In January 2015, following a routine check by my vigilant GP, I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.

As a Brit living in Sydney, Australia since 2008, I realised over the following days just how many of my friends and family were scattered across the globe and different timezones.

The Fellowship of the Ringlets was originally just a tremendous pun and the title of a closed Facebook group I created to keep those distant friends and family in the loop and worry-free.

But over 12 months, my little group somehow grew from 80 to 800+ and became a veritable band of brothers, a support team like no other and a true Fellowship in every sense of the word.

Their love, laughter and rallying cries have been the greatest tonic a little ringlet'd cancer-face like me could have wished for.

The following letters, musings, incoherent ramblings and occasional bouts of bad language are for them all.

Welcome to the Fellowship of the Ringlets.

VC x

Saturday 31 January 2015


I tied this bikini myself. With one hand. Skills. 
Dear Fellowship, 

So we are now playing the waiting game, it seems. And I'll be honest, I doubt that anyone who has ever met me, been a passenger in my car or even stood in a queue for a burger with me would identify patience as one of my more obvious virtues. For various dull reasons that I won't bore you (or myself, again) with, I am not seeing the oncologist till the 9th Feb. At that point, I'll discover exactly what I'm looking at treatment-wise and timeline-wise. So a fairly full-on meeting about treatment and timelines. Let us therefore call this T-Day, if you will.

My oncologist is called Dr Rachel Dear - everyone has said she's terribly good which is great because no one wants a rubbish oncologist but her name is presenting some challenges to my overthinking brain. Am wondering how many times I can legitimately call her 'Doctor Dear' without just sounding like I'm being patronising. That said, god knows why but I actually referred to her as 'Rach' the other day to my Physio so I probably need to find some acceptable naming middle ground, before she starts pumping me full of poisonous toxins with a vengeful look on her face.

Talking of toxins, I am now heading into my 4th week of being booze-free which is somewhat alarming. My neurologist mentioned that alcohol was a nerve toxin and as I am refusing to give Limpy any more excuses to take extra time off work, I have embraced an alcohol-free existence. Oh, my good grief. I miss wine. I am officially a Dry January loser but with a grumpy instead of smug face. I am also juicing every morning. With kale. Yep. I don't know who I am anymore - I might actually be turning into Delta Goodrem. A one-handed version. God help us all. The exquisite irony that I'm writing this in NSW's Hunter Valley wine region surrounded by glorious vineyards is not lost on me...

Meanwhile I am trying to keep the mind and body occupied and more importantly away from Google which is a challenge when in possession of Sydney's most active imagination and overthinking mind. Of course, just when I've managed to avoid Google successfully, I invariably get a call from TMI (Too Much Info) Debbie, the Breast Cancer liaison lady from St Vincent's who means well (despite asking me how I'm feeling "within myself" all the time), but normally smashes me over the head with more random info than I could ever need or want. Much as I'm looking forward to the day when I will want to rent a jazzy wig from their extensive wig library, that day is probably not today. And just as an FYI, there is unlikely to ever be a wig library card in the Connerty wallet. There will instead be hard cash flung at that particular situation, if and when it arises.

This week Debbie hit the jackpot and managed to blindside me by congratulating me on some results I didn't actually know about, namely that I tested negative for the HER2 gene. I was on the phone to Dave about 8 seconds later, being all British and mad, "oh hello there, sorry to bother you, what a nuisance I am, terrible weather we're having, sorry silly question probably, so sorry forgive me I know you're busy but what the SHIT is the HER2 gene?? What does negative mean? And why is TMI Debbie relaying this to me?! Sorry for shouting."

Turns out not having the HER2 gene means my cancer is less likely to recur and I also won't need to have the drugs that they stick you on for 12 months if you're HER2 positive. Dave was typically Dave "no point telling you about something you haven't got that you won't need treatment for, is there?" He's right as usual, damn it, but I'm taking it as a win anyway...

