1. You have to talk about the elephant in the room with your loved ones. As painful as it is, get them to acknowledge that you might die sooner rather than later. Accept it. And then move on.
2. When you talk about cancer on social media, some of your friends will die. Sometimes several die in a week. It’s really really hard. And it’s OK to step back and take a break.
3. You will think crazy, irrational, illogical thoughts that many people won’t understand. A friend told me he was almost pleased when his cancer came back because he could finally stop waiting for that day to come. And I got it.
4. Get your life in order - wills, lasting power of attorney, finances. I only did that when my cancer came back but it was a huge relief knowing that everything was sorted.
5. Thinking about your funeral doesn’t have to be sad- watch Peter Kay’s Car Share (series 1, episode 2) when Kayleigh plans her funeral music for her audience - it will make you smile.
Liz O’Riordan is a Consultant Breast Surgeon. In July 2015 she was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer at the age of 40. She started a blog to begin coming to terms with her cancer diagnosis and now writes and talks about her experiences. She had a local recurrence in May 2018 and has just finished treatment.
Liz co-authored 'The Complete Guide to Breast Cancer: How to Feel Empowered and Take Control' with Professor Trisha Greenhalgh. It covers everything you need to know to empower you during treatment, and is packed full of all the tips and tricks she’s learned along the way. You can buy a signed copy here.