Julie and I had a wonderful time exploring PEI together, visiting Green Gables, seeing Anne the musical and immersing ourselves in the landscape which inspired the novel. We had time to get to know each other more intimately and catch up with each others lives over the past 50 years, and despite some prior reservations about whether we'd get along, these worries proved unfounded.
Since returning, rather reluctantly, to the UK, it's given me time to reflect on the power and importance of female friendship and support. Despite celebrating my 37th wedding anniversary recently and having shared both good and challenging times with my husband, it has always been my female friends that have been a constant in my life, especially when life has been toughest.
I am always indebted to the NCT mums who were there during the early days of motherhood, when sleep was in short supply and the days and nights seemed to merge into one. You saved my sanity on many an occasion!
The most traumatic time of my life was being diagnosed with Womb Cancer over 6 years ago. I'd not heard of the disease before diagnosis and knew nobody with the condition even when I joined a Gynae Cancer Support Group. The lack of support and isolation took a toll on my mental health and I was referred to the local Psycho-Oncology Service where my health began to improve. However the most important support for me came from the virtual world, when I discovered WCSUK by chance whilst scrolling through Facebook 15 months after my diagnosis. It was at this point I realised I was not alone. These women knew exactly what I was going through and the true road to recovery began for me.
I was able to return to my Latin Fitness Camp Dance Class, a group of fun, supportive women who have joined me on several Race for Life events, raising money for Cancer Research. Since diagnosis and as part of my recovery, I have taken up cycling and become a member of Leicester Women's Velo. This group has helped me raise awareness of Womb Cancer on 2 annual bike rides during September, and have helped me reach cycling goals I could only dream of.
Finally I am so grateful to have recovered both physically and mentally from Womb Cancer that I was able to make this very special trip to Canada, an experience I will treasure for the rest of my life!