Two Breasts, One Breast, No Breasts ……

If the word ‘Breasts’ offends you, read no further!
If the word ‘Breasts’ makes you feel uncomfortable, read no further!
I thought hard about whether I should write about ‘Breasts’ on this blog. Its a ‘Single Parent Adventure’ blog! A future resource for my little boy. Why on earth would I be writing about breasts?!
I remember during the early days of my breast cancer diagnosis, almost whispering the word breasts when telling people. Having that awkwardness, like it was something to be ashamed of. But never have I been ashamed of having breast cancer, the effect it has had on my body or the appearance of my body.
My initial diagnosis of Ductal Carcinoma in Situ, meant that following a single mastectomy, no further treatment would be needed. I would have breast reconstruction at a later date, and a reduction in size of the remaining breast. I did think that by the time I turned 40, I would have a lovely pair of pert boobs and I’d be the envy of all my friends! That was until devastation struck. My cancer invaded my lymph nodes and a gruelling regime of Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy and numerous other medical interventions were scheduled for the following 18 months.
Precious time was taken away from my son. I needed our lives to get back to some kind of normality as soon as possible. That is when I knew breast reconstruction was not for me. In comparison to a mastectomy which is a relatively uncomplicated surgery, breast reconstruction is a very lengthy surgery with a much longer recovery and many additional post-operative procedures.
My mind was made. No reconstruction. But I struggled enormously with having one breast. It was a constant reminder of what had happened. I just wanted it gone.
I was fortunate to have a very understanding surgeon who agreed to remove my remaining healthy breast. But so many women have had to fight for this choice. A very personal choice, one that is as equally important as having reconstruction, but denied to so many.
My surgery couldn’t come soon enough and the relief I felt afterwards was immense. I had no breasts and I was so very happy about it. That sounds like an incredibly strange thing to say to most people, but it is true. I didn’t look down at my very flat chest and wish I had two breasts. For me, it was the start, the start of healing, the start of the recovery, the start of repairing and the start of moving forward.
Breasts do not define a person. They certainly didn’t define me. One of my biggest accomplishments in life is that I breast fed my son, but I don’t feel upset in the slightest that my breasts are gone. My breast was cancerous. Toxic even. Disease grew so rapidly.
Any memories of a sexual context related to my breasts have been quickly erased. If I had been in a loving relationship at the time of my diagnosis and treatment, my decision for an elective mastectomy might have been different. But fortunately, I didn’t need to think about how anyone else would feel about me not having breasts. I did what was best for me, and me alone. My body. My decision.
During the early days of becoming flat, when my chest was still sensitive, I would find myself apologising to any house visitors for not having my ‘boobs’ in. I would wear scarves to hide my flatness. I would apologise for being me. I don’t really know why I did that!
Over the years, I have tried various bras and breast prosthetics. Bras irritate my very sensitive chest. I hate them. But my son Rory has a whale of a time sorting through them, pretending to be me! I don’t hide the fact I don’t have breasts from him. He knows! I try to show a very positive body image, showcasing that people come in all different shapes and sizes. He just knows me as Mum!
I am a woman. Not having breasts doesn’t make me any less of a woman. As for future relationships, if my lack of breasts is an issue, I will have an issue with brainless idiots!
There are so many women like me who live a confident and happy life without breasts. During cancer, many decisions are made for you but every person has the right to make their own choices. Elective mastectomy surgery is not a routine choice, reconstruction is. This needs to change. Hopefully, I can address this during my next Patient Leadership workshop which will be focusing on the Breast Care Pathway!
Cancer does not discriminate. I was certainly not too young to have breast cancer at 38 years old. Check your breasts regularly. And get shouting out the word ‘BREASTS’!


Single Parent Snow Survival ………

Both my son and I are home bodies. There is nothing we like more than staying at home in our comfy clothes and chillaxing with our creature comforts to hand. So even I was surprised by how the recent heavy downpour of snow has affected us.

