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.

I’m keeping busy doing my own thing like feeding and walking Stanley, cleaning our kitchen as four people constantly coming and going throughout the day takes its toll.

Preparing lunch and dinner for everyone, remembering to take things out of the freezer and clothes out of the dryer is challenging my memory more than it should.

Taking time to read is something I need to incorporate into the structure of my life instead of making sure the kids are adhering to theirs.

Carl is busy in the Salon preparing for reopening with painting, gardening and rearranging fixtures and fittings as he employs our children along with myself to muck in with the cleaning of the mirrors and floors.

He is certainly challenged taking on a secretarial role ringing hundreds of clients and booking them in adhering to guidelines set by the government.

We take deep breathes at his frustration as him returning to work grows nearer and his leisurely days in the sun comes to an end.

I try my best to get involved with the cleaning of the Salon but I only end up tired and disappointed with myself as I am now unable to hold on to anything for any length of time, losing my grip and having no strength to muster up and yet I’m left completely exhausted on every occasion.

My head tells me to stick with it - thinking of the pride I’ll feel when the mission is accomplished but sadly as I praise and thank my daughters for their hard work, I close the doors to Carl’s hairdressing Salon realising that this was never really my calling in life.

It is something that Carl has always dreamed of, being a hairdresser with his own salon adoring his clients, especially his regulars whom he looks forward to seeing whenever they are in.

I, on the other hand, dreamed of singing, dancing and acting but by not being surrounded by like-minded people, I felt stupid that my dream was unrealistic.

I drifted into admin work later returning to college to study makeup, still having that yearning but figuring at least I could work behind the scenes if I couldn’t work in front of them as I continued to feel embarrassed by my dream of performing.

But then I met Carl, was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer, resorted back to admin work, working from home doing the admin for the salon, went to Brazil to help myself heal, went to Florida to discover raw food was not going to cure me; neither sustainable in my way of living, had a near death experience in a car crash, escaped a terrorist bombing, read lots and learned lots about life and more so about myself, experiencing lock down and self-isolation along with millions of others and having time to think ..What was I put on this earth to do?

Performing - I know now I have outgrown my dream as I see how difficult each profession is watching my daughters learn what I never did in their dancing and acting classes.

I hold tight the memory of us dancing at the Rainbow Ball and will never ever forget the elated feeling I acquired in return.

I remember the day Darcey (my 13 year old) and I went into Warrington and delivered a whole tray of food to the Church ready for the homeless.

The feeling I got then was immense and I vowed I would continue to give back.

My mind spirals as I keep thinking of volunteering in some way yet I can’t with this self-isolation lasting another 10 weeks.

My uncontrollable tiredness, my debilitating arm which the nurse confirmed last week has gotten worse and rock bottom immune system means I am unable to do anything remotely useful.

So I tap on my computer keyboard and help others by writing a blog hoping I can help just one person by either having someone relate to my words or checking their breasts knowing there is more than one type of breast cancer through reading whatever I’ve written.

Last week I went to the Christie Hospital to see my Lymph nurse. After measuring my arm she agreed that the swelling had worsened and proceeded to order me a new sleeve to combat the swelling and intermittent pain.

As she measured my arm I asked questions about her working days and she told me of her working at Salford Hospital in the intensive care unit 5 days a week only on Covid patients.

She answered my questions honestly about how there was no specific category of people in the ward but a wide range of men, women old and young.

I gasped as she risked her life for these unknowing patients and she replied that she never thought she did.

Having the full PPE daily she always knew she was fully equipped to deal with each patient safely, returning home each night to her young children and husband knowing in some way she had helped that day.

She is no longer needed in that department but returning back to The Christie she helps others including myself to have hope and monitoring my lymphedema.

She might not be able to save my life but she is helping me to live my life as best I can purposeless or not.

I refuse to be purposeless, debilitated or not as I received good news from my oncologist a few weeks back that he has many combinations of chemotherapies that he can still prescribe, when I thought there was only one left.

The unfortunate thing is they are all given with the drug Herceptin if they are to be given a chance of working and the drug is £1000 a month.

Thankfully my lovely friend Maureen has raised just over £6000 so I’m off to a good start.

Every day I wake and know there are many people far worse off than me and that I can manage to get through the day ahead even if it means dropping a few things, sleeping for hours on end and not knowing what my calling is yet I have my puppy to focus on and many series of Downton Abbey to binge watch.

I have no idea where I am going to find the time to read or find out my true calling but I continue to live in hope.