A couple of days ago, with the help of my best friend Demi, I bought a fluorescent pink hair dye and went a little crazy.
DISCLAIMER: I WASN’T QUITE BRAVE ENOUGH TO GO FULL HEAD/FULL ON IN YOUR FACE PINK JUST YET, BUT I AM BUILDING UP TO IT.
Before I started First Year, way back when, my Mum found a lump (not the first time). But being the busy woman that she is, couldn’t and didn’t want to get it checked. Pushing it to the back of her mind, not wanting to go through what she did two years earlier, she carried on her daily life, working in a school, finishing her TA qualification at college and simply choosing to forget that she may or may not have cancer again.
Fastforward to August 2015. She sits me down and tells me that the cancer has returned and that she has had a lump in her breast for a while. The doctors originally told her that it was scar tissue but still pushed for a biopsy for her own piece of mind. It came back positive, and at that time, they were waiting on results determining the severity of the cancer. A week later, Mum and Dad picked me up from work in the little red punto. It was a Friday. I knew she had an appointment at the hospital during the day. She couldn’t even look me in the eye to tell me that it was terminal. This was a week before I was due to move in to my Uni flat and start a complete new chapter of my life.
Of course, I can’t blame my Mum for being scared of the lump. Turns out she was rightfully nervous. However I can’t help but feel that maybe the situation might’ve been different if she’d have just gone to get checked sooner. Anyone who knows anyone who has been through the cancer diagnosis, treatments and so forth will know how gruelling it all is, how it effects the whole family and how heartbreaking it is to watch a loved one grow incredibly weak, lose hair, ALL confidence, become reclusive and withdrawn and experience extreme extreme lows. The worst part? She was going through hell and it still wasn’t going to cure her.
The worst part of chemo was it was happening while I was having the best time of my life away at uni. I felt extremely guilty and didn’t really deal with the diagnosis for a long time after. To be quite honest, it never really hits home until she has a big scare. Like when they tell you treatment isn’t working.. or that is has spread.. or that after this course of treatment, there’s ‘nothing they can do’.
It wasn’t until recently that we were told that there was a level of uncertainty once again in Mum’s treatment. The past two years have been filled with hospital appointments, various radiotherapies, a heap of pills, bone treatments, quarterly CAT scans, hormone treatments and biopsies galore – all doing their bit to prolong Mum’s life.
She’s taken it in her stride and is fighting all the way, but there are days when she feels helpless. And you feel even more helpless because there’s nothing you can do to make the situation any better. I try my best to make it to as many hospital appointments as I can, but Uni does tend to suffer as everything seems to happen on the same day. Then there’s the times that I just get incredibly down about the situation, drink waaaaaay too much to forget things, miss a lecture maybe and then get into a viscous cycle of dodging uni at all costs. What could I do to try and be productive? What good, if any, can come of this?
At the beginning of the semester, after much deliberation, I joined Worcester’s Uni Boob Society – a nationwide initiative set up by Coppafeel, a breast cancer charity that aims to eliminate late diagnosis of cancer and encourage everyone to have the confidence to see their GP if something just doesn’t feel normal.
So far, we’ve held bucket collections around Campus, ran a Zumbathon and next Wednesday, we’re even holding our own Glitter Boob Ball at Tramps! I’m super excited. I did however want to do something personal.
The colour pink and cancer awareness go kinda hand and hand, I think. I wish I was punky, edgy and quite frankly cool enough to pull off pink hair, however this is more of a political statement than a fashion venture. Not only am I showing support for my Mum, but my Gran, who also has had breast cancer twice. For two of my Mum’s friends that have died this year from cancer. For those receiving experimental treatments that may eventually result in new scientific breakthroughs. To Coppafeel, by spreading awareness in a funky way. To everyone, past and present, affected by cancer in some way. After all, one in three of us will be diagnosed with the disease at some stage in our life.
So here it is! My pink hair. I thought I’d add a pink filter to go with the running theme (and also because I’m extra af).
Thanks for reading! If you are at Worcester Uni and want to find out more about the Uni Boob Team, take a look at our Facebook page 🙂
Alternatively, if you are feeling incredibly generous, you can donate to Coppafeel via our Uni Boob Team page!
This post is dedicated to my feisty, bonkers and hilariously funny Mother – life wouldn’t be the same without her.
Tilly Turnip xo