Cancerversaries

Anniversaries. I’ve never been very good at them. Birthdays, yes. I love birthdays. But anniversaries of things, less-so (I don’t make a very good partner, for example). I just live too much in the now and don’t spend time dwelling on the past. Though I must say that every year I smile to myself when I remember it’s been another year since I first came to the UK. Although I’m not great at remembering the exact date, I still like to do something to mark the approximate day that brought me to this wonderful country. Every day I am reaping the benefits of that decision.

But cancer? Why would I want to forever mark the day that I got diagnosed with cancer? Or had major major surgery? Or anything, really? I’m not sure I would have even realised that it was coming up to my two year mark since diagnosis, had my Oncologist not mentioned it last time I saw him. Ask me when I was diagnosed and I would rattle off ‘August’, but I don’t spend every August thinking about how I was diagnosed x amounts of years ago. No, August is for summer, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and my best friend’s birthday.

It went along the lines of: ‘next time I see you it’ll be past your 2 year mark’.
‘No… it won’t… surely…’
‘It will… right?’ he said tentatively as he furrowed his brow
‘Uh… oh… um… I think you’re right.
‘I am.’

Well that’s that then. He said 2 years is good. 80% of recurrences happen within 2 years, so once you reach that 2 year mark without anything ominous turning up on scans, your chances are looking a lot more fun. And I like fun.
(Disclaimer: latest scan results still pending but I’m sure I would have heard by now if my demise was more rapidly imminent than we thought, considering the MRI was a couple of weeks ago).

I started writing a post near the beginning of my diagnosis about how I couldn’t get onboard with the practice that everyone in the cancer community seems to take part in – counting every day since diagnosis, or since the first ‘no evidence of disease’ scan etc. It went like this –

The whole ‘__ days without cancer’ really doesn’t sit well with me.
I know people love it and I’m sure it’s really important for some people. That’s great. I’m all for whatever helps anyone, I’m not here to judge.
But the last thing I want is for my life to be defined by cancer. I don’t want to count every day that I’m free from it. I don’t want every day after this all finishes to have a cancer watermark on it.
Yes I know it could come back. And yes I know if it does, it’s really not looking great for me.
But I’ll deal with it if it happens.
And you know what? It might not.
The last thing I want to do is count the days until it returns.
So I’ll forget about it. I won’t forget about the things I have learned or the people I’ve met, and I know I will forever be having check ups and the like to remind me.
It’s great if the counting thing really helps people, everyone is so different. But I will not turn my life into a ticking time bomb.

I must admit, I wrote that back in the day when I thought I could package cancer up in a nice little box and put it at the back of my wardrobe, only to be opened on certain occasions when I wanted to remember what I had been through. I’ve realised since then that it’s not quite that easy, that I do have to accept that ol cancer thing as part of my life. It won’t always be such a big part of it as it was during treatment (I’m walking further away from it every day), but it is part of me and the person that I am now. It would me remiss of me not to acknowledge that I have changed due to everything I’ve been through, but I refuse to say CANCER has changed ME. It doesn’t have that power. I have only changed myself to adapt to my surroundings, which just happen to have involved cancer. That’s just being resilient. Cancer is a part of my story but I will not allow my life to be defined by it.

All of these dates come and pass without me realising (unless someone decides to remind me). I can’t quite remember which day in August it even was… And should I be counting it from the day the dental specialist said ’the biopsy came back and it’s cancer but I don’t really know any details’ or should I count from the first meeting with my Oncologist when I found out more about the diagnosis? Or when I started chemo? Or when the tumour was cut out? Or when I had my first scan results that said ‘you might still have cancer but we can’t see it in the scans yet…?’ Or do I wait until I’ve hit the 5 year mark and count from then?

In Hamlet, Shakespeare wrote “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
By dwelling on that diagnosis date with fear and a heavy heart, we keep ourselves stuck in some past time without really being able to properly move forward. They say the best way to get over a relationship that ends is to cut off all ties with your ex. Well you can’t cut off all ties with memories nor with the hospital you must return to for scans, but you can cut off ties with bad thoughts that refuse to let it all go and prevent you from moving on.

Our reaction to things is entirely in our own control, and ours only. Only we can free ourselves (though it’s ok to need some help with that).