So another week and a bit to go till T-day - have an EMG on Tuesday with the neurologist which is a nerve testing /electrocution thing to see whether Limpy is faking it or not. To my mind, the arm is not much better, I'm just becoming better at coping with it -a veritable left-handed ledge. Tied up my own bikini today (it involved using my teeth to hold one end - thankfully, no witnesses as everyone else on wine tour so fine) and even my signature is looking like the real deal. Did have a small issue in the week as I tried to hurl a bin bag full of stinky cat litter into the spring-locked refuse chute with disastrous consequences. Technique was flawless, execution less so.

This was flawless (and importantly, theoretical) technique: Pull chute door down with left hand, grab bag with left hand, swing bag up into chute before it slowly springs shut. Bin bag full of stinky cat litter slides down chute effortlessly. VC walks away with smug face.

This was actual execution: Pull chute down with left hand. Grab bag with left hand and initiate swing motion. Realise chute is closing quicker than anticipated. Jam useless right arm into chute door to act as wedge. Realise right arm has as much wedge-like power as jellyfish and left arm is holding bin bag, thus floppy right arm from elbow down now trapped in chute door. Decide in panic to fling binbag towards chute in hope it will slide down effortlessly anyway. Moment of brief elation as bag hits chute door only to fall away at last minute and catch on the sharp metal side of chute door instead. Watch in horror as bag splits down the side, spilling its entire catty contents all over the tiny bin room. Consider running away and / or moving house in next 15 minutes. Instead remove Limpy from chute, go back to flat, get dustpan and spend next 20 mins sweeping up cat poo and litter. With one hand. While trying not to be sick.

That EMG cannot come soon enough, my friends. Limpy's days are numbered.

Love (from the Hunter Valley!), 
VC x

Sunday 25 January 2015


Stunning Chinamans Beach in Jervis Bay - our spiritual home. 

Dear Fellowship, 

This morning I woke up in the most beautiful place with some of my favourite people but for the first time was overwhelmingly frustrated by Limpy who, in my own mind, is currently retreating further into his dead-armed catatonic state rather than emerging jazz hands-crazy from his deep sleep.

Then to make matters worse, I broke my own golden rule and went Google-crazy on the treatment to nail Lymphy which was not my greatest ever positive-thinking strategy - the end result was a ridiculous foot-stamping, sling-flinging four year old-esque tantrum, triggered by my inability to tie up my own bikini without help.

Luckily, and with the help of some rock solid man-hugs from the team on this occasion, I am training myself to come back quite quickly from these thankfully sporadic 'waaaaaaah' episodes, of which I'm sure there will be a few more, as predicted in previous posts.

An hour later, bikini finally locked and loaded, we got to Chinamans Beach in Jervis Bay, one of our favourite places in Oz, hit the ocean and all was right again in the world.

It's a strange place, this cancer shizzle and sometimes feeling like you're sitting at a table for one by the toilets in a really shit restaurant is inevitable, I fear. But today, I was reminded yet again that in life it's not where you are, it's who you're with. And today I'm grateful that on a VERY grumpy morning indeed, I was with MF, JC and CS, my bikini-tying, non-alcoholic cocktail-fixing, lady-hugging legendary man-slaves. Thanks, lads.


Tuesday 20 January 2015


The greatest man-slaves in the world. (L-R Matt, Chris and Jezza)

Dear Fellowship, 

Officially one week post-surgery and what a week it’s been.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t had too many weeks in the last few years where I’ve low-fived myself (Limpy still refuses to hi-five) for safety-pinning my lymph drain tube to the shower curtain (with one hand, people – skills) so that I could finally take a shower without calling the panic-stricken Jaysun. Nor did I ever think I would experience the unparalleled joy that was my being upgraded to the hospital food ‘service list’ where all my meals suddenly began arriving cut up with my bread pre-buttered to avoid the escalating awkwardness of my left-handed table manners. Kicking goals in Room 804.

