Sunday, 20 December 2015

Secret Santa xxx

On Friday I attended my fourth Christmas party of the season- my office Christmas party. Last year I attended this do feeling incredibly tired and ill and with a big fat steroid face, as it was four days after my last chemotherapy treatment. Needless to say, this year I felt a whole lot better, not least because the year previously I'd been wondering whether I would actually be alive to see this Christmas.

However, one of the main reasons for my good mood was my secret Santa gift. As well as a gorgeous silk scarf, I also received what it possibly the nicest and sweetest letter I have ever had. I still don't know who it was from, but I know the person who wrote it reads my blog because of some of the things they referenced, so I'm hoping that they see this post.

To give you an understanding of what was written in the letter, I've copied one of the paragraphs below:

'Santa respects how very brave you are but realises this can be tiring. Just remember you don't always have to be brave your friends will understand and be there to give you a hand or a shoulder to cry on when you need it. Santa can reassure you that you are not a shadow of the person you used to be. You are still beautiful, loveable and definitely not fat. So don't hate your reflection and as to the men who treat you like a leper they are fools and not worthy of you.'

To my Secret Santa - I just want to tell how much your words mean to me. I know I can come across as brash and loud sometimes, but inside I struggle. I hate the way I look right now and the limitations that cancer has placed on my life and it's very easy for me to sink in to depression. Every now and again I just need kind words and reassurance, which is exactly what you have given me. It's impossible to put in to words how important it is to me to hear comments like yours and what a difference it makes. So I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. You made my day xxxx

Wednesday, 11 November 2015


I'm fed up of being in pain.

I'm sick of hot flushes and being menopausal at 33 years old.

I'm tired of having a deformed body and hating my reflection in the mirror.

I'm sick of cancer taking my friends.

I've had enough of side effects.

I'm tired of aches and pains.

I'm sick of anxiety and worry.

I'm fed up of my friends getting bad news after bad news.

I'm tired of men treating me like a leper.

I'm sick of feeling unloveable.

I'm fed up of feeling fat and ugly.

I'm sick of  being told ' well does that really matter in the grand scheme of things?'

I'm tired of brain fog and memory issues.

I'm tired of being tired.

I've had enough of feeling lonely.

I'm sick of people's assumptions that 'it's all over now'.

I'm tired of being brave.

I've had enough of being a shadow of the person I used to be. 

Monday, 28 September 2015

All by myself

A couple of weeks ago I went on holiday by myself. It was something that I deliberated over and took me slightly out of my comfort zone. I've travelled in Thailand alone but travelling is a different animal. There are lots of people navigating places like South East Asia alone and inevitably you end up meeting like minded people to hang out with during your stay.

Most of my friends are married, have long terms boyfriends or children. Or all three. Therefore a holiday companion was not forthcoming. It was either a case of go it alone or not go at all. After the last year I was completely desperate for a break. I'm single and childless and I was slightly worried that going on holiday alone would be the start of the slippery slope towards eternal shelf life and owning twenty cats. However, I bit the proverbial bullet and booked a week in Santorini, a Greek island I've wanted to visit for a good few years. 

I stayed in a little village by the beach called Kamari which reminded me of one of the Thai islands. Kamari has a long stretch of black sand and is separated from the neighbouring village by a huge expanse of volcanic rock. 

If you ever visit Kamari make sure you have flip flops for the beach. Black sand and the Greek sunshine can make for very sore tootsies!

I spent most of my evenings in Santorini eating fresh seafood and greek salad, accompanied by copious amounts of white wine with the odd cocktail thrown in. However, I managed to get a couple of early nights and got up at 6.30am the next morning to get a three mile run in before the sun came up.

Running along the seafront with that view certainly beats pounding the pavements of the Hagley Road in Birmingham. It was totally idyllic and I just felt calm, relaxed and happy for the first time in a long while.

The picture postcard blue and white views of Santorini that pop up on Google aren't of the beach areas of the island, but of the towns Oia and Fira which are inland. I say inland, but the whole island is very small and inland just means about a couple of kilometres from the beach rather than being right on it.

