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…

Good luck!

text cat

I like Anthony Wilson’s comment that whatever we write it is never the same for someone else, but at least we can be honest survivors…. The cat being my greatest supporter!

The French say, “bon courage”, the Swiss wished me all the best (invariably “good times”), but what should we wish most?

I’m trying to be outstanding in the “could’ve copped it” club,

I’d go and bake some biscuits, but we can’t fix this with grub,

I’ll write about the funny bits, of losing tits and sharpened wits,

Collecting them together in a caustic info hub…

I’ll tell you how I hated being bald, at forty, golly,

And hats don’t go in showers, oh the windswept look’s a folly,

The chemo brain, elusive vein, (the gunky drain), this will remain…

But do enjoy hair styling, the wig whilst on the dolly…

I’ll say, button tops are crucial, in keeping looking bright,

Some scarves can work for covering, if you can tie them right,

Stay cheery, though you’re weary (it makes the rest lest teary),

But never think of cancer as something you can fight…

Choose hope…

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I was recently inspired by consultant Marcus Child to “choose hope” (and CW Metcalfe’s ideas of grace under pressure), I think about how we do this when facing bad news,

Head booms,

News looms,

Wait rooms,

Bleach fumes,

Choose hope…

Heart thumps,

Tit lumps,

Tired grumps,

Wish jumps,

Choose hope…

Scalp bare,

Not fair,

Faint prayer

Still there,

Choose hope…

Appearance matters…


Recently I had to fancy dress a book character and apart from the obvious fairy tales I thought of the wig days and then chose to be Bridget Jones…

You look at me like I have changed,

It wasn’t my intention,

They said I’d die,

But that’s a lie,

And something you can’t mention…

You look, but then you look away,

Is this a real bad hair day?

The style’s not swell,

I don’t feel well,

More core than disarray….

I’d sit a rabbit on my head,

At least I’d get a laugh,

‘Though you say I’m hot,

I believe I’m not,

Don’t be sweet on my behalf…

I am just about accepting this,

And I know you’re wondering too,

Not a panto’ queen,

Not a junkie’s dream,

This is it, and we’ll get through…

To be sure this wasn’t in my plan,

So it’s hard to see you shy,

Mirrors at the fair,

This look’s not to scare,

Incognito, Bond Girl, spy…

Fancy dress might be funny, but to people who have cancer and those who support them, it is hard to know what to say when people look different. I am blessed with a kind imagination, but I also found many people avoided conversations and talked to me like I had joined some fanatical sect! Then a friend said to wear a hat and sunglasses, like I was some kind of Bond Girl, and the dressing up started to be a little more fun…

Hope to cope…

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My ode this week is partly in respect for the book, The C Word, which I have been reading in anticipation of Sheridan Smith’s drama adaptation of the part. I feel very close, like this was my story too, yet I feel a little guilty that I survived it. But aside from the use of humour as a coping mechanism (and now that I am officially an old bag!), it is the refusal to believe in the fatal possibilities that I recognise best…

Let’s just whack the key words in Google,

And change how the outcome might look,

Ignore the fate call of the bugle,

We will bend in the wind when we’re shook…

We are steadfast and strong and survivors,

How bad can it possibly get?

Professional duckers and divers,

We’ll dry out again if we get wet…

Though butchery, poison and shortwave,

We are told is our fate (with a shush)

We won’t be the ones it could enslave,

“Mind the gap” as we stand in the crush…

You will sit by my bed as I crumble,

And tell me how grand I am still,

And we’ll never discuss the meaning for us,

For reality’s too big a pill…


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Sing a song of cell change,

They multiplied array,

Four and twenty blackbirds,

Through my lymph-nodes fly,

When my chest was opened,

The birds began to sing,

Isn’t that a dainty dish,

To try to do me in….

I wish we could have simplified the jargon -my diagnosis was less of a rhyme,

ER diffuse positive

PR negative

Ki-67 15% positive

HER +++

Highly differentiated

Ductal carcinoma

pT2 pN2a (5/23) MO

Stage IIIa

It all seems like Greek to me -no wonder we need to share a smile and a little more understanding, which is why I am raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support, I hope you like my work but please also pass it on and support my campaign at,

Thank you 🙂

Turned upside down…

upside down

I’m discharged from the breast clinic,

A small step for a health cynic,

Tied up the gowns, hung up the frowns,

No longer dodging let me downs….

No more the annual mammogram,

I’m gambling or I’m fixed, I am!

The plastic chair, the tears, the stare,

The buttoned blouse I choose to wear,

And hushed impending everywhere…

Won’t push my luck, just au revoir,

I’ve huge respect for all who are

Receiving letters, invites white,

A first appointment, cancer fight,

Hold tight, maybe you’ll be alright…

I have been very lucky and so as I skip away from the breast clinic it feels like I actually got away with it? Whilst that may be weak comfort to those who are still on the watch and wait list, please believe I know a smidgen of your feelings and I wish you well too…


IMG_1587My chest is obsolete,

The B cup mass a cheat,

The stitching neat,

A tuck, a pleat,

Yet halter tops still sweet…

I know it was just meat,

And cancer’s not a treat,

The boob delete,

Survive, compete,

So am I incomplete?

I entered a competition with this poem, the topic was obsolete and whist the feedback was good, I think the angle was not what had been anticipated.

Reconstruction is always a tricky one, it nearly killed me (a closer call than the cancer actually, twice…) -nothing like a nurse running to theatre with your bed (despite my having just eaten a bowl of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes) to make you glad to be alive!

Still with us…

father in law

When we climbed up that hill,

And took in the view,

I felt there a chill,

As I know you came too.

The body destroyed,

The structure is gone,

But still hanging in there,

You still come along.

And trapped in a moment,

I’m out on a limb,

Indulged and excited,

A wish and a whim….

I know you are smiling,

Amused by the ride,

We are all now together,

Come what time, come what tide…

Last week we were in Penang, it is twenty five years since we were last there, half of my life.

We went up the hill to remember my father in law, here with us before; he was already a frail man. Gently amused by his son and new daughter in law, we knew that his prostate cancer was already advanced. It would be sad to think that he never saw his granddaughters, I believe he has always kept up with the game….

And the good thing is that when you live in the memory he treats me like the carefree young thing I was!


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January 18th, it is ten years since I went in to hospital…

I remember the white,

Crisp snow,

Starched sheet,

The dark of the night,


The bare all,

The recall,

The hair fall,

(The long hall)

The pain sharp yet bright,

Spilled drinks,

Silk pyjamas,

The bandages tight,

And going bananas…





The treatment weeks were like a black hole I fell deeper and deeper in to. The day I had my first operation it snowed and then the lump wasn’t enough for the margins and there was lymph node involvement, so the week after I had a mastectomy. At this point I had a breast implant that then rejected and my body started destroying itself, and it was a challenge to get the medical team to respond -but all of that was the start of all of this, and it has been this that has underpinned change in my life, for the better…