The Many Hairstyles of Cancer! #worldcancerday

 

This is my video of some (not all) of my wigs, scarfs, hats, and looks through my cancer diagnosis and treatment for #worldcancerday.Β http://bit.ly/cancerhair

I have put this together to try to raise awareness for Cancer and treatment and how it affects you and how you can stay Positive throughout the battle!

I am currently raising money to create a website and App to help people after a cancer diagnosis and treatment get back to ‘normal life’, but I don’t want it to be normal, I want them all to feel better than ever! This website and app will focus on getting fitness back, a healthy cancer prevention diet (that will help with weight loss too), and mental strength and stress reduction. I will also give tips on beauty, and toxin free products that can help to reduce toxicity and illness!

Please support me by donating to my go fund me page https://www.gofundme.com/transformationapp

and like me on social media:
https://www.facebook.com/MelindaCookseyToxinFreeLiving/
twitter: @MelindaLou1
Insta: @ToxinFreeGirl
Blog: https://toxinfreeliving.org/
Song credits: Fight Song, Rachel Platten

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Breast cancer transformation app!Β 

 
As many of my friends and family know, I was diagnosed with breast cancer on 6th Feb 2015.  Along the way I have met some truly inspirational people and have been supported by an amazing network of friends and family. 

I have never felt so loved and cared for. But I know from speaking with other women in the same situation this is not always the case. 

  I was going through a tough time with cancer treatment and also personal circumstances but I found and created my own unique lifestyle plan that kept me going throughout treatment and now that it is finished I am transitioning back to non-cancer life, and have created a plan to get fit, lose weight (whilst eating healthy), de-toxify my mind and body and keep stress to a minimum all whilst starting to work again. 

I have found, and many other women have related that there is a big gap of care for women who have undergone treatment and then want to make it back into ‘normal’ life.   Exercise is harder after 1,2,3 of the following: operations, chemo and radiotherapy. And it is suggested that it can take 12-24 months to fully get over the fatigue and side effects of chemo and radiation. 

Not to mention if like me, a lot of women are then placed on hormone effecting drugs like tamoxifen, which contain a whole heap of side effects including weight gain. It can feel like a never ending battle to get back into your jeans and your life. 
Along the way a high proportion of women gain weight, their hair falls out, eyebrows and eye lashes are a distant memory. Confidence takes a nose dive and you are not the person you started out in the journey as. 

What I want to create is an app and website with a plan for women to be the best version of themselves. To be better than they ever were and for them to feel truely happy, healthy and wonderful. 

I want to create an app with a 12 week reformation/ transformation. Making these women the fittest, healthiest, and most confident version of themselves. 

I will give stress and lifestyle tips. 

Make up and health care tips. 

Toxin reduction tips and plans. 

Supplementation tips (such as vitamin c). 

Exercise plans.

healthy eating plans concentrating on reducing the acidity of the diet to keep cancer away. 

Stress relief and self confidence boost plans. 

I want the plans and app to be free for women with cancer to use. 

Please tap this link Transformation app to donate. 

 

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It’s true, you probably aren’t meant to say it. I am good, I am a winner, I am strong… But I am! I know I’m not meant to, but I find myself tonight watching a film that made me cry, AGAIN, seriously how can every film seem to have cancer in it, seem to have family and friends and seem to make me cry. It’s not normal. Or maybe, just maybe it is.

I am scared of chemo 6. Tax 2. I admit tax 1 got me, it had me in bed for what felt like a week but was probably more like 5 days. Not straight away but as the oncologist said on Monday just gone, when the steroids wear off the pain starts, “can you do this?” Of course my answer is “YES”. My answer has always been yes to hard questions, I’ve had my fair share of pain in the past. And I’ve always gone at it, I’ve always dealt with it, quietly and appropriately.

God, I would loose a race (I used to run fast on the track) I’d spend the next two days in bed sobbing I hadn’t run to my potential and by Tuesday, my first track session, I would get up and arrive at the track for 6.30pm I would take the banter of the group (God how I miss them all!) and I would warm up and coach (Rog) would say to me “a technique session or a speed endurance session” the answer… Always….. A speed endurance session, I would train so hard I would be sick half way through, or have an asthma attack and have to be helped to breathe and I would stop being sick or regain my breathe and be back on that track. That’s me……. That’s melinda….. That is an athlete….. That is a fighter…. ( all athletes respond this way, well I’d say most, a tear shed, then a training session to make you feel pain so hard in your legs only an athlete can understand ….. Or so you think….. Chemo is a deeper pain, it hits your bones your muscles, teeth, cheeks, finger nails, but all my life I prepared myself for pain.

