Blogger Melanie O'Neill has two children and was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer seven years ago. 

Here she shares the latest stage in her journey. 

IT'S Saturday morning and I’m woken up by my phone alarm which I forgot to mute last night, reminding me to take my honey, vitamin c tincture, put my eye drops in and take my homeopathic remedy and vitamins at 7.30am.

As each one is for the side effects of the chemo now my blood count is too low and my eyes are blood shot and dry, I’m doing all I can to alleviate the symptoms so I won’t be taken off the trial. 

With nothing else on offer, the clinical trial is my only lifeline.

Yesterday I took a train to Birmingham to meet a few ladies from a support group and charity in the UK for inflammatory breast cancer (IBC), along with a researcher who is dedicating his life to improving treatment and the way it works for ladies with IBC.

We also did a question and answer session with an oncologist based in Birmingham who also has a strong interest in IBC and wants to set up a clinic exclusive for IBC in the UK as soon as possible but with funding being the main issue, hopes to have one open by 2023.

We also toured a tissue bank to see people employed there, busy researching a cure.

I was honoured to get the chance to see where the IBC charity’s donations were going and how The Rainbow Ball was contributing to these people making huge strides in their research. 

The only problem being that as IBC is so rare, there is no IBC specific funding coming from anywhere else and very few doctors are interested in making a difference in this area.

Turning my phone alarm off whilst in the university, I had to remember to put my eye drops in hourly so as not to disturb the group talk throughout the day.

Without the sound of Ariana Grande to remind me my eyes were in need of lubrication, I listened intently being reminded of how aggressive, incurable and dangerous the disease was and how the promise for new trials were years away.

A few ladies, one of which I class as a friend now, were unable to make the trip to Birmingham due to issues related to this horrible disease and I missed them but managed to meet a lady and her son who had come in place of her poorly sister whom I gelled with as our dinner was going cold at the end of the day, talking none stop about a variety of different things.

I talked about my love of performing and showed her the dance created for the last Rainbow Ball with my kids as she mirrored my pride with the love for her two sons and how one has a conditional offer for Oxford University to study medical science.

A lovely meal ended my Birmingham meet up with a lovely bunch of ladies all having one thing in common.

Arriving at the train station the size of an airport I discovered my train was delayed making me miss my connecting train and I eventually arrived home close to midnight.

As Carl poured me a glass of wine I chatted enthusiastically about the ladies, researcher and oncologist I had met that day and how other ladies had asked questions I had wanted to ask but was afraid I might not like the answer.

I was aware that tears had begun to roll down my cheeks (the day being long and I was weary).

I cried knowing I’ve had 7 years of this shit and thinking how long have I got left?

I cried for the ladies that what were unable to make the meeting and their reasons.

I cried for the vitamins, supplements, honey, tinctures, remedies and eye lubricants I have to use and take daily because of this disease.

I cried talking about cancer and its effects having been talking about it for a full afternoon at the university.

I cried for my operated on, radiated, scarred and disfigured, chemo ravaged body that still contained cancer in the soft tissues after everything I’d done and have gone through to get rid of it.

And at that moment I felt Carl’s arms wrapped around me and was reminded of how so many people are much worse off than me and how lucky I really am.

Perception, as I’ve said before, can make or break you as I was reminded of the memories I am choosing to make and the life I am choosing to lead.

As I wake up this Saturday morning to my alarm reminding me to take so many different things, I look outside and see the sun shining and I realise I am ok and I have the choice of making this a crap day or a great day in spite of everything. No guesses for which one I choose.

Dedicated to The Inflammatory Breast Cancer Network UK and to Caroline for all you do.

Donations are gratefully received to the charity named above. 

Click here to donate and for more information.