Almost as soon as I found out I had cancer I began a diary. My head was jam packed with worries and fears that I needed to siphon out before the pressure got too much. I found writing a diary a great way of stopping the endless cycle or negative thoughts in my head, it was cathartic (this is my new favourite word since someone used it on my Instagram and it makes me feel all intellectual!) I then found the need to connect to others with cancer and took to Instagram where I started my ‘cancer with a smile’ page, originally this was just for myself, a way to find people like me who were going through cancer and I began using it as a little digital diary. I deliberately picked Instagram over Facebook as I felt it was less local, I wasn’t feeling confident in my cancer situation so it was my little secret to begin with.
Then after my first chemo and the toughest week of my life I decided to shave my hair for charity. My blonde locks were shedding like a shaggy golden retriever so it was time to chop the mop!! After that my confidence exploded, I felt like if I could shave my own head I was ready to go public. So, I started a Facebook page linked to my Instagram and began promoting my ‘brave the shave’ to raise money for the Beatson Cancer Hospital. This was a total turning point for me, I took control and decided to turn something horrible and scary into something positive, so positive in fact that we raised over £3000! It was awesome and I was in complete shock!
From there, gradually my Instagram page built momentum and followers, I was getting a lot of amazing comments and messages which truly spurred me on through my treatment. I felt like my story was really helping others and something good was coming out of my crappy cancer. I loved updating my page and writing little stories so much I decided to start this wordpress blog last August about half way though my Chemo treatment. I got quite a thrill out of publishing little blog articles, it felt like a real achievement and wrote every Sunday for about ten weeks.
Then I came to the end of treatment in November, 1 operation, 4 chemos, 5 scans, 19 radios and about a million appointments later, I was done, I’d had more than enough. I was so glad to be finished treatment and just wanted to forget about cancer for a while. I didn’t want to talk about it, think about it or read about it anymore, cancer had taken over my life for the best part of 2016 and I needed a holiday. I needed time to come to terms with what I’d been through and get used to living a normal life again, to find my new normal. So, I took a little break from updating my Instagram as much and stopped writing my blog. I had a lovely Christmas and went on a family holiday for new year which was just what I needed to re-energise and get my life back on track.
A few weeks passed and I found myself missing the interaction with all the amazing people I’d got to know on Instagram and I really wanted to show cancer fighters what life was like after cancer. I began enjoying my Instagram page again and got back in to updating it, I could see that I had an amazing opportunity to help others with hint and tips about cancer treatment and encourage them to stay positive and keep fighting. My desire to write more and reach more people was reignited, so here I find myself back at my little blue laptop, loving that my cancer story had brought me here and hoping I can encouraging others to keep smiling.