Running isn’t just it, I remember being told my sister was the pretty one, my sister was the clever one, I was the sporty one…. When probably she was all of them but God I tried, I studied I would be up until 3-4am studying to get my psychology degree, my masters in marketing, I then went on to do bikini competitions (blatantly to get some sort of recognition for being pretty) and never placed out the top 2 except once I came 5th and once I came second call out in nationals (with a home made bikini, and I knew no one p, I had no influence, I just worked my ass off) so I beat all the things people told me I wasn’t, with obviously my battles along the way!

What does this have to do with crying at movies and being scared about my next chemo and how much it hurts, well deep down I know. I know that I wouldn’t have it any other way, I’m the fighter, I can take the battle, and emotionally I couldn’t cope seeing someone I love, someone close to me go through it.

I applaud every single person that lets me tell them I’m having a crap day, that I’m in pain, stressed, upset, that lets me cry to them because 90% of people I know, don’t see the fear, or the pain, they don’t need to see it, because what do I gain from telling them, pity, yeah I do want it sometimes, attention, yeah i do want that sometimes too, but I wasn’t raised that way. And good old British working class values stick with you.

My good old British response to most people “I’m fine/ I’m good, thanks” some times I say “I’m a bit tired” but that’s as far as it gets to most, because I’m a fighter and a winner and winners and fighters don’t moan, they get on with it and in the words of Nike they ‘just do it’.

I have had so many battles in my life, not just on the running track, not just studying, but I am too much of a winner to give a blog all my pain, all my suffering and all my joy too, as let’s be honest probably if I’m lucky 12 people read it, that’s if I’m lucky read!

One day I’ll write a book, one day I’ll get 100 comments on a blog, or 1000 likes on my Facebook page and Instagram, who knows! Crazier things have happened! But while I write this, and I live through this, at least I know I’m the right girl for the job, scared …..f&Β£k yeah! A quitter….. NEVER!

So, Chemo 6 tomorrow, a steroid induced hot flush….. A dread in my belly, a tear in my eye, and a fight in my soul….. So here goes the next 7 days. To my rock – cassie, to my mom and dad, sister, bro -in -law, nephews , to my amazing friends – you know who you are…. I’ll make a list when it isn’t midnight and I need to sleep ( but needed to write this blog off my head, that’s been spinning inside for the last hour of the film) , to my chemo buddy, to my pink sisters, to my well wishers, to the good people of the world…. Let’s just keep fighting and winning our battles, doing the right thing, and being water (Taoism).

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Realisation.

So I woke up this morning, as you do πŸ˜‚ (funny aren’t I!πŸ™ˆπŸ˜‚), and had a sort of realisation. This last week since having my new chemo last Friday called Docetaxel (tax for short!… It’s in all the forums and Facebook groups! I had to ask to be sure though πŸ™ˆ),I have felt awful, I mean it, every cell in my body has ached, I fell over on the weekend and that didn’t help as I cut my hands, bruised my ankle and cut my knee, but on top of that I have just honestly felt awful.

I’m not one for pain killers but I had to take them to just ease the pain to sleep. My head, throat, teeth, bones, muscles everything seriously everything hurt I actually cried with pain one night because I couldn’t feel it easing it just wouldn’t shift. But a lot of it has and although my long bones ( collar bones, back, thighs, rib cage ) and head still ache, mostly it has calmed down and is manageable! All those DOMS days from the gym have put me in good practise for this battle.

Anyway, back to my realisation, so I’m not painting a pretty picture of the last week really, but on top of this money became a big worry and is ongoing for me, so on top of the aches I was trying to help sort someone out, worry about my financial position and just deal with you know those random situation where you are involved and just help and do what you feel is the right thing.

So cryptic message complete πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ and Once again back to the realisation……this morning I woke with a smile and a thought and posted it on Facebook to more than a hundred likes (I was really happy about that! So thank you to my friends who liked it! As mostly what I say on my personal page is nonsense)….