Limpy is sadly still in residence and my right arm remains a shadow of its former self. I have a fearsome grip but no bicep strength whatsoever – the only way to shake hands with someone at the moment is essentially to swing my arm like a club into their welcoming hand and then hold on for dear life. I have been practising it with some lucky visitors this week much to their horror – almost worth popping into work to try it out on some of my more unreasonable clients…

Still trying to get to the bottom of the arm situation especially as I’m discovering more things my right hand was good at – getting dressed, signing forms, putting headphones on, driving, pointing at things, opening tins of cat food, helping me not drown in a swimming pool etc. My head has been spinning with jargon but as of a nice visit to physio today, I know that my C5 vertebrae was put under pressure in the op. In simple terms, this pressure in turned caused the nerves coming from C5 and the surrounding C4 and C6-related nerves (they’re all mates) to have a sulk (neuropraxia) and so now only bits of my right arm are remotely interested in getting up in the morning.

The good news is that my hand works but is so pins and needle-y it feels like someone else’s hand (I keep getting startled by my own thumb – weird) and my tricep is also starting to work a bit. Unfortunately, without the bicep working which I need to lift the arm and which is pretty much all C5-related nerve, my right arm is essentially an inanimate useless limb. They are now talking 12 weeks until full use returns and that’s if I do my thrice-daily exercises which are so dull that they’re probably what drove my arm to sleep in the first place.

However, news just in - regardless of Limpy and his extended leave, we do have a bit of a Good Newsday Tuesday. My Pathology results from the op came back early today – in essence, Dave smashed it out of the park and Lumpy is officially no more! No traces of the primary cancery troll remain and therefore no need for any more boob surgery! Wahay! So now that there’s officially no more surgery beckoning, we can crack on with taking down Lymphy and his little pals.

So all in all, a bonkers week. I meet the oncologist next week to talk about the joys of chemo and radiotherapy but before then I have a delightful Aussie Day weekend of downtime in Jervis Bay locked in with my favourite man-slaves to enjoy!

As always, the last few days would have been profoundly more average without the ever-present support of the Fellowship. I must apologise to those who have been on the receiving end of my growing frustration and impatience with Limpy (you know who you are) and thankyou for resisting the urge to knock some sense into me with my own inanimate limb. Massive thanks to everyone who came to visit me, sorry I constantly messed up the times so you all frequently turned up together and had to squash up awkwardly on my bed and introduce yourselves to each other.

Thanks for my beautiful flowers, amazing gifts, awesome cards and ongoing delightful messages of support – I would be getting the right arse with constant Fellowship notifications and seeing a curly bonce in my newsfeed every 10 secs but loving that you are all gritting your teeth and pretending not to mind…

Today I am grateful for a lot but most of all, I’m grateful to Dr Dave and the steady hand that ended Lumpy’s short reign in the Kingdom of Connerty.

1-0 to us.


After a week in hospital captivity, freedom beckons...

Wednesday 14 January 2015


Busted out of hospital for brekkie and a green juice with Limpy, Matt and Brady

Dear Fellowship, 

So 2 days post-op, I'm rocking the compression socks and shapeless gown look and it's probably about time to update The Fellowship.

As planned, Lumpy and Lymphy were successfully evicted by Dave - we are just now waiting for our pals in Pathology to confirm that no trace remains of Lumpy and that Lymphy hasn't managed to spread his wild oats too much to his neighbouring nodes.

I woke up from surgery with pins and needles in my hand and a dead right arm - let us henceforth call this arm Limpy. Dave initially put this down to the position my arm was in (above my head) during surgery and was confident on Tuesday night that it would right itself within a few hours.

Weds morning comes and Limpy is loving his new life as the laziest, most useless right arm the world has ever seen. My left arm is by contrast loving its own work; carrying Limpy around, signing forms with a flourish and happily texting away, having waited 40 years to emerge from the shadow of my glorious right hand to show me what it can do. Dave is looking slightly more concerned and when Dave looks concerned, the universe is concerned. So I'm then whisked off for an MRI to work out how we wake Limpy from his stupor.

