mamas – this blog is just about my journey and not a commentary about whether or not breast is best.*


(N.B. These are not my actual boobs. Obviously.)

I have Golden Boobies.

I’m not sure this is something I ever expected to say. Especially considering the fact they’re little more than ticking timebombs. So maybe these are better? Bastard boobies. Deadly boobies. Menacing boobies. But nevertheless, they are golden and I am immensely proud of them.


Amongst the breastfeeding fraternity, there are different ‘awards’ given based on the length of time you have fed your baby. This is something that I only happened across whilst feeding Chlo. I am inclined to think that I could potentially award my boobies a Diamond award if I tot up the combined months I’ve spent feeding my three children. A quick calculation suggests that in the last 4 1/2 years, I have been breastfeeding for 29 months of them. Thats 29 months of night feeds and broken sleep. Of wearing ‘easy access’ clothing. Of finding darkened corners, quiet side rooms or hiding under scarves in an effort not to make other people uncomfortable. It’s also been 29 months of absolute joy and pride in myself and what my body has been able to do.

Don’t get me wrong. Breastfeeding can also be a real pain in the ass. And boob. And breastfeeding baby number 2 and 3 was certainly very different from breastfeeding baby number 1.


This week marks the end of my breastfeeding journey for good. Chloe had her final feed on Sunday morning. I didn’t allow myself to dwell too much on the fact that it was the final time as emotionally, it has been and still is, a huge pull. Even though the idea of having more babies hasn’t entirely been put to bed, I know that any future children will not be fed by me simply because my boobs won’t exist any more.

I have very little attachment to my boobs really. I want them gone now so that I can begin the next chapter of my life ‘cancer free’ life having twarted it before it can begin. I know that preventative surgery is the only way forward and I’m very confident in the decisions that I’ve made. But I do feel cheated that I have ended my feeding journey before I (and certainly before Chloe) was ready. I do appreciate that there are many people who are a little uncomfortable with mothers breastfeeding older babies. I know many people may have assumed I had stopped long ago and I’m sure there have been others who have have suggested it simply isn’t right to be feeding a baby once they’ve started eating solids. But I have really enjoyed being able to feed Chloe until 15 months. I stopped when Seth was 6 months and when Max was 8 months to allow me to go back to work full time. It has been a huge part of my life and I do feel cheated that I won’t be able to experience any of this again should we have more children. I feel cheated that something so magical had to come to such an absolute end. It has been strange fostering such a love/hate relationship with my breasts. The things which have sustained and nourished by children are everyday a reminder of the ominous BRCA cloud which hangs over me.

Even before I was pregnant, I knew that I wanted to breastfeed my children. In my head I felt like I had to. I felt like using my boobs for something positive, something so important would have given them a reason for being. And that if the worst should happen, at least they would have done something good and decent before committing their mutinous act. When I feel pregnant and began attending my various antenatal classes, the idea that ‘breast is best’ was pushed both subtly and overtly from every direction along with the idea that it was the easiest, most natural thing in the world. And don’t get me wrong, it can become the easiest and most natural thing in the world once you’ve practiced it for a few months. But in the first instance, it’s bloody horrific. After the onslaught of childbirth, where your body literally feels like it’s been been taken to the brink of what is actually survivable, you have a newborn baby waking every 2 hours to be fed. As a breastfeeding mum, that responsibility falls to you. And on top of that, you and your baby have to learn HOW to breastfeed. And that process is one based upon trial and error which can be at best frustrating and at worst extremely painful.


However, with perseverance, it becomes a part of your whole being. There is no feeling quite like looking down at your little rooting baby and knowing that you are able to satisfy their needs entirely. Something which always stuck in my mind was the fact that when babies are born, they are very short sighted. In fact, they can only see around a foot away from them – around the same distance from the nipple to the face of their mother. Because that’s all they really need to see and to focus on.