…. Here it is…….. “I’m a pale, bald little chubster that aches like a granny…. But I have never been in such a good head space! I have such amazing people around me!”

It’s true, all of the above is true, I’m not happy with my weight or how I look but I seriously feel happy. I ache, I hurt but I’m happy and it’s weird and amazing to feel like it!

And following on from that I posted on a breast cancer forum………. ” I’m going to say this crazy thing that probably makes half of you want to punch me in the face but honestly apart from the pain, the aches, being bald, pale, chubbier than before, flat broke, I have come to realise how lucky I am. When the money stress and pains hit the background I stop and think how amazing the people I have around me are. And how amazing we all are. I honestly feel more comfortable just being me. Not trying to be a tanned blonde bikini model I once was. I just feel content that I am me and people like me. I don’t have to do anything to make them. I can be miserable and horrible somedays and people still want to be my friend. I am officially being real for the first time ever! Xxx love you all xxx big love for Saturday go treat yourself to a break with a brew and cake today xxxπŸ™ˆπŸ˜”

And again I got nearly 100 likes and lots of comments, lots of women agreeing with me and high fiving me rather than wanting to punch me.

Because it seems I’m not the only one to have the penny drop…… That life is for living, for the people we have in it ….. Not for trying to impress, trying to be a CEO and be a powerful workaholic it is for making memories. It is for laughing and smiling and making laughter lines around your eyes.

What this god awful disease has done for me, is give me perspective, I was near my break point when I got diagnosed, I had broken the year before and I was ready to break again, and cancer took the only thing I felt I had left…. My health and my body.

I will never look in a mirror and see the girl I once was, she has gone but I’m no shell of a girl crying in a corner, and I realise just how much I needed a reality check…. And I have got it from the highest order. I am finally real.

I am grateful to all the amazing people around me, to my family to my chosen family (friends), acquaintances that give support, other ladies battling on, to everyone that supports me and other people battling on and those that haven’t well I literally don’t care. I haven’t overanalysed why some people don’t like my posts on social media, why certain people don’t seem to bother to get in touch, I truly don’t care. Because the friends that do Are the ones I want. The people that care are who matter.

And I matter, I matter whether I am tanned, blonde bikini model and athlete who works a high powered job with a good salary …. Trying to make it to the top of the corporate world…and I matter as a bald, pale, chubbier, non-worker ( I’m on sick leave so one day I will be back at a desk, but not for a little while).
I am finally able to like myself more than ever, whether I have kids or I don’t ….. I know plenty of kids so if I don’t get my own I can screw up everyone else’s πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ my sister better watch out I’m blatantly going to be the bad aunty πŸ™ˆπŸ˜‚)

Of course I have my dark days but they are fewer and farer between than ever, they go quicker than they did. And of course I stress but it takes more, and I do stress less. But I’m present, I watch a film and watch it, I eat food and enjoy it, I fully appreciate the trees, the blue skies the 5 minutes I got earlier to put a face mask on.

And although I am mostly sleepy, or useless I feel happier in myself and there is no amount of money in the world that could have bought me this feeling of pure, unadulterated blissful realism.

Sometimes you have to go through a whole load of crap, to appreciate what you have.

But if anyone can learn from my lessons….. Enjoy yourself, love yourself and be real to yourself. Take five minutes to be grateful for what you have today. Xxxx

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The C Personality.

All day I have been contemplating what it takes for someone to be mean, are they born with it or did they grow up into it. At some point surely someone had to have just been born like it…… And then they created other people’s environments. So it is both?

This then led me to contemplate……Is it true that we all have cancer in us? I’ve heard many people say everyone does! and it is the unlucky minority that unfortunately provide the cancer cells the environment to grow.

So why does cancer thrive in some people and not others? Is it random? Is it a certain type of person?
I read a book sometime ago and it cited ‘the type C Personality’, the five characteristics are:

– Always putting others first
– low self -esteem
– bottling up emotions
– living in fear
– harbouring resentment

Interesting, I can relate! Can other cancer patients?

Always putting others first….. I’m easy going and a people pleaser….. It’s a fatal combination that means you do what others want, you eat where they want even when you have a craving for Indian you’ll end up at a Chinese because you just don’t speak up, as you just do what they want…… watch what they want, and just go along with it. You do their paper work before your own, do their jobs before your own, sort what they need and want first.