Turns out that during the op and because of the angle of my arm, the nerve fibres in my neck and arm were compressed and as a result I have developed the solemn-sounding neuropraxia - basically this means I have a full-on dead arm which could take anywhere between 2 weeks and 6 weeks to return to normal. Oh, joy. 6 weeks with Lumpy and Lymphy's idiot cousin, Limpy. God help me.

Maintaining dignity is not something that is high on the priority list right now as I discovered yesterday when I realised Limpy was not going to be a massive help in the showering department, removal of gown department or washing of bouffante department. Enter Jaysun. With a y. We had a nice chat about the weather before I realised what he was hovering around to do, namely help me take a shower. Good Lord. Beyond all acceptable levels of Connerty and British awkwardness but we got through it. Very nice bloke though he sounded a bit taken aback when I referred to him later as my hospital man-slave. To be fair he was filling up 3 vases of water for all my lovely flowers and cutting my dinner up for me at the time so don't think I was too far off the mark...

It's been a strange couple of days overall - I think the anaesthetic is wearing off and hospital boredom and control freak frustration is kicking in. Today I cried on Dr Dave when he popped in - I flopped my useless arm at him angrily though it just slid off the bed which kind of lessened the dramatic and aggressive impact of the gesture really. Then my friend Chris brought me in my favourite juice (kale, lemon, ginger and apple, juice geeks) and I was so grumpy I didn't even say thanks. Thanks, CWS. Then Debbie from some breast cancer place came to see me and bombarded me with some scary-looking leaflets about wigs, chemo and infertility and then some bloke called Neil with an earring and lots of rings from pastoral care stuck his head round the door and said I had a great attitude. Bonkers.

But on the plus side, I've had so much lurve flung at me that it's impossible to stay too mean and grumpy about Limpy for too long. Your messages, wise words, gifts, flowers and visits have made and continue to make a massive difference every day and seeing so many of you crazy cats changing your profile pics ahead of my op completely blew me away (though I would have preferred editorial approval on a few of those pics!).

I believe it was Paulo Coelho who once wrote "Life has many ways of testing a person's will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen all at once."

The man makes a good point but I think I prefer these words that were just sent to me by one G.Trout - "it's a tunnel of shit but just think of Andy Dufresne in Shawshank. He crawled through a tunnel of shit and came out clean on the other side. You'll be the same."

Onwards and upwards, my friends. 

VC x

P.s I just wrote all this with my left hand. Who needs Limpy anyway?!

Monday 12 January 2015


Dear Fellowship, 

So here we are - the eve of what will become my 'new normal' for the next few months.

Tomorrow at about lunchtime, Dave the boob man will ask Lumpy and Lymphy politely for ID before hauling them up by their collars and unceremoniously booting them both out of my private club and onto the streets where they belong.

What is actually happening (for those confused by my rambling analogy) is that I'm having what is known in the trade as a partial mastectomy tomorrow. This means Lumpy is currently small enough to evict from the premises without Dave needing to do any major renovation/ reconstruction etc. There is a 20% chance Lumpy may be fatter than he appears on screen - my Pathology pals will determine this over the next week - in which case we might need to re-visit but the odds are pretty good apparently based on my lack of family breast cancer history combined with my youthful good looks (I made that last one up) - fingers crossed Lumpy hasn't had too long hanging out in there to graffiti the walls in marker pen...

As for Lymphy, he will also be popped in the post to Pathology along with 14 of his node colleagues - depending on how many of them look dodgy will effectively determine my chemo and radiotherapy treatment. Obviously I'm hoping Lymphy is just Lumpy's sad little loser mate in shit trainers with a rubbish haircut and no friends of his own.

I'll be in hospital apparently for about 2-5 days. I've downloaded enough box sets and books to last 2-5 years so I'm quite annoyed they'll probably want me to leave by the weekend. I have been practicing my 'I'm not sure I'm well enough, doctor' face and it's coming on a treat...

