Ticking off Breast Cancer
by Sara Liyanage
Sara is a married, forty-something, mother of two and part-time lawyer in London. When breast cancer appears on her never-ending to-do list, Sara’s life is thrown upside down…
Ticking Off Breast Cancer is a chronological narrative of Sara’s life from the day of her primary breast cancer diagnosis and throughout treatment. Sara opens up with heart-wrenching honesty, as she deals with the physical, emotional and mental challenges thrown at her by cancer. Accompanying her on the rollercoaster of cancer struggles, are plenty of light-hearted and positive moments. This is a no-holds-barred insight into the day-to-day realities of breast cancer treatment aimed at supporting the patient as well as their family and friends. Packed with helpful to-do lists, Ticking Off Breast Cancer provides thoughtful and helpful advice for every step of the way.
I was diagnosed with HER2 positive and oestrogen positive primary breast cancer on 19 October 2016, aged 42. It wasn’t part of my life plan (which at that point involved being a very busy wife, mother of two children, working part time in the corporate London rat race, general multi-tasker, juggler and spinner of many plates). But I decided to get through this detour with a positive attitude and as much dignity, grace and composure as possible.
Well, with the combination of medical appointments, scans, surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy my dignity, grace and composure all flew out the window at some point. But I did retain the ability to get myself organised and make a few lists. And I love a list. I found myself spending a lot of time researching the practical stuff like what to take to hospital for surgery and chemo, how to alleviate the side effects of chemo, what to eat, how to relax, what to expect from radiotherapy and so on. Researching and making lists.
I found a wealth of excellent online information about going through breast cancer treatment. However, I found the websites completely overwhelming. I wanted to talk to someone who had been through it and who would hold my hand and tell me what to do. I wanted a website which gave me practical advice in one easily accessible place where I didn’t have to go through link after link trying to work out if the information was relevant or not, whilst trying to avoid the untrue/out-of-date/unreliable information. But I didn’t have someone to talk to and I didn’t find that website. Instead I researched around and I separated the wheat from the chaff, noted down a few to-do lists, shopping lists and action plans and put one foot in front of the other along the well-trodden cancer path.
Armed with my trusty lists I have made it through to the other side where I am now basking in the glow of hair regrowth, new eyebrows, new eyelashes, and a renewed energy.
After my treatment came to an end, it seemed a shame for my dog-eared lists to get thrown out but I certainly don’t plan on using them again. Never. I thought they might help other people like me. So here they are: I have created a website, which is what I needed when I was first diagnosed and going through my treatment.
I can’t hold your hand and tell you what to do, but I hope that my website can help make this turbulent journey a little less bumpy for you. I wish you all the best.
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