For the last 4 years when a new year is starting I have used Project Love’s brilliant end of year journal (www.loveprojectlove.com) to reflect on the past year, helping to realise what I want to achieve and creating the life I want to lead.
This year a lot of people have said that they bet I’m glad to see the back of 2019. I started it having being diagnosed just 2 and a half weeks previously with stage 4 incurable brain cancer, a dire prognosis, intense treatment about to start and a mind so overwhelmed with all the medical terms, science and treatment options to look into.
It’s been by far the toughest, most emotional and extreme year of my life that yes I’m overjoyed to have finished.
And yet when I get to the section of the journal about what I have achieved in 2019, I am unashamedly so proud that tears start falling.
My achievements trump any other year of my life aside from bringing a little human into this world. I have succeeded in fighting one of the most aggressive cancers to the point of almost total if not complete elimination in just one year.
But the journey has been beautiful too. I’ve spent real quality and very fun times with so many different friends and family, time that I sadly would have really struggled to make under normal circumstances. They showed me how powerful having a tribe can be. I openly asked for help and what came back I have no doubt is one of the key reasons I’m where I am.
I’ve had the opportunity to understand myself and reveal strength, determination and an outlook on life that’s surpassed what I ever thought I was capable of.
I’ve opened myself to the world, laid out in bare and total honesty how I’ve felt in my best moments but also my worst. Fifteen thousand people from 74 different countries across every continent the world have read about my journey on here. Subsequently I’ve seen how much people care, how much love they have to give even to a stranger they have no connection with and most importantly that by sharing our stories we can help others that suddenly find themselves in this terrifying unknown territory too.
I started 2019 bound entirely by the constraints of my treatment and diagnosis and not knowing when, if ever, that would end or the effect it would have on me and my family.
I finished 2019 going back to work, enjoying nights out with my friends, watching in fascination at my daughter resilience, happiness and joy at life and finally ending 7 months of having to shave my head every 5 days to wear Optune, the transducer arrays stuck to my head and heavy battery pack carried on my back. I have regained freedom, realised just how badass I am and allowed myself to think and plan for the future.
Twelve months ago my vision for the year ahead was to stay alive. Beyond surviving I couldn’t think of any other goals because everything was unknown. This year my vision has no boundaries so 2020 is my year of turning forgotten dreams into real possibilities.