Inspirational people

New Years Eve always seems to be a time for reflection and this one more obviously than most. I have been thinking about some of the people who have inspired me in life, who have given me the fire in my belly. Here are just some of them.

My mum. The biggest inspiration of all. From a traditional old fashioned Jewish background, she went to university (almost unheard of amongst her cohort ), lived alone in Paris for a year as a student, got a job in advertising. Wow. She gave up work to be a stay at home mum and gave every inch of herself to the job. No one could have had a more selfless, more hard working, more dedicated, more loving, more sensible, more empathetic, more encouraging mother. She would have fought to the death with her bare hands to protect my brother and me.

My dad. A Jewish boy and accountant from Hendon, who left school at 16 with poor qualifications, but who went on to be a senior director of one of the world’s largest publishing companies, flying around the world doing deals in far flung places. How amazing that he was able to achieve so much, to build himself up from such a humble beginning, and to pass on to me the most incredible and powerful work ethic. I’ve never been afraid of a glass ceiling thanks to him. He has ingrained in me the knowledge that hard work and intelligence and being someone who gets on with people stand you in very very good stead.

Mrs Pearce. My infant school teacher. She was a tough cookie. She sounded like she smoked 100 a day. She was a divorcee in an era when that was still a bit scandalous. She gave as good as she got. Age 5 I thought she was the bees knees.

M. Bardou. My secondary school French teacher. He was never heard to utter a word in English in the classroom. He shouted at us, corralled us, pushed us, helped us, encouraged us, didn’t let us give up. He was the best teacher in the school.

John Davies, tutor in law at Brasenose College. John always intimidated me a little. We were clearly bright – after all, we’d won our places at Oxford – but John had seen loads of bright kids over the years and it took a real effort to find something to say to him that made him look interested. But his intellect, calmness, stoicism and patience were always inspiring and always made you hope that you’d be the one to pique his interest.

Barry Nicholas, former principal at Brasenose and Roman Law Tutor. We all had to take Roman Law with Barry in our first term. Barry had written the definitive textbook on the subject. This little small bent over figure in a brown tweed jacket and feet tucked into shoes that used to be brown but were polished into a sort of orange colour would greet us. The feet would be twisted round the legs of his chair in a way that defied human biology. He would listen to your essays then question you on them. It wasn’t uncommon to tell him that you’d written something because he’d said so in his book. But the came the day that he replied “hmmmm. I might have changed my mind”. At that point I knew I loved him for life.

Romano Prodi. Prodi was president of the European Commission during my stage. He used to eat his lunch in the staff canteen. That was impressive. I admired him hugely for that.

Robyn Durie. Robyn was a partner at a major City law firm representing the company my dad worked for. She was kind enough to take me on for work experience for a fortnight when I was 16 (and wearing a VERY short skirt!), and then again for some time during the following 2 summers. Robyn scared and inspired me in equal measure. She wore bright red lipstick and her hair tied back tightly in a coiled bun. She spoke quietly but with immense authority. There seemed to be nothing she didn’t know about IP law and telecoms regulation. It’s fair to say she had both friends and detractors – but to me she was just awe inspiring. What an intellect. What presence. What a reputation. Wow.

Catherine Wolfenden. Catherine was head girl at my school and a couple of years older than me. We were never friends at school and didn’t stay in touch. But work made our paths cross a couple of years ago. She is incredible. An amazing lawyer. A brilliant mum and wife. A truly lovely friend. A wonderful warm personality. Incisive. Hard working to a fault. Perceptive. The sort of person I hope I might be.

Pat Treacy. My partner and lead competition lawyer at Bristows. Pat really is incredible. It goes without saying that she is intelligent and an excellent lawyer. But there is so much more. She is thoughtful, considerate, good hearted, straightforward. She has no hidden agenda. She doesn’t do office politics. She is measured and realistic. She is a good person through and through, always thinking about others. She is calm. She is a true inspiration.

