OUR blogger Melanie O'Neill has two children and was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer nearly nine years ago.

Here she shares her latest thoughts on living with cancer.

Christmas was full of exhaustion.

Christmas Eve I woke in the middle of the night, unable to get back off. I was so tired on Christmas Day.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to do anything as our fabulous relatives Mark and Natalie took the reins providing a wonderful dinner but I slept for 2 hours after it feeling guilty that I couldn’t have helped in anyway or enjoyed more of their hard work and efforts.

That night I fell into bed exhausted and woke at 4.30am unable to get back off, so the following day, while everyone slept in, I lay on the couch with Stanley planning my own funeral, wondering if I’d see another Christmas, whether to write letters to the kids, losing all hope and feeling that the weight I carry around daily was the heaviest it has ever been.

The fear consumed me as I realised the red patch on my back/shoulder was no longer a patch but a collection of red scabs some turning black and providing me with a constant itch.

My swollen arm and hand had black spots all over it and I admitted to myself this was the cancer in my skin spreading - not the toxins trapped in my arm because of the lymphedema which I had previously thought.

My nose ran and my eyes streamed as my head became colder with little hair to keep it warm. Because of my lack of sleep I was feeling so sorry for myself and my heart was broken fearing my future.

After going back to bed and resting for a few hours Carl came upstairs to find me crying and after a gentle hug he told me to stop beating myself up, reminding me I have a choice to ruin my day or not.

With that I quickly got changed choosing my new dress to wear instead of the jogging suit that lay staring at me.

I popped my make up on and I instantly felt the load lighten as I dabbed my lip gloss on to finish.

Don’t ask me where I found the energy from but I did and I had a thoroughly lovely time at my mum and dads, enjoying a lovely meal and afterwards playing some hilarious games filling the living room with laughter.

After reluctantly taking a sleeping tablet that night I slept like a log and woke up feeling tons better.

Lack of sleep and exhaustion has a lot to answer for as my mental state goes off the rails and I forget everything I truly believe in.

A few days later after I’d had my chemo, we set off on a 4 hour journey to Scotland to spend our New Year with my brother in law and his wife and daughter Lily in their beautiful lodge/caravan up in the Highlands.

In the car, my daughters Lois 14 and Darcey 12 sent me a video they’d made for me capturing my life in photos and videos since I’d been diagnosed with Inflammatory breast cancer.

Spending the rest of the journey in floods of tears I replayed it over and over as I watched in amazement at what they’d created making me feel immense pride that I am fortunate enough to see my girls grow up becoming the beautiful people they are.

Watch Mel's video from her two daughters by clicking play below

With my extreme pride I posted it on Facebook only to receive a barrage of wonderful comments which only added to my tears and pride.

We spent the following days chilling out and walking our dogs and our evenings drinking and chatting welcoming in the New Year in the on-site club with other lovely campers.

2020 I am going to make a resolution not be so hard on myself. To rest more and understand that nearly 9 years of chemo has taken its toll on my body and I can’t do what I used to.

And it’s not the end of the world if I take a sleeping pill once in a while to recuperate and get more sleep. I will choose to think better thoughts and I’ll savour and enjoy every present moment.

When my mental state is in a good place I am filled with gratitude for all the wonderful things in my life.

The support my friends on Facebook show me is really overwhelming as I feel totally surrounded by love and I thank you all for that.

A petition to sign, on Facebook, was posted over Christmas to allow the NHS to give free reign to Herceptin, a drug I so desperately need to help extend my life.

So I signed it and shared it asking for signatures. I was completely overwhelmed again by the amount of people signing and sharing the post and the lovely messages that were written, many of them privately, had me in tears (yet again… I really need to stop crying lol)

So I am home now and after taking down my decorations I feel exhausted and will probably sleep for a week but at least it’s all done and I can relax and enjoy my adorable puppy Stanley.

My New Year’s resolution is to get busy living, not get busy dying knowing I have cancer. Cancer doesn’t have me.

You can sign the petition Mel mentions in this week's blog by clicking here

And you can find Mel on Instagram by searching for sassy_ibcer