Diagnosis date is the date that they finally took you seriously and confirmed that you’re not going mad, there IS something wrong.
Diagnosis date is the date that the whole world seemed to jump into action to do everything they could for you.
Diagnosis date is the date that this problem that had been lurking within you could finally start getting treated.
Diagnosis date is when you learnt who your true friends are and no longer had to deal with those who weren’t.
Diagnosis date is many things, but what it should not be is a yearly chance to wallow in self pity, obsess over what was, or keep you emotionally tied to a period of your life when you were incredibly ill and struggling.
And the date of your first NED scan or sign of being in remission (if you’re lucky enough to get either of those things) should be something that sets you free of your cancer, not something that defines the rest of your life by counting every day since. Yes, you had cancer, but that’s not who you are, and that’s not all you will be. Spread your wings and fly to freedom, hopefully forever, or at least as long as you are able. Enjoy every precious moment for what it is, not purposefully in the shadow of cancer.

I hear you ask: ‘But what if I use it as a reminder of how far I’ve come and that I should make the most of every day? What if I already do see it in a positive light?’
Do whatever works for you! But why can’t every single day you are alive and the sun rises and you breathe fresh air into your lungs be a reminder of how precious life is? I think there is a risk we get too preoccupied with cancer, and it’s fair to, it’s (hopefully) the biggest thing we will ever have to face in life. But let’s stop dwelling on it and let it go. Focus our attention on all the many beautiful things around us, not this one big thing that happened to us.

But now we’re talking about it (thanks Onc), I think yesterday was 2 years since I got my biopsy results back. So that’s cool. 2 years is apparently a milestone so I’ll give that thought a smile and move happily on.

Teeeeefff

So last week I went in to see my implants dream team for a quick check up to see how things are going. It was to be something like a 30min appointment and then off I would go to work on time.

Well, the Gods of healing and spontaneity obviously had other plans.

That’s a silly thing to say I know. Other plans were made space for by my wonderful implants team and supporting staff who rallied to make something special happen.

I’ll start from the beginning.

Always such a pleasure to see Andrew and Hannah, my implants heroes. I enjoy my appointments with them, and not just because I often get good news and make progress, but because I generally enjoy catching up with them

I got in the chair and Andrew started screwing the placeholder teeth off. I’m trying to remember what specific word he used, but for the life of me I can’t. But the gist was something along the lines of ‘Let’s see if they’re stable. They might not be. And if they’re not, that’s ok, they may still become stable. But let’s hope they are.’

So I lay there and crossed my fingers as he removed the teeth. Yes, I actually crossed them. Fiercely. And kept them crossed until he had checked all implants. First one, good. Two out of three are good. That one is good too.

Yes. That’s three! My crossed fingers turned into two thumbs up. And I smiled even though I had a mouthful of hands. Happy happy Jen.

They decided that since it was all healing well, they would change the… Um.. Abutments. There’s a good word for your vocabulary.

They’re the bits where the implants attach to my new teeth. If you remember, for the past two months I have had wax ‘placeholder’ teeth. They were loosely based on my mouth, but a mouth that was entirely different pre-implant surgery. So they didn’t fit properly, were uncomfortable and difficult to talk with and I couldn’t eat with them (or take them out).

Well, Andrew decided that since he was disturbing it anyway, and since it was healing nicely, what did I think of a better set of teeth? I smiled. Manically? Yeah probably manically. I liked that offer very much.

He got the teeth makers on the phone.
‘Do you think you might be able to make some teeth? Like now? She’s super difficult…’
Ok, ok, he didn’t call ME difficult, he would never do that. I’m obvi dreamy and so not difficult (ha, I think that probably depends on who you ask). But I do appreciate when he mentions that I’m a particularly difficult case. It drives home just what a fantastic job they’re all doing and reinforces that there was no guarantee it would all be going as remarkably well as it is. And I think that’s important. And heartening. But I digress. I’ve written about that before.

The teeth makers said yes, they most certainly could, and in fact WOULD, right there and then. It would just take a couple of hours. So my mouth was filled with wax and various other things to make impressions. Let me mention here how disconcerting that can be when you can’t breathe through your nose.

After all the prelim work was done, I needed to wait until they were done. He put some nice long rods onto the end of my implants which my tongue had a field day playing with over the next couple of hours (photo at the end of this post in which I’m looking particularly sexy. JOKES – prepare yourself). These were new, they hadn’t been there before. They were just for the moulds so that the teeth makers could see where the abutments were. They’re not still in now.