Rabbi Lawrence. Rabbi Lawrence is the new rabbi at our local synagogue. He had enormous boots to fill as his predecessor is now the Chief Rabbi. During the early days of my diagnosis I considered contacting the synagogue. But I didn’t feel any real connection. As I’ve blogged before, I’m a very traditional Jew, observant in some ways but not to the really observant, but culturally connected. I have mostly gone to synagogues affiliated to the United Synagogue, the biggest community in the UK. When I was growing up, most people I knew went to a US synagogue – it was the norm. Most people weren’t all that observant but were traditional. As I’ve grown up, the US has got more and more hard line and my friends have tended to get less and less religious and observant, while I feel I’ve stayed in the middle. Luckily I met and married a wonderful man with very similar views. Anyhow, the point of this rambling is that the US rabbis have tended to intimidate me by making me feel inadequate for not being observant enough. It’s a Jewish thing. And then I met Rabbi Lawrence. He was heavily involved in AJ6, the Jewish youth group that I was involved in as a teenager. He read law at Oxford. Only then did he go and study to become a rabbi. He led communities in Australia and New Zealand so he’s been away from the politics and increasingly hard line views of the US. And now he’s my rabbi. I met him. He listened and understood. He didn’t reel off long quotes from the Torah. He didn’t tell me I should be ashamed for not being more observant. He got me. He is the rabbi I have been looking for. I am so glad I have found him in time.

My husband and kids. They inspire me to keep going. To push through. To be the very best version of me that I can be. To fight and fight and keep fighting.


Some messages of support

I’ve blogged before about the wonderful messages of support I’ve received by phone, text, card, email and Facebook. In the past two weeks these have increased exponentially as the blog has been shared and brought home to friends and strangers the situation I’m in. So I’d like to thank everyone for your good wishes, kind words, prayers and positivity. If they alone were sufficient I’d be fit and well enough to climb Kilimanjaro now!

I thought it’s be nice to share on my blog some of the best, most touching and most surprising ones, anonymously of course. But if my quoting you makes you uncomfortable please let me know and I’ll remove it. These are only a small snapshot of the wonderful messages I have received and there are so many more I’d love to share. Thank you so much to everyone for all of them.

Here we go.

26 June
Darling Rosie, You are an incredible woman – with such great strength. I am so sorry that you are being tested in this way, but know that there are so many people who love you very much. Keep strong and brave – and let me know if there’s anything I/we can do. I am terrible sleeper so if you are having a bad night feel free to call – it’s about time we sorted out those Tahiti plans! Massive hugs and love from us all. Please reach out at any time. X

27 June
Hi Rosie, I hope you don’t think I’m really weird sending you a message… I’ve never sent a message to someone who isn’t a friend before! I wanted to tell you that I was really moved by your post on Frank mums. I couldn’t help but look at your profile, you have such a stunning family and are clearly phenomenally bright. I really wish you all the best on this very unfortunate journey. I’m on the other side of the world so if you have sleepless nights and need some company, i’ll probably be checking Facebook 😉

3 July
Dearest Rosie
I’ve just seen your status and wanted to write sending lots of love and positive thoughts at what must be a tough and uncertain time for you and your beautiful family. I know that we see each other infrequently but I feel very fortunate to have enjoyed your friendship for so many years. I just wanted to extend my hand to offer my support and friendship in anyway that I can. I am sure that you are inundated and overwhelmed by the love and support of your nearest and dearest. If you ever need a change of scene, a friend to moan at, laugh with or anything else then please know that I am here (well in Putney if it’s not too far!).
Kisses to you all.

5 July
Rosie, I am so sorry and shocked and pretty angry, actually, to discover that you have cancer. I know you are such a strong person that you will definitely win the fight, and I will be adding my positive thoughts for you every day. Long time no see, but still here for you xxx

6 July
Hello Rosie, it’s been a long time since we saw each other, but rest assured you are firmly in my thoughts and prayers; I couldn’t believe it when Hannah told me – I’m useless with fb. Lots of love to you and the family and all the very best for the next few weeks of treatment xx

10 July
Hi Rosie. Am not very Facebook savvy so I hope this is the private message it’s meant to be. Just wanted to let you know that you are in my thoughts and prayers! You rank right up there in my top 10 of most determined people I know and I have every faith that you will master this one as well. All my love

19 July
Hello Rosie – I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be wearing your name on my back with pride today! Thinking of you and your family, and wishing you the very best for Wednesday xxx


