Fiona Welsh on her battle against breast cancer

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NOT only do I not have hair at the moment, my body has been changed forever.

I had my mastectomy on May 15, three days after celebrating my birthday. I can’t believe it was six months ago, how time flies when you are having fun!

I have been reflecting this week about the last few months. I have been totally amazed how my body is healing and dealing with everything, and even though I look different, and some movements are still very limited, I am pretty impressed.

In those six months I have learnt a lot about myself, I am way too independent for my own good, but when you can’t get out of bed, can’t bend to put your own shoes on, or you need a hand with anything you do have to ask.

I have had to swallow my pride a lot since surgery and totally lost my modesty at times too. Occasionally I do still push myself too far, but end up regretting it.

But help does come from all angles, from kind neighbours who put the bins back, to best friends bringing dinner over, the offers to sit with me at the hospital or at home, the offers to do shopping or housework. All of which I am totally grateful for.

I have fantastic support around me and this makes me feel very special every day. I do say I am only as strong as those directly behind me.

They are the ones that even if I stumbled slightly they are right there to pick me up, dust me off and say come on, you can do this.

I have my “rock”, Ian my partner, who has been right next to me from the day we got our diagnosis.

I say “we” as it does affect both of us, I am the one with the cancer but we are the ones fighting it.

There are our wonderful parents too, our families and all our friends, too many of you to mention one by one, but we thank each and every one of you, without you we couldn’t fight this as easily as we have so far. I also thank those who have sent me messages, e-mails, and cards of support. Thank you.

This makes me think for anyone facing this battle on their own; no one should ever have to.

The staff at Ipswich Hospital are all fantastic, and all of them are friendly and highly professional and know how to reassure you, but to have that someone you can lean on, that someone you can talk your deepest worries and fears through with, to make you smile, that someone to help with the bins, or shopping, makes the battle a lot easier.

I ask you to think if you know of anyone, who may be facing a battle on their own, can you be that someone for them? If so, please offer, let them know you are there for them.

I am due back for round three of chemotherapy this week and truthfully I am not looking forward to it, but ready to embrace it.

I have my mum, my smile and my wig ready to be with me, and it is one more treatment I can tick off the list.

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