I love the snow. I love the time with my son. But my patience I noticed, started to wear thin. My six year old  son seemed to  turn into a  teenager during the last three days of  our isolated captivity. But the cause of it all, I’m afraid to say, was me being stressed.

When the news first came about the dangerous weather conditions that were about to come our way, I put a plan into action to be prepared for any eventuality. Food, supplies, petrol, torches, blankets, hot water bottles. But what if the electricity went off? How would I cook for my boy? He eats very little at the best of time. I spent a small fortune on emergency snacks and food that wouldn’t need cooking! And then I remembered I have a portable gas camping stove, panic over!

What if the water pipes froze? Water is essential to life! Off back to the supermarket, ashamed of the amount of plastic bottles I purchased. Plus I filled all of my pots and pans with water, just in case!

What if my son got poorly? Another supermarket trip to stock up on calpol and nurofen.

The sole responsibility of a child is enormous. Overwhelmingly enormous at times like this. But its snowing! It hasn’t snowed this much in 5 years. Rory had just turned one when we had the last big snowfall and obviously wouldn’t remember what it was like. It was an exciting time!

For a little boy who lives in shorts and has a full on protest when he has to wear trousers to leave the house, I wasn’t looking forward to introducing the clothing that he needed to wear out in the -5 degree blizzard weather. To my surprise, the thermals, jumpers and waterproofs went on without trauma and my boy couldn’t wait to get outside.

The sledge I had bought last year just in case it snowed, was in the garden. Rain water had gathered in it over the months. An old camping chair had fallen into the sledge which had become embedded into a huge frozen block in the sledge! 10 kettles of boiled water later and the camping chair was free, as was the sledge!

Watching my son experience snow at this age was purely magical. All he wanted to do was throw himself down and roll in it. He rolled himself down a bank and said it was the best day of his life! Strong winds prevented us from staying out too long so we retreated back to the safety of our home. We had a quick play in the garden before locking up for the night. But the door would not lock. The extreme temperature had affected the locking mechanism. Big panic. Having a safe environment for my son is paramount. Snow was preventing anyone from travelling so there was no one to call upon to help us. Now I was going to have to barricade us into the bedroom and hope we wouldn’t get burgled over night. The police would never get to us. We were doomed. After 2 hours of frantically forcing the door handle, it miraculously locked again. What a relief!

Petrified of the boiler not working and our house freezing, I kept the heating on all day and night. So far so good. No frozen pipes. Just an extortionate gas bill to come!

I had forgotten to collect my prescription from the supermarket pharmacy so we got snow suited again and navigated our way through thick snow. We have very little to do with our neighbours but we did knock on their doors asking if they needed anything, a lesson in humanity I wanted to demonstrate to Rory.

The prescription was wrong! The pharmacy assistant was rude. Not the best day to piss me off. These are the tablets I take to help stop my breast cancer from returning, I need them! Now there wasn’t  going to be a delivery until the roads were clear. Rory started whining and refused to walk back! He had already started removing his ‘itchy’ clothing which was going to take another half an hour to put back on. “Can I have a treat mum?” Absobloodylutely! I want one too! And some beer!

Back home, I was getting grumpy and shouty. My darling little boy was glued to me. He wouldn’t let me go to the toilet alone. I had a much needed bath and he sat on the toilet waiting for me to get out. He wouldn’t sleep in his own bed. We painted, made cakes, played board games and imaginative games. We tidied our rooms and sorted out the toys. But still I was grumpy and impatient, as was Rory. At one point I told him he was grounded! Anyone who knows me, knows this is totally out of character. I like to think of myself as a gentle parent. We do ‘Time in’ as opposed to the solitary confinement of ‘Time Out’. We respect each other and talk things through. But I was losing the plot. I even stopped tablet and TV time for a brief time. Who does that when they are stuck indoors for a few days? More fool me and I took it back very quickly!

