My Journey Through Poems

By Jill Rackham

Breast cancer touches so many lives. In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, at the age of 43 I was diagnosed with stage 1, grade 3 multi-focal breast cancer. The following year my genetic results unexpectedly confirmed I carried the BRCA1 mutation. I have written a book of 14 poems of which I hope my words will provide support and comfort if you are going through your own diagnosis, supporting a loved one who has a diagnosis, or, you just want to understand more.

Why I Chose Poems

Throughout my breast cancer journey I kept a journal recording my thoughts and feelings. I found night time the hardest so this would often be when I found myself writing. I struggled with flashbacks of the various twists and turns of my journey. One night lots of words were whizzing around in my head and I began to make them rhyme. Poetry had never been something I’d written, or even read before, but I found myself writing my first poem ‘Breast Cancer & Me’. Before I knew it, I had 14 poems. My friends and family told me it had helped them to understand what going through a breast cancer diagnosis is like. They encouraged me to share them more widely. I now hope that I can offer comfort, through my poems to anyone else going through a diagnosis or to simply raise awareness of all a diagnosis in a younger woman can entail.

My Journey Through Poems

I hope to make people to feel uplifted and inspired when reading my poems as remaining positive throughout this time was so important to me. My poems cover different aspects of my journey from diagnosis day, telling my children about my diagnosis, surgery, living a life beyond cancer and more. Over the past couple of years I have gained support in different ways from 3 charities: Breast Cancer Now, Cavendish Cancer Care and Weston Park Cancer Support. I self published my poems, where all the money made goes to the mentioned charities.

As of January 2024, my book of poems has raised over £1,300!

How To Order

You can buy my book of poems for £5.95 including UK postage and packaging. ALL proceeds from each book sold will go to the following charities: Breast Cancer Now, Cavendish Cancer Care and Weston Park Cancer Charity.

If you are interested in a copy, please email me at [email protected] with your contact details and I will get back to you.

Your support in purchasing one of my books is greatly appreciated 🙂

“I have read your book from cover to cover, feeling all emotions and seeing your strength and resilience in the words and pages. I am sure that your heart felt words will support those who have been diagnosed with cancer and give them hope. You are so positive when it was so tough”

– Greta U

“The poems are so personal, moving and inspiring. Thank you for sharing all of them. Very special poems”

– Katie M

“Wow! Thank you for sharing your feelings and your journey. Your strength and attitude are inspiring. The tribute that you paid to your family, friends and care givers was so touching and thoughtful. You have a beautiful light that is illuminated in your words. Shine on!”

Jessica J

Read More

Jill says thank you to Weston Park Cancer Charity – Weston Park Cancer Charity

Jill’s Story – Cavendish Cancer Care

Taking part in The Pink Ribbon Walk 2023 – Breast Cancer Now

Reviewing The Pink Ribbon Walk 2023 – Breast Cancer Now

Live Positively – Chat Magazine

Breast Cancer & Me

In October 2020 my life totally changed forever.
I wondered how on earth I would hold it together.

Following being prodded, poked, scanned and investigated.
Breast cancer was confirmed and then life became much more complicated.

Cancer, surely this was not supposed to happen to me.
I thought I was too young for this at age forty three.

Next came invasive surgery, a part of me was taken.
All alone in hospital – COVID made sure visitors were forsaken.

Observing eyes, it’s all I could see,
As everyone was wearing a mask around me.

A waiting game now, how far had my cancer spread.
This news became a huge moment of dread…

However, I was silently cheering after my fear.
As good news was given, my lymph nodes were clear.

Treatment came next with side effects galore.
But at least the cancer was inside me no more.

Then another shock – an unexpected positive genetics result.
I felt life tumbling beyond my control just like a somersault.

Thrown into chaos again as my chance of cancer returning became higher.
My heart sank, my face and body felt like they were on fire.

“You need more surgery again”, they said,
“We must do all we can to put this cancer to bed”.

And so more surgery happened with complications this time.
More hospital visits followed; this life just didn’t feel like mine.

Thoughts overflowing in my busy mind.
What a huge whirlwind of a time.

Time has moved on and 4 lots of surgery is now in the past.
Treatment continues and I hold hope the side effects won’t last.

So much has happened, I can hardly believe it’s to be.
But here I am, a newer version of me.

And so onwards and upwards in life I now will hopefully go.
Determined to keep smiling and simply go with the flow.

The day of my first surgery, the day my cancer was removed!