Photo on 24-07-2016 at 09.06 #2

Sitting at the hairdressers I see an ocean of people with huge robes over scant clothes, it is a contradiction and as they leave they all look so perfect, with cared hair and plunging necklines! I do wish retail would realise that some of us can’t wear t-shirts any more, according to the NHS, “in 2012-13, just under 23,200 mastectomies were carried out in England.” (Sorry I couldn’t find whole UK figures!!)


A sea of knees,

A field of necks,

The summer breeze

Couture forgets…


My hair’s okay,

My legs quite good,

My front a surg-

-eon never should…


Have added bobs,

And shaped in bits,

And cut my tummy,

To make up tits.


So spare a care,

My boobs don’t cleave,

Tops to the nape,

Could you conceive?


Come on, who can help? Take a photo of yourself in a favourite high neck summer top and post it with the hashtag #highnecksummer

Why not also make a donation to the work of Macmillan Cancer Support -the price of a cocktail could help someone facing a difficult time to feel more in control again https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/whims-wishes

Thank you!

A worthy try…

Ma&Pa album 16

I am a-political (always have been) an advocate of the Edith Cavell version of government, “patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone”

The amazing thing about being ill is incorporating imperfection into your life, it is like speeding up age. Suddenly you can’t jump so high, walk so far, swagger so easily -and the younger it happens the more that there is at stake.


I vowed to thee, my country, all earthly things above,

Entire and whole and perfect, it didn’t last my love…

The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,

The treatment and the surgery, and you live with the rest!

The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,

That patches up, you carry on and think hope will suffice!


And there’s another country, a place I’d like to go,

Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;

Where overcoming challenge and experience are king,

Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;

And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,

And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.


For me I have kept a sense of humour and perspective but even now I am regretting some of the physical decisions I made about my treatment, as 11 years on the sustainability of reconstructive procedure (fat and tissue redistribution) diminishes. I am part of the Absolutely Fabulous generation, get the tambourine out, we need to promote uniqueness and gloriously embrace imperfection!


(with apologies to Sir Cecil Spring-Rice)

Under the bed…

Slide1I recently finished the book Tea and Chemo’, which I very much enjoyed, and the author, Jackie Buxton, was kind enough to thank me when I tweeted as much. However she talks about being someone always on the go, busy, active, in control (she is better with her alcohol than I am!) and it is like looking in the mirror- is there a cancer type?


As I finished the book I was also struck by what it all did and must continue to do to the family, our girls were 9 and 12 when I was diagnosed and have grown into such wonder women -is that fair? They might have been tempted to hide away from it all; I am lucky they didn’t…


Did I steal your childhood,

When they took my hair?

Was the wig so funny,

Did you care?


How do you remember,

Did we all seem sick?

Do you look back different?

Was it over quick?


For me you were amazing,

And the drugs were the concern,

You even sat and read with me,

Whilst they made me sunburn….


Memories change with age,

My front still looks a mess,

You help me find high necks,

It’s part of my success…


On fathers’ day weekend it is appropriate that we celebrate how important families are!


PS this is the only photo I have of me in a wig, I don’t look much fun!!

The challenge…


I look at the Macmillan pages on JustGiving and this week we have someone who has recovered from a brain tumor and so, unable to climb now, is cycling for us. Someone who is doing her third hike in memory of her sister, she enjoys the company of the people this allows her to meet. A charity football match for rival West End productions, and in memory of a wig lady. One lady posts a picture of her bandaged foot, but she is signed up and expects to be off for 2017. How proud am I to work with such inspiring people!


They run ‘cause they loved you,

They walk ‘cause they care,

They’re having a football match

(Wish you were there).


They’re broken and bandaged,

It won’t hold them back,

I wish I had half of their

Courage to pack…


They’re all our supporters,

They’re people like you,

Who’re just blooming grateful

For all they can do.


But actually also

They’re people like me,

Who know that Macmillan

Helps those who’re at sea…


So whatever your fancy, go for it! More than one in three of us will get cancer. For most of us it will be the toughest fight we ever face. Now, more than ever, we need people like you to join our team and help us make sure no one faces cancer alone.

Don’t forget, if you just want to make a donation you can do so at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/whims-wishes

The bucket list…

composite before i dieWith Victoria Wood having been such an inspiration for me and another example of someone who has gone too soon, as I come down to earth from my second holiday of a lifetime I am forced to think about the bucket list…


Having been given the fatal diagnosis and survived I find myself, and others, wondering what to do about it!  Never a fan of doing things just to tick them off, I enjoy the routine of my job, the love of my family and always a new blouse -damn that middle class upbringing!  But what would you wish for?


‘Though British controlled, organised,

And ruler of the seas,

I’m trapped inside a bucket list,

Of things that should appease;

A bungled fumbled hold and grab,

The honey and the bees…


I’d like to sail the world about,

To join the dots I dream,

And now that I’m still actually here,

There’s pressure unforeseen…

Mature, demure, allure, for sure,

To be Jesus’ sunbeam!


I’d quite like go back to Greece,

Cooking chips ‘n serving beer,

I’d like a nose stud and world peace,

A prognosis that’s clear…

A warm fire on the coldest nights,

A life that’s been sincere!


It’s not so much what we could do,

But what oughtn’t have been done,

I’ll still give all my love to you

In Rio, Rome, the long run…

If only we could capture time,

Rewind, restart, dry run…


I think the proof of the existence of the mind is being able to do the irrational?  To achieve mind over matter, to survive extremes in pain, fear or abuse and maintain hope -a computer can’t do that!

The job lot…

Slide1This week the sideline project work I have been doing for Macmillan became rolled into a formal permanent job, that I had built but had now to apply for.