Deep rooted memories of not being able to leave the house when I had cancer, came flooding back. Not being in control. Feeling trapped, isolated and lonely. I was panicked.  I had longed for snow for so long, to share that experience with Rory at an age he would remember in case anything happened to me, but I was not coping with it well.

I kept seeing wonderful pictures of families enjoying the snow. When there are 2 adults, the organisation, preparation and responsibility is halved. There are opportunities for respite. Single parents do it all. Building snowmen and sledging is exhausting! Digging out your car and driveway is exhausting. Drying snow covered clothes and saturated floors are exhausting. Maintaining an adequately heated home with plenty of food and water as well as entertaining a little person is exhausting. Living 24/7 with a little person is exhausting! I can cope with most things but being isolated without adult contact is no good for me. Our local supermarket café remained open, so that is where we walked to every day. They only served drinks but just being around people was a tonic in itself. Had our local pub been open (closed for refurbishment, how rude!), I know I would have dragged Rory on the sledge for some social interaction and for my sanity! We live out of the catchment area for Rory’s school which made it impossible for him to play in the snow with his school buddies.

I have loved seeing Rory love the snow. I have loved seeing how people come together to help each other. I am so grateful for the lengths people go to, for services to be kept open and running. My Dad is on his chemo week and although he lives 120 miles away, I know that if he couldn’t get himself to the hospital, somehow his community would get him there. I remember many years ago getting stranded in my home town when heavy snow started to fall. My Dad did everything he could to come and rescue me! My son’s own father who lives less than five miles away and has access to emergency vehicles, hasn’t once asked if we need any supplies. Not once thanked me for keeping my boy warm or offered any money for the added expense of keeping him warm during these extreme temperatures. Not once thanked me for giving my son the best day of his life! Not once thanked me for being mum and dad to Rory.

Thank goodness I was eventually able to dig the car out of the drive. Meeting a friend at soft play made all of my stress disappear. Sanity resumed!

I love my son more than anything. I love being with my son more than anything. But I am glad he has gone back to school today. I will be a much better mummy for it this week as all activities have been resumed! Our passports are at the ready though. As soon as I hear that snow is expected in future, we will be on the first flight out of here to a much sunnier climate!








My Child Won’t Sleep …….

Sleeping is one of my favourite things” said my little boy! How is that even possible when I haven’t slept for over six years?!

Before Rory had turned one years old, we had moved 3 times. They were traumatic and unsettling periods. I never expected him to sleep all through the night, but I did think/hope/pray that he would sleep for more than 2 hours at a time.

As a Nursery Nurse with 20 years of childcare experience, I was often employed to help families ‘sleep train’ their babies. Whilst training for my childcare diploma, routine, routine, routine was always drummed into me. ‘Gina Ford’ insisted that babies should be sleeping from 7pm – 7am. Burn that book if you have it. It was books like that, that made me feel like an inferior mother. My child just wouldn’t sleep.

When he was six months old, I began the transition of moving him into his own room. It was equipped with lovely mobiles, low lighting and a comfortable breastfeeding chair. Every 2 hours throughout the night I was sat in that chair with my boob monster!

I thought by the time he was having solid food, he would sleep longer. I was wrong! Keeping him awake in the day, getting more fresh air, non stimulating activities past 5pm etc. etc. etc. were all recommended but to no avail.

By 16 months, I wanted to stop breast feeding. Rory didn’t agree!

I turned his cot bed into a toddler bed, hoping that it would encourage longer sleep. However, it was at this point when the night terrors started. If you have ever witnessed your child having a night terror then you will understand how helpless I felt. I couldn’t offer any comfort. I had to just sit next to him, gently reassuring him I was there until the terror ended. It was exhausting and upsetting.

By 18 months, I had stopped breast feeding. I was so proud to have got that far but I couldn’t keep functioning on very little sleep. The night terrors were getting worse and I was an emotional, sleep deprived mess. I wasn’t feeling very well either and knew I didn’t have the energy to be up all night so I brought Rory into bed with me. He slept all night. Of course, I didn’t sleep a wink!

