Open your eyes

breast cancer awareness

Yesterday evening I was a guest speaker at an event ‘Women at the Brink’ hosted by Jennifer Hartstone of the Shabby-Chic Clothes Agency. Jen organised this event to promote her business and also raise money for the UK charity Yes to Life who help cancer patients (and who helped me during my treatment), and she invited me to speak at the event. Thank you Jen for the opportunity.

I talked about ‘What do you really know about breast cancer?’ Based on my increasing knowledge of the subject, I wanted to raise ‘awareness’ of some truths about breast cancer that we don’t always get to hear. Although yes sometimes I am bored of the subject too, and wondered whether my specialist subject could be gardening or knitting instead. However I still enjoy talking about my opinions and changing people’s perceptions about breast cancer. For the event I produced a limited edition of a small book – The little book of BIG FACTS about breast cancer.

Wonderful though the internet is I’m not able to share the book in the delightful book format, including pink ‘ribbon’ closure detail – which can be ripped or slipped of depending on the feeling of the recipient –  however the text of the booklet is reproduced here:

Awareness?

You’re aware of breast cancer, right? You know someone who’s been treated. Your friend, your mother, your sister, your aunt, your daughter… too many women, and small though increasing numbers of men.

There are factors associated with increasing risk of breast cancer and certain factors that decrease the risk of breast cancer, but we do not know how to prevent breast cancer.

In the UK in 2008 nearly 48,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer, and 12,000 died from the disease. Continue reading

The story of Being Sarah

Today it’s exactly one year since we launched my book. You can see a 90 second film of me reading from the book here:

One of the questions people often ask me is, ‘How did you write a book?’ Well, it takes a long time and a lot of editing… and for me a lot of anger and determination. I wanted my words to be heard. So I thought my readers might be interested in the story of how my book came into being. And, fortunately for me, my good friend Rach over at the Can-Do Women blog has already written this, so I’m going to let her tell the story of Being Sarah. Many of you will also know Rach as the snarky and opinionated voice of The Cancer Culture Chronicles.

We did this interview on a Skype conversation in January 2011, the first of many hours of talking together which has led to a deep friendship, despite the 3,500 miles that separate us. You will hear more from Rach during the following month.

Thanks Rach for this and all our conversations. 

“Today I’d like to introduce you to Sarah Horton, author, artist, entrepreneur, blogger, filmmaker, activist and an all-round highly accomplished and creative Can-Do Woman. I had the pleasure of meeting Sarah through my other blog, The Cancer Culture Chronicles, an insider’s view of living with breast cancer in today’s society. I found Sarah’s story to be so incredibly inspiring, and I am delighted to be able to spotlight her achievements here today on the Can-Do Women blog. Here is a part of Sarah’s story.

Being Sarah

22 February 2007, day after diagnosis.

In February 2007, at the age of 43, Sarah was diagnosed with breast cancer. To hear those words uttered is a moment so terrifying and raw, that one barely has time to think, let alone be able to string a sentence together in any cohesive manner. Yet, that’s exactly what Sarah did.  Despite being paralyzed with fear (or perhaps “despite” should be read as “instead of”), Sarah began to write in earnest.  On the day after her diagnosis she took a leather-bound journal, had her husband Ronnie take a picture of her at their kitchen table, and  began compiling her thoughts, lists of questions for the doctors, research for treatment decisions; anything that seemed relevant to the horrifying road on which she was about to embark. Continue reading

When I ran for charity

Speke Hall run, Bugruns

2 October 2011, start of Speke Hall run

Yesterday morning I ran a 10K. It took place in the grounds of Speke Hall in Liverpool, a nearly 500 year old manor house near the river. No charity fund raising, just me, running. For the sheer pleasure of being able to. It was a humid damp day, but it was fun to do this with friends, and go for breakfast afterwards. There’s a one minute film of the run here.

Runs are often done to raise money for charities by people who’ve been treated for cancer. Me included. Last year, one of the goals I’d set myself was to run a 10K, and raise money for charity. The charity I’d chosen was Yes to Life, who had helped me during my treatment for breast cancer, and I wanted to say ‘thank you’ to them, and raise money for them so they can continue to help other cancer patients.

In November 2009, I had my sixth surgery following my beast cancer diagnosis in February 2007. I’m pragmatic enough not to say it was my last surgery, or that have finished my treatment and surgery. I’m still on prescription drugs, I still have regular check ups with various doctors, I still have minor surgery to finish my breast reconstruction. But, as far as I know, for now, I have finished the major treatment, and the major surgeries. For now. Continue reading