Evil corporate giant rant alert - Bupa are the Voldemort to my Harry Potter today after telling the hospital this morning (24 hrs pre-op) that I wasn't covered for my hospital stay unless I proved my cancer wasn't a pre-existing condition when I upped my cover with them in July last year. The process for this is that my surgeon and GP have to now confirm it wasn't pre-existing, Bupa then spend 5 days 'assessing' whether they genuinely think I secretly knew I had cancer in July, changed my policy like the cunning fox I am and then waited 6 whole months to mention it just to get a private room after surgery. Then after 5 working days they will presumably arrive at the conclusion that they are outrageous charlatans preying on the sick, weak and feeble and pay out.

I confess my usual calm and Zen-like demeanour was somewhat disturbed by this news - poor old Jade in the Bupa call centre is probably still lying trembling in a darkened room somewhere with a cold flannel over her eyes following our little chat. All sorted now, thanks to some very generous individuals who I owe bigtime (literally) but no thanks to Bupa. Avoid them like the plague, my friends....

So, this time tomorrow I'll be hopefully watching some quality content and bossing people about from the luxury of my hospital bed while Lumpy and Lymphy will be lying disgruntled on some petri-dish somewhere, having a little think about whether turning up at my gaff uninvited was a good idea after all.
Thanks as always for all your good luck messages, texts and calls today - it was a bit weird writing 'I will now be out of the office for the foreseeable future' today when I feel completely fine but I feel that all will ultimately be well. Dr Dave is a top man and will look after me. He does have a bit of a stutter though which is quite sweet as long as it doesn't extend to his scalpel hand... 

Wish me luck, Fellowship and see you on the flipside!

VC x

Saturday 10 January 2015


Dear Fellowship,

So my beautiful friend, ex-roomie and double cancer survivor legend Greig Trout wrote a piece on his blog tonight that made me and the hardcore Matt Furlong cry, for heaven's sake!! Matt had had a few beers when he read it though so he was in a weakened state, in his defence... smile emoticon
I thought I'd share Greig's post with you because a) it made me happy, b) it makes me sound like a total ledge c) I can do what I want right now and d) his gorgeous 101 blog is way better than mine and you should all follow it immediately! Trouty has also been an absolute rock over the last week and I'm ridiculously grateful that he walked into my life when he did. 
The news has been largely good today, Dave the boob man was ace, knows a thing or two about dealing with the likes of Lumpy and Lymphy and their ilk and I trust him all the way. Lots of you have asked me how it went today and I haven't had a chance to sit down and compose a proper post so this is un-edited and will probably ramble on. It will, rest assured, be grammatically perfect. 
In brief (or not), no Angelina Jolie op needed as I quietly feared yesterday, the Connerty rack should hopefully remain intact as long as Lumpy has stayed within his boob boundaries but the signature Connerty Bouff is probably going to take one for the team despite me trying to wheedle my way out of chemo. 
Black comedy moment with Dave earlier discussing fate of bouff:
Me to Dave 'will it go?"
Dave to me 'yes it'll grow'
Me "no, will it go?'
Dave : yes of course it will grow!
Dave: oh yes but it'll grow back.
Me: thankyou Dave. 
So 40 years (25 years really as my hair was an absolute disgrace till I was 15) of ringlet-twirling may be at an end but this ringleted bouff is made of the tears of unicorns so I doubt it will go down without a fight. Weirdly, I have felt sadder today about losing the bouff than I have felt happy about keeping the boobs but I tried on a tea towel earlier and it looked awesome so every cloud...
On a semi-serious note, losing one's hair especially when you are a bird with hair so big that you regularly flick it in people's faces by accident and that people like to touch on public transport in wonderment, is a bit shit but in the grand scheme of things, it seems a small price to pay to stick around and annoy the shit out of everyone for another 40 years. 
Dave said today 'my job is to get you another 45 years not another 10'. He looked a bit baffled when I started stroking the bouff absent-mindedly like I was comforting a pet hamster and when I explained that I would be quite sad to see it go, he said 'don't worry, am sure you'll rock the Annie Lennox thing'. The man is not remotely moved in any way by the power of the ringlets. It's shocking to see but strangely reassuring. 
Yet again, I must thank you all for your flowers, gifts, supportive comments, messages, calls and texts today - they have all kept me going and made me focus on what's actually important in this very average situation.
Special thanks to Jez Clark who took the day off to come with me and take copious notes while everything Dave said went in one of my ears and out the other. I took JC because he is essentially the calm to my chaos right now but he is also a total jobsworth and copious note-taker. No better man for the job or so I thought….

