‘Warrior women’ is a term that’s been bandied about a fair bit, often connected with feminism or reclaiming that which is lost. Well, lately I’ve met the real deal. I’ve met a lot of new people online. Mostly women, all with similar advanced lung cancers to mine. And what a feisty lot they are. I’ve never met people so strong, so determined, so bloody-minded and intelligent. They have been my salvation in these last few dark weeks, waiting for results and a treatment plan.
They have taught me to look at life in a different way. They have warned me never to look at cancer statistics on Google – ever. They are brave and wise and I am totally in awe of them. None of us have the time, or the inclination to deal with bullshit – from anyone. We say it as it is, we are kind to each other, we offer information and virtual hugs. We know what this is all about. It is a very exclusive club that none of us wanted to belong to.
So within a week I will have started chemo and I can begin to beat the cancer cells into submission, wherever they rear their ugly heads. They will never be totally gone, of course, but that’s not the name of this particular game. Science is amazing – within a couple of days now, the genome sequencing will be finished on my cancer, the mutations identified, a plan of attack worked out. The diagnostic process I have undergone, with scans and biopsies etc. has been phenomenal. The NHS comes in for a lot of stick, but I can put my hand on my heart and say I have never felt so much confidence in any organisation as I do in all the doctors, nurses and technicians responsible for my wrap-around care, at York Teaching Hospital and St James’s in Leeds.
Two months ago, I didn’t think I’d ever feel positive about life again. Today is different.