I have been terrified at the thought of not getting my own job. I had to be interviewed. How would I tell the suppliers I have worked so hard to build positive and personal relationships with if I wasn’t the right person to continue?

At the same time I was being mock interviewed by candidates for our Case Study department (a helpful thing I do) and I realised how far I have come from being the victim, and yet how fast we become that again!

I remember that hierarchy of needs, safe and secure being fundamental before self actualisation! Yet who am I? I have to be more than a job? I am sometimes an inspiration and other times stubborn and unforgiving! What would life have done anyway? And what was it that the cancer did? These are big questions for me as I have held senior management jobs before but always need to explain where that went wrong -both family and cancer sort of mucked up my career and they aren’t allowed on my CV!

Thankfully I was successful. The cancer wasn’t a battle but the career has been -maybe finally I am back on track!

The job lot…


Not bad for a Saturday

Woolworth’s girl,

With a pop-off dress

Selling walnut whirl…

Not bad for a barmaid

Smelling of beer,

With a brash bright humour

At an old man’s leer…

Not bad for the bad girl

Renowned at school,

As the tart for the lark

Who avoided fixed rule…

Not bad for the dreamer,

(The poet can’t spell)

I’ve tried to improve

Though you really can’t tell…

Quite sad that the L&D

Manager Comm’s,

Took time out

For dodging of chemical bombs…

But glad that the fairy

Hung on with a passion,

For funding support

From digital fashion…


With particular thanks to those of you who have been with me all the way!

For more views on working through cancer please join a far worthier discussion… http://www.chris-cancercommunity.com/working-through-cancer/

A needle pulling thread…

Version 2

I am often talking about life and the language of cancer, and laughter, so here is a stab at a well known song… Because “when you know the notes to sing, you can sing most anything?”

Apologies to Songwriters R. RODGERS and O. HAMMERSTEIN


Let’s start at the very beginning,

A very good place to start?

When you read you begin with A B C,

When you’re sick you begin with,

“Oh not me”, “oh not me”

The first three thoughts

Just happen to be, “oh not me”,

“Oh not me, I like my hair!!!”


Let’s see if I can make it easier…


Owe, to get, but not to give,

Knot, a stomach feeling tight,

Me, a name I call myself,

Eye-s, that won’t shut in the night,

Like, the way I was before,

My, the things that I accept,

Hair, more than a hat for sure,

And without which I’m inept,

Ept, ept…


Owe, regret that doesn’t give,

Not, this really isn’t right!

Me, I hope to recognise?

I-‘m not looking for a fight!

Like, the way I was before…

My, the world that I adore,

Hair, the fluff I can’t ignore,

And continue to ask more,

More, more…


Cancer isn’t funny, but talking about it can help you to feel more in control!   If you like my work please share and if you have a little to spare support the work of Macmillan Cancer Support https://www.justgiving.com/whims-wishes so that proper professional people can help where it is needed most!

You’re not alone…


A cancer diagnosis can be a shock and decisions have to be made fast, there are people waiting to help!


At first you think you’ve got it but can still pretend you’ve not,

Then you know you’ve got it, but you’re not sure what you’ve got,

Soon the world is spinning and you might just lose the plot!

They say you shut them out; you’re trying to hold it in,

Cause if you’ve got to get it, there’s no need to give in…


Macmillan can’t change test results but we’ve seen this before,

We’ll be there through the drippy bits, the gucky and gore,

We’ll tackle this together, the treatment and what’s more,

They say you shut them out, but you’ll never hold it in,

Regardless what they do to you, life’s meant for living in…


At Macmillan Cancer Support, whether you’re worried about money or practical issues, have questions about treatment, or just want someone to listen, call us on 0808 808 0000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm

Something you can touch…

something you can

I wanted to write something about end of life having spent the last few weeks pathetically messaging a school friend who has sadly now gone -her cancer ovarian, mine fortunately breast.  It seems to me that through long illness, no matter how dark the dark days I think we cherish them in the end…  There is never a good time to die!

Bald head, scrumpled bed,

Unsaid, plain dread..

Bruised veins

And bottle drains,

Email chains in fast lanes…

On the edge but in the game,

Joints inflame,

Christian name,

Empty bra’s a v-neck shame,

Throwing up,

Who to blame?

Toilet talk,

To make you baulk,

Face like chalk,

A sleeping walk…

Summing up the chaos,


Something you can touch…

When it ‘s over, there are only memories and no matter, how bad it was, I still cling to the pieces…

Anne was kind enough to message me her goodbye, “You sound such a busy and fun person Ailsa. I wish we could have known each other longer and lived not so far apart and perhaps been able to share in each others friendship & fun a little more xx” -I wish we could have had longer too…

With thanks to Mel Shand #‎gamekeeperswife for the permission to use her lovely photo

Ho Ho Ho

santahatsAt this time of year I remember discovering a lump, I am grateful that the treatment worked but I know there are lots of people with scary stuff ahead, good luck to them all!


We’re waiting on an outcome,

And we’re waiting for a cure,

We’re waiting in a waiting room,

For hours and hours and more,

We’re waiting for a system

To reduce the wait, for sure,

Don’t bet on a fix for this by Christmas…


I’m hoping it is nothing,

So I’m hoping I was wrong,

I’m hoping if we freeze my head,

You’ll see my hair’s still strong,

I’m hoping that the orange stuff,

Won’t chill the thrill along,

Don’t bet on a fix for this by Christmas…


I understand the chances,

They are looking fairly slim,

I understand you understand

And that makes it more grim,

I understand you need to look,

I’ve always been quite prim,

Don’t bet on a fix for this by Christmas…


A very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2016!  Thanks to my friends, family and followers, I set myself a target of £500 a year on this and still have a little way to go, if you can spare or share this Christmas it would make a difference x https://www.justgiving.com/whims-wishes/