My daughter is my secret weapon against cancer - there's no way I'm leaving her

I’m Roisin Pelan, I’m 37 and I’ve been on treatment for breast cancer for five years. I want to scream it from the motherfucking rooftops...


I’m new here and I intend on staying for the long haul. I’m in the Cancer Club and unfortunately, I’m going to be in it for the rest of my (very long) days.

I was 32 when I was first diagnosed - plodding through the crappest pregnancy known to man. The icing on the cake? A 5cm lump in my left breast. Hurrah!

I worked as a medical secretary in the Oncology department and was literally about to hobble, pant and limp out of there whilst sticking my fingers up at my ‘out of office’.

Sadly, it wasn’t to be and as I cried snot into my partner - Michael’s jumper and asked if our baby would be affected, I longed for an octuple brandy with a side of XXXL red wine.

How the fu**ity fu** was this going to pan out?

Our daughter Ivy arrived in the world two weeks later after a three day induced labour.

I tried not to love her, I was so utterly terrified I would have to leave her but the minute she arrived and was placed on my chest, she looked up at me and I looked down at her and I knew.

I was going to fight the biggest and hardest fight of my life, and my god, I was going to win! 

Six days later, I had the mastectomy and then a few weeks after that came the chemo.

All hail our incredible NHS.

I was diagnosed as Stage 2 with a very good prognosis.

Months of chemo, surgery, terror and tears as well as joy, love, new experiences and fundraising and eventually I was given the all-clear.

Permission to go on living (like it’s  that  easy).

Anyway, living is exactly what I did.

We bought our dream home, went on road trips across America with Ivy and that old cliche…’ We enjoyed the little things’.

Truly, you have no idea how unbelievably  massive  the little things are.

We enjoyed our first Christmas in our home with a little happy tear.

We had been approved to adopt a brother for Ivy and 2018 was finally going to be our year.

Pause the romantic music - 6th January 2018, the tosser returned.

This time it was incurable. We had a three-year-old who loved me more than life itself.

Being given that news was the most difficult day of my entire life.

My poor family, my poor Michael, poor me! But more than anyone, my poor, poor Ivy.

I spent a week in solitary. Couldn’t speak, eat, make eye contact. I was in the deepest depths of hell.

The physical pain I felt at the thought of my girl going through life without me was just too much.

How would she ever understand why I had left her. In one of my darkest days, Ivy came up and led beside me.

She didn’t talk, she just stroked my head. I felt like I should explain about heaven….I was in a really bad place and regretted this conversation later on.

But I explained that I would have to go to heaven one day and live on the clouds.

She cried and said she wanted to live on the clouds with me. It was unbearable.

I began researching every shred of evidence of stage 3C survivors... And there were flippin plenty.

My breast cancer had spread up to my supraclavicular node which is why they were saying ‘incurable’.

Well, f*** that sh**. I pulled my fighting pants up to wedgie level and decided not to accept the fate I had been given.

I asked for second opinions, I frantically searched survivor stories and saved them as my absolute bible and I decided I WAS going to be an old woman with my Michael and my Ivy.

I knew I had to take the advice and the treatment I was being offered.

I wholeheartedly believe conventional medicine is the greatest and I’m forever raising money for Cancer Research UK for that all important cure.

But I also became my own guru, my very own personal doctor. I began a low sugar and carb diet.

I tried alternative therapies such as hyperbaric chamber therapy and I pretty much became Holland & Barrett’s number one customer overnight. 

Armed with my supplies, my knowledge, but most importantly - my hope (which before I had none of), I embarked on my journey and I’m still on it but guess what?!

I’m flippin CANCER FREE!

Doctors are aiming and hopeful for a second cure and they even just re-approved our adoption application.

Cancer has taken away my relaxed life, I’ll forever be on a knife edge of fear but I’m getting stronger and better at being able to manage that fear.

I’m a strong believer in looking after your mental health.

Mine takes an almighty nose dive if I don’t keep on top of things and the fear becomes all too much again.

I am always searching for trials, for new supplements and for new stories of hope.

One of my favourites is ‘Coppafeels’ Kris Hallenga. What a flippin woman.

She was 23 when she was diagnosed with stage 4. Guess how many years ago that was?

Drumroll please………………..10 YEARS. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 of the little beauties.

If she can do it, Christ if I can do it, so can you!

I want to say to anyone who reads this who is going through an awful time - cancer-related or not.

If you give yourself the tiniest glimmer of hope, great things can happen.

My hope is that for those of you who read this, that you check your boobies every week.

There might not be a lump, there might be dimples, discharge, bleeding.

You might have lumps in your neck or underarm. ANYTHING that feels strange, get it checked. 

According to Cancer Research UK 'more than 90% of women diagnosed with breast cancer at the earliest stage survive their disease for at least five years compared to around 15% for women diagnosed with the most advanced stage of disease'.

Yes you read that correctly ....90%!!!

Early detection is not just important for breast cancer;

How early diagnosis can improve survival-

Below are some examples of how spotting cancer early can make a real difference:

Bowel cancer

More than 9 in 10 bowel cancer patients will survive the disease for more than 5 years if diagnosed at the earliest stage.

Ovarian cancer

90% of women diagnosed with the earliest stage ovarian cancer survive their disease for at least five years compared to around 5% for women diagnosed with the most advanced stage of disease.

Lung cancer

More than 80% of lung cancer patients will survive for at least a year if diagnosed at the earliest stage compared to around 15% for people diagnosed with the most advanced stage of disease.

Research is happening all the time but you also need to research your own bod allll the time.

Check out this song by my little Ivy and teach it to your kids, your friends, your school.

Little shifts like this can have the biggest impact if children are taught to normalise their boobies and to check for naughty lumps.

I’m going to be here every week spurring you on, giving you a voice and my main aim - to give you hope.

Keep going, I’m with you!

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  • Sammprada on

    Your poignant blog eloquently captures the strength found in the bond between a parent and child amid the battle with cancer. Your daughter embodies unwavering courage, infusing hope and determination throughout your journey. Truly inspiring and deeply touching!

  • Del on

    Keep your chin up :)

    Love from Australia

  • abeyixiw on – Efoponu Oboyif

  • anakigusegik on – Axetarah Akeqola

  • afakutepe on – Ivanoyipa Undevuw

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