I will never forget the hours I have spent nursing my children. Watching them drift in and out of milky stupors. Feeling their little hands grasping at me, desperate to make sure I don’t move or try to escape their little warm clutches. Watching their eyes begin to gain more and more focus. Seeing their first smiles. Hearing their happy little noises as their tummies begin to fill. The closeness and the bond that breastfeeding has created for me has been indescribable. I know that they won’t remember the hours we have shared, just us, in quiet rooms, at the dead of night. But I will remember. How could I ever forget.


I wish that those moments had never had to end and writing this now, dwelling on it fills me with such sadness. Being a parent is an odd thing. You are so full of happiness seeing your children growing up, reaching their goals and learning new things. You are so excited to see what is coming next – what they are going to become. But at the same time, you yearn for when they were tiny. You wish that time would slow down. You desperately desire to be able to turn back the clock and revisit precious moments which seemed to have passed too quickly.

To help me come to terms with saying goodbye to these special moments and achievements, I have tried to immortalise them and give myself things to remind me of the journey I have been on. So that when the memories start to fade, I will still have these reminders to look back on. My phone, my camera, my hard drive are full of pictures I have taken of feeding moments. I love that I have these personal snap shots to treasure. One of my favourite pictures is this one which makes me smile every time I see it.


I love that little Seth picked up the baby doll, abandoning the bottle and lifted his top to feed her and give her some milk. I love that breastfeeding was the natural and normal thing that I had always hoped it would be and that I had imparted this to my boys too.

I have also been very fortunate that my very talented friend Paloma of the wonderful Photography By Paloma over at has captured some images of me feeding Seth and Chlo. These are some of my favourite shots which perfectly sum up the closeness that I have felt with my babies while feeding them. The one of myself and Chlo also illustrates just how comfortable I became with feeding my babies in public. Long gone were the days when I would only feed Max underneath a scarf in a dark corner. What could be more natural than sitting in a field of lavender surrounded by the buzz of honey bees as I gave my daughter a quick drink.


I also decided that I wanted to commission some jewellery using my breastmilk. When I first heard about this type of jewellery a few years ago, I thought it was definitely a bit too ‘new age’ for me but over time, I’ve started to realise that I am probably a full on wannabe ‘hippie’ at heart anyway. I love the idea a lasting keepsake that will remind me of the beautiful journey that myself, my babies and my boobs have been on. There are many jewellery makers in this area who work with precious inclusions and I did plenty of research before beginning. I finally settled on who I initially contacted through Facebook. I sent some milk and within a few months I had a lovely ring and necklace to treasure. Hubby is a little creeped out by them – and I have no doubt in my mind that they will be marmite to the rest of the world – but I adore them and am so glad that I had them made.

And so, just like that, it has come to an end. And now I have my 3 month wait for more MRIs to confirm I am cancer free which will then allow myself and my team at Guys Hospital to pencil in the date for my surgery. With dates being pencilled in to calendars, and increased discussions about surgical options being shared with my loved ones, it is becoming so real. And now I have finished breastfeeding, there really is nothing to delay it any further. And while my nerves are starting to fray a little and my old anxieties are starting to creep in again, I have these three little anchors to remind me that what I am doing is SO necessary. The bond I have with them is everything and I am thankful every single day that they are mine and I am theirs. Whatever the rest of the year throws at me, I know that nothing can change that.

This year, rather than ‘resolutions’, I’ve set myself goals. Things I would like to achieve. Whilst I think I may have enough on my plate this year, I would certainly like to explore the possibility of beginning training to become a peer support for breastfeeding mums. There’s no getting away from the potential wonders of feeding your baby yourself. This was shared on Facebook recently and I love it!

By no means do I consider myself an expert, but I do have golden boobies after all which I might just be able to turn into golden support and advice. Breastfeeding is as hard as it is magical. It is empowering as well as constraining. The easist and hardest thing you’ll ever do. If you are on or about to begin your breastfeeding journey, I salute you! And I’m also terribly jealous – what I wouldn’t do to be embarking on it again myself.


