When I was first diagnosed, I didn’t head straight for the Internet. In my Day-Job, working in IT, you’d think I’d be straight on there. But I was guided by the hospital not to start browsing in case I read false information. Knowing me, I’d click on something which would lead me down the wrong path and sleepless nights would ensue, before I’d even started!
Instead I did what was suggested and read the leaflets given at the hospital, published by Breast Cancer Care.
These ended up, together with the booklets from Macmillan, being invaluable. See Booklets and Information page for more details.
I wanted to know about my Cancer, but I wanted ACCURATE information. This was a positive mindset to have…however in my case, and for most people I’ve spoken too since, there were a lot of questions that couldn’t be answered, because everything needed testing further.
Including my patience.
The hospital would tell me to reach out to support groups, as that is what they are there for. But not everyone wants to at the time. People deal with things differently, at different stages. And I didn’t want to reach out to support groups during treatment, I just wanted to feel well again!
I decided, having spoken to the Breast Care Nurses, that MAYBE online forums could help. But I was advised to PICK CAREFULLY!! Mainly – stick to UK sites, as for example, the US treatment and tests vary considerably to ours, and also I was to bear in mind that whoever you speak to ON them, you could be speaking to someone more fortunate/unfortunate than you in their circumstances and in what treatment they are receiving.
So, I stuck to two online forums. Breast Cancer Care and Macmillan.
I started looking around their sites and found all this information, so easily at hand… and people were discussing such an array of subjects. I did a search for Chemotherapy on Breast Cancer Care forum and came across threads set up where people who were starting their course that month, were adding comments.
I commented on one and found myself looking more and more on it.
Why suddenly has it caught my interest? Because it was making me feel like I wasn’t alone in this. Some comments were actually… wait for it…making me smile reading them!
After a while a few names kept appearing with comments, and I found myself commenting back, even giving my take on the subject and reassuring them that they weren’t the only one experiencing the side effect or feeling they were experiencing.
The forum thread began to get busy and unless you on there all day, it was hard to keep a steady conversation going. Questions and answers on there were great, and with Breast Care Nurses also commenting on behalf of the site, you knew there were experts at hand too. But I wanted an easier way to communicate. As if by telepathic transfer, one of the girls decided to create a closed Facebook group and added about 20 of us on there! Fabulous!!
I will always be grateful to that person for doing that, that day.
And Fabulous we would continue to be known as.
Since then we have lent on each other for support, bent each other’s ears, ranted, laughed, questioned, shared photos that wouldn’t appear on our own pages, been (funny) rude, sworn, taken the p***, posted inspirational quotes, shared Music, you name it – we’ve put it on there!
And the best thing is that a few of us have travelled to central places to meet up for dinner, from across the Country, as we all live from one end of the UK to the other. Literally.
I was fortunate enough to meet of few of these fab girls in London last year and hope to again this year. The conversation did – not – stop! You’d never have thought we’d never met each other in person before.
That group of ladies kept me sane, gave me reassurance, tips, and advice on all sorts of things. We all had had Breast Cancer, yet we were all receiving treatment for different types, or the treatment was in a different order, different drugs, different levels of surgery.
New knowledge, new state of mind, new Friends.
Love you all xxxx
A Poem written For The Fab Feb Girls
Next: Macmillan and Me