I’m Jojogingerhead, a 31 year old Brighton based artist and musician and was diagnosed with grade 3 primary breast cancer in May 2014 (ER+/PR- HER2+). During the course of the year I received treatment for the disease including 3 months of chemotherapy (FEC-T), lumpectomy, radiotherapy and Herceptin injections. I was given the all clear in November 2014.
Whilst I was receiving radiotherapy in January 2015 and was in what I thought were the final stages of treatment, I discovered a new lump in the exact same spot where the original tumour was removed from. A biopsy revealed that the cancer had returned and a CT scan later showed that it has now metastasised to my liver. An unexpected turn in events showed that the returned cancer is a different type to my original cancer and is triple negative. The oncologists think that I may have had both types of breast cancer all along but the new triple negative cancer was only a trace and didn’t show up in the original biopsy. I recently started on a new chemo regime of Carboplatin/Gemcarbo which will be ongoing to see how my body responds. I am now being screened for both BRCA 1/2 gene mutations and hope to enter any clinical trials applicable to my situation.
So now I am living, or learning to live with triple negative secondary (or stage 4) breast cancer.
This is not the first time cancer has infected my life, my father passed away from lung cancer at the age of 54 and my mother is in remission from triple negative breast cancer which she had at the age of 54.
I hope in some way that by documenting my progress it might help someone out there going through a similar situation, perhaps another cancer patient, family member or friend. At the very least I hope to bring a smile to people’s faces and show that somehow, some positive can be found in the darkest places. I never thought that I would be facing a secondary breast cancer diagnosis at such a young age but in some way it has made me a into a stronger, determined, fearless person, someone that I would never have been before. Not to mention the many wonderful friendships I have formed with women in similar situations online and in real life.
I vow to not dwell on what the future may bring as no one really knows, neither regret the past. Never give up hope, never give up wanting to live until my body can take no more and I’m ready to go. My ethos is to concentrate on the present and make it as good as I possibly can, I will do my darndest to live for the now despite having dark days. Now I take even more joy in the things that make me happy; art, music, creativity, humour, sillyness and most importantly, my wonderful mum, family and friends.
This is my blog documenting the highs and lows of my secondary breast cancer diagnosis, trying to find the light in a dark and scary situation without using the words fight, battle, journey or survivor…
My artist website can be found here: www.jojogingerhead.co.uk