While we’re waiting for them to make the teeth, grab a cup of tea (I did) and let me tell you about my gums. The implants (metal rods) are just placed in my mouth wherever they need to be. Which leaves my gums trying to work out how to fit in around them. There are two points of my gums that pull and essentially tear a bit when I smile, eat, brush my teeth, etc. Imagine just on on the right hand side of your left canine and on the right hand side of your right canine. Does that make sense? My lip is essentially sewed in those two spots and when I smile it pulls. Too many boring details? Anyway, the left one had been bad over the previous week. So when I got into the chair it hurt, God it hurt. So we ended up injecting me with some anaesthetic. The exchange went like something like this:
‘Do you want some anaesthetic?’
‘No. let’s see how I go. Ow ow ow.’
‘You could have a bit…’
‘Should I? Whatever you want…’
*Stab Stab stab*
WHY DO MOUTH INJECTIONS HURT SO MUCH
I think I squeaked.
And then it went numb so that was cool.

Eventually I got some surprise new temporary teeth, and I’m allowed to start trying to chew on these ones. My other side connect first so these are just cursory and not that great for actual chewing (and crunchy things like raw carrot are prohibited). But they also look a lot better. As soon as I saw them I smiled. They fit a lot better (but not perfect yet) and are a lot less uncomfortable. So I am awash with smiles and hope. Oh and I ate a burger on the weekend! Without using a knife and fork! MILESTONE!

These are not the final set, but they are a big step in the right direction.

I still look bloody weird in most photos (most, not all) but I hope one day the swelling in my face will come down which might help with that, and hopefully my next teeth will be the final step in giving my face the shape it needs. It has lost a lot of of its symmetry and parts of it don’t really move anymore…

Oh well.

Getting so close………….

SO close.

My metal rods (you were warned):

New teef:

So where am I at right now?

When I was about 7, I went to a gymnastics day at my local sports hall. For some reason I put sunscreen on… perhaps it was the day before that I put it on? Perhaps I’m mixing my memories, but this feels right. That day I found out I was allergic to sunscreen. Banana Boat, specifically. I suppose I had worn sunscreen before that, but that day we used Banana Boat and my skin screamed. I came out in big, scary, angry red welts. My skin felt tight, itchy, unmovable. I’ve always remembered the itchiness, but up until now I hadn’t remembered the tight feeling across my face and the inability to make facial expressions. As I tried to smile, the creases my face made felt like I had layers of thick mud on top of my skin. But no, that was just the swelling and reaction to the sunscreen.

Post implant surgery I have been like that again – not red, not itchy. But the tightness and the swelling has brought back memories to that day.

A particularly odd sensation – my ears have felt like they’re being lifted forward off my head. I’m not sure why, perhaps because of the tightening of skin in my face. I remember this from the last surgery too, but there was a lot of other stuff going on that it wasn’t my top worry.

Well the obvious thing to say is that what I’ve been going through this time is nothing compared to what I was going through coming out of surgery over a year ago. It doesn’t even register on the scale compared with that.

But with me being me and thinking everything will be ‘all good’… it’s also a lot more serious than I thought it would be. I’ve needed more recovery time than I was anticipating.

Weirdly, the pain in my face has been greater than it was from THE surgery. I guess it’s less numb now and I’m on less pain killers…

They cut all the gums in my mouth in order to access all the points they needed, so there are stitches and raw wounds in there.
My lips have been cracked and sore from a couple of hours of having tools shoved past them.
My face is bruised from having instruments on it and people working on top of it.
My neck has been sore from the angle they had me at during the surgery.
My jaw has been really painful.
My cheekbones ache from the inside and hurt from the outside. They feel bruised to touch.
When I wiggle my right cheekbone it wiggles my lip… that’s kind of fun.
I am exhausted most of the time.
I’ve had to sleep upright again, which has been mentally taxing. Trying to get comfortable by stacking pillows on top of each other has thrown me back to what it was like a year ago. Things always seem more difficult at night.

Sometimes I wonder how my body is able to take all this beating and still come out the other side, essentially functioning… But here we are, still going.

So. I went in to see the dental implant guys at Dawood and Tanner and they have given me some teeth… kinda. They’re just temporary teeth. Placeholders. They don’t really fit right (they just kind of stick out in the middle of my mouth), I can’t eat with them (super difficult since I can’t take them out…), but they’ll stay in for the next 3 months until I get my proper ones. I did a few videos on my instagram so you can see them – click on the circle on the top left that says ‘implants’ at the following link:
https://www.instagram.com/thecancerchrons/

They’re uncomfortable, painful, don’t look right and make it quite difficult to talk and obviously eat, but they look like teeth, and it’s nice to know that people won’t look at me strangely anymore. Well not quite so strangely, anyway. Still a way to go before we get them right, but I’m one step closer.

