When I was a little girl, I loved a book I thought was called “Alison Wonderland”......as my name is Alison - I was clearly projecting at a very early age and I genuinely imagined the story Alice in Wonderland was all about a girl called Alison and her adventures in a place called Wonderland!
Having mused over what to call this blog, that memory popped in to my head one day I was half asleep and dreaming (the place where all the best ideas happen!) and the idea of me in Cancerland was conceived!
And here we are, I’ve been navigating my way through "Cancerland" for nearly four years now. I went down the original rabbit role of a stage 4 diagnosis in April 2014, my primary diagnosis and the start of my journey, that being the "very serious" cancer with the removal of my womb, uterus, ovaries, a large part of my bowel...and lots of metastatic tumours...all starting from my little old appendix!
Since then I’ve had 2 more diagnosis, many more tumours and so much chemo I’m starting to think I could give it to myself! Why I’ve decided to write this blog and release my thoughts on to the internet, really is to share information, hints, tips, advice and any small bit of positivity to anyone who, like me is young (relatively) and is living with cancer.
I will probably have to be on some level of chemo for the rest of my life, and for many people that might sound like you are being told you have to live in your cupboard for the rest of your days. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the most fun thing I’ve ever been told, but, because of the amazing developments in cancer treatments, I’m not being told to go home and say your goodbyes.
I can “live” like this and having only really been told this was my future in August last year, I’m still working out how I can re-imagine my life, i.e. not feel sorry for myself, still try and make my dreams come true and most of all be the best mum I can be to my two handsome little dudes I am lucky enough to call my sons.
I don’t have all the answers or even a proper plan yet, but I have made the decision that I will live in Cancerland. Whatever the mad and mostly unusual things I’m confronted with as a result of finding myself here, I’ve decided to embrace it, this Alison has gone down the rabbit hole and looking forward to meeting the Queen of Tarts….flamingos...and anything else that jumps in to my path, in between chemos of course.
I mentioned that I’m young…...well I’m currently 42, so while I’m not in the first flush of youth, in cancer terms I’m a very small pocket of statistics. For starters, I don’t have breast cancer and was under 40 when I was first diagnosed.
But if you take away my “type” of cancer, I’m in a cancer demographic that didn’t really exist until the last few years - people “living with cancer, living on chemo”. Most people know the story, you get cancer and either a) die or b) get better and live a long and happy life.
“Secondary” cancer is increasingly common, and again you can go down the a) or b) options…….the group of people who get secondary and thircay and fouthary (is that a word??) is not very large but this group is getting bigger and due to the life giving chemo and other therapies, we are staying alive.
Albeit with a few life limiting restrictions, for me it’s a never ending regime of chemo every two weeks….for others it could be as easy as a tablet, but if you put aside the medical detail and the inconvenience of going to a hospital for one day every two weeks, it’s a hell of a lot nicer than being dead!
For me, I'm still in the early stages of coming to terms with the fact that cancer will be part of my life forever. I’m going to use this space to share any useful tips, supports, ideas, adventures etc that will connect with other cancer crusaders life me. My cancer was rare and unusual but that seems to be happening more and more, especially to my generation.
So, here I am and especially this week when we are all struggling to understand the Cervical smear test scandal and support the courageous Vicky Phelan, Emma Mhic Mhathuna and other families affected, let's Stand up to Cancer……..up to this bully who is trying to take away mine and so many precious lives.
Thanks for reading this, I'm no tech expert so I'll be learning as I go and hopefully you'll come back here to see what adventures I have in Cancerland!