3 August
Hi Rosie – Haven’t been in touch for ages I am embarrassed to say. However I came across your news on Facebook. So sorry to hear that life has chosen to place a challenge in front of you. You are such a strong person that I don’t doubt you are better able than many to get through this. Thoughts and prayers are with you. Best,

19 August
Dear Rosie,
Given that I am such a Luddite, I only go on Facebook once every three and a half years (as shown by. my Facebook photo – J and E are now 7 and nearly 4!). As a holiday resolution, I decided to bring myself into the 21st century and in doing so pieced together your news from your recent posts. By not being a member of the Facebook generation, I hadn’t realised that you had been ill. Given my combination of being Jewish, male and Mancunian, my capacity to show any emotion is pretty low. However, in the space of a few minutes I went through shock, sorrow, admiration and then inspiration for the way you are clearly approaching such a huge process with amazing strength. I cannot begin to imagine what you have been through and hope that you are well on the road to full recovery. I know that I am seriously rubbish at keeping in touch, but I am only a phone call or email (and now Facebook message!) away if there is anything that I can add to the huge support that I am sure you already have. My thoughts and my prayers are with you. All the very best xxx

20 September
I go on Facebook once in a blue moon and just saw your chemo pics. Inspirational. I really hope it all works out ok.

31 October
Rosie I’m rarely on Facebook and see that you’re in battle mode. Sending you my love and wishes for good health. I just moved back to Paris a few weeks ago and am here through at least the end of the year. Via a friend I’m staying in an amazing 2 bedroom apt in the 17th. If you and your family want to take a quick trip to Paris the apt is all yours. sending you love. xoxox

10 November
Hi Rosie, I haven’t been on FB for an age until yesterday and saw a post about what you’ve been going through! Jen just filled me in. I’m so sorry my love and wanted to say I’m thinking of you. We haven’t seen each other for ages but I remember you as a wonderfully strong, empowered, bright, funny, positive and beautiful woman and I’m sure you are dealing with this crappy disease with grace and strength. I’m sure you’re kicking it’s arse too!!! Lots of love to you and your family xxx

1 December
I just wanted to drop you a note. I have just read your blog and I am crying my eyes out. Not in pity but in total admiration. What a wonderful woman. My brother died of cancer 3 years ago after a long 7 years of treatment and so many of the things you have written about ring true and I remember him talking about the same things. I wish you a full and speedy recovery xx ps. I have never given blood but I will now promise to do this on your behalf (one less thing for you to feel guilty about) much love x

2 December
Hey Rosie, I’ve just read your blog from start to finish all in one go and just wanted to say wow and well done. It must have taken a lot of courage to publish – its so personal and honest. I wish you so much luck for the next stage of your treatment and very much praying for you that Ghengis is booted in the face and gone forever. Lots of love xx

23 December
Hi Rosie, I am so sorry to hear your news. You have been amazing in the way you have dealt with all this, and I am sure you will continue to be amazing. All my love and wishes for your continued fight. xxx

23 December
Hi Rosie – I was very sorry to hear your news today. I don’t know if this will be any help to you, either now or perhaps further down the line when you’re ready. My sisters’s best friend had breast cancer and then was diagnosed with secondary liver and bone cancer. That was 6 years ago and she has been living a full and active life ever since undergoing treatment. In that time she has got married, worked, travelled and done marathons – if at any stage you would like me to put you in touch with her I’m sure she’d be happy to speak to you about it.

23 December
Hi sweetheart, ime not sure that there is anything I can write or say other thanm my heart goes out to you. You are in my thoughts often and after reading today your news, I cannot stop thinking about you. Rosie honey, you have to be the strongest person I know. I am sure with your positive attitude and the love and support of your wonderful family, you will beat the shit out of the bastard. Lean on the people that give you strength. I am sure that you have a wonderful support group. I know that I am far away, but I am on the other side of the phone or e-mail and am here for you if you need. Rosie, we are sending you lots of love and hugs and it goes without saying that you are always in our prayers xxx