If I’m honest, I didn’t really want to co-sleep with my son. As a single parent, every minute of every day was spent fulfilling all of his needs. I loved being a mum. But at night time, I just wanted a few hours to myself, my own space. But this was never meant to be!

Luckily I joined a Gentle Parenting group where co-sleeping was the norm. As the weeks progressed, both Rory and I were sleeping very well and I wished we had co slept sooner! His natural biological clock of waking up for the day at 5am gradually moved towards a much more respectable wake up time of 6am! I was thrilled.

I am a very light sleeper. Being solely responsible for another human being means I usually sleep with one eye open. I can hear a feather drop and I’m ready for any eventualities in the middle of the night! Being elbowed in the face, kneed in the back and kicked to the edge of the bed did have its drawbacks. And although I still didn’t get that much sleep, I was rested and that was what I desperately needed.

If only health care professionals such as Midwives and Health Visitors, as well as all of the baby literature given to us during pregnancy, gave a much more realistic account of a baby’s sleeping habits during the first year. If only they said it was ‘normal’ for babies not to sleep for long periods of time. Why would a baby that has been used to hearing a mothers heartbeat for 9 months, want to be alone? Why would professionals advocate leaving a baby cry themselves to sleep? I have been beyond exhausted and I’m not ashamed to say I left Rory in his cot crying whilst I attended to my needs for a brief period of time. But I would never contemplate letting him cry himself to sleep. As an adult, I have cried myself to sleep. I would never want that for my baby. However, I do understand the desperate needs of sleep deprived parents, therefore I do not judge anyone’s choices. I understand. I empathise and sympathise. It is simply my opinion.

Rory was nearly 2 1/2 years old when I started my cancer treatment. We had been co-sleeping up until then. I was worried about our separation at night time. I moved into Rory’s bedroom and moved his toddler bed into my room. The room he would share with my mum until my treatment side effects eased. He slept from 7pm – 7am! Might I just add that my mum is amazing. She is the gentlest of souls. The bond that my mum and Rory have together meant that he was totally comfortable to sleep knowing she was only a few feet away should he need her. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

Anyone who knows Rory, knows he is a confident and articulate little man. He does however, have separation anxiety at night. Since he started full time school, I have tried to be a little firmer with his bed time routine which includes sleeping in his own bed. He knows that if he needs me, he can just come into my bed and snuggle up quietly next to me. He comes in every night!

The weekend is another story. I let him self regulate. He decides when he wants/needs to go to bed. He may stay up with me for as long as he likes and usually does. There is nothing worse for me than going to bed and not being able to sleep, it shouldn’t be any different for my son. He follows in my footsteps and doesn’t need a lot of sleep and that is roughly 6-8 hours on a good day. One thing that helped me, was accepting my sons sleeping pattern. For years I tried to change it. Once I accepted it, life became easier.

I never thought there would be any advantages to single parenting, but when my son goes to his dads for a sleepover, I sleep! I really sleep! Slowly but surely, I am catching up on 6 years of no sleep!

For whatever reason, my son needs extra comfort and reassurance at night time. I am never going to turn him away. I know for a fact that this won’t last and my baby will be all grown up before I know it.

Sleep deprivation has been one of the hardest parts of parenting for me. IT DOES GET BETTER! I just hope anyone reading this, who is dreaming of an uninterrupted night of sleep, appreciates how absolutely amazing you are. If you can survive on no sleep, you can survive anything!



A trip down Cancer lane ……..

Im going to keep this one brief and let the photos do the talking!

Cancer is cruel. Cancer does not discriminate. Cancer devastates families.

I am forever thankful to be alive. Life is so very precious and can be taken away in a split second. For that alone, I appreciate life. I appreciate the people in my life. I love the people in my life and im not afraid to tell them!