Sitting in reception waiting for Dave:
Me : All you have to do is just listen, absorb and write it all down.
Jez: I'm all over it, VC. I'm a brilliant note-taker and (taps forehead) a lot of it is all in here babe. (Pause) That Sam's nice, isn't she?
Me: Who's Sam?
Jez: Sam on reception. We just met her.
Me: Her name's Kate. Oh god. 
The Aussies don't hang about and my surgery is on Tuesday next week. Same day as my beautiful niece Lottie's 1st birthday - gotta be a good omen!

VC x

Tuesday 6 January 2015


Dear Fellowship, 

So after 4 surreal days of post-cancer diagnosis madness, I found myself sitting in St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney with a cannula in my arm, drinking luminous drinks so that my insides lit up like a Christmas tree ahead of the CT and bone scans that will reveal whether Lumpy and Lymphy have any little pals roaming around the Connerty ecosystem*.

I was also radioactive for 12 hours which meant my pregnant wingwoman Soph was forced to make a swift exit as they said 'no VC, you probably shouldn't be around kids what with being radioactive’ - thanks to Soph for not going ‘waaaaaah’ too obviously and to Clare Robinson for ably stepping into the breach at short notice and pandering to my every whim. "I think I'd like chicken. Roast chicken. And gravy. And some veg. And hummus. And bread. And some milk for my tea". Poor Robbo. This is why I need the biggest support network ever. Largely so you can all support each other through this testing time as my demands and levels of emotional blackmail grow ever more outrageous.

I've been pushing for these scans since Saturday when I suddenly realised that I actually had very little info from my amazing GP Jacqui. Not her fault but 24 hours post-diagnosis, the control freak in me kicked in alongside my ever-over active imagination. Not a fabulous combination. By Sat evening, halfway through The Imitation Game (Cumberbatch on fine form as ever), I became convinced I was positively RIDDLED with Lymphy, Lumpy and their merry band of cancery thieves.

Thankyou to my old boss, mentor, legend of calm and fellow cancer-kicker Fishy for talking me down off the ceiling late on Saturday night. Fish has been kicking Hodgkins Lymphoma to the kerb over the last 6 months and has so impressed me with his resilience and approach to tackling it that I would be a fool if I didn't at least try to follow his lead to some degree. That said, he built a shed and a drone and started aeronautics training during his treatment period. I can confirm I will be doing none of the above. Clearly, he is also mad.

The last 4 days have been fairly full-on to say the least. You know when you've said the word 'breast' with a straight face to your CEO more than 5 times in one conversation that shit just got very real but stuff is starting to move along finally.

The Fellowship of the Ringlets i.e you lot, have been nothing short of sensational and I continue to be amazed by and grateful for the tremendous folk I'm lucky enough to be surrounded by at this very strange time. Please remind yourselves of this gratitude when I'm grumpy as all hell over the coming months, am failing to respond to texts, making spurious demands and you are wondering what you signed up for. Also loving that my UK friends and fam are connecting with my Aussie friends and fam, although my raging FOMO (fear of missing out, for the old people reading this) makes me want to be cc'd on ALL correspondence! Final thanks of the day goes to my brothers from other mothers Jezza and Matt who continue to astound me with their generosity, love and ability to smash out the best home cooked meals ever.