23 December
Dearest Rosie, I’ve been meaning to message you for so long, and always fail to find the words – I still don’t have them, but really do want you to know how much you’re in my thoughts and prayers, and how much I’m sending you masses of good thoughts to wish you well. You’ve been so courageous and strong – and your blog has had me in tears more than once – you’re such an inspiration to us all. Your family must be so utterly proud of you, and your children (who are clearly very lovely, and so loved) are an absolute credit to you. I’ll be thinking of you even more, and sending all the good thoughts I can for Monday, and hope you see this off as swiftly as is possible. Wishing you a peaceful week with your family (and absolutely no need to reply – you must be inundated with messages, and also need to spend the holiday time with your children), and sending you lots of love xxxx

24 December
Hey Rosie. Such a long time since we were in touch and I’ve just seen your post on FB about your cancer. I’m so sorry to hear what an awful time you’ve been going through and also that you have to start the chemo again. It’s so unfair and just wrong that it can happen to such a lovely, lovely person as you. You’re such a strong woman and you clearly have hundreds of friends and family supporting you thank goodness. Wishing you all the very best and the strength to work your way through this. Lots of love to you and your family xxx

24 December
I hope you don’t think I’m some sort of crazy stalker by messaging you. We don’t know each other but I’ve followed your updates on FMs.Tonight I felt I owed you more then a post on the FrankMums thread along with hundreds of others after reading your blog tonight. It feels more personal.Your blog has been so inspirational to read. You seem like such a strong person and I cried buckets for you, your gorgeous children and husband today. With everything you wrote in todays post I couldnt stop thinking about how its so unfair for you all to go through this. I hope and daven that you will get through this! I will be thinking of you. sending you loads of positive energy. x

25 December
There really isn’t anything I can say without it sounding like a meaningless platitude you’ve probably heard a thousand times but please let me know if I can do anything to help you out. I’m away for the next two weeks but more than happy to drop by food or take you for a coffee when I’m back. I live in Hendon, don’t keep strict kosher but can always run to the shops.Cancer is a motherfucking cold heartless bitch. Xxxxx

25 December
Hi Rosie? I have been thinking of you since we last messaged but until yesterday I didn’t realise you had a blog. Since reading it last night I just haven’t been able to stop thinking of you. I hope you don’t mind me messaging you but, (and I hope this doesn’t sound selfish, I wanted you to know that like so many others, I am thinking of you). Your honesty with yourself and anyone who reads your blog is just amazing and so brave. I hope you don’t mind me saying that after reading it, I too am sad for you and your family and scared for you, me, every parent and child there is who might have to deal with a ghengis of their own one day. Today I have felt consumed by the cruelty of it all and how, even though I don’t know you, I wish I could do something to help. I know I can’t and that these words are totally inadequate but I am sending the most positive vibes that I can and although I’m not hugely religious I will pray for you in my own way. I will be thinking of you and hope you find the strength to find the positivity that you have previously had. Truly wishing you all the very best

27 December
Rosie, saw your status update and am taking it to heart. Facebook seems inadequate for this, though. If there is anything you would like me to do, just ask. I’d love to anticipate what you might need but that risks all kinds of errors and unwanted intrusiveness. Whether it’s a small or big ask, please bear me in mind. Hugs.

28 December
Hi. I think of you and your family everyday for the past few days. I feel like there aren’t any words that could convey what I want to say. Something like you don’t need to be extra strong or brave – you just need to carry on being you and let those that love you – cherish and hold you. I don’t know you but I am sending love and the strength of a million Dr Whos. Sending loving kindness to you

28 December
Hi Rosie I hope you don’t mind me messaging you. I can’t stop thinking about you! I just think you are the most inspirational and strong woman I know of. Such a fighter and also able to ask for help when you feel lost which is such a wonderful thing. I know how cancer can rip a family apart. Rip a person apart. You just have to take each day as it comes. None of us know what tomorrow holds. Id love to help you if there is anything I can do? Don’t stop reaching out Rosie, you have so much support. You have touched my life in a way I can’t explain and I thank you for that. I’m just sorry it’s under such utter crap circumstances. Please don’t feel you have to reply, I’ve wanted to message you for a while but thought what can I say that could possibly make you feel better? and then when I saw you asked for the support to keep coming, I thought it would be ok x

28 December
Following your blog and think you are an incredible lady. Been thinking of you since I first read your story on Christmas morning. You are brave, courageous and have the support of so many people you don’t even know. You have thousands of people praying for you (including myself). Enjoy your beautiful children and stay strong for them and yourself. Wishing you nothing but good positive things for 2015. Much love xx