Bottling emotions. Tick. You’ll drive yourself crazy doing it though. I did.

Living in fear … Yep, I did that for a time.

Harbouring resentment. Here’s a little story. A woman who was previously a friend, was a bit sly I won’t go into details but her closing statement to me in a message was “well they will just cut it out of you and it will all be over.” I haven’t seen this woman since this message, and I’m not entirely sure if I would say anything but I would love to as that comment was bitter and the fact is they never just cut it out of you and it’s over. I bet there are no women or men alive that haven’t been affected by the diagnosis. It changes you! Plus I’m currently bald from chemo so clearly that didn’t happen for me!

The C Personality is ME. Wait, was ME.

I have twice in the past month requested where I eat, because I wanted to enjoy and fulfil my craving. (This might seem small but literally I just never do this!)

Emotionally….. Well I’m more of an open book than I have ever been and I hope it continues. I don’t pretend to be super happy all day every day anymore. I’m not, fact, and that has absolutely diddly squat to do with chemotherapy, that is me, I’m not super happy, I get sad, I get angry, I get silly, I get happy….. I’m all the emotions….. But I will always smile and be polite, even if I’m now telling you I’m miserable with it!

Fear? No I don’t fear cancer, i don’t fear death, i do think about death, I do think about a lot of things but I don’t have any major fears. I am not scared of any one person, disease or place. Spiders are a whole separate issue though!

Resentment. Now this one, this one I find tricky, I don’t resent anyone person or situation intensively that it consumes me. I do probably, if I am honest resent certain things from my past. And like my little story above, I don’t resent her…. But I haven’t forgotten what she said. And I do think there is a difference.

I believe I am stronger now than ever before. Because cancer opened my eyes to myself.

What I’m saying in a round about way is that maybe just maybe cancer is in us all, like they say, and some people, like me with the C personality nurture the cancer and give it an environment to grow.

But you can change the environment you live in, and you can change the environment your cells live in, and we are just a mass of millions of cells. So, if I improve my esteem, open up more, forget my fears, let go of past wrongs and just accept myself and my needs as important then maybe, just maybe I will be cancer free for the rest of my time in this world.

A toxin free environment isn’t just about the foods, products and chemicals we are in contact with daily ( although I advise anyone to take a Look on their bathroom shelf and sort what they eating out) …… It’s our brains as well. And when you start to believe you are a good person and a nice person and a friendly person and a worthwhile person then I think you are half way there to being cancer free for life. And to be honest just better off.

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Natural Remedies.Β 

Obviously, as you can see from my previous moans and groans… I am a wanna-be toxin free mind and body kind of girl. I try my best to be 100% but I’m sure even the most confident people in the world have a shake of mind and spirits and want to eat pizza! 

The toxin free, clean (mostly) eating in itself is a personal choice and I don’t force it upon anyone although I actually do recommend trying it. As for me I have found some great natural remedies along the way and been shocked by what I used to put on and into my body! Obviously I still have a flutter with ice cream, a drink, and have the odd pizza or other junk food! I am only human! 

But as I am on a crap load of unnatural, man-made drugs to rid me of any Cancer still left in this body, I try to not use all the medication they provide to stop the side effects. I do use the anti-nausea items because seriously I hate being sick and that would cause me so much stress to be throwing up after each chemo for hours. I made that choice and I will stick to it. 

But so, basically, when dealing with chemo and breast cancer surgery and etc etc you are told no deodorants. There is a lot of crap in those standard deodarants and well let’s be honest…. Do you still moan you smell at the end of the day girls? Yep, most girls I know do! But not me…. Little miss hippy over here makes her own and I don’t smell! …. I literally mix the amazing (sometimes it seems to good to be true) organic  coconut oil and bicarbonate of soda together! And I am smell free for the day….. Also you can use this same mixture as a toothpaste to remove stains … Forget expensive toxic bleaching and give the  80p bicarbonate of soda from the supermarket a go! 

