Today, 23rd December, is a date that will live in my memory for ever. It is the day, 10 years ago that I was told I had womb cancer.
The diagnosis came completely out of the blue and changed my world forever.
I was being investigated for fibroids and cancer had never been mentioned so when I was told, over the phone, that a recent MRI had detected a tumour, I just fell apart.
10 years on, I am still living with the after effects of it all.
Every year that comes round, I look back on what I've lost and realise that cancer has changed my life forever.
The one thing that bothers me the most is that I've had no closure. I have never been told that the cancer has gone or that I'm in remission. I never had the chance to draw a line in the sand and say "now I can move on".
When I started WCSUK, I never for one moment thought I woudl still be doing it now. I started the organisation in April 2011 because I could see a need for a UK based mutual support network for women who had been diagnosed with womb cancer.
I had gone looking for something when I was first diagnosed and found nothing other than a couple of US based online support groups. I figured there must be other women in the UK out there who wanted support so I decided to set something up - and we're still going strong today.
I've said many times over the past 10 years that I regret having the treatment that followed my surgery. I was initially told beforehand that I would probably not require any further treatment as both my gynaecologist & surgeon were 99.9% sure that all the cancer qould be removed and further treatment would not be needed.
As it turned out, the top guy, the oncologist, thought otherwise and so I had to endure chemotherapy & radiotherapy and I'm still living with the consequences.
Had I known then what I know now I would have refused both and taken my chances.
Many people have told me over the years that I should be thankful that I no longer have cancer but I don;t feel that I have anything to be thankful for.
My life is a living hell and no-one other than my husband knows how hard each day is for me. I also live with the guilt that his health has suffered so much because he now has to look after me despite having his own serious health issues.
Several times over recent years I have considered backing off from WCSUK because of the health issues, both physical & mental that I have to deal with on a daily basis and to some extent I have but as it has gotten closer to this milestone I had seriously been considering stopping doing what I do. Not closing the organisation down but just letting it run on without any input from me.
Right up until last night, I still hadn't made my mind up on what to do.
It was only upon logging on this morning jist before 8am and finding a message from one of the young ladies who had been diagnosed earlier in the year that I made my decision. She is really struggling wth the thought of having to face her first Christmas knowing she will be surrounded by family members, some with young children and new babies knowing that she will never be a mother herself. She said that the support she had received from the other women in the private support group had helped her so much and she thankked me for having set u the organisation and for being there for her.
I thought back 10 years and remembered how scared and frightened I felt when I was told I had cancer. I remembered all the times I had cried myself to sleep over the following nights that Christmas. I also remembered all the times since April 2011 that I had received messages & emails from women who had just been diagnosed and felt as scared as I had. The messages I get from women who have finished their treatment and been given the all clear.
WCSUK, and specifically the private support group we have on FB, helps so many women to deal with their diagnosis. Knowing they have someone they can talk to who knows how they feel, someone who "gets it" means so much to them.
I know it would have helped me so much all those years ago.
The organisation has never been about me but about all the women who find us and support each other along our individual journey with cancer.
So ths morning, as I sit hear drinking my coffe and listening to the birds stirring as the light brightens outside I have finally decided that WCSUK will go on and we will always (for as long as I'm alive) be here for any women who finds herself in that dark place that I was 10 years ago, hearing those words "I'm sorry but you have cancer"
No-one fights alone.