I'm not sure how these updates / musings will progress (they could well just peter out into just random swear words) but for now, I just want somewhere to write some stuff down and give you somewhere to go to know that I'm alright, still scaring people, probably being wholly inappropriate about cancer and importantly not drowning in a bucket of tears.

Meeting with Dave the boob surgeon on Friday to discuss strategic plan of attack on Lumpy and Lymphy - he is by all accounts a total legend so I am hopeful he will be my man with a damn good plan.

VC x

*Update 7 Jan 3pm: GP Jacqui the amazing cancer-detector just called. Results of the scans are in and CT and bone scans are both clear, so it looks like Lumpy and Lymphy are flying solo. I don’t want to lower the tone of these updates but thank FUCK! (sorry, Mum).

Friday 2 January 2015


Cat in a wig. The light in the dark that every cancer diagnosis deserves. 
Dear Fellowship, 

So today I got my laminated membership card to the most exclusive but least sought-after club in town. The Cancer Club. Now normally I'm a sucker for a private member's club but I'm still not sure if I want to keep this one. Annoyingly, the first rule of Cancer Club is that you don't get to choose apparently. Typical.

On the second day of 2015, I was told that the results of a cheeky biopsy on Christmas Eve (excellent timing) showed that cancer was apparently lurking in my right boob and had also turned up in my lymph nodes.

I don’t even really know what a lymph node is or what it actually does but I'm pretty sure that a cancery one is not a good thing. I would Google it but I've banned myself from Googling anything related to boobs, lymphs or cancer. The only things I'm allowed to Google for the foreseeable future are pictures of cats in wigs. Try Googling 'cats in wigs' and not crying with laughter. It is physically impossible. Fact.

The last few weeks have been a bit of a blur and by that I don’t mean I’ve been worrying myself senseless, I mean I've been really busy with work / media lunches, Christmas planning, panic buying absolute crap for people online, having a mini-nervous breakdown in town the day before Christmas Eve over whether to buy my gay friend a bow-tie or a pair of tailored shorts, the usual 1st world problems I face on a daily basis…

Despite the solemn-sounding biopsy, I wasn't even really thinking about the possibility of cancer at all. I popped to the GP a couple of weeks earlier, grumbling about the reminder letter for my 2 yearly smear test (delightful) and then this very nice doc asked if I'd like a breast check at the same time. So off she went. And she found something pretty quickly. I thought she was probably just being over-zealous. Maybe she was new. Maybe she hadn't done one before and was just having a crack.

And so it began. 'Cautionary' boob check followed by 'cautionary' ultrasound. 'Cautionary' ultrasound followed by 'cautionary' mammogram (where they essentially squash your boobs in between what is basically a fancy sandwich press and take pictures - the least sexy topless shoot in the world by the way) 'Cautionary' mammogram followed by 'cautionary' core biopsy to lumpy boob (Me to GP: What’s a core biopsy? GP to me: You know what an apple corer is? Me to GP: STOP TALKING!!) and FNA (Fine Needle Application = not an apple corer) to the lymph. Every girl’s Christmas dream!

And so 2 days into 2015, it turned out that the little cancer dwarfs Lumpy and Lymphy (as I shall affectionately call them) are actually attempting to wreak havoc in the calm and orderly Kingdom of Connerty. Unbelievable. Especially when I’d just tidied up and taken the tree down.

Telling people the news today was utterly surreal but listening to their wise words and reassurances did make me feel better. Some have been pragmatic, some have been tearful, some have offered advice, some have remained silent and just listened to me rambling on but every single one of them has helped me in some way and I already know I chose this merry band well.

I am probably going to be really quite grumpy at times over the next few months but I'm also going to follow a dear friend's advice and try and be grateful for at least one thing every day, once I'm done being grumpy. So today, I am grateful for my support crew who sit in all corners of the globe and I'm grateful that I don't have to kick the shit out of Lumpy and Lymphy on my own.

VC x

p.s thanks to my niece Lottie for this perfect pose in her new low key T-shirt!! xxx

The youngest of our clan joins the Fellowship