  I also use bicarbonate mixed with alkalising salts to clear my bowels. I know gross! But seriously constipation is the worst from chemo and sickness medication, it hurts, it makes you feel 10 years older, you feel frumpy and just down right poo! (Pardon my pun). Now I used to use bicarbonate of soda as an alkalising buffer when I was a sprinter and personally stumbled upon the, then adverse effects of the 80p supermarket goody, when someone else mixed my drink for me and made it too strong and I subsequently ran to the toilet not around the running track fast! But should anyone want a performance aid that is natural and buffers lactic …then do some research as there is a proper measure to use…. From memory I believe I used to use….. 1g to every 10kg body weight 90mins pre track session and 30 mins pre track session… I didn’t do this for long as I had a few car accidents and then quit so never competed on it but double check its ok to race on and see how it works in training for all sports where ‘you hit the wall, get lactic, feel the burn’ … Or just use it as a good clear out for the intestines! πŸ˜±πŸ™ˆ but be careful of you have heart conditions I don’t recommend using too much if you are salt sensitive! 

  Organic Coconut oil…. My favourite thing…. Seriously stranded on a dessert island I would take this … Or I guess learn to crack open coconuts and make my own! … It can be used to pull the bacteria and toxins from the body by swilling it in the mouth for 15mins, it makes your teeth whiter, skin softer, apparently scars heal faster (I’ll let you all know on this … Bio oil never worked for me so I will see if this works!) and my hair grow faster, which my hair is now growing and I look like a fluff ball! 

On top of this… You can cook in it and eat it! And yes when on Keto diets and desperate for chocolate I have had the odd teaspoon of coconut oil straight from the jar as pudding! 

I literally have a jar in what feels like every room!  

And just as a bonus to this post here is a little positive meme from the ladies of young breast cancer forum who I chat with regularly on Facebook! 

 

Chemo 2. What a Long Day.

Omg! So I had a 9.30am appointment, and should have been away from the hospital at around 12 if not before….. Instead I left at 6.45pm! Without the full treatment.

They put the canulor into my right hand but near to the thumb vein and unfortunately after the anti-sickness and flush was put through, it must have moved some how, or was never in, I don’t know I’m not a nurse, but this meant that the first lot of chemo created the sneezes again but it also started to go really cold under my arm so they were getting me a heat pack to warm it up and puff out of no where it swelled up around the canulor.

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So due to this two doctors (one my oncologist) came to see me and a few nurses. And it was decided to cool it down for a while, take it out and transfer the other two chemo drugs to my left arm, even with my lymphs out in that arm, I was recited some research for that it should be ok and I trust my oncologist to do the right thing.

So I had another canulor put into my left arm this time, and off we go again, and sailed through the rest of chemo, then I had to wait an hour or so for the antidote to the stray chemo in my bodily tissue, as apparently the worst case scenario equals a skin graft so although my swelling went down by the time I was leaving they still need me to have 3 doses.

I had the first today and I have 1 Saturday and another Sunday.

Plus the White blood cell injections start tomorrow, and I have extra anti sickness and sleepers to help the first three days nausea. And some tablets for my mouth as it got so sore and full of ulcers! So all in all they are hoping to make chemo 2 easier than the first!

I am praying I am not sick tonight, and that the new regime for anti-sickness helps me and I just sleep through it so that I can eat well the first week.

Bonus is that whilst there from 9.30 -6.45pm I read my book and had a laugh playing the Keith Lemon hide your teeth game with Cass, we did America, and yes I won as she laughs to much!

I also spoke to some nice people around me. One lady even told me I looked like Jesse J with my scarf on, and the people next to me wanted to know where it was from for a friend starting treatment soon. So that’s all thanks to Cass as she bought it me for my birthday, and I’m rocking it! So now I want more scarfs! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜

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Monday = Game Face.

Soooooo….. This weekend I went a bit AWOL (absent without leave), the plans I made I chickened out from, so I didn’t drive to London to see all the GALAXY GIRLS pull cars, sprint and then strut their stuff on stage. I desperately wanted to go but was also scared stiff to stray to far from home by myself and drive for that long. I think this first time round I am questioning myself all the time as to what I can and can’t do. I feel like I let friends down and I’m really sorry about that.

It’s all a bit of a testing ground. My second round will definitely be easier to judge as I will have done it once. So I’m trying to let myself off for not going and supporting all the girls as I know I will be there next time and it was just too soon for me.

