The first time round

I have to begin this entry with a confession, I’ve never understood why people keep blogs. In fact, I’ve always kind of looked at ‘bloggers’ with disdain; what makes you so important that you think people will even bother to read it? But I suppose I had that attitude because I didn’t have anything to say. Well, now I do.  I didn’t want to start this relationship off on the wrong foot, I don’t want anyone accusing me of being a hypocrite before I can get in there first and say. ‘You’re right!”  Now we’ve cleared that up, let the blog begin.

Since I was forced to give up work I find myself incredibly bored.  It sounds odd but I relished the long hours, quick thinking and stresses of broadcast journalism; there was never a dull day.  Now I find myself forced to make the day worthwhile all by myself.  Of course I’m full of good intentions, I could start up yoga, taking advantage of all the museums and art galleries London has to offer.  Unfortunately, I’m prone to lazy behaviour and have been wasting what precious time I have watching the Wright Stuff and repeats of Come Dine With Me! It sounds ridiculous I know.

Being told you have months left to live at the age of 28 and you sit around your flat like it’s the school holidays and it’s a treat to watch daytime TV.  My excuse is that I don’t believe that I only have months to live and so the need to see the world, educate myself on arts and history and generally live an enlightened life isn’t so urgent.  Call it denial if you like, but I think it’s what will help me survive and if it keeps me from feeling sorry for myself and helps me get up in the morning and carry on with the life so many take for granted then denial doesn’t seem like such a negative word.

My initial cancer diagnosis came on May 10th 2010.  What followed in the weeks after was the news that the cancer was grade three (the worst kind); after a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction I was told there was 9cm of DCIS – cancer cells in situ – and several invasive tumours, the biggest being 4cm.

Chemo was ordered and for the next five months I’d be blasted.  My hair fell out, my eyelashes and eyebrows gradually thinned to nothing leaving me with a face I didn’t recognise.  Every three weeks I’d let nurses put poison in my veins and thank them and smile at them for doing so.  I’d be ill for around ten days and then I’d have ten of feeling ok before a vein would have to be found again and the process would be repeated.

A week before my final chemo, the one I’d been gearing up for since the start of the hideous process I was told the implant I had would have to come out.  I’d been complaining for weeks of pain and bruising on the reconstructed breast but was sent away by busy surgeons.  They tried to take some of the saline out of the implant to relieve the pressure, but what should have been an easy procedure proved too difficult.  Something had gone wrong with the implant but I was sent away with no answers; one of the surgeons even told me to rub Savlon into the bruise.

Eventually, I was seen by a female surgeon who told me the bruised skin was in fact dying, there was no circulation to it. If only Savlon was the answer!  I was rushed into emergency surgery three days before my final chemo.  Lying in that hospital bed, bald, sore and anaemic from the blood I’d lost during the operation I hit a new low.  I was angry at the doctors for sending me away so many times, angry at myself for being the person that wants to be liked, that smiles and says thank you when you’re ushered away without a resolution to your problem.  Why didn’t I kick up a fuss, why should I have had to?

My most vivid memory of that weekend though is being in and out of sleep and my partner Tom always being there when I came to.  Looking back at that weekend I remember the feelings of love and gratitude I felt towards him.  Tom sat beside me and hugged me and loved me.  In one of my darkest moments I was being shown the depths of love and kindness that another human being was capable of and I felt so lucky to have him in my life.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mike
    Sep 07, 2011 @ 23:44:16

    Wow, I stumbled across this via my girlfriend and just wanted to let you know that you are indeed being read. She told me she thought it was amazing so I’ve dipped in tonight.

    I hope and pray things will be ok and I’ll continue reading tomorrow night.


  2. Sue Webb
    Oct 30, 2011 @ 11:34:45

    Hi Ellie,

    I remember reading your story in Grazia last October (2010). I was SO shocked and UPSET to read about the secondary cancer in a recent copy of Grazia a year later. (Read last night, 29/10). I just remember staring at the pages in total disbelief. It brought me to tears.

    I have decided to follow your blog, because I LOVE your spirit, strength and determination to fight!

    Go Ellie! Go!

    GF, you WILL get married. You WILL fight it.
    Love you lots.

    Sue xxx


  3. alice woolf
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 15:31:09

    What an amazing blog, I wish you strength for your fight. alicex
    p.s. have you tried LDN? There has been some success in treating cancer with it.


  4. Sheila MacKay
    Dec 02, 2011 @ 13:51:28

    Being neither a blog writer nor reader, I only checked yours out because Stephen Fry tweeted a recommendation. I’m with you now, and will follow faithfully. Sending as many positive vibes as I can muster your way!


  5. Jo
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 18:35:10

    Hi Ellie

    I’m following your blog and hoping along with you. I’m re-reading your first blog entry at least I think) and I wonder how you got through that initial diagnosis? Were the doctors hopeful to begin with or were you given a poor prognosis from the outset? you don’t mention any lymph nodes being positive in this blog yet there must have been evidence of a spread from the beginning surely? (Having said that, I guess even when there’s a spread to the lymph nobody ever believes they’ll move on to secondaries. We fear it but don’t expect it)

    I’m really impressed by your spirit, keep it up! You’ve outlived the expectations of your not so sympathetic doctor who gave you only 3 months.


  6. Marcelle
    Mar 12, 2014 @ 03:27:46

    I was also diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 – currently okay.
    Ellie sounded like such an amazingly brave and funky girl- couldn’t stop reading her blog till I had finished it- wanted to say sorry f


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