An MRI,  an ultrasound and a nose piercing…

This week is Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Week and the 27th September (today!) is Previvor Day so it seems the prefect time for me to add to my blog seeing as this is my first year of embracing being a ‘Previvor. Coincidentally, it’s also my beautiful daughter’s first birthday. And ultimately, my three babies are the reason I’m so determined to face my BRCA diagnosis and halt cancer in its tracks.



Shit got real for this Previvor over the past few months. 

I experienced my first breast screening in the form of an MRI scan in June. Mammograms are not especially effective in younger women so MRIs are the screening method of choice. As a BRCA positive woman, yearly MRI screening is offered which is fantastic and incredibly reassuring – knowing that anything sinister wouldn’t be left undetected for too long. But along with this reassurance is the fact that screening forces you to consider the ‘what ifs’. What if they find something? What if it’s malignant? What if the worst that could happen is already happening without me even knowing?

That ‘what if’ plagued me throughout my wait for the MRI and the subsequent wait for my results. 

I convinced myself there was something wrong. There was no basis for this conviction other than the familiar sense of dread I have whenever I’m forced to confront the reality of BRCA. I was fortunate that I had the very very best distraction whilst waiting for the results, in the form of a trip to Canada for my best friend’s wedding. A whole week of celebrations with people I love in a country that I love – what could have been better?



 Here we are on her big day. What an honour it was to be by her side! This was also one of the final formal occasions my boobs will be attending so how lovely they got to wear a lush dress! 

Amidst all the celebrating though, I found a lump. It’s the first time I’ve found a lump. I’ve thought about it, panicked about it, had nightmares about it. I’ve planned how I would react, what I would do, what I would think. But the reality of actually finding a lump is nothing like I imagined it would be.

I expressed milk the whole time I was away in an effort to continue feeding Chloe after I got home and so the rational part of my mind firmly wanted to pin the lump down as being a blocked duct. The less rational, panic prone part of my mind wandered off to pastures far less green though. Optimism deserted me. My glass wasn’t half empty – it was bone dry. I was so sure it was cancer. No reassuring words or mindfulness could sway me from that assertion.

When I landed back in the UK, I had a clear plan in mind for visiting the doctor as soon as possible to have the offending lump investigated. As it turned out, my plan was unnecessary. Turning my phone on whilst still standing on the plane , I had a voicemail from my breast care clinic telling me the MRI had shown a problematic area. It was the same area I’d found thd lump. I was being invited in for a follow up ultrasound.

I can’t put into words how hard I took this news. Any rational thoughts that tried to surface were silenced as absolute panic took over. I truly believed that cancer had got me before I got it. The week wait for my ultrasound was hideous – the longest week of my life. A week of thinking about the will I hadn’t written. If we would financially cope with me having to go through cancer treatment. How I would tell the children. What family gatherings would look like if I wasn’t there. How my family would look without me in the picture. How my children would grow up without their mother.

Because these are the thoughts that invade when you’re truly facing the prospect of cancer. And nothing, nothing can prepare you for that.

I began making pacts with myself. Looking for signs that everything was going to be ok. Finding a lost ring meant that the scan would be ok. Jack being shat on by a bird on the way to the clinic meant the scan was going to be ok. It was also bloody funny and provided a little light relief I desperately needed. I promised myself that if everything was ok, I would do something I had always wanted to do but that I had been too scared of. I lay awake at night telling myself that I needed to make more of an effort to appreciate everything and embrace each day. Days which aren’t guaranteed.

The scan was over quickly and the doctor was confident that there was nothing of concern in my breast tissue. “Lactational changes only”. He recommended another MRI after finishing feeding Chloe just to ensure there was a ‘baseline’ scan on record of my boobs before interference.