I cannot and will not forget I had Cancer. I write and talk about it much more than I probably should but it helps me heel. Heeling is ongoing and always will be. But it is because I had Cancer, that I have new amazing friends in my life. Our paths would never have crossed without having had Cancer. I cannot be angry with Cancer for bringing such incredible people into my life.

Cancer brought me adventure! Cancer brought me fun and Cancer has given me amazing memories.

Im not saying by any means that having cancer was fun, it was beyond horrific and something I hope I never have to put my family through again. But somehow in the depths of despair following a painful diagnosis of cancer, living life in the moment and making the most of every opportunity, fuelled me on. It made me want to be adventurous, and seeing my son happy on these adventures, was more than I could ever have asked for.

There is a song from ‘Nickleback’ that sums up a few of my thoughts when I was having treatment:

If today was your last day, and tomorrow was too late, could you say goodbye to yesterday”

He said each day’s a gift and not a given right, leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind”.

If today was my last day, my family know I love them. My son knows he is my world and he has a million memories of us together to look back on.

I don’t have photos of me crying all night long, praying that I see my son grow up. I don’t have photos of how distraught I was when my hair started falling out and I had to shave it off. I don’t have the photos of waking up in hospital looking at my body for the first time without breasts. These are memories that will always be with me. Memories that I live with.

But I do have hundreds of photos that I cherish. All taken during and after my treatment. I am smiling in them because I saw another day to take a photo. I saw another day to go on another adventure. I saw another day. Far too many people don’t have that privilege. I smile because I owe it to all of the people who are no longer with us, to be happy and to live life to the fullest.

On World Cancer Day, and every other day, my thoughts are with everyone affected by Cancer.

Dad, I love you! xxx


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More than just a Teddy …….

When I asked my 6 year old son Rory what he would like to do on the last day of the Christmas holidays, without hesitation he said he wanted to go into town to spend his Christmas vouchers!

I was a little reluctant. One, shopping with Rory is a nightmare. Two, I didn’t want to go into town and three, like with most people post Christmas, finances are stretched to the limit.  December saw us needing a new car. December saw me financing an already scaled down six year olds birthday party. And obviously the added expense of Christmas meant we were totally wiped out financially. But I did have petrol in the car and £2 in my purse, the exact amount needed for Sunday parking in town.

My son has more money than I do!  I give him £1 pocket money every Friday. He doesn’t have to do any chores for this money. He is expected to do things around the house as a routine part of our lives. The money is for him to learn the value of things. I’m sure he will be an accountant one day as he loves counting out and sorting his money! Although I often have to raid his piggy bank and write him IOU’s!

He got out his Lego shop and Toys R Us vouchers along with another £10 he had saved up, whilst I made us a picnic and flask of tea to take with us.

There are so many distractions in town that cost money. Carousel’s, racing car’s and even massage chairs. Rory asked to go on them all. And after a quick reminder that I didn’t have any money and he would need to use his own, he quickly took the lead and marched us off to the Lego shop.

I hate the Lego shop!

Rory could spend hours in there looking at the magnificent creations displayed in the glass boxes. “How much is that one Mum” he asked enthusiastically. Needless to say I shattered my little boys dream after declaring it was £695.00! We painfully looked back and forth at the toy boxes. Nothing jumped out at him. He usually knows what he wants. To my surprise he said he would keep saving his money and come back again. Bless him!

Next stop Toys R Us. I was much more at ease in this shop. It was empty and we took our time looking up and down the aisles. “Have I got enough money for this Mum?” asked Rory. It was the biggest teddy bear I have ever seen. Considerably reduced in price. Probably because most people don’t have room for a ginormous teddy bear in their homes. We certainly don’t have room! “Can I get it? Please Mum”. Out of all of the thousands of toys in the shop, my son wanted the biggest teddy in the world. There was no persuading him otherwise. But it was his money and his choice and that is what he wanted! Where on earth was he going to go?!!!

