Now I always knew my husband had a lot in common with Brad Pitt, but I had no idea that Big and Brad would both have to go through this supportive role with their partners and the BRCA journey.
Who would have thought it eh? Oh Angelina thank you! My goal throughout all this was to raise awareness, protect those who are at risk and to promote research to help protect the next generation. And now, who hasn't heard of this BRCA gene??!
For a beautiful, sexy icon to also tell her story. I could not think of a better role model.
She has had her mastectomy and is still sexy and feminine. She has protected her life and her role as a mother and has had the opportunity to intervene in her destiny and she has done so in full view of the world. Thank you. This gene mutation does not discriminate between the wealthy and the poor, between the famous and the shy. It is also a grounding reminder of how we are all united as a mother and as women, we are simply human.
And so news breaks and I get a call from Genesis asking if I will be a case study and help represent the charity. Of course I replied and before I even had time to think about it, Big and I were driving to London to the BBC to do a live interview on Newsnight. Holy-moly ....no time to consider what to wear, to wash my hair or in fact do anything, just an incredible opportunity to help publicise the gene.
The new BBC is very impressive. Huge, sweeping galleries, billions of cameras, neon lights, people with clipboards, dozens of desks looking more like a trading floor than a broadcasting house, incredible automatic revolving doors (that Big and I enjoyed arguably too much in an immature giggly manner - I tell you they start to turn like magic the moment you even look at them). Anyway... We were ushered into the "green room" (which was not green) and given a drink and I was swept along to makeup. Dead glamorous!! A very sweet makeup lady put powder on my face and brushed my hair and then I was ushered back to sit with Big.
Now in hindsight I wish I had watched an episode of Newsnight before I went on it! I presumed I would be sitting behind a big desk that would hide all manners of sin (or fat!!!) but nope, it was just a chair and about 678,45230 cameras!!!!
My heart was racing and I felt sick throughout but I hope I managed to get my message across and people have since been very kind about it.
I also had the Bluebell walk back in May which was a huge success. In brief we raised nearly £2,000 in 3 hours for Genesis, the generosity of friends again truly amazing.
It seems funny to write it but I also have been nominated for an award. Crazy really! something about courage and the community from the Sue Ryder trust. Very flattering and completely surreal..
So there have been some highlights in the last six months and there have been some low points.....the low points can be summed up in two sentences:
I have put on nearly 20 pounds (really loving this menopause business) and..... my nipples have fallen off!!! don't laugh...
I went for my final tattoeing at the hospital and then two days later did my first public 5 mile run. Well actually I didn't do it.....I realised after the first mile that I was running last and knackered so sat on the pavement, burst into tears then climbed over a fence and ran back to my car!! Once in the car I noticed my breast dressings were loose and when I pulled the dressings back my nipples were attached to the dressings! (this is only possible because the tattoo causes a big scab to form and my scab had been rubbing when I was running - I didn't feel a thing - and when the scab came off so did the skin that was pretending to be my nipple). Yes that was a bad day.
Very quickly I saw the funny side though and I'm sure Mr.Coleman, my amazing plastic surgeon, will be able to sort me out and who needs nipples anyway?!!
No more news now. It is wonderful to see the endless newspaper articles that are being written about genetic breast cancer and Angelina Jolie, Sharon Osbourne, Michelle Heaton, such high profile women.
I feel my job is really done now. Two years ago I remember searching through the internet to find out what on earth this funny gene was all about . There was very little out there. I hope I have managed, in the last two years, to play my part in helping spread the word and to raise awareness and comfort.
My parting advice:
Notice the small things around you...hold your family close and appreciate every second with them.
Embrace your genes for they make you who you are and don't be frightened of taking control of your future. Nothing is ever as bad as it at first seems.