Walking away from the clinic I felt like a different person to the one who had walked in. A lighter, freer one. But it was tinged by a vague sense of guilt. I was walking away with an all clear which many women wouldn’t be lucky enough to recieve. 

Cancer is a bastard. Even without it’s invasive presence, it is still present in my thoughts daily. The moment’s before I fall asleep. In my subconscious. And that is the exact reason that I HAVE to do every single thing I can to not allow cancer to take root any further than my thoughts. Never have I been more sure about the steps I am about to take or about the huge benefits they will bring to myself and my family.

I know its the best thing to do, the right thing. The safest thing. But I’ve finally found the fear of what’s to come as well. My surgeon suggested that I should join as many BRCA support groups as I possibly could to prepare myself for the physical and emotional effects of the surgery. And that’s exactly what I’ve done. And in many ways I wish that I hadn’t because I’m not even sure I want to know the intricacies of the surgery, the recovery. The scarring. The complications. The additional surgeries. The myriad of choices I’ll have to make. But I do feel far more prepared and prepared to ask all the questions I need to ask at my next appointment with my surgical team this Friday.

I appreciate how ‘big’ this all is and how real it’s all becoming. But no matter what the path ahead of me looks like, it is a brighter path than I would be facing if I hadn’t been tested, if I hadn’t found the mutation and if I hadn’t been offered potentially life saving surgical options. I’m a Previvor and proud. 

So what did I do to celebrate my all clear? I got my nose pierced! Here’s Claire and I rocking our new nose piercings. Because life is too short and sometimes you need to just grab it my the balls and do something you’ve always wanted to do. And let’s face it. Surgery is going to leave me covered in scars, lacking sensation and quite possibly with life long pain. But at least my nose will be pretty and it will always be a reminder not to sink into the what ifs and despair of what might be. Because sometimes it’s not the awful news you convince yourself of. 

Becoming a Previvor

Hi! It’s been a while…

Firstly, I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for all the lovely comments I received via various channels after my first blog. They gave me all the ‘feels’… and raised some interesting questions. Which were raised even further when I went for my appointment at the BRCA clinic at Guys.


The main question that has been dancing around and evading my grasp is ‘How do you feel?‘. And that’s not proving to be an easy question to answer. I think the main reason I’m struggling to work out how I feel about it is because of how other people feel about it. When I have told my friends about the BRCA+ result, they go through a range of emotions and I see them playing out on their faces – shock, pity, sympathy, anger on my behalf. And it confuses me because I start to wonder if I should be feeling like that too. Should I be shocked by it? Experiencing feelings of self pity? Angry at the cards I have ben dealt?  Meeting with my genetic counsellor had a similar effect on me. She asked me how I felt about the diagnosis and the surgery looming and didn’t seem satisfied when I said that I felt fine about the whole thing – relieved even, to have a diagnosis and a way forward. She kept probing and probing as if she was looking for more from me – more emotions. An outpouring of something locked away? I eventually admitted that I was a little worried about the scarring and that I felt a little ashamed of having such vain thoughts when you considered the wider picture. And I didn’t hide the fact that I was worried about how I would recover from surgery whilst looking after my Three Little Raptors. Jack voiced his own concerns about whether I was mentally strong enough to face the surgery so soon after having Chloe. I know that I haven’t fully finished (or perhaps even started) dealing with losing my mum even though it was over 5 years ago.  With so many questions and concerns about the emotional toll this could/should be having on me and genuinely, I’m full of confusion. I don’t know if I should be more worried. Or more angry? More concerned about whether my babies have inherited the same fault. Maybe I’m in denial and repressing my true feelings in order to cope with the here and now. I just don’t know. I’m sure that as time goes on and my journey starts to shape itself, my feelings (and my ability to recognise my feelings) may change. But at the moment, I feel oddly at peace with everything. I can’t change the fact that I have the mutation, so it seems foolish to sit and waste emotions on it. I have far more important things to feel emotional about. Like the final episode of Orange is the New Black. And Emmerdale.

