Cancer and other stuff

Archive for the month “December, 2010”

Digging like dawgs

When I was first diagnosed with secondaries, I had some cards from my lovely friends expressing their love and absolute, unconditional support. That helped a lot. I still have one in my living room from beautiful Helen, saying: “it’s time to dig deep and I want you to know that when you don’t feel like you can, I’ll be right behind you digging like a dawg – I won’t let you down.” I’ve been replaying that over and over recently because the truth is I’ve only just realised, it’s only just dawned on me how hard and deep I’m going to have to go. And I need my homegirls and boys in my corner, wiping me down, picking me up and pushing me back in that ring when I’m almost out for the count. And I can do it with them, I know I can.

I always said, right from the start, that this isn’t something that just affects me and I know how difficult this situation must be for everyone around me – my family are crushed, so too are friends and colleagues. I cannot even begin to imagine the horror, fear and helplessness they must be feeling. And I wish, with all my heart, I could protect them from that and take it all away. My own fear and pain I can manage, or I will be able to in time – the hurt of others, I cannot. It haunts me every day. To those dawgs who have rallied round with tea, tissues (and ale), I love you. More than I can express. They say that when the shit hits the fan you know who your friends are. And I truly, truly do. So keep those spades handy cos I need you more than ever. Merry Christmas x


Do they know those days are golden? Build a rocket, boys!


Pain comes at me and I take it, chew it for a few minutes, and spit it back out.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers

Love (and tears)

This weekend, I was privileged enough to attend the wedding of two gorgeous friends of mine, Liz and Tim. It was wicked seeing some old faces and meeting some new ones too – a jolly good time was had by all, judging from the bleary eyes at breakfast the next day (mine mainly). I was there the night Liz and Tim met four years ago and I am so proud and pleased to have watched them blossom into the unit they are now; they’ve had their moments over the years but it was fairly obvious from early on this would develop into something wonderful and it all came to fruition this magical weekend. And it was in an amazing, amazing castle! Like Harry Potter!

Like all weddings, there were tears and I’ve been to a couple of weddings of good friends this year, but this one felt more emotional than usual. Liz has been a great, great friend to me since I became ill, and way before that, and I know that the tears we shed together this weekend were about more than just the enormity of her big day. Weddings have always been a blub-fest for me but it’s probably become a bit more, how can I describe it, poignant maybe? Is that the right word? The happy tears have now got just a teeny, tiny hint of what I suppose I can only describe as personal heartbreak and I know for a fact Liz felt that for me too. Not because I’m getting all Bridget Jones, desperate to pin some bloke down. In fact, I don’t think I could be less ready for that, much as I wish I was. But more because with every happy, beautiful, joyous event I am lucky enough to share with my wonderful friends, there now lurks the faintest dark shadow. Because as much as I am slowly adjusting to my new life and all the hassle (and happiness!) it brings, and just flipping well getting on with it in the best way I can, it hurts. A lot. And I am sad sometimes. And DEVASTATED I have cancer which apparently won’t go away. It’s not always obvious, and I don’t always say it, in fact I try not to – no-one likes a weeper, me included – but it’s always there. Some days it’s like a fluffy little white cloud, miles and miles overhead, and some days it’s like a swollen, black raincloud right over my head that’s going to bucket it down on me any second and I haven’t got an umbrella or a mac.

So friends, old and new – if we’re at party, or a gig, or a wedding, or anywhere else having a good old time, and you happen to notice a little tear, it’s largely because I’m happy to be in your company and I am counting my blessings … but also it might be because I’m a little bit sad that day. But I promise I won’t bawl, or burble, or snot all over you. I did say I wanted this blog to be honest, and here is my honesty, in all its raw nakedness. It wouldn’t be very honest if I just went ‘lalalalalalaeverythingsbrilliantallthetime’. Most of the time, my life’s pretty bloody good actually and I absolutely refuse to feel sorry for myself (and I really can’t stomach being pitied either so please, please don’t) but, well, I suppose I’m finally starting to acknowledge that it’s OK to be sad sometimes. Normal even, whatever normal is.

