WHAT IS THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGLETS?


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

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

* EGG-FREEZING - IT'S NO YOLK

Pick me!! 
Dear Fellowship, 

So this week's post from the rabbit hole is brought to you by Vicki 'Cry Me An Hormonally Induced River' Connerty...
Popped into IVF Australia last Thursday to see Dr Kwik (real name, I promise) - not a sentence I thought I'd be writing 7 weeks into 2015 - and astonishingly learnt more about my own reproductive system in 20 minutes than I ever picked up during all my years in Biology class at school. This does finally perhaps substantiate Mum's long-held belief that a Biology qualification would have been slightly more useful in the real world than the Latin GCSE I plumped for instead. Still, I knew 'ovum' meant 'egg' so maybe those painful hours studying an ancient long-dead language weren't all for nothing.

Dr Kwik and I decided fairly swiftly to go for egg-freezing over embryo-freezing - turns out despite some genuinely excellent (eggcellent?) and appealing offers of sperm via the Fellowship, the process of getting said donors to relinquish paternal rights, agree to be on birth certificate, me to promise never to set the Child Support Agency on them or leave child on their doorstep in the snow when it all got too much etc would have been way too hard and, bearing in mind I have only 3 weeks till treatment starts, far too time-consuming. So a lucky escape for those willing donor boys or a chance missed? We will never know...

So less than 12 hours post-appointment and my new Dr Kwik was living up to her name. My fridge had the obligatory kale, coconut water, and chocolate fingers (don't judge me, a girl needs treats) nestled happily alongside a multitude of hormone drugs and syringes. Meanwhile I was about to inject myself IN THE STOMACH (gaaaaaaaah!) in front of I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. Understandably, my cat Bob took immediate refuge under the sofa, faced with the horrifyingly middle-class version of Trainspotting being played out in his living room. Welcome to the rabbit hole. Pull up a chair and get comfy. We might be here a while.

Met Dave on Friday for a post-op check up. I was all tearful and pathetic because I was ten minutes late, couldn't find my shades and had got out of the lift at the wrong floor at the hospital. All entirely normal hysterical tantrum-inducing stuff, NOT because I was suffering from any injection-related side effects obviously. I laugh in the face of side effects. Clearly sensing the oestrogen overload in the room, he took one look at my grumpy face and said 'Ah, you've started the hormone injections...'. Sometimes it's really no fun having a smug boob surgeon.

Managed to get the sporadic waaaaah moments under control in time for the delightful wedding of my friends Keeley and Lawrence at the weekend. First wedding I've been to with a) cancer chat, b) my arm in a sling c) a syringe in my bag. So lots of Connerty firsts. I decided to go to the ceremony with the sling off ( it was ruining my outfit) but then had about a dozen people trying to introduce themselves to me with a handshake which got awkward - Limpy ignored them of course, they looked confused and I didn't feel I could just swing him at them and hope for the best so my left hand took over the pleasantries for a while before the sling got re-introduced to act as a silent handshake warning. Exhausting.

Then I skidded into the reception (thankfully back at the house) in order to refrigerate my hormone-laden syringe, found the kitchen and scared the bejesus out of the poor caterers who unsurprisingly stepped quickly aside when confronted with a wild-haired, wild-eyed mentalist in a sling waving a syringe about at a wedding. A beautiful day for a beautiful couple though and one I won't forget, and not just because I was sober - a wedding ain't a real wedding till you've shot up hormones at 10pm in the bridal ensuite listening to Come On Eileen.


Keeley & Lawrence get wed!

Robbo & I with the blushing bride
It's been a fairly bonkers few days with more to come but I have a newfound respect and admiration for all the gorgeous girls I know who've either done IVF or are still doing it. You are all tremendously hardcore. Equally, lots of man points to your respective boys for weathering the storm. Because apparently there can be a few stormy moments. Not that I'd know of course. Because I am completely level-headed and immune to any stormy, emotional, batshit crazy side effects. But a special thanks this week goes to my Gemini twin /new mum Charl for spending 2 precious hours of her sleep-deprived Sunday talking sense into my possibly overloaded, over-tired and hormone-addled brain - I'm lucky to have you, despite the fact you once locked me in a cupboard at school and wouldn't let me out until I sang the 'Annie' musical classic, 'The Sun Come Out Tomorrow'. Consider this payback, my friend.

Love,
VC x

P.S Limpy drew on that egg. Check out those skills.