My consultation with my breast surgeon, plastic surgeon and breast care nurse was far more straightforward. Their currency is that of facts and statistics with a clear focus on the doing rather than the feeling. That sense of drive and planning is exactly what I needed. They talked through the options I had open to me, many of which I had a vague understanding of from my own research. The ultimate end point in all scenarios is the removal of both boobs and for that I am so very thankful. All hail the NHS! The route to that end point is different for different people. Everything removed at once? Or in stages? Reconstruction or becoming a ‘flat friend’? If yes to reconstruction, implants or use of own tissue? If own tissue, where from? Nipples or no nipples? Own nipples or reconstructed nipples? Or tattoos? The list really is endless and again, entirely down to the individual’s requirements and needs.

The plastic surgeon seemed very keen for me to consider the option of a tummy tuck and reconstruction from my own tissue. And I can’t blame him. One look at my MumTum and who wouldn’t immediately jump to the conclusion that a tummy tuck would be a delightful additional outcome in this situation. Personally, I’m not so keen. The thought of the additional surgery site and recovery is not a pleasant one.  I will have three bouncing babes to look after following my surgery and the additional discomfort and recovery is certainly not going to help with my mum duties. And more poignantly for me is how I feel about my body. No one loves their body post baby… but I am quite fond of it. It did a good job – and yes it’s stretched and wobbly and bits stick out at funny angles and none of my pre-baby clothes look quite the way they did – but how insignificant are these factors when you consider the amazing thing my body achieved. It grew three humans! I don’t have any stretch marks – I have tiger stripes. And I earned every single one. The thought of ‘fixing’ them with a surgeons knife just doesn’t feel right to me. Almost like a betrayal of the journey my body has been on. I’m pretty happy with the way I look now. And there’s always this option…


So I’m left with implants. Every woman’s dream. Perky plastic boobs. But there are some considerations. They don’t last forever which will mean I will have to undergo surgery again at least once again. They can develop problems – which again would mean more surgery. But I feel at this time in my life, they offer the easiest recovery and quite possibly the best cosmetic results. It seems vain to talk about the ‘cosmetics’ of this surgery. I’m not having a boob job or a cosmetic procedure. But I’m still in my early 30s and I’m just not ready to totally write off my own needs to feel womanly and comfortable in my own skin. Both surgeons seemed apologetic when they explained that they wouldn’t be able to offer me implants to match my current size. Oh how I laughed. I can’t imagine a scenario where I would ever choose to have boobs this big. Don’t get me wrong, they have had their uses. But they’re also a full time concern.


The struggle is real…

And so, the plan was formed. This Christmas I will be having the first of my surgeries – a breast reduction to the size I would like to be after the mastectomy. I will then be given time to heal completely before the full mastectomy and implant reconstruction around Easter time next year. This should be the safest way of reducing size and creating the best possible cosmetic outcome in the long run. I’m not excited by the thought of having two separate operations and recoveries especially when you consider the complexities of our hectic lives. But ultimately, I’ll be guided by the experts. The reduction surgery apparently has a recovery window of only 10-12 days which should be very manageable, especially in comparison to the 6 week recovery window of the mastectomy. I also can’t escape the fact that eventually I’ll need my ovaries removed. They don’t consider this option for woman below 45 and that’s something I’m very relieved about. As I said to my consultants, I’m 85% sure we have competed our family. But I’m just not ready to surrender that 15% chance of another baby just yet. It seems that at this moment in time I’m far more attached to my ovaries than I am my boobs. 