Due to its size, it was me that had to carry him through the city centre, navigating past street performers and busy shoppers! Rory was busy thinking of a name and age for our new addition to the family. We put him in the car seat next to Rory’s and Rory chatted to him all the way home. He showed him around our house and where he would sleep. He cuddled him and mimicked a very gentle voice when talking to him. He even had dinner with us!

I can already see this is more than just a teddy bear to Rory. He is a new companion. His caring nature is shinning through and I am loving seeing his role play interaction.

It was a bit of a squeeze when Rory and teddy climbed into my bed in the early hours of this morning and I was a little put out when teddy had the first morning cuddles! But my boy is so happy. He told the teddy all about going to school and not to worry as he would be back later. He joined us for the car journey to school (only for today though)! And I know Rory will be so excited to see him again after school! I think this is going to be a teddy that he can tell his troubles to. A teddy to give him extra comfort when he may need it.

There is nothing better in the world than seeing your child happy.

He might be as big as our house but both Rory and I are glad “Tiddles” aged 4, has come to live with us!



A letter to my Son ….

Dear Rory

I can’t believe that when I see you next, you will be 6! You are still my baby and will always be my baby!

When you were an actual baby, I always wondered what you would look like as you got older. You slowly lost all of your baby curls and gradually changed from a baby to a toddler, to a now school aged boy!

I worried all of the time about whether you ate/slept enough. Whether I taught you enough or played enough. I still worry and probably always will. That’s what Mum’s do!

But I look at you now and realise that YOU taught ME everything.

You taught me that there is nothing we cannot do together. You taught me that by talking to each other, there is no problem that we cannot solve. You taught me that you will only eat and sleep what/when you want/need to! You taught me that you are your own unique, remarkable little person and that I need to listen to you more. I have learned to not do what I think I should do in haste which is often incorrect, but to think more about  what you need me to do. You taught me that’s its OK to make mistakes. I have never been a mummy before so we are learning every step of the way together as a team, Team Murphy!

It breaks my heart when you come home from school saying children have been mean to you. I will always protect you and try to teach you to find your own place in the world. I will teach you that there are mean people in the world, no matter what age you are. People say unkind words. But they are just words. The words will hurt, but you will get past them because I will be there to help you. Being kind is the most important thing and if your kindness goes un noticed, I will always know. I will teach you that hurting someone is not ok, but if need be, you must protect yourself by any means necessary, just like your Little Dragon’s training. You are my absolute world. Always remember that.

We have faced so many obstacles in the past 6 years together. And even when Mummy was so poorly, you were my little sunshine. Always bringing me hope and happiness. Your childhood has been somewhat different to most. Mummy is so sorry that I was poorly for a lot of it. You were my absolute angel though and never complained about having to come to the hospital with me time and time again. Everything we did and continue to do has been an adventure!

I will always remember our first camping trip! Your first sports day. Your first steps. The times you unexpectedly said “I love you”! The time you starting calling me “mum” instead of “mummy”! The time my heart ached for you after not seeing you for 5 days. The time you ate chicken pie! The time we went to Tenerife. I will take you back one day. And I will take you to Disneyland! We have so many more memories to make and I just cannot wait.

I am the proudest mummy! We have everything we need in life because we have each other. I can’t promise that I won’t get cross at times. I can’t promise that I won’t react the wrong way at times. I can’t promise that I won’t get poorly again. But what I can promise is that I will always love you, no matter what. Because our hearts beat together as one.

All my love, always and forever


ps I love you to the moon and back!

pps I love you more than you love me, not possible!



One of my biggest sadness in life, is that my 5 year old son doesn’t have a brother or sister. If I were to leave this life, who would he have by his side to grow up with? He longs for a sibling as much as I long to give him one. I have to believe that even if I can’t have another biological child, mine and Rory’s lives are meant to have a house full of children living happily ever after. Whether it be by adoption, fostering, surrogacy or step siblings, our hearts are meant to love more children in our happy home!

I am blessed with an older brother and a sister. My childhood is filled with wonderful family memories. And although my brother has emigrated to the other side of the world, there is not a day that goes by where I don’t think about or miss him and his family.

