You don’t have to be Bob Dylan to benefit from expressive writing
I am a writer by trade. When I was going through chemotherapy my friends urged me to write a blog. Write a blog? I thought, No way! – because A: it’s work, and B: who on earth would want to read a blog about somebody having cancer? Not me.
One day, en-route to the hospital and bedecked with headscarf, chandelier earrings, red lipstick and dark glasses, I stepped into my friend Jamie’s car to be greeted with his remark, ‘You’re really working the chemo chic look today girl.’ And that was it – a blog was born: Chemo Chic – A Guide to Surviving Cancer With Style. And then a book: The Elegant Art of Falling Apart. And then this website: The Chemo Chic Project.
All the way through my illness I wrote and wrote. On occasions it was difficult to describe the ghastliness of the chemo, the tediousness of the radiotherapy and the fear and desolation that I sometimes experienced. Other times it was pure joy to write about the silliness of encounters with my doctors, the kindness of the nurses and the love that landed on me in unexpected ways from all of my friends. No matter what I wrote about, after writing I always felt better.
My instinct was, and is, that writing is good for you but there is more to this than just my fancy. Continue reading
Angelina Jolie – anyone can be affected by breast cancer
Debate rages on the internet following Angelina Jolie’s announcement that she has had a preventative double-mastectomy. Everyone, it seems, has an opinion. But where does this leave the person who really matters – the patient?
When serious illness strikes, we search for cures. It’s a perfectly sane reaction to a life-threatening situation. In fact, it may feel almost irresponsible not to do so. Unfortunately there are some people ready and willing to exploit our fear and desperation, whether it be for profit or personal aggrandisement. Others have more philanthropic motives but may be strongly influenced by their own personal belief system. Continue reading
PINK is bustin’ out all o-o-ver. If you’ve been anywhere near a department store in the last couple of weeks you will not have failed to notice that it is Breast Cancer Awareness month.
To celebrate, I’ve been down to the hospital and had a bunch of scans and mammograms and they’re all clear!
Breast cancer awareness month is obviously a not-to-be-missed opportunity for celebrities to flaunt their caring credentials. But what about your friend who is actually going through breast cancer? Is she out at some cosmetics-industry sponsored party, drinking pink champagne, snacking on smoked salmon and strawberry cupcakes and being photographed for Heat magazine? Hell no! Continue reading
A human fibroblast cell
In the past month research has been published that suggests that chemotherapy may cause cancers to return. The news is all over the internet, of course, and is presented differently by various groups according to their interests.
For several days I refused to read any of the articles. I don’t want to know about that, I thought. But this is important information, you have to read about it. Well, let me just say this: nobody HAS to read about anything if they don’t want to and no-one can make you. But this research Continue reading
Last week I had a follow-up appointment with my wonderful oncologist, Dr Suzy Cleator, at the LOC. After three years my reaction to these appointments has gone from being semi-paralysed with anxiety to being laid back to the point of blasé. I hardly even mention them to my friends anymore.
‘Let’s have a look at you’, said Suzy. I ripped off my dress with the carefree nonchalance Continue reading
My beautiful cousin Gaby succumbed to cancer on the 17th of October 2008. She was a wonderful artist, funny, kind, clever and brave. Above all she was humane. I miss her every day.
This tribute to Gaby was composed and performed by the very talented Rory Lankester. I still cry every time I see it.
If you would like to pay tribute to someone you love, please get in touch.
Jan writes: “Hello, I’m looking for an invisible, lightweight, non-greasy, non-toxic/organic facial sunscreen that can be worn under makeup.”
This is one of the gnarliest subjects in beauty. Before I make a recommendation, there are a few things to know, briefly: Continue reading