Friday surgery retraction statement

You know… I probably jinxed it by telling you all it was happening…

But I got a call earlier in the week saying they ‘couldn’t find a consultant’ for Friday.

I don’t really understand what that means, I thought it was meant to be my surgeon, Mr K who did it. But I guess maybe not? Maybe it’s just a lucky-dip, nab an unlucky intern who can consult.

Jokes.

Though I wonder why they are so cagey about giving me details about things.

So I’ve now cancelled a few things I was planning on doing and the like, which is a bit of a pain but I guess I can’t really complain, I guess these things happen.

I’m grateful to have a date, but I do feel a bit deflated that it’s now been moved… But what can you do. On the plus side my recovery will now be during the week as opposed to over the weekend, so I’ll have to have a few days off work. I guess that’s something!

In other news, I was asked to speak a few weeks ago to the ‘Airway Management Hub’ at UCLH (pic below) about my experience with the dreaded tracheostomy (post surgery breathing tube, for any of you who aren’t familiar with the terminology). I had a great time (at the talk, not with the trachy), and was able to provide some input about the patient perspective. The tracheostomy is a pretty scary thing and I would like to be able to help make the process better for the people going through it, so hopefully more will come from this, I think there are some important conversations to be had.

Anyway, happy Friday, friends. Looking forward to sleeping all day tomorrow!

Off we go again…

Hello everyone, I know I’ve been quiet for a bit, it’s been cold, I’ve been busy and my parents have been visiting for a few weeks. I’ve been ticking along as usual, a few things you would probably appreciate an update on.

I had my clinic appointment a couple of weeks ago to get my MRI results and the day before I got a call asking if some of my blood could be collected for research. Yes yes yes yes research! Always yes! So I went along early to get my blood taken. There was a new staff member who was being supervised by another, but she assured me she was very experienced. Not that it bothered me too much but I gave my usual disclaimer that my veins are difficult. They assured me there would be no issue. Cool. We’ll see.

She tried one arm and found the vein but my blood didn’t want to leave me. Aww my blood has separation anxiety. Cute. She asked if she could try again. Of course. Better luck this time. She got the needle in my hand and it started slowly filling the tube but then it stopped flowing and started hurting quite a bit.

‘The vein is going to blow!’ She announced with a wavering voice. I looked at the other nurse and she looked at me with what looked like a slightly worried face. I looked down to see my vein bulging.

Wait, did she say it’s going to… ‘Blow…?’

‘It’s bleeding under the skin… I need get it out…’

Ya… safe to say the blood rushed away from my head then. Or to it? Either way I felt very hot and faint. I’m sure that’s a perfectly normal thing to happen but it’s just not what you need to be told when you’re already in pain and stressed. So she stopped and I lay down.

Then of course I was annoyed because I had failed at helping with research. Lots of apologising from them, from me, good fun. I went and had a little cry in the bathroom, stressed by the situation and frustrated that I couldn’t help. I went back out to wait for my clinic appointment and a little while later the nurse came and apologised again (as did I) and she gave me a haematology pin to say thanks. That was sweet, I like pins.

I made a friend while waiting to see my Oncologist, he had also had a face sarcoma. Twice. We were laughing about all the random body parts we have in our face. It’s a strange club to be in. You know you’re with people who get it when you can call someone ‘greedy’ for having cancer twice and have a laugh about it.

Everything went smoothly with Mr Onc. ‘Nothing in your lungs’
‘Oh that’s good! But I thought you said…’
‘It looked like something but it wasn’t. Or at least if it is, I don’t know what it is yet so I’ll see you in 3 months and we’ll look again’
Ha. Good. Bye.  ‘I like not seeing you very often’ I said as I shook his hand and scurried out.

He also said to me ‘this summer will be two years since diagnosis, won’t it!!’ I didn’t believe him and said ‘No surgery was only a year ago’. He looked at me weirdly and was like ‘yes…… And you had treatment before that……’  LOL yes he’s right.

