Girl On Top (Part 1) – Beginnings

A year ago today, my life was so very different to how it is now.  A year ago today, it was my leaving party and all my friends came to celebrate my new adventure: moving from the UK to Singapore.  A year ago today, I didn’t have cancer.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2014, but that didn’t stop me in continuing to fulfill my dreams in pursuing an international career.  My first prognosis meant that I had to cut my imminent career-move short, and travel to Singapore for one month, instead of the 12 month secondment I had hoped for.  It’s funny how things sometimes happen for a reason as, originally, it had been planned that I would fly out in August but, due to the fact that my visa was taking much longer than expected, the move abroad was put back for another month or so.  During this time, I found the lump.

I wasn’t scared, just initially concerned, as it seemed to appear out of nowhere.  I immediately went to my GP who, after examining me, held my hand and asked me whether I had a good support network of friends and family.  At this point, the word ‘cancer’ hadn’t even been mentioned, but the concern I saw in her eyes jolted me into realising that the lump might be more serious than I thought.  Three weeks later (and after going for an initial mammogram, scan and biopsy) I received a call from the HR department of my company, telling me that my visa had been rejected and that they would not be applying for a second one until later on.  I would be sent to Asia for a month instead. It was then that, deep down, I knew.  Fate had conspired that I wouldn’t be making the all-important year-long move to Asia anytime soon for a very good reason. Instead of starting a new life abroad, full of hope and promise, I was going to have to face the biggest challenge of my life.  My instinct told me that the results would come back positive and that I would be diagnosed with cancer.

Three days later, I was proven right.  I met with the breast cancer consultant and was diagnosed with what I later found out was Grade 3 invasive ductal carcinoma; in layman’s terms, cancer of my right breast.

My first thoughts were totally practical ones.  Could I still make the month-long trip to Singapore, which I had been so looking forward to? For the first time in many to come, my consultant showed utter amazement at my reaction. The fact that I was more concerned about not going on my trip, than I was about actually having the disease, shocked him.  My flights were already booked and, no matter what, I was going.  This was possibly going to be the last time in quite a while that I would be able to do what I wanted, without being restricted by hospital appointments and treatment.  It was also the last time that I would be able to travel and forget about what awaited me on my arrival back in the UK.  They would have to change the dates of my operation in order for me to fulfill my dream, be it only for a short time.  It was either sitting in my room, feeling sorry for myself and waiting for further results to come through, or continuing with my life and career.  For me, there was only one option: I was going to carry on with my life.  I was going to Asia.

Looking back, metaphorically speaking, I initially felt as if I had just ‘caught a cold’.  There was no pain involved, just a bit of discomfort.  It wasn’t going to affect my long-term plans and future, as I was told that, within eight months, the treatment would be over and I could start my life afresh. 2014 had been amazing for me; I had been to Ecuador, Peru, the Galapagos Islands and Canada.  Things would soon pick up from where they’d left off, and I’d continue unscathed.  Nothing had ever dictated the way that I had lived my life before now and cancer certainly wasn’t going to change this.  But that was in the early days, when a slight naivety clouded my judgement and thought process.  That was in a time which now seems alien to me; a foreign country full of dreams and ambitions.

That was before my second diagnosis of cancer.

Over the past year, a lot of people have been surprised at the way I have dealt with my diagnosis, not just once, but twice. My pragmatic way of thinking has always meant that I view things very clearly, but generally very positively at the same time. There has been no time to sit and mope; life is too short to ask rhetorical questions, such as “Why has this happened to me?”  Things happen and we have to learn to cope, or go under. I am strong and going under never has been, and never will be, an option.

That is one of the reasons that I have decided to write this blog.  I want to be able to help others with a similar diagnosis to me through what is very possibly one of the most difficult periods of their lives.  I also want to lift the veil on what, to many, is a silent, unspoken shadow that lurks at the back of every healthy person’s mind.

I am me.  I am a fighter.

I have cancer.

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14 thoughts on “Girl On Top (Part 1) – Beginnings”

  1. You go girl! You have a strong support from all of us! Beautiful words from a beautiful person in and out! There should be more people like you. So so proud of you Laurut mwuah xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Miss Laura,

    You have been an inspiration to me as a person since we met well before you shared your diagnosis. You live life with such zeal despite your diagnosis, I can say from my experiences with you that you don’t let anything get in your way or drag you down. I can’t imagine how I might deal with something like this personally but seeing you demonstrate such a positive, full of life, happy and go getting attitude ensures me that anyone could learn from you and truly live with positivity in the face of adversity. You are strong!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Candid, powerful thoughts from the heart, from a crazy-happy Lithuanian-Brit gal who has been a positive influence on people around her – even before this life ‘test’!

    Miss you voras & look forward to being with you soon! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Laura, you are such a strong and inspiring person. Thank you for being brave enough to share your journey with others. Keep fighting,
    huge amounts of love, Shelly xxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Such a beautifully written and positive account from one of the strongest and most inspiring people I know. You are amazing, and you writing this will inspire and help so many others, too. Love always xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow Laura I just love your post. Beautiful, intelligent and inspiring, just like you xx It is always such fun and a pleasure spending time with you xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My first blog EVER. I dedicate it to you, Laura.
    Your story is very impressive and reads nicely.
    I don’t know what to say – it left me speechless to hear that the cancer came back with vengeance. And how brave you are…..
    The way you tackle the problems – that is so Laura. Wonderful. You are a role model for all other people in similar situations and so unlike some who would submerse in self-pity.
    Life is never fair. Some people seem to have more luck than others.
    BUT: “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
    And it may just come as a cold comfort: Most people who have fallen and risen again are the better people. They are much more grateful and appreciative for what they have (rather than what they NOT have) and are more considerate with all fellow-beings.
    Keep fighting – it’s worth it.
    Beatrix xx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Laura, you have such a positive out look to life. Cancer can take away all of your physical abilities. But it cannot touch your mind, it cannot touch your heart, and it cannot touch your soul. You are a super strong lady. When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn. Keep fighting, keep kicking, keep telling, sharing your journey!!! Brilliant, shining, outstanding story!!!x Un beso grande!

    Liked by 1 person

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