Monday, 3 November 2014


I've frequently heard having cancer described as a journey or a rollercoaster.

Nope. Both wrong.

A journey is travel from one place to another - journey implies a destination and I think it kind of implies some sort of logic (or attempted logic) in direction of travel. Unless you count being kidnapped against your will, and transported around indefinitely, with no idea how you are getting to where you are going or indeed even where you are going, then I wouldn't consider cancer as a journey.

And while it has ups and downs, I can't consider cancer a rollercoaster. I bloody love rollercoasters. I'm possibly at my happiest when I'm being zoomed around upside down and sideways on a rollercoaster with my arms in the air, screaming my head off. Cancer just isn't that much fun.

Not a journey. Not a rollercoaster. It's a whirlwind.

It's unstable, turbulent, dangerous, damaging. You'd like to think that there is some sort of predictability to what will go on, some sort of pattern, but actually the whole experience is very unpredictable. And the whirlwind itself is accompanied by various other storms too. Your world, that you spent your life building and creating, is suddenly ripped apart. It happens out of the blue, and fast. Before you've even had chance to comprehend that a whirlwind just struck, you're seeing a ground zero in the place that used to be your world.

You check yourself and realise that you're injured, but they're all injuries that can be healed. You're shocked and scared, but look around and see you're surrounded by people. They include your best friends, as well as people you didn't know that well but who have turned up anyway wanting to help, along with some complete strangers. Some have come carrying blankets and cups of tea, some have brought first aid kits, some are armed with hard hats and construction materials. Despite how overwhelming the whole situation is, despite some days being a complete blur, you know you will remember forever who were the people that were there by your side when disaster struck.

So now you have a choice. Sit around, helplessly looking at the mess, mourning everything you lost. Or, occasional meltdown and tantrum aside, take it as an opportunity to build a fucking ace new world. (I am going with the latter. Obvs.)

Rebuilding is a big job, hard work, takes time, and of course there are points when you're tired, in pain and overwhelmed. (That's when you need those friends with the first aid kits, blankets and cups of tea.) But it's also a really exciting challenge. You get to create a new world. One you can design from scratch, that is perfect for you, that you love to be in. It will be stronger than the last one - you've learned from experience that whirlwinds can strike so you can be much better prepared for any future storms. It will be fit for purpose - you have a much clearer sense of what you want from life and what is and isn't needed for that. Most importantly it will be a beautiful and welcoming world with plenty of room in it for all the other people that you know will make it even brighter, warmer, happier.

As for yourself... A few scars. A few lessons learned. A bit stronger. A clearer perspective. A bit more faith in yourself. A lot of love for a lot of people. A precious life... and this time with an understanding of just how precious it is.

Anyway, better get back to the building site.


  1. I love this! Such strength, resilience and insight xx

  2. Thank you so much!
    Although if last week showed anything it's that any strength and resilience definitely comes from the people around me!