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.

LOOKING down at my increasingly swollen hand and arm, the black lumps spread across my forearm as the fluid packs it tight making it impossible to twist my wrist or grip and hold anything.

It’s so frustrating as I’m right handed and it’s my right hand that’s affected.

I can barely use it at all anymore.

Darcey asked me to plait her hair and as I dragged myself off my bed and out of my exhausted state, a wave of determination swept over me as I struggled to do her hair yet I completed doing her plaits to the best of my ability.

Mentally that would have floored me if I could no longer do my daughter's hair.

I would have gone on a downward spiral feeling debilitated and uncomfortable that the cancer spreading over my skin and the tightness was getting increasingly worse it would eventually kill me. 

Would I ever respond to any future treatment again? 

I worry that I’m going to have to put my body through so much more and I may get nothing in return. But it’s all what ifs.

Nobody knows and nothing is certain.

Refusing to think those thoughts I stand back to admire my work done on Darcey’s hair.

Hearing Lois blow dry her own hair in her bedroom, she has grown into a lovely young lady who doesn’t need me to plait her hair for her anymore but she does still need me.

She needs her mum for a lot longer yet. 

Returning home from school this week they both received recognition of their accomplishments in letters sent home from the headmaster as well as distinction grades for both of them in their dance exams. (I can see I’m going to be skint this week!)

In addition to this, I went to the Christie hospital to see where my fate lay and to receive scan results that were thankfully clear.

A day later I received a telephone call confirming the brain scan was clear too.

I am grateful this cancer has not wanted to explore my internal organs but is insistent on spreading in my lymphatics which is causing my skin to itch and bleed as it appears to be eating away at my flesh. 

Being thankful that it's winter, it can be easily covered, I pray it will go come the summer months. 

So there I am sat in a crowded waiting room underneath the TV screen as they were the only seats available, I receive an email from the school. 

It was from Lois’s English teacher expressing her pride in how well Lois is doing and the progress she is making.

I burst into tears.  Tears of joy and pride, I did not care that the entire waiting room was looking in my direction at the TV directly above my head, as I scrambled in my bag for a tissue.

I realised then how uptight and on edge this day had made me. 

It doesn’t get any easier on scan results day but the news was positive as I will begin on a chemo I’ve not yet had, in 2 weeks’ time. 

My Oncologist’s recommendation is to have another chemo called Taxol with Herceptin so I am in the process of setting up a Go Fund Me page* as I desperately need it and the NHS will no longer fund it at £1000 each time I have it on a 3 weekly basis. 

This is my final option and then there’s nothing left for me so I live in hope that something will work or something else will come along soon.

A new drug has been approved in America that is perfect for me but unfortunately will take years before it is available in the UK.

I live in hope as I grasp at straws, at anything, that may buy me extra time on this earth. 

Having been on this emotional roller coaster for so long, I have learnt to appreciate so much more in my life, sharing my emotions with my daughters and teaching them life skills in abundance. 

I feel it is more important to share my pride with them now rather than to write it in a letter once I’m gone. 

But I’m going nowhere at the moment, I’m living my life and enjoying spending time with those I love including my puppy Stanley who is my bundle of joy and the best decision I ever made in getting him.

My Vlogs are helping people too and the support I’ve been getting from them is immense giving me strength when I need it most. 

Huge thank you to people that are following me on Facebook and Instagram and The Warrington Guardian. 

This Sassy_ibcer is trying her best to live life to my fullest remembering life is what you make it. 

I have cancer, cancer doesn’t have me.

*You can donate to Mel's Go Fund Me page by clicking here