Well apart from that, I’ve got the first of my teeth surgeries on April 12th. We’ll find out then what will be possible (I think? It sounds likely…) and then hopefully if I’m lucky and everything goes quickly and according to plan, by the end of the year I might be ready to look at some sort of teeth thing! Though that’s probably being a bit hopeful, these things usually take a lot longer, mainly because it takes so long to hand write, print and send letters in order for any process to get moving.

Yes this is good news, and I’m so glad to have some progress! But I’d rather avoid comments of ‘that’s amazing, soon you’ll look all better’ and the like. Or ‘wow teeth in April!’ Because it will still be a while until I actually get them, whatever they may be. I don’t know how I will look, I don’t know how much they can do (if anything), and although I am optimistic for the best, I need to manage expectations, both yours and mine. So we’ll see. Progress is good. Let’s see what happens next in this crazy adventure shall we?

Hilariously, I went along to my ‘pre-assessment clinic’, which I thought would be when I’d find out what they’re going to do in this surgery I’ve got coming up next week. But the nurse and anaesthetist who were running the meeting were asking me questions like: ‘Who is doing your surgery? Are you staying in overnight? What are they planning on doing?’
The anaesthetist even asked how long my surgery was meant to go for! Ummmmm………. You’re asking ME? Well that’s reassuring.

No one has told me anything about this surgery, I was kind of hoping that they were going to at this meeting. I hope by the time I get there on Friday they’ve worked out the answers to those questions because if not, well… I might end up with an amputated leg, or less one kidney or something. I guess I don’t really need two kidneys if it comes to that.

What I have pieced together from talking to random (non medical) people around the place is that they’re just going to drill in a bit and cover it back over for 6 months. But I guess I’ll let you know in a couple of weeks if that’s the case. I have no idea how disruptive it will be, how long I’ll be in hospital (I think just the one day?), or what the recovery will be like. I hear it will be swollen and sore but obviously nothing like what I’ve already been through so I’m not too bothered.

I’ll keep you all posted! Until we next speak, have a great week!

Well hi!

I’ve got a couple of posts lined up for you but I thought first, since you haven’t heard from me in a while, I should give a quick update.

Though to be fair the reason you haven’t heard from me for a while is because I literally have nothing to update you on.

Well that’s a lie, since we last spoke I bought a flat and moved in on my own for the first time ever! Nothing like cancer to give you a mid (1/3?) life crisis. So yeah when I said I have nothing to update you on I actually mean I did one of the biggest things you will do in your life. So that’s fun!

I was told my first implant surgery would be Jan/Feb. Over Christmas I was cc’d in on a letter from the teeth man to my local GP that said they would be aiming for February. Well… It’s now mid Feb and I haven’t heard anything so I guess that won’t be happening…

I met someone recently who had a similar surgery to me and has just had his first implant surgery. So I got some details from him about the process. Basically it’s done in three phases. The surgeries are quick, but they are done under general anaesthetic. There will be approximately 5 months between the first two surgeries and hopefully not too long between the final two. So I’m hopeful I might have some sort of teeth thing in around 6 months from first surgery. When that will be I couldn’t tell you. I really hope I get teeth by the end of the year…

More limbo, more of the waiting game. I’ve been busy while waiting though, details of which I will share soon.

Today I went in for my 3-monthly chest xray and quick hello to my Onc(ologist). There’s some sort of familiarity with coming back to the Cancer Centre, but also a strange detachment from the place that was practically my second home for so long. Just as I was waiting for my xray I looked up as the lift came down and to my surprise I saw my friend Krista, who has just finished her chemo for osteosarcoma in her leg! We had a quick catch up, she’s in for immunotherapy every week.

So the chest xray is every three months – the most common place for osteosarcoma to spread to is the chest so they monitor it closely. How are my xrays looking? Well they’re not clear… There’s been something showing up in the xrays since mid last year (yeah I’ve known about it for a while), so more CT Scans and MRI to see what’s going on. Could it be cancer metastases? Yeah it could. Is it likely to be? We don’t think it looks like typical mets but the only way to be sure is with scans. So bring on the scans!  Either way I have some damage to my lungs, so that’s fun! I don’t feel compromised, so hopefully nothing too serious.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend planned! I’m off to the theatre tonight!

Hello all!!!!

Hello new friends, old friends and everyone in between!!!