Halfway through the week I spent one night in Fira and booked a table at Palia Kameni cocktail bar a few weeks before I left England. The bar is set in the side of the caldera and you can sit with an incredible cocktail and watch the sun go down.

 Pretty special right?

It took quite a hike up a steep hill to reach the bar but the effort was definitely worth it! 

Fira is a lot different from the sleepy town of Kamari. It's busy and bustling with a huge array of restaurants and bars. It's only a 10-15 mile taxi ride to Fira from Kamari or you can jump on a bus. I decided to stay there for an evening to experience a different bit of the island but also not to have to worry about getting a taxi home late at night.

Regarding the holiday itself. Of course I attracted some attention. I'm a woman in my early 30's travelling alone on an island traditionally full of romance and love. But at no point did I feel uncomfortable or unsafe. I was well looked after by the staff at the hotel I stayed in and at the restaurants I visited. I researched the location of my hotel online before I left to make sure I was booking to somewhere close to everything so I wouldn't be wandering around alone late at night. 

I never felt lonely or isolated, even when surrounded by lots of couples staring lovingly in to each others eyes. Just relaxed and content and slightly smug that I had the freedom to what I liked, when I liked. The post cancer me has become a lot more comfortable and accepting of my own company and spending time alone no longer causes the anxiety that it once did.

My advice to anyone considering going on holiday alone is to go ahead and book it. It could be one of the best decisions you ever make. 

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

150 mile challenge update!

I just wanted to write a post updating on my progress regarding my fundraising challenge. 

As some of you may have read in my last post, I set myself a challenge of running 150 miles between the beginning of August and the 18th of October, including the Birmingham Half Marathon to raise money for Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now.

I am very pleased to say that so far I have completed just over 132 miles and there is still just under four weeks to go till the half marathon! I'm hoping to smash the 150 target this week and I'm aiming to do at least 200 miles altogether. Fingers crossed for no injuries please!!

I'm not going to lie and say its been easy because it hasn't. The chemotherapy and the medication I take to suppress my body's oestrogen production means that I get a whole heap more muscle and joint aches than I used to. A lot of physical exertion can mean that in the subsequent days I find it difficult to get out of bed. And I'm definitely a lot slower than I used to be. 

But over the last couple of months there have been achievements that I am proud of too. The evening before I went on holiday a couple of weeks ago I actually completed just over 13 miles - a half marathon:

Not too shabby a time either!

I didn't set of with the intention of doing that many miles, I just kind of had a bit of a Forest Gump moment!

On holiday I also managed to resist having too many frozen daiquiris on a couple of evenings and dragged myself out of bed at 6.30 am the next day for a couple of 3 mile runs down the beach front at Kamari in Santorini:

Beats Birmingham canal I think you'll agree!!

You can donate to my fundraising efforts here -

You can also follow my progress here - or on Twitter - @rebeccas150mile

Monday, 10 August 2015

My 150 mile challenge!

I've set myself a challenge - between now (well technically the 3rd of August) and the 18th of October 2015 I'm going to run a minimum of 150 miles concluding with the Birmingham Half Marathon.


The challenge has started with a total of 18 miles this week - 132 to go!

My achy body, tried legs and blistered feet are for a worthy cause. I'm raising money for two incredible charities -  Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now. 

Breast Cancer Care are the only UK wide support charity providing information and support to people affected by breast cancer and the only one providing services, support and information for younger women with breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Now are the UK's largest breast cancer charity, formed from the merger of Breast Cancer Campaign and Breakthrough Breast Cancer. They are dedicated to funding research in to this devastating disease so that by the year 2050, no one will die from breast cancer.

Please support me to raise money for these charities by donating whatever you are able to or simply sharing my fundraising page with your friends, family and followers. Every little bit counts.

I'll be documenting my challenge on the interweb so you can keep track of my progress (and my mileage!):

Twitter: @rebeccas150mile

Thank you! xx

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

A year in pictures

It's said that a picture is worth a thousand words.

On that basis, this post must be practically a novel! 

Here is the year since my diagnosis in pictures: