Watching the film Full Circle by Danielle Steele was the first time I heard the words ‘Sometimes We Just Have to Jump Off the Bridge and Build Our Wings On the Way Down’ and those same words have certainly pushed me through life’s curved balls and continue to challenge me every day to take positive steps to create the life I want and the life I deserve to give myself. 

Ssoo …… let’s rewind the years to 2013 when I found ‘the lump’ and the day my life changed in a heartbeat. 

The ‘lump’ wasn’t noticeable in early July but the first time I felt it I must have checked it a hundred times in the next few days.  By the beginning of August, it was definitely prominent and at first, I thought it was a strain because I loved my Rock ‘n’ Roll dancing and for once in my life I excelled at something. 

There was never any hesitation to have it checked out which more than likely saved my life, as I later found out that it was Stage 3 breast cancer and was very aggressive.

It felt like an alien had invaded my body and I just wanted it out 

As I sat with the oncologist, I quietly digested the words ‘The lump we investigated is cancerous’ and September 5th 2013 is the day that my life changed in a heartbeat as I became engulfed by the whirlwind named cancer.

Chemotherapy started immediately after my surgery and it was brutal and extremely scary. At times I thought I was going to die, not from the cancer but actually from the treatment that was trying to save my life.

I am always honest and open about my cancer journey and I am always happy to answer any questions you may have however insignificant they may seem to you.

Having chemo every 3 weeks was exhausting and as the effects were cumulative, I dreaded the 6th round but I thought about the bridges and wings that had always got me through and settled in for what was to be an extremely frightening and rocky road to recovery. 

I always say you never really recover from cancer as it is with me every single day.

I was horrified at the thought of losing my hair which was 100% guaranteed on the course of treatment I was on.

My head was so itchy and I was constantly picking strands from my very hairy chest and from around the house.  Everything I ate was coated with strands of hair.  It also upset me when I woke in the morning to see the handfuls that had come out in the night resting on my pillow reminding me of the battle ahead. 

Ssoo …. Two weeks before Xmas I had my head shaved completely and as I looked in the mirror, I saw the happy, smiley face of my dad who had passed away 2 years earlier reflected back at me, telling me that ‘I would be okay. 

After everything that had happened, I had my guardian angel and a reflection of my hero looking back at me and I knew that whatever course the cancer took ‘I would be okay’.

Also, on a positive note I didn’t have to worry how to wear my hair for Xmas Day.

The girls who had gone through having their head shaved, told me they felt so much better once it had gone.  Ironically, I found the experience very liberating and it brought a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘Wash n Go’.

Sometimes the chemo or numerous hospital appointments would take anything from 3 to 6 hours, so I would take my Open University course ‘Death and Dying’ with me.  I had waited so long to do it and at this time I only had 10 weeks left of the course and at that point not even a cancer diagnosis was going to stop me from completing it. 

It always made me smile when staff asked what I was reading to see the look of surprise on their faces and the exclamation ‘Oh’ when they didn’t quite know what else to say. 

Everyone soon got used to me as I always reassured them with a smile that gallows humour follows me wherever I go and I make no apologies for my sense of humour.

After the chemo had finished, I had radiotherapy and then on-going hormone replacement therapy for a further 6 months.  I would urge anyone going through a similar experience to ‘go with the flow’ it can’t be rushed.

In the blink of an eye 2 years of my life had passed me by and it felt as though the world had left me behind.  I looked out of my window 3 miles from where I had lived and wondered ‘How the f*ck did I end up here?

Ssoo …. Fast forward to the ‘here and now’  and as I look out of a different window, the job, the home and the life I loved, have well and truly been left in the past and as they say so many times in airplane disaster movies, I had well and truly reached the point of no return, there was no way back but I now had the ‘all-clear’ as much as technology can see. 

Even now I take a step back and wonder ‘Wow, How the hell did I end up here? I don’t recognise any part of my life but what has remained throughout is my love of Rock ‘n’ Roll music and some of the friends who got me through the most difficult time of my life.  

My love and passion for the counselling process and the qualifications I have gained also remains steadfast, loyal and true.  (for those who don’t know that’s an Elvis song)

I have worked so hard for everything I have achieved and as I struggle to find where I belong, all I have to do is to look in the mirror and my dad will always tell me ‘You will be okay’.

It has taken a long time to recover and although setting up my own counselling business is scary  …….

Life’s Journey Is Not To Arrive At the Grave Safely In A Well Preserved Body But Rather To Skid In Sideways, Totally Worn Out Shouting Holy Crap …. What A Ride !!!!     

‘It’s time once again to find ‘me’ to ‘Jump Off the Bridge and Build My Wings On the Way Down’.

I love anything sleep related but I have also chosen to work with the Inner Critic as this incessant chatter has been a part of my lives for so long that not only does it invade the day but most certainly it can creep into the bedroom and robs my sleep.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my first blog and that my sense of humour hasn’t left you feeling too uncomfortable.

I look forward to connecting with whoever takes this journey with me.

Best Wishes   Sharon     sbacounselling 

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