As I expected, the issue of my weight was raised. I knew that there would be concerns over the surgery with me being so unfit. As it turned out, I was just within the parameters where they would offer me surgery. But they pointed out that it was best to be close to my goal size before surgery so as to achieve the best cosmetic outcome. And obviously, the closer I could be to a healthy BMI, the happier they would be to operate. The surgeons set me a target of a nearly 4 1/2 stone weightloss by Christmas. I love a challenge, almost as much as I love Weight Watchers, and I am really enjoying pursuing the goal they set. At the end of my first 5 weeks of following the plan, I am already 20lb down from my start weight. It’s a drop in the ocean but I’m confident I can make a real change to my life and lifestyle to make me a happier and healthier person going forward.

So, where am I now? I’m very happy that we have a plan in place and I will be going back to Guys in September to arrange a date for the Christmas surgery. In the meantime, the BRCA team are going to arrange for me to start my breast screening programme to check for any ominous changes between now and then. I also need to be more breast aware – more checking so that I know what is normal for me. This is complicated by the fact that I am still breastfeeding little Chlo. Everything is a little more lumpy and bumpy at this point in time! I am also going to continue with my new eating and exercise regime (with a focus on improving my core strength in readiness for not being able to use my upper body post surgery). And I’m going to carry on talking about it. Thinking about it. With this in mind, I have joined some BRCA+ forums on social media as a way of seeking support from women (and men!) going through the same process as me.

But more than anything, I’m going to continue enjoying the beautiful things that surround me because life isn’t a test run. Shitty things happen to people all the time but it’s how we deal with the shittiness that shapes us. I came across a lovely term in my research recently – ‘previvor’. I’m not planning on surviving cancer… I am planning on ‘previving’ it and doing everything I possibly can to make sure it never catches me. Like I said, I love a challenge.  So cancer, go fuck yourself.


How it all began…


(This is only a funny image if you’re an orange or a grapefruit. If you’re anything else it will probably just make you reach for the gin…)

Well, I guess it all began with boobs… 

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have boobs. In all honesty, they have been a blight rather than a blessing. Unsightly, cumbersome, expensive (mammoth boobs need mammoth bras) and just generally a hinderance. I spent most of my youth yearning for smaller ones and being incredibly jealous of my friends who were less well endowed. I know the grass is always greener, and I have no doubt that I had many friends who wished they had larger ones, but the back ache, difficulty to play sport and general discomfort was something I would have happily traded in a heartbeat.

What I can’t really remember is when the idea that my boobs were dangerous entered my consciousness. Ticking time bombs. Silent assassins.

It may have been around the time my Nanny Ben was diagnosed with breast cancer. I genuinely can’t remember if my mum had a conversation with me at that point or not. I feel like she may have, but my flippant teenager brain certainly didn’t register any real need to worry. It may have even been when I heard that my Nanny had passed away. I can’t be sure.

It may have been around the time that my Auntie was diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember how upset my mum was as she told me her sister had found a lump. Happily, after some gruelling treatment, the cancer was forced into submission. But not before my mum had carefully sat down and plotted our maternal family tree and identified that there were very few women who had not had to face the big C at some point in their life.

It may have been the day that my mum phoned me and said she had found a lump in her own breast. Or the day that she had to go to hospital for the lumpectomy. The day that she underwent her mastectomy. Or maybe the day she started her chemotherapy.

It may well have been the day that we realised it was back – that it had decided to plant itself  in her brain instead. Or maybe even the day that we had to say goodbye before we were ready to (as if we would ever have been ready to…) as she slipped away in a soulless hospital room surrounded by machines.

All I know is, the thought of cancer is never far from my mind now. I find that I am haunted by memories and thoughts and fears. I well remember the day I was taken to one side by a breast care nurse in another pale and worn hospital and told to have my children as soon as I could so that I could do ‘whatever it took’ to reduce my risk. And I remember my beautiful mum, bald and exhausted, telling me she wished she had found out if she was a BRCA carrier because she had actually been relieved to find her lump after waiting her whole life for it to appear. Can you imagine that? A sense of relief that you finally had cancer. I’ll never forget that conversation or the intense sadness we both shared as we held hands on a cold morning in Wales.

