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. 

Nobody wants to talk about it yet every woman wishes she was better understood when going through the menopause.

And how exactly are we meant to be understood if nobody wants to share their symptoms and feelings when going through The Change?

Knowing every single woman is different and will experience different symptoms, it was like a warm, cosy blanket comforting me when Michelle Heaton went on Loose Women chat show to discuss her early menopause and how it made her feel along with the hosts.

At 44 years of age I knew the chemotherapy was aging my body earlier than most so I have a double whammy of the symptoms.

Googling the early signs I realised sadly I had every single one which include:

Irregular or non-existent periods.

Dry skin, hair, nails in fact dry everywhere!

Thinning hair.

Sleep problems.

Mood changes.


Night sweats.

Hot flushes.

Weight gain.

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These are the most common and some I was well aware of but nobody told me that everything would get on my nerves made worse by not sleeping and realising I’m sweating cobs at 3am instead of sleeping soundly.

That I’d put on weight from comfort eating due to tiredness and feeling fed up as well spending a small fortune on things to stop my hair from falling out and feeling like cotton wool.

One good thing that has happened though, because of the menopause, I have been having dizzy spells and after an MRI scan told me I didn’t have cancer in my brain, I enquired about my blocked ears and had them syringed only to discover it was a build-up of dry skin not just wax!

I blamed the chemo but now realise it’s a double hit of dry skin not only from the chemo but from the menopausal symptoms as well.

Oh and my dizzy spells have stopped since they were syringed.

Refusing to allow something to take over me, I joined Slimming World.

Not having loads of weight to lose, it is coming off slowly thanks to Jenny my amazing consultant and made me aware of when I’m reaching for the wrong stuff and why.

And in an ironic way the cancer has taught me to control my irritability 60% of the time (nobody’s perfect) by not reacting when I tell Darcey for the tenth time to move her shoes or tidy her room or when Carl blatantly ignores me because he’s texting or watching some video he’s been sent on his phone (men clearly cannot multitask).

I walk away and take a deep breath instead of retaliating angrily.

I’ve coped with far worse side effects from cancer that I no longer become angry as often because I remember I am still alive and feel thankful for that.

And when my family don’t see the importance of the things that are important to me like a tidy home, clean clothes to wear and clean bedding to sleep on, (thanks mum for helping with that) emptying the bins and putting them out because the bin men are due or cooking a homemade, healthy, low fat tea or that homework is done on time, kids are up in time for school, cards and presents are bought for their friends birthdays and so much more the list seems endless (this is turning into “I’m feeling unappreciated” blog when it’s not supposed to) I write all this because I know so many other women feel the same with or without cancer and if I can share my warm, cosy blanket with just one other person then it was well worth my time and they won’t feel as alone.

Now it’s the day of my dance lesson and I’ll blast some music before I go to give me the boost I need to enjoy the rest of my day.