28 December
Words can’t express the immense proudness and sadness I feel for you and your loving family. We to are going through a very difficult time and my dad was diagnosed with multiple terminal cancer 19 days ago. Your latest blog entry sums up exactly what I have been feeling. Life is so cruel but you are so fabulous. Words don’t begin to do justice to your inspiration and courageousness. I hope the medicine give you the time you deserve. You are forever in my thoughts and I will continue to stay with you through your writing. Much love forever

28 December
Listen missy I don’t know you but from all i know about you I know you are brave strong and a g-d damn fighter! ! There will always be times when you feel low and at your wits end and that is ok. Allow your self to feel anything you want to feel and tell yourself it is fine. Be gentle with yourself and let others give you strength and support you. We are all here for you and will do what ever we can. You keep doing what you are doing cause you’re doing amazing! ! Keep talking and sharing and just know we are all sending you love and strength and thinking of you xxxxx

28 September
Rosie I genuinely am thinking about you so much. I’ve never thought so much before about someone I’ve never met! Sending support, positivity, strength, hugs and love, all through the day, every day xx

29 December
I’ve just read your whole blog, Rosie, and I wanted to say thank you for the little insight you have given me into how one of my best friends suffered. She was so so private so I was very careful not to pry. It breaks my heart to read what you have been through, and continue to go through but it’s not about me AT ALL and I promise I won’t do the right/left ‘head hang’ as Danielle called/calls it if I ever have the pleasure and privilege of meeting you in person. I wish you all the love and luck in the world. I’m sorry that I can’t bake challah for you (I’m a shit cook!!) but you are most def in my prayers xxxxxxxx

30 December
The times when we feel weak and drained, and like we can’t fight no further.. Rosie.. They are the times we fight the hardest. My love your family are such a beautiful reflection of the wonderful person you are and the amazing qualities you hold. I’m your virtual friend, holding your hand from a far .. When things feel too hard just squeeze hon.. Coz I’m thinking of you and together .. All of us on this feed.. Fight forward with you:).. We’re carrying you on this journey. Much love xx

30 December
Rosie I hope you don’t mind me messaging you…. I’m sitting here reading your blog with tears streaming down my face from one mother to another i can’t imagine the pain and worry of what your going through. I have followed your journey from a far you write with such courage and strength you are truly inspirational, your kids family and husband must be amazingly proud of you! This disease is a bastard! Keep fighting u will beat this. Stick ur two fingers up at it and tell it to quite frankly to f**k off. enjoy ur children and family hug them tight and Pls god soon Ur be able to move forward with this nasty time behind you. You are in my thoughts and prays stay strong! You can do this xxxxx

30 December
Rosie can I just tell you that you are a true inspiration and your kids will be so proud of you!! Have you ever thought of writing books? Once you have kicked cancers ass.. Which u will.. You should have your blog published and write a book!! Your an amazing woman!!! Stay strong!!!!! Big hugs x

30 December
Been thinking about you loads. Any time something frustrates me or annoys me I have stopped in my tracks & thought how trivial it all seems compared to what you are going through. It puts everything into perspective. Wishing you lots of luck and positivity for today & going forward. xxx





Plan B

Chemo Mark 2 started today. My breast cancer twinnie calls this Plan B. It’s been a very long day and I spent almost 9 hours in the Big White Chair being walloped by the three new drugs plus humongous bags of fluids plus the usual anti-emetics. Entertainment was provided in the form of a steady stream of visitors post lunch and a deluge of emails, Facebook messages and other virtual shows of support. Now I am pooped. Done in. Whacked. Exhausted. Crevee (why is it sometimes that the word in another language is the most appropriate?). None of this is relevant if Plan B comes good. Frankly you could hack my arms off with a blunt knife in return for a guarantee of success. But there are no guarantees. Medicine – in which we place so much faith – is shockingly uncertain in this particular area. So instead I need to rely on prayers, good wishes and hopes. Fingers crossed….