But anyway, to end this on a happy note in the manner it started – soooooo much love and luck to you, Mr and Mrs Newman. I just know you’re going to be wonderful together, forever, and thank you so much for being so wonderful to me. Mwah xx

Magic beans

So it’s been a week since I got the very happy news that the chemo – my magic beans – is doing the trick. Not to get all medical but I’ve had what they call a ‘partial response’ which in layman’s terms means the things in my lungs have shrunk by around half. Happy days indeed. Of course I am relieved and delighted; if there was no change or if they had got bigger, it would be a very different story. But after the celebrations and high fives, I’m kind of back where I started in September when these little buggers were first picked up – confused and unsure of what I can and should be hoping for or expecting. I’ve had 3 months of taking my pills like a good girl, and focusing solely on this scan but now what? The problem hasn’t gone away although the prognosis is good. But how good? Officially the future remains the same, it’s not curable but am I allowed to hope and pray for a miracle? I don’t know but I am. I like to make plans and of course I can in the short-term but the difficulty I now face is living my life in 3 month cycles, according to the quarterly scans I’ll now have. Forever probably. Tough as it is, I think it will be good discipline. I hate cheesy quotes but I literally do have to make the most of every day now and that’s pretty wicked in lots of ways. There can’t be any wasted opportunities, any time to lose, any new friends to turn away from, any amazing experiences to miss. How many people have that sense of urgency or purpose? So as I come down from the high of last week’s joyous news, I’m determined to live life in a full and meaningful way. At least until February when my next scan is due. This is good. Christmas is going to be ace.

The Haven – This beautiful building is full of amazing people who rub my feet, talk to me, attempt to ‘heal me emotionally’ (no easy feat) and do all sorts of other wonderful things, aimed at helping me get better. It’s also Lansons’ chosen charity for this year. We like them.

Now look back see how far you’ve come, will you unravel in the sun? Come undone? Find your place


Here I go …

So. Here I am writing a blog. I always hated the idea, found the whole thing a bit self-indulgent – who would want to read about anything I have to say? But then it all changed this year and I sort of feel like I might need to get a few things off my chest. Whether anyone reads or not doesn’t really matter, it’s more for me than you.

For anyone reading who’s not a friend or a member of my family (hi friends! Look I finally did it after faffing about for so long!), I’m almost 31 and this year has been COMPLETELY MENTAL. In June, the breast cancer I had last year came back and a couple of months later, we discovered it had spread and is now nestling in both my lungs. So that was a bit mad. Three months down the line and I’m back on chemo (no hair loss this time, GET. IN) and it’s all good so far. Essentially, *officially*, it’s gone past the stage where it’s curable and statistically, well let’s just say I probably won’t be around to draw a pension, but who knows what may happen in the future? I am hopeful. But realistic too.

I’ve thought a lot about why I’m doing this and what I want to get out of it and basically it’s this: this is the most surreal thing that’s ever happened to me and it’s complex, crazy, full of ups and downs and I’m already pretty sure it’s going to change me as a person, but absolutely for the best. And I want to share that with whoever cares to read it. Having cancer is not easy on many levels, but it’s also strangely liberating. In some ways, I’m almost calmer and more content than I have been in ages, cos I only really have one thing to worry about now, see? Perspective is a really brilliant thing and I haven’t really had much of that in the past. This isn’t going to be a document of every hospital appt I have cos that would be *very dull*, it’s more about living, loving, laughing and being happy and all the things I get up to. I am happy today.

It’s not that easy putting this all ‘out there’ and I feel a bit vulnerable, but like I said, it’s a form of personal therapy. Life is different now and I’m having to make some changes as a result but it’s also the same, and better, in lots of ways. And for me, that’s massively important.

So that’s that. I shared my big news with the world. EEK! Now I’d better go and start adding some interesting stuff and making this stuff look pretty. Beth, where are you …?

Kris’s blog – she’s awesome

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