World Cancer Day Q&A

Any Human Heart, Cancer & Me

Hello all, happy World Cancer Day!

As a way of highlighting the fact that it is World Cancer Day I thought that I would answer a few of the questions I’m repeatedly asked about my cancer experience, so here we go…

What was the best thing that someone did / bought for you when you had cancer?

People are always asking me this because they want to know how they can help someone else.  You don’t need to wait to be asked to do something, no one is going to mind you turning up with a casserole, they will love it, but equally don’t expect to eat it with them or be messaging twice a day asking for the dish back because that just makes it stressful.  Do things without expecting anything back.

The gifts I appreciated the most were uplifting DVD’s (keyword uplifting) and microwaveable gloves and booties as your extremities can get very cold when you are having chemotherapy.

Do your children know you had cancer and how did you talk to them about the illness?

When I was diagnosed my son had just turned two years old and my daughter was three months old.  My son could see I was very sick so we always explained it in a language he would understand.  Things like, mummy has an owee and the doctor is giving her special medicine and we have always tried to encourage both kids to ask plenty of questions.

As my kids got older they’ve asked more questions which I have answered as honestly as possible so they now know that I had an illness called cancer.  They also know that the reasons we do so many Cancer Research UK campaigns is because they raise money to help people like mummy get better and I just love being able to tell them that!  My wish is that one day every parent can tell their child that they are cancer free.

It is really tough being a mum whose sick, there are no two ways about it. I actually wrote an article about coping strategies and the subject gets a whole chapter in the book because being a mum with any long-term serious illness has such a massive impact.

Was writing a book about having cancer therapeutic?

It was but it wasn’t always easy.  I remember when writing about (and reliving) the moments that I was so low I wanted to give up, I came away from my computer crying.  But at the same time, that was what I wanted, an honest account that did approach the harder emotional parts of having cancer, so I felt I had to go through that.  I think that, combined with the time that has passed, definitely helped me come to terms with what I went through.

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Wearing my Cancer Research UK Unity Band

Have you got an advice to anyone wanting to write about their cancer experience?

I think writing is a unique and amazing way to process emotions, good and bad.  Obviously you don’t have to keep a blog or write a book, it can be private thoughts just for yourself.  If you do want to publish, I think WordPress is an excellent blogging platform, it’s what I use.  If you want to write and don’t know where to start, check out a book like Let It Out by Katie Dalebout which gives prompts and different ways of looking at your illness.

What is it like for you when people donate to Cancer charities?

Ok, so the only people who ever ask me this are cancer charities but it really is an AMAZING feeling!  You feel like people are doing something very personal for you and your family – they are helping to ensure that you live.  It feels incredibly personal and incredibly moving.  I feel the same way about people who volunteer in charity shops.  Because of YOU, I was offered a type of chemotherapy that my mother, 8 years earlier, wasn’t.  The fact that people I don’t know and never will are actively doing something which helped save my life is a very unique and powerful feeling that I can’t fully articulate.

If you want to be one of those amazing people – great news – you can!  Give whatever you can to the cancer charity of your choice and know that you are doing something this World Cancer Day to literally change the life of someone with cancer!

With love & Unity! x

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The Last 36 Hours! Good Morning Britain, ITV News and World Cancer Day

Cancer & Me, Press Appearances

The last 36 hours have been unexpected, bizarre and awesome.

I knew that to coincide with World Cancer Day the lovely Cancer Research UK were going release the latest shocking statistic that 1 in 2 of us will now be effected by cancer, which I have written about here.  I also knew CRUK were going to include my name (along with others) as a possible person to talk to the press, but I had no idea just how exciting it was going to turn out to be.

Before I had cancer, although I would have loved the thought of appearing on TV, I would have probably let nerves get the better of me or the thought of it being too much trouble with getting the kids sorted etc… But since cancer I just think – when is the next time I am going to be asked to do this?  Probably never, so why not just get involved and thoroughly enjoy it and that is exactly what I did.

On Tuesday evening a film crew came and film the kids and I for a news segment on Good Morning Britain.  They asked a lot more questions than what they showed and there were a number of retakes, mainly because when you ask a 3-year-old to be quiet what they actually hear is; make as much noise as possible and keep interrupting mummy.  But they wanted ‘real-life’ and that is most definitely real life! 🙂

 

Next it was confirmed that I would be on the Good Morning Britain sofa with the beautiful Susanna Reid (who looks like a doll in real-life – so beautiful and friendly), Kate Garraway (who I now know likes her hair to be brushed with a brush, not a comb) and Dr Hilary Jones (who in real life is possibly the nicest man ever).  I was so excited.  I have seen that sofa, how many times (?) so to actually be on the show was completely surreal.

A car collected me at 5am – yes 5am – and I was taken to the ITV studios on South Bank, London.  They did my hair and make-up.  I got to meet all the presenters, who all seemed genuinely lovely.  The studio itself was amazing, smaller than I imagined and no, that is not the real view of London behind the sofa or desk, just a screen.  It was over so quickly, I didn’t feel like I got half of what I wanted to say across but that’s just the way it was and I still can’t actually believe I got to go on that sofa.

You can watch the interview by clicking on the picture below….

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After appearing on the sofa they organised a car to bring me home and I went straight to meet a friend for coffee in the same place I go nearly every day for coffee and order the exact same thing.  When I walked in the barista said “I saw you on TV, I was shouting at my husband – ‘It’s medium-vanilla-latte lady on TV'”  Hilarious.

Lastly I was asked if ITV News could come and film me and the kids again for the evening news.  Because time was of the essence not only did the reporter and cameraman come, they had a gigantic news truck come too so that they could edit and transmit the recording to get it all sorted in time for the news.  Good know’s what the neighbours much have thought.

You can watch the new segment by clicking on the picture below….

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On top of all of that I had some wonderful friends write my name on their hands as the person they are Uniting for as part of the Cancer Research #WeWillUnite campaign, so a massive thank you to them and everyone for their support with the campaign xx

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World Cancer Day!

Cancer & Me

Happy World Cancer Day!

Yes the 4th February is World Cancer Day and on my blog, we are celebrating, as obviously I like any opportunity to talk about cancer.

Why?

Because I think it is through talking about my experience that I can put having cancer to its best use.  Giving people a chance to understand the truth of what it is like having cancer.  Real experience of what I have been through and hopefully give an insight into the experience to help others.

Cancer Research UK announced today that cancer will now effect 1 in 2.

This is a shocking and difficult statistic to get your head around.  I think it is worth remembering at this point that this prediction is based on an ever-increasing ageing population – although as you know if you have read any of my blogs posts – any cancer can happen at any age!

It is also worth remembering that more people are surviving cancer than ever before too.  Obviously, not getting cancer in the first place is the way forward and early diagnosis is key.  That’s why it so important to know your own body, know when something isn’t right and if needed, keep pushing until you get the tests that you need.

We all know that there are things we can do to help.  Eating healthily and exercising as well as not smoking or drinking too much, but these are foolproof plans, which is why I think the real importance lies in research, development and understanding of the illness.  And the awesome news is you can literally help make that happen……

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For World Cancer Day the wonderful Cancer Research UK are running a #WeWillUnite campaign, asking everyone to write the names of who they are uniting for and post a picture on social media and text UNITE to 70200 to donate £3 to Cancer Research UK.  An amazing way to own the day and get involved in saving people’s live.

As always, a massive thank you to everyone for all the support you continue to give both me and all cancer charities.  I am honestly, on a very personal level, so grateful.

 

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