So I decided to do something about it. Not without a significant amount of procrastination obviously. I started genetically counselling many years ago and learned a little about the BRCA genes and what they meant. There was talk of a blood sample being taken from my mum but we never quite got around to arranging it. Cancer is funny like that. You never quite get to where you wanted to go before it throws that curveball and throws you off track.

I restarted the process after the birth of my second little boy. A blubbering, post-natal mess, I sat in the doctor’s surgery crying about how worried I was that I would get cancer and be taken away from my children. Because ultimately, that’s what my biggest fear is. That I won’t be there for them. That I’ll miss the ‘big’ events. That they will have to see the things that I saw and live with them their whole lives. My doctor handed me a tissue and made the referral and the process began in ernest.

I met with a genetics counsellor who again explained what they already knew about the BRCA mutations. We looked at my family tree and they ran the information through the diagnostics and came up with a figure of around a 16% chance that I would develop breast cancer regardless of whether I had a gene mutation or not. This was high but not significantly higher than the national average. They offered me the genetic test to find out once and for all whether I had a mutation. So just before Christmas 2016, I sat in a tiny consultation room, with my third baby breastfeeding happily, whilst the genetic counsellor extracted a small vial of blood to send off for testing. I was told to expect a 10-12 week wait.

It was closer to 14 weeks. I received a phone call from the clinical psychologist attached to the BRCA clinic at Guy’s Hospital asking if I would like an appointment. I figured at that point that the results were in and they were putting everything into place to support me before delivering the news that would change my life. And sure enough the following week, a small innocent looking letter waited for me on the mat when I returned from a delicious ‘yummy mummy’ lunch with my baby friends.

‘Positive identification of BRCA 2 mutation’. 


(Here it is. The bastard.)

It was what I had expected and had been prepared for for years. But thinking you have something and then KNOWING you have something are two entirely different situations. And the magnitude of what I was facing hit me harder than I thought it would. An 80% chance of developing breast cancer in my lifetime. An 80% chance of having to tell my children I had found a lump… I had a cry. Of course I had a cry. A punch to the face hurts just the same whether you expect the blow or not.

Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it), my third pregnancy and the birth of my daughter had had a measurable impact on my mental health and the good ole’ ‘PND’ had taken root in my normally fairly measured mind. Lots of counselling had worked it’s magic and I had discovered the wonderful, life changing practice of Mindfullness. And how glad I was to have that weapon safely tucked into my arsenal when I read and absorbed the information in that letter.


(I thought it was hippy bollocks to begin with too. But it really is the most enlightening process if you come at it with an open mind!)

With the help of my lovely husband and friends, I realised that knowing I was BRCA2 positive was an extremely empowering thing. I accepted the information and felt a new sense of purpose.  I knew ‘it’ was coming for me at some point but now I had the power to fight it early. I had had many conversations with myself, family and friends about the steps I would take if I had a positive diagnosis so I knew that a preventative double mastectomy would be my first port of call. I had also started reading into the various research around cancers and knew that I needed a serious health overhaul.

So this brings me to today. Today, 29th May 2017, I am a week and a half into my Weight Watchers journey as I attempt to become a happier and healthier me. And on Thursday I will be travelling to Guy’s Hospital in London to meet my team – a psychologist, a breast care nurse, a breast surgeon, a plastic surgeon and my genetic counsellor. I have also agreed to take part in a clinical research project looking at the factors which may cause the mutation in the first place. It is almost certain that my beautiful children have the mutation too. The research happening now around the world could have an unfathomable impact on how they will deal with their own diagnoses in the future.

How do I feel about it right now? I’m nervous for sure. But more than anything I’m excited and I’m determined. This is my chance to DO something before it is DONE to me. To be the active crusader rather than the passive victim being stalked by the weighty lumps that stop me being able to sleep on my front every night. I’m not going down without a fight and the fight starts this week.

I’m getting something off my chest and I can’t wait.