Joey Choueka Trouble Maker



I’m having a lazy Sunday morning in bed. The electronic babysitters are fully engaged (thanks, tablets and smartphones). Joey is lying next to me watching Angry Birds cartoons. I just adore this cheeky little monkey. He is so soft and cute and wraps everyone around his little finger. He is super clever, super flirty and just gorgeous. He has long long dark eyelashes and dark brown eyes. I want to bury myself in him and kiss him forever. If I think too much about the future, a future for him where I am absent, my heart breaks. So I am focusing on the here and now, the smell of him, the warmth of him, the love.

Some paradoxes

Here are some of the paradoxes that are haunting me at the moment.

Sleep is a blessed relief from the horror of our situation. So I want to stay asleep. But I want to spend every second with my family as time feels so limited. So I want to stay awake.

Anxiety and fear freezes me to the spot and I want to stay in bed because I feel safe there. But I want to spend my time creating fun filled memories with my family, getting out there and doing loads.

I want the kids to be in the other room so they can’t see the tears. But I want the kids to be next to me all the time so I can squeeze them tight.

I want to go to work and keep some normality in my life and use my brain. But I want to spend every moment at home with my family.

I want to rewind to 18 June, the day before I found the first lump. I want to relive the carefree existence I enjoyed for the last time that day. But I want to fast forward to see if and when the chemo works and for how long, so I can prepare myself.

I want to take some pills to take the edge off. But I want to stay alert and in the moment so I don’t miss a thing.

If I don’t make it I need to know that Elliot will move on, so that he isn’t on his own and so the kids have a mother figure in their lives. But the thought breaks my heart more than anything else and makes the tears flow.

I have always been traditionally Jewish rather than observant. I’ve never been sure what and how much I believe. Now, I find that my faith, spirituality and belief are all both ignited and doused at the same time. Part of me feels a strong connection and a certainty that all the prayers will work. Part of me feels that no G-d can exist given what we have gone through and what we are now facing.

I believe that science and medicine will save me. I don’t believe that science and medicine will save me.

I’m going to be ok. I’m not going to be ok. I’m going to be ok. I’m not going to be ok.

A new reality

I was going to start this blog entry by saying that we are adjusting to this new reality. But I’m not sure that’s quite right. Certainly the tears are slowing up although they are still catching me unawares from time to time. But the horror of the situation isn’t fading. I have a constant knot in my stomach. I feel on edge all the time. My mind is whirring. I have had to think about the details of the worst case scenario. I’ve done a phone tree for spreading the news. I’ve written a long list of where all my treasured possessions should go. I’ve talked with my nearest and dearest about the whos, wheres and hows of my funeral. There’s more to do – I have messages and letters and cards to write, a knitting project to finish, photos to print. Elliot has asked me if there are places I want to see or things I want to do but I can’t quite get my head around any sort of bucket list. I just want to live – normally.

And there are the seeds of hope. I don’t want to encourage these to grow because I can’t allow myself to hope too much. But there are new drug trials, more types of chemo, people who survive with liver mets. The new reality is a roller coaster – bleak and black yet punctuated by these seeds of hope. It’s more exhausting than anyone could imagine. I am sleeping well because I am so tired by it. And because sleep allows me to escape back to the old reality – the one in which Elliot and I grew old together, watching our kids thrive and flourish. In my new reality it is likely that my husband will become someone else’s husband, my kids will grow up without me, my friends will experience joys that will never be known to me. I can’t adjust to this new reality.

So instead I must be focused on the fight. I am going to fight. I am going to push the new reality away as hard as I can for as long as I can. I am going to open my mind and my heart and my body to any and all possibilities. I am asking G-d to keep the old reality going for me for as long as He allows. Sod the new reality. Sod it. Sod it. Sod it.

The worst news

Genghis is in my liver. There are multiple spots. Chemo is starting ASAP. The prognosis isn’t great but there are people who stay stable for a good while or whose mets shrink. It is even possible for the mets to disappear completely, though unlikely. My onc has said to plan for the worst but prepare for the best.

In the past 2 days Elliot and I have had conversations we didn’t dream of having until we were old. We have cried buckets and been very very sad. We have talked about how he and the children might cope if I’m not here, how he will move on in time, how the kids will remember me. We have talked about practical things like savings accounts and life assurance. We have tackled it all.

It has been the hardest 2 days of my life. I am buying birthday cards for the kids for each year until they are adults. I have got a box to fill with special memories and souvenirs. I’ve bought a notebook for each child and for Elliot to fill with loving thoughts. I’ve written a long list of all my precious items and who I want to have each of them. It is frankly horrific although the practical organisation is keeping my mind busy.