So I was a bit upset with myself all weekend and was a grump but agreed to go out for a bite to eat Saturday night with Cassie to cheer me up and ended up staying out until sunrise! Seriously I haven’t done that since before Christmas.

And I know, I know I’m on treatment and I shouldn’t party! But actually why not? I drank, I danced, I laughed, I had a good time. And the nurses say you can have a drink just most people don’t want to due to the metallic taste, but I don’t have that this time round so I drank while I can!! It was great to let my hair down and meet new people and chat old athletics stories to a fellow former athlete!

So Sunday was spent recovering and eating a disgraceful veggie pizza, but Monday morning I woke up, early, and headed to Hereford to the Haven, an amazing charity who offer support to women with Breast Cancer. I had a hypnotherapy session followed by yoga.

The hypnotherapy isn’t someone making me do a chicken dance it is a lovely lady called Laura, who talks to me about what I want to achieve from the session, and makes me realise I have all the skills to tackle everything but I just need to apply them. She was talking to me whilst I visualised today about snakes and ladders. And you know what, it stuck with me, life is just like snakes and ladders you get an opportunity and you climb up and feel totally in control, and sometimes a set back comes along and you feel out of control on the slippery snake then you balance, plod along and another ladder is set out I front of you. It was a great analogy for life.

And in Yoga I have really progressed.,I actually managed to touch my hands at my back today and did downward dog, which I haven’t done since my operation. It’s hard when you go from being super fit to super crap at everything but I felt like I made progress and that is great for me.

So today I have game face on, I’ve got back in the kitchen since my first chemo and cooked some simple food, done yoga, worked on my head, and I feel great for it! It really is the simple things that keep you happy and just well …. YOU! I am post chemo day 10 and feeling good. I might have thought at times I couldn’t do this but today I feel like I can!

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Frankie Ain’t Got Nothing On Me.

Well ok she has, she’s a beaut! But I went with it and got Dionne to chop off my hair, and to my amazement I like it. My neck is cold, and there is hair in my eyes but I will get used to that.

I have been told I need to use a hair dryer now! And actually style it.. High heat and low speed and no parting. How I’m going to manage this I don’t know but I am going to give it a shot.

But all in all, even if the worst doesn’t happen and I don’t have a bald head this will be far easier than desperately seeking out a hair bobble mid- sick bucket moment. So it’s a win from me!

And if not now… When can you play with your hair……

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A Proud Day. The Fight Was Worth It.

So sometimes life can feel like a constant battle, yep, I testify to that statement! It can feel like everything and everyone is against you, and nothing goes in your favour. But it isn’t and they aren’t!
Fact is, whatever it concerns, if you know what you want, you will get it by using positive affirmations. Drown yourself in negativity and you will get bad results, and then when you wonder why that didn’t work for me, why don’t I get the cash, the relationship, the car I want? Well, you would if you just know what you want, believe you deserve it and ask for it and you will receive it. If you haven’t read the secret, or watched the movie, go check it out on netflics tonight.
So I have plenty of things I want, but the most crucial at the moment, is to do with my decision making, I have constantly said to everyone, I need a percentage, I need facts and figures to make my decision. I can’t go ahead with chemotherapy on the basis that I’m young, it just isn’t enough for me.
But I have asked, pushed, fought my corner all the way along with the NHS. And honourably ever request and argument I have given they have conceded too, they probably see my name on paper now and get as anxious as I do about going in to see them. I might be scared on the inside but I do my best to act fierce to them and I am so pleased to say they have put me forward for the genomic cancer test. It is expensive, a whopping Β£2,800 and is normally privately funded, but I am pleased to say, I am the first person in the country to get it paid for by the NHS, since its introduction into the system on the 30th March. So as this is now part of the system, if you are struggling with a chemotherapy decision, please ask your consultant if you are eligible for the test and if you can have it. Put your foot down, make them understand it is your life and you need to know! If like me you struggle to say it in person, the emotion gets to you, take a few days and compose an email, or letter to the consultant and team.
Knowledge is power! And doing my research has paid off! I find out in 2 weeks how effective chemotherapy will be for me in reducing my risk of getting cancer again.
Life is a funny thing, and I have learned through this that you have to respect and love yourself, I just wish I had sooner!

Genomic test reference:
http://www.cancercenter.com/treatments/genomic-tumor-assessment/

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