The Edith edit
Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 50, yet she celebrated her 61st birthday in October with us, healthy and with a smile on her face. We are the lucky ones; I don’t take that for granted for a second. Only last week, I was up in Scotland making a film for Countryfile, the same day Stand Up To Cancer had its night of broadcasting on Channel 4. As I sat there with my mum, dad and 13-year-old nephew, we were all reminded of our own journey. It could have turned out differently, but thankfully, we caught it early and after six weeks of intensive radiotherapy, mum got the all-clear.
Due to my family history with breast cancer, I now have to attend regular mammogram scans. Last week was my annual visit to The Princess Grace Hospital in London, to have my boobs squashed, pulled, lifted, adjusted and scanned, and then I was asked to wait for my report.
A few moments later, a nurse approached me with a whispering concern to her voice: ‘The doctor wants you to have an ultrasound, do you have time?’ Do I have time? Erm, I think I most definitely do. There were eight minutes between being told this news to having the doctor administer warm KY to my left breast.
‘Sorry to alarm you,’ he said. ‘Your left boob has scanned different from your last appointment.’
I felt sick, I wanted someone with me, I needed a hug. It was like a scene in a film where you see your life flash in front of you, but in this instance, it involved the future of my husband, kids and family. Even with all my mindfulness, I had no control over where my thoughts shot.
When the doctor removed the ultrasound, with the comforting words: ‘Everything is fine.’ I nearly leapt up, semi-naked, to hug him.
That was my first experience of my mortality being questioned. Thankfully, it was quickly answered, but it was also an encouragement to peddle the conversation about checking your breasts – men and women. Breast cancer affects men, too – I only learned that a few years ago.
A NEW OUTLOOK
Good things have happened on a personal level for me in 2016 – my new Virgin Radio Breakfast Show has allowed me to enjoy work more. My podcast, Soundtracking, got off the ground. My boys inspire and surprise me every day.
On a wider level, it’s been depressing watching the UK and US take steps back with their views on unification. We have also watched some of the most creative minds leave our planet: David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Caroline Aherne, Alan Rickman, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Gene Wilder, Anton Yelchin, Victoria Wood… the list goes on.
A new year will hopefully bring a fresh start and new outlook for many. Let’s move forward with each other in mind, and an air of kindness, always with a positive attitude.