I have friends of most religions praying for me. A prayer has gone in to the Wailing Wall. Candles are burning. Challah is being taken. My Hebrew name is being changed.

And then there is the medicine. We need this to work. It may not work forever but it may hold the cancer at bay. I would like more than a few months. I’m not asking to live till I’m 80. 60 would seem pretty good right now. Even 50 – to see Joey’s bar mitzvah. All unlikely but I have to have hope. I have to be positive. I have to keep going long enough for the breakthrough in the treatment of triple negative breast cancer that is being promised. I will do my best. I will do anything. Money is no object. Pain doesn’t matter. I just want longer. Please. Please.

In a bad place

I have been in a very dark place waiting for the results of my scans. I have been convinced that I will get bad news from the doctors. I have been convinced that my time is running out. I have been filled with tremendous sadness for my husband and kids, for my parents and in-laws and siblings. I have had a head full of endless images of my funeral, of my husband trying to explain to our son that I am gone and not coming back, of my little girl floundering without her mum, of my husband alone in our bed at night crying his heart out, of my parents unable to cope with their loss, of the achievements of my children that I will never see, of the grandchildren I will never meet, of the places I will never visit, of the world events I will miss. I feel like I am stranded on a distant comet, hurtling through space on my own with the oxygen running out and no light reaching me. No one can understand this feeling. No one can reach me. No one can say anything that can console me. No one can pull me out of this. I am suffocating, drowning, panicking. I can’t eat. I can’t move. I am constantly in tears. I can’t communicate. I can just about keep it together in front of the kids but it takes a super human effort. Thankfully at the end of the day I am so exhausted I fall asleep, but when I wake up it all floods back. My previous levity and positivity and strength have vanished. I don’t recognise myself. I hope that I will be able to pull myself out of this once I have the results, whatever they are, but I am scared that I won’t, that I am going to be lost for good.

Deja vu

Genghis is back. I think. I’ve got another tumour. It’s just by where the first one was and it’s another fast growing one so chances are it’s a local recurrence. The chemo didn’t work.

So now I’m back where I was six months ago. Scans to make sure it hasn’t spread. I hope. Waiting for the pathology report. The double mastectomy has been brought forward and will happen ASAP in the new year. Then more chemo.

The worst bit was the look on the faces of the surgeon and the oncologist. Both were shocked. The surgeon is “concerned” (not very good to hear).

And now the fear that it’s spread.

I’m not doing all that well. I feel in shock. I am on autopilot. I can’t cope with people saying nice things. I don’t really want to talk to anyone. I just want to lie in a dark room in silence.

This is horrid.

The Fear

Lots of people who have had cancer talk about the fear that haunts them – the fear that it will come back. Books have been written on how to cope with this fear and there appears to be a whole sub-segment of the counselling profession giving support and strategies for how to put The Fear to the back of your mind.

No one told me that a The Fear would visit me this soon.

6 days ago I found a new lump.

It is right by the scar from my lumpectomy. It is hard and immobile. Good old Google suggests that this is more likely than not to be a fat necrosis – a lump of fatty scar tissue deprived of blood by the severing of blood vessels during the operation, that has hardened into a ball. I went to see the doc on Thursday. He felt it and said it was probably from the op but referred me for an ultrasound. The radiologist scanned it and said he thought it was a fat necrosis but he couldn’t be sure, so performed a core biopsy on the spot. He told me the tissues was “gloopy” and floated, but wouldn’t be drawn on a conclusion.

So here I am, waiting for the results. I have to wait a total of 4 days, because of the weekend. I have to go in person (and hence miss my team’s Christmas dinner) tomorrow night for the results. And The Fear waits with me.

My online community has assured me it’s probably scarring of some kind. Many of them have had similar and most often it is not sinister.

But of course that doesn’t help all that much. My mental strength is being put under a huge strain, trying to put The Fear into a bubble and banish it to a far corner of my consciousness. I am invoking all sorts of strategies to try to stop the bubble from bursting and The Fear to come flooding back in and occupying front and centre in my mind. It’s tough. It’s rubbish and it feels hugely unfair.