My sister is my best friend.

There is 21 months between us. We look nothing alike! Growing up, she had the straight black hair and I had the wild, curly goldilocks! Our temperaments are also very different, with me being the quiet and more reserved out of the two! But we compliment each other very well!


She is the light and soul of my life (and of course Rory!). I followed in her footsteps career wise and her experiences of travelling gave me the confidence to explore the world. She has got me in more trouble during our youth than I care to remember but has filled my life with more fun than I could ever forget! We’ve worked Ski and summer seasons together abroad. She was always the thrill seeker! I was the follower! But without my sister I wouldn’t have had such a memorable and enriched past. We used one of our many lives skiing off piste  in the French Alps. We were seasonal chalet girls and making the most of our free ski passes. I was a beginner, my sister was much more of an accomplished skier, or so I thought! When a blizzard set in, we knew we were in trouble. Fortunately the very angry mountain rescuers got us down to a place of safety, oops!

I was always the sensible one! Always looking out for my sister. Growing up I was a real pain. I just wanted to follow her around everywhere and she would be made to have me along side her and her friends. I was one of those annoying little sister’s! We argued. We ram sacked each others bedrooms looking for ‘borrowed’ items. But we also nursed each others broken hearts and understood each other only as a sister could.



My sister has overcome so many heart-breaking situations in her life. With unbelievable strength and dignity. A survivor of immense pain. And yet she was, and still is, always there for me, and now for my little boy too. Nobody loves his Aunty Trace as much as Rory!

When I was 15 years old, and my sister 17, we made a terrible judgement call and got into a car we never should have late at night. The driver lost control of the car and crashed into a bridge. 4 out of the 5 passengers suffered broken bones. My sister being the most severe, breaking her arm and leg. I was the ‘lucky’ one. I got away with concussion and no memory of the accident at all.

Our dad was working on vehicle recovery at the time of the accident and had a call to recover the smashed up car we had been in. Just as he was leaving the house, the phone rang again to inform him that both of his daughters had been in that accident and he was needed at the hospital immediately. With my sister in surgery and me a hysterical mess, our parents were in a complete nightmare. My sister lost a lot of blood internally and was touch and go for a long while.

She spent the next 6 months bedbound in hospital with what can only be described as a piece of torture equipment screwed into her bones and traction weights suspended with her leg in the air. Even during that time, she made the situation bearable for everyone. My sister is very funny. She brought humour even when it was inappropriate but very much needed! She ran the hospital ward! Friends brought in takeaways and always outstayed the visiting times. She made the other patients and their families laugh even throughout her own pain and discomfort.

She had a long road to recovery. She had to postpone returning to college. She had to learn to walk again with intense physiotherapy. Once she was allowed home, even though she could walk a few steps, she still needed to depend on a wheelchair to get around. We used to wheel her around our little town and everyone would stop to chat to her. We were even given VIP treatment in pubs and our local club when the time came to socialise again. Nothing was going to stop my sister  living her life!

She has courage beyond belief.

So on Friday, 26 years later, my very brave sister is having surgery again to repair damage to the previous broken bone. Again she will face gruelling physiotherapy and another 6 months of wearing a metal calliper. She will get through it. Her little girls will get her through it. But I wish she didn’t have to go through it at all. I would do anything to take this pain away from her. The guilt that she got hurt so bad and not me lives with me everyday.

On the morning of my mastectomy, when I was petrified, she drove to be with me, to hold my hand and to be there when I woke up. She was there when I looked at my scar for the first time. She made me laugh during my cancer treatment and got me through it. She loves my boy the way I do. As I do my nieces.

So once again the Murphy’s are faced with medical challenges, painful memories and guilt. But I’m sure each one of us has been chosen for various things in our lives because we can get through them. We are lucky. We are strong. And we have each other.

Please keep my amazing sister in your thoughts throughout these next few months.

Love you Trace, my absolute hero! xxx