Category Archives: Personal

Meet the Artist

I’m Amanda…I rediscovered art about 5 years ago, a year after being diagnosed with advanced cancer. I love working with watercolour and pen, and my style is more illustrative than painterly. I draw everything and anything. Recently I have got back into digital art, using an iPad Pro. I have an Etsy Shop where I sell small pieces of original art and handmade cards. Note: it is very rare to see a photo of me!

Finding the Right Writing Journal

When I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer over 3 years ago, I started keeping a journal. Initially, it was just intended to record any side effects from treatment, but over time it became much more than that.

Writing journal
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Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness – 4th April 2014

Some Facts About Metastatic Breast Cancer

  1. Breast cancer can be treated but it can not be cured, despite the myth that is projected by the media. The main reason is because there is a chance (approximately 1 in 3) that it will recur (come back) and will have spread to other parts of the body. If you are lucky, it won’t come back. Unfortunately, the younger you are, the higher the chance of it recurring. It also means that finding the cancer early does not guarantee a cure or a higher chance of survival.
  2. Metastatic breast cancer is a stage of breast cancer where the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. It is also known as secondary breast cancer.
  3. Usually metastatic breast cancer is diagnosed some time after the primary breast cancer (the cancer that is in the breast)…that can be months or years (mine was 9 years after my first diagnosis). Sometimes it is diagnosed at the same time as the primary breast cancer or on rare occasions before the primary breast cancer has been diagnosed.
  4. There are a range of treatments for metastatic breast cancer (chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery) but unlike treatments for most illnesses, which focus on making you better, treatments for metastatic breast cancer focus on managing the disease, so you can actually feel ill due to the treatment. Often it is a balancing act in order to maintain some quality of life.
  5. Only 5% of funding for breast cancer research is devoted to metastatic breast cancer, which is rather disgusting given that it is the one that kills.

Why have a separate awareness day for metastatic breast cancer? Because we are living with this disease day in, day out, going from scan to scan, usually in three-month gaps, struggling with pain, fatigue, depression and debilitating side effects of treatment, constantly hoping the current treatment will keep the disease at bay until the next breakthrough drug comes along. This is a very different reality than the one painted by the media and, to a lesser degree, the medical profession and some charities, who tend to depict breast cancer as the “good” cancer to get. Sorry, but there is no such thing as “good” cancer!


Superficial Radiotherapy

Today I went for my first appointment for superficial radiotherapy. Superficial radiotherapy is “the use of exact, carefully measured doses of radiation to treat cancer. The treatment machine produces medium to low energy x-rays, and these x-rays are directed at the site of the tumour (cancer) in order to destroy abnormal cells”.
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CT Scan Results

I know I have talked before about scan results…the frustration of waiting…and then the “trying to understand” the results. Today was a CT scan result day, which involved an appointment with my oncologist.

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Tired of waiting…

I had my CT scan done on Monday 9th September.

I have to wait until Thursday 26th September for the results.

You might think that’s not too long to wait…keep yourself busy, the time will pass soon enough…it’s only a routine scan…the consultant was on holiday, everyone needs a break…it’s the NHS, what more can you expect?

I say BOLLOCKS…I say this routine scan could reveal something that could radically alter my life (particularly as it’s already a given that my life is shortened)…I say I don’t want to wait…I’m tired of waiting…I’m tired of hospital procedures that put my life on hold…I’m tired full stop…I need a FUCKING break.

I just needed to get that off my chest. Have a good day!

The feeling that time is running out…

Our time is running out
And our time is running out
You can’t push it underground
We can’t stop it screaming out
How did it come to this

– Muse

Baby Min Continue reading

Meet Able

“It is a very inconvenient habit of kittens (Alice had once made the remark) that whatever you say to them, they always purr.”

― Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There

Last Saturday, we had the pleasure of adding a new member to our little family unit…a little ginger kitten. He’s a rather special kitten because he only has one eye. He was found abandoned in a cardboard box with his brother (who sadly did not survive) and he had a severely ulcerated eye which had to be removed. My youngest, Callum, chose him and named him.

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A Weekend Away

A couple of weekends ago, I took a little journey to visit some of my family who live around the Salisbury area. My family are going through a very difficult time – I’m not the only one who has cancer – I wanted to lend my support and visit while I was reasonably healthy. Although the purpose of the trip wasn’t to take photos, unsurprisingly, I did take some – here are some rather random photos – taken with the E-PL1, iPhone and Fujifilm Instax Mini 25!

150 years of the London UndergroundA Continue reading

2012: A personal retrospective

“Run when you can, walk when you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.”
Dean Karnazes

I can’t beat around the bush, it has been a very testing year for me and my family…when I look back on 2012, it is all too easy to remember and dwell on the sad things that have happened…yet good and happy things have happened too, not least the support and kindness of some very special people in my life, who continue to remind me what life is about. So, as I write my little retrospective about this past year, it will touch on some sadness, but it will also remember the happiness.
Happy New Year! Continue reading