Wow, been awhile, but I am always inclined to write when the feeling takes me. It’s June already can you believe it? Time is certainly flying by this year. This time last year I was well into my chemotherapy treatments, bald and just plain miserable.
Less than a year now to the real ‘royal’ wedding, Nathan and I are totally excited and most of the details are booked and in place. Little did I know how much a wedding costs these days, so literally I was trying to be creative with finances. Then I thought why not re-mortgage the house (not kidding) and it actually turns out even with some dosh for the wedding on top I will still be paying less! I am a genius lol. The average cost for a wedding in the UK is 27K, now that’s not something you want to do twice. 😉
I wanted to write about a dear friend and colleague of mine, Diane, who was recently diagnosed with Ocular Melanoma. Cancer so rare, there are only around 500 to 600 cases a year in the UK. To give you a little history, she only really noticed it when she had some trouble with one eye, her left eye. She noticed she had cloudy vision in that eye and did not understand what was going on. A visit to the Opticians and they referred her straight away to the Hospital on Monday, bearing in mind this was the weekend.
On that Monday at the hospital, she was told she had a large tumour behind her eye. I mean this has got to be the worst kind of news you could get, as in how do you deal with something like this? There is no way to treat a tumour of this size unfortunately, she was soon to find out.
I remember being one of the first people she reached out to, probably because of everything I had been through last year. I was in a total shock when I read her message. Literally, I could relate to when you receive a diagnosis like this. You are lost for words, your world is falling apart, you are numb. I had just hosted her and Tommy the week before at my place for cocktails and dinner. You know…non stop Cosmos like you do! Little did we know what was around the corner.
I really felt I was in touch with Diane’s situation, more so now, than I ever would have been before. Although you can’t compare the 2 cancers and the impact they have on you, they are the same bastard. Diane luckily has access to private health care and for that, she and I are both blessed. Harley Street is home to some of the best doctors in the country, and Diane was in the hands of 1 of 2 specialists, Dr Vicky Cohen. Just a few weeks after being diagnosed, MRI scan, PET CT scan, the works and the verdict is in. The eye has to be removed ASAP. Not just treatment or a an operation to remove a tumour, but the eye needs to be removed completely. When she told me, I didn’t know what to say.
Do me the favour right now and put one hand over one eye and see what it feels like to lose that visual field we have with our 2 eyes. It takes a lot of adjustment, almost like re-training to do the most basic things.
So not long after the diagnosis, Diane was scheduled for her operation and bless her she made it through with flying colours, her eye was removed and the hope was that everything bad was also taken away. That’s where the waiting game begins, the most painful part is waiting to get the results. When the eye is removed they insert a conformer to start with until your artificial eye (prosthesis) is ready to be fitted. This process can take up to 6 weeks. Your eye socket is preserved and the muscles still function.
Diane received some of the results this week and the doctors are pleased as they have removed all of the cancer cells whilst removing the eye. More test results to follow as they look at the type of cancer in more detail. There is a high risk of this type of cancer spreading to the liver. All results clear so good news all around.
I had the pleasure of visiting her a few weeks ago and was so pleased with how she was coping with all this. We have been in touch almost every day. She is my brave soldier. She is dealing with this in the only way you can. I will quote her here, “I am going to fight this bastard!” Emotions are up and down and all over the place she tells me. I can really feel for her. Sadly, only those who have been affected by the big C can really feel and help others when they are on this journey. We laugh, we joke and we share something special, we have both had rare types of cancer. Why are we so fucking special I ask?
It’s really scary, we are starting to hear so many stories like Diane’s. Where was I before I actually walked the journey myself? I used to think I was invincible, and now I just keep thinking, What if?
Every day I check if I have any lumps or bumps, as my Dr Marcus refers to them as. With every little pain or twinge, your thoughts go into overdrive. You are never the same again and how could you be? You are no longer that same person. You live in fear of what is next, at the same time try to live a normal and happy life. It’s not easy.
Well that’s all for today folks. On a lighter note, my amazing husband-to-be has just added another award to his belt. Nathan was voted the winning hairstyle in the NHF Wales Open Awards for ‘The Bride” He also came in 2nd for “Best Model” of the day with his muse, Izzy Alison. I am so proud of him, he has so much talent and he never fails to amaze me. Damn, I sometimes wish I had a little creative in me.
Until next time.
Love and Light