Monday, 14 March 2016

Charity Ball in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust

Writing to you all this time with very much a 'good news story' which raised a lot of money for charity.
One of my best friends Jess is very good at organising events; she has previously run a very successful ball in aid of the charity work she does, sending gifts to children with a condition called scoliosis, which is a curvature of the spine. Jess has her own experience with this, and had a serious operation a few years ago to correct her own curve. She tackled the whole horrid experience with tenacity and a fantastic sense of humour, and she really is an inspiration to me, and the fact that after her experience she wanted to help others really is amazing.
After I was diagnosed and told her more about how the Teenage Cancer Trust did and still continue to help me in my recovery, she said she was going to organise and event to raise money for them.
I wasn't sure what event she had had in mind, but I wasn't expecting a ball with live music and a photo booth and over 100 people attending.

On Saturday 5th March we took over the Cathedral Ballroom at the Doubletree by Hilton hotel on the Brayford Waterfront in Lincoln; and the total raised including a raffle and an auction was £1720 which is absolutely incredible. £50 can pay for a young person to have 2 hours with a specialist nurse, so that amount can achieve so much.
So, Jess, if you're reading this, you should be so proud of yourself for organising such an amazing event, and thank you.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Long term effects

Happy March everyone! Finally a step closer towards spring and the milder weather, which I can't wait for!
It was this step closer to warmer weather that made me think more about the long term effects of my cancer and its treatment. The chemotherapy I had made my skin more sensitive to the sun, so I spent last summer covered in SPF 50 even in the weaker British sun. However, I'm going on holiday in April (I can't wait!) and I've had to think about sun exposure much more than I would have done before. I also had radiotherapy to my neck and chest, and these areas should be exposed to as little sun as possible, so I'm taking sun tops for swimming in, as well as my trusty SPF 50.
The radiotherapy I had also means I will need a blood thyroid test every year for the rest of my life, as radiotherapy to the chest causes around 80% of patients thyroid glands to become under active and around 10% to become overactive. I've been told that this can be easily managed with medication if this happens.
I will also be entered into the breast cancer screening programme earlier than usual. Currently, all women aged 50-70 are invited for breast screening, although it varies slightly by county, but this is being extended to 47-73 by the end of this year. I will be entered into the programme when I'm 30, plus or minus a few years depending on where I'm living when I near that age. This is because the radiotherapy has put me at a slightly increased risk of developing breast cancer.
All that being said, this seems like nothing compared to other cancers and their treatments. I still have my eyesight, my hearing and my mobility; and for that I am grateful.