Slide1I am being told that all these ladies bearing their mastectomy chests are brave?  But I don’t get it?  For sure, inform people about the effects of surgery, but is that brave? Accepting life saving surgery is surely just sensible?  Living with it is inspirational, but being isn’t about courage, well not to me. Courage is laying down your life for another?

Where is the bravity,

In bearing it all?

I just see a cavity,

Into which we fall,

The brash of the victim,

Or physical kicked in?

Is honest exposure,

The lure of the maul?

I know that it is all interpretation, and people don’t mean to cause offence.  I am all for showing the reality of survivorship, just not brave!  Brave is for the glorious dead and we are very much alive!


It is that time of another year…

A tart in the mammogram changing room,

Finds her dignity hard to sustain,

For the hot rushing blush of the single boob hush,

Makes technician avert eyes for shame.

I’ve a PH and D, in destructible me,

And in time honour, graduate acceptance,

No cleavage, no grievage,

Manhandled, unsleeve-age,

We mush up the bits that remain….

Mass detect of me…

Slide1It is the shirt time of year, the season between the summer dress and the polo neck, the autumn of the fashion world. I am an accomplished recover-er, but I can’t lie…

It’s there in the mirror,

Quite plain to see,

A patchwork frontage,

That ravages me.

The flesh that the leeches.

Sucked back to life,

Piqued from the preaches.

Of keen midwife.

Accessorize, dress it up,

Starts the day,

But though out of sight,

It just won’t go away.

Innately repulsing,

The cancer we fear,

Yet the tumour removal,

Is why I am here?

From breast feeding to a thrombosis (the former acute pain and the latter had a better chance of killing me than the cancer) sometimes I need to get it off my chest? LOL, I remember those leeches so well and they saved my front -when will we celebrate?


Slide1Continuing my thoughts about recurrence, I hear many heartfelt stories of fundraising, but am drawn to the success of our 100 marathons in 100 days runner, exceptional?

This is what it seems like to me, getting up and doing it all again and again and again -I realise that surviving cancer once may not be enough any more?


Already achieved,

Could you run it again?

The payback received,

Un-completing the chain,

And more that the physics,

It’s just nervous strain,

The heart of the matter

with Mary Jane…

Once should be enough?

But the now and then…

Is not what they sold us,

It is sadly when,

The lumpy rice pudding

hits the jugular vein;

Your dodging the odds

on an un-fair-grounds train…

I can’t trivialise the fear that must come with a second diagnosis, it is beyond what I expected people to have to go through, but seems to be becoming the new normal?

(With all respect to AA Milne and Rice Pudding)

Not again…

bow and cat

For the third time this year I am hearing about a peer with a second (third even) primary cancer…

when did they say
it had come back again?
knowing what to expect,
from this unwelcome friend,
would make event a Sainte,
face the news like a drain,
and the humour you found before,
hard to maintain?

there’s an aura of hope,
in the wishes we make,
and a bare faced control,
in the risks that we take,
and painting a smile
(though inside you shake)
and gluing on hair, once more,
just seems so fake?

getting out, getting up,
there’s a mountain to climb,
but one foot then another,
it’s an organised crime,
and don’t tell me the genes,
there’s not reason or rhyme?
there are boobs, there are bumps,
and a grand pantomime?


Poisoned memories…


I think back on chemo like childbirth,

A sleep deprived, fogged, family time,

When the challenge of pegging out washing,

Seemed beyond a huge physical climb,

When the simplest needs of my children,

Being cuddled and face washed and fed,

Took over my entire ability,

and haunted my imploding head.

But now we’re all functioning adults,

And often off living apart,

Yet I find the recall of those awful times,

Has a very soft place in my heart.

So cherish the ill times together,

They’re the passion that keeps us alive,

And believe it will all turn out better,

As the tumour lets humour survive…


#LifeAfterCancer @macmillancancer

Salad days…


My taste in sunglasses has probably not improved, but one of the best bits of getting older is what I call, the in-between dawn.   Getting up on a sunny morning before the day begins, making a cup of tea and going back to bed with the laptop!

We’re totally sunshine,

Wall to wall,

The time of the dreadful,

Cleavage fall,

Tissue reconstruction,

No life guarantees,

It’s all now deflated,

A reinstall please?

#LifeWithCancer is still life, even when the air goes out of your boob job and you are left with something resembling a saggy sponge on your chest! To all of those of you who have tits, enjoy them!!

© Ailsa Tims 2017

A setback…


I’m rather good at setbacks, physically, emotionally, politically -they are part of what I see as getting along. Some small, like a bad hair day, some bigger, like breast cancer.

Who makes the dreams?

Who takes the dreams away?

Shut tight at night,

Still in fear I stray…

Who I was, calls me,

Some place I can’t go,

Or swaps up the decor,

Or kicks up a right show….

Ungrateful, as living

Should sure be enough,

Insatiable, wakeful,

The frills off the cuff

I caught it, I bought it,

The gab and the guff,

Comes down to a ticket

And seats on the bus…

Invested in heavily,

Grateful for tries,

Fulfilled undelivered,

Won’t go with my eyes,

The repairs have withered,

And now the surprise,

Unsustained personality

Change irrationalise…

It is in the quite moments, twelve years later, that I still feel the shock. A mastectomy swimsuits coves the outside, but it doesn’t fill the gap in?

When you have cancer, you are still you, with a life to lead, friends to see, family who need you and people to love. Because life with cancer is still life, and Macmillan can help you live it.

Is Still Life…

In a week when a friend tells funny stories about her first mammogram, and I add that when you turn up for the appointment with just one boob that gives the conversation a certain tone too. Let’s hope we are moving away for the question, “will I die?”… Life with cancer didn’t stop, I am still me, with a life to lead, friends to see, family who need me and people to love.

Is Still Life…

My spring may have past,

Passion, fashion, satisfaction,

Beyond gone, didn’t last,

In my heart, in my soul, my skin,

The time I feel myself begin…

It is summer in my heaven,

I am tanned, life is grand,

Warmer breeze frees this peasant,

Fresher air, legs’re bare,

With wet hair -debonare…

It is autumn in my town life,

Brisk walks, crucial talks,

Dressing up and down life,

By the river, I deliver,

Sunday lunches, getter, giver…

It was winter, I survived, unsurprised…

Some lost and won, some unbecome,

Undeserved, who’d decide?

Incomplete yet I’ve arrived,

Responsible, I’ve realised….

Life with cancer is still life. Macmillan can help you live it.

Post operative…


There is increasing recognition for post traumatic stress, which leaves even the strongest wills feeling like a failed superhero!!

Life changes in an instant and it isn’t until after the treatment ends that the work often begins? 

My advice is always to ask for the help you need and keep on asking until you feel that you can live the life you deserve. I am not a survivor, I am a post operative!