Alison's Story

A Changed Woman 


Back in the spring of 2014 I wasn't in a very good place. It was just over a year since I had finished all my treatment for breast cancer (mx, chemo and radiotherapy), it was 6 months since my mum had died of secondary breast cancer and my 21 year old daughter was battling anorexia (brought on through watching the two most important people in her life battle this disease). I was spending my life trying to return to who I was before I had breast cancer; trying to find mastectomy bras that hid the fact I had one breast, trying every hair colour under the sun to return my chemo ravaged hair back to the mousey blond it used to be, searching for eyebrow pencils and mascara to hide the fact that I now had hardly any eyebrows or was tiring and impossible.

"I realised I could not go back to who I was before cancer" - 

And then I received a Facebook message from a lady in my home town, who I had never met, inviting me to be part of a Calendar Girls style calendar to raise money and awareness for cancer. Of course I said 'no' I certainly didn't want to celebrate the fact I had had breast cancer. But somewhere inside a voice told me to give it a go (probably my mum!) so on a Thursday evening I showed up at a photography studio, feeling sick to the stomach and I took my clothes off in front of about 10 other women affected by cancer.....that was the start of the most amazing, crazy, life changing summer, involving photo shoots in the most extraordinary places, appearing in my bra on live TV and raising more than £12,000 for Cancer Research, meeting and making friends with some incredible ladies and sharing heaps of awareness.

I realised I could not go back to who I was before breast cancer, I didn't have to let it define me, but it is part of who I am and why I act like I do...... I
am different now! Not better or stronger or wiser just different. I don't have to be ashamed of my body or apologetic for mentioning breast cancer or hiding this part of me from everyone. So I think we don't need to try to get back to normal or who we were....we need to move on after this life changing event, embrace life , however long or short it may be. And when someone throws you a curved ball catch it....there may be a rainbow at the end of it!