I woke up this morning to a message from my friend Liz saying that I was in the news again! Oh hi, it me! It goes a little something like this:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6219319/Womans-face-rebuilt-using-shoulder-bone-muscle.html

Apart from giving me slight cancer fraud by initially saying my chemo was only 3 weeks long (those of you have been here a while will well know it was actually 24 hrs/day for 5 days a week, 3 weeks in a row, then 2 weeks off, rinse and repeat 6 times – for a total of 7 months!!!!) It was a really lovely article! Very nicely written. And they were kind enough to amend it quickly. Though might I just add that I’m not ‘returning to work soon’, I’ve been back at work for 6 months!!!

I spoke to the reporter a while ago and have been waiting for it to surface and was hoping one of you lovely people would let me know when it did. And in fact a few people have found it! And it appears a few other newspapers have run the story too based on the Daily Mail article.

I’ve already been contacted by a couple of people who saw the article who have been through or are going through similar things. I can not tell you how happy this makes me. Obviously I am devastated to hear anyone has had to endure such things too, but very happy to hear from them. I will get back to you all in due course! Thank you for reaching out.

People who have cancer often say it is isolating. I think this is quite an interesting thing to note for people who have been fortunate enough to dodge cancer so far. I have felt so supported and loved through the whole thing, and I can’t thank you all enough for helping me to not feel alone. But there is truth in the fact that going through this can be really isolating, especially if you don’t know other people who really get it. I’ve found such comfort in my amazing online community of all sorts of different cancer people. You can find similarities between any type of cancer, it is quite a leveller of playing fields. And to be fair, even people with the same cancer and treatment can have quite different experiences, so you can find similarities and differences in many places.

But with a super rare form of cancer, in an even more rare location (jaw), it can sometimes leave you thinking ‘am I the only one who knows what I’m going through?’ From ridiculously extreme chemo to having your face rebuilt and having to deal with the aftermath not only of cancer but also of having a new face to come to terms with.

I follow the ‘osteosarcoma’ hashtag on instagram and I have found a couple of lovely osteosarcoma people (or other types of sarcoma too through similar routes) but the demographic for this type of cancer is pretty much children and dogs. And polar bears. Seriously. (Poor polar bears!)

I do have a couple of people who have found me through the blog and we are now in contact. But I can’t even begin to explain how amazing it feels to know that you are not the only one, you are not the first, there are people out there who really get it.

Sometimes I think it would have been helpful before I went into surgery to see someone who’d had a similar thing. So that in those days when I wondered how on earth I would ever have a normal life again, I would know that it is possible.

And to any of you who are going through similar things, or in fact any things, it is possible!!! A lot of people with cancer use a term ‘new normal’ to describe their life after cancer, and although I think it comforts some people, it has always bothered me. To me it seems a negative thing, often used to describe things you were once able to do but no longer can. Things that cancer has taken away from you. But in classic Jen style, I won’t let cancer change my life, my life will only change if I want it to!!! (probably said with a fist in the air or something). I was speaking about this with a friend the other day who had her osteosarcoma in her leg and it has caused her many ongoing struggles, impacting her life a fair bit. She has to admit that shitty horrible cancer has affected her life. And yeah I totally get that! Please don’t think I’m glossing over serious life-changing things that cancer has caused people (or me), that I’m minimising them by saying that my life hasn’t been changed. I’m not trying to isolate people who’s lives have drastically changed. If I let my guard down for a moment, peer through the gaps of this heavily reinforced protective wall that I’ve constructed around myself, yeah there are things I can no longer do. I can’t stay out all night, I can’t manage a full five days in the office, there are days I wake up and can hardly move if I had been active the day before, I’m waiting to see if the neuropathy (painfully numb hands and feet) gets better and if I will ever be able to play music again. And I already know I’ll never be able to sing like I used to, and that was an incredibly big part of who I am. But what is the use of mourning? If I can never sing and perform again, I will work on shifting my focus to writing music or something (I’m still in hope I’ll work out the singing thing). While I will be kind on myself, I won’t let cancer have the power to take things away from me, I will only find new ways to do things and new things to do.

Staunchly independent, control freak, yeah I know! I think my stubbornness can have its pros and cons but it has been useful in taking control through cancer, and also in helping with my recovery after surgery.

Anyway. To all you lovely new people, I hope you find some interest, perhaps even solace in the words I write. Please feel free to put your email in and subscribe if you want to follow along or say hi on Twitter or Insta (@thecancerchrons). I hate shameless self promotion, but the fact that telling my story can help